The Top Ten 3 Chord Guitar Songs For Beginners

Let’s learn a series of 3 chord guitar songs for beginners together!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 10 3 chord songs to supercharge your playing!
  • How different songs share the same chord progression
  • How context changes a chord progression
  • Why power chords are useful

Get Ready To Strum Along To These 3 Chord Guitar Songs For Beginners!

Learning a variety of chord progressions and songs is super important as a guitarist, and some are quite easy to play!

Some songs many seem more difficult than they are because of how they’re structured, but the fact is that many songs can be stripped down to just a few guitar chords!

In this free guide, we’re going to break down ten 3 chord guitar songs for beginners that will have you strumming away in no time.

Pro Tip: Grab a pencil and paper and write down the chords we play as we play them in each section. Writing things down aids our memory, and you’re going to be doing a lot of memorization today!


The Importance Of Learning Different Chord Progressions

Having a variety of chords at our disposal is one thing, but knowing how to link them together and how they interact is another altogether.

The advantage of learning 3 chord guitar songs for beginners is that many of them use similar chord progressions.

  • This teaches us how the same chords can interact differently depending upon what they are paired with.
  • One thing to remember is that context is everything when it comes to chord progressions.

A chord can move in a thousand different ways depending upon how we play it, so don’t hesitate to experiment!

If you’re interested in learning more about chord shapes, click here for our ultimate guide to chords!


Experiment With Different Strumming Patterns!

Pro Tip: Once you’ve learned a song, you can play it however you want!

Often this is a great technique for learning new strumming patterns using something familiar as a basis.

  • Once you’ve learned something, how you recycle that information is entirely up to you!
  • That’s the beauty of music – it’s completely interpretive!
  • Once great way to re-interpret any of these 3 chord guitar songs for beginners is to arpeggiate the chords as you play them.

This will give your chord progression brand new life as you hear each of the notes of the chord sound out individually.


Pro Tip: If you really want to step up your playing on these 3 chord guitar songs for beginners, try fingerpicking!

  • By dropping the pick and approaching these chords with our whole hand, we can find a whole new voice for each of these chords.
  • Start with your hand in a claw-like shape, and assign one finger to each string. Your thumb can take care of the E and A strings, and your fingers can take the rest.
  • Fingerpicking is a great way to find new sounds in chords we already know.

Check out our lesson on fingerpicking here.

And now – on to the list!


3 Chord Guitar Songs For Beginners – ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

Perhaps one of the most quintessential 3 chord guitar songs for beginners, Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd is as easy to play as it is fun.

  • This song challenges us to arpeggiate the chords with a good amount of rhythm, and also sees us decorating our chords with some hammer-ons and pull-offs.
  • If you’re a total beginner, you can overlook the technical stuff and simply strum each chord along with the song.

The beats per chord are as follows:

G (2 beats)

C (2 beats)

D (4 beats)




(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)




In terms of strumming, we can divide our guitar in half to the bass and treble sides in order to split up our chords a bit.

  • Strum twice on the bass strings of each chord, then strum once across all six strings.
  • Repeat this pattern for each chord and you will have the essential strumming foundation to play the first of these 3 chord guitar songs for beginners!

As you become more familiar with the song, begin trying more complex approaches to the strumming pattern until you can play along to the song itself, note for note!

Remember, practice makes perfect!


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3 Chord Guitar Songs For Beginners – ‘Bad Moon Rising’

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s infamous Rock & Roll tune is among the easiest on this list to play.

Bad Moon Rising is a good medium paced song with easy chord changes.

  • We begin on the D major chord for four beats, then transition to the A and G chords for two beats each, then back to D for another eight beats.
  • We can use the same technique from Sweet Home Alabama of strumming half of the strings and then all of them to get that distinct Country/Rock & Roll sound on the guitar.








In the chorus, we recycle the same three chords in a different order to create a different feel and a movement towards resolution back to the D major chord.

The order of chords in the chorus is as follows:

G – D – A – G – D

See how the same chords are used in a different order? This contributes to what we call movement in a song. As you can see, it doesn’t take many chords to write a song! That’s what makes these 3 chord guitar songs for beginners so great!

Pro Tip: Take your time! Don’t rush through these chord progressions. Learning each chord thoroughly will help you to internalize what you’re learning, and play it better from memory in the future!

Beginner-3 chord-songs

3 Chord Guitar Songs For Beginners – ‘Wild Thing’

We couldn’t leave out this timeless Rock & Roll classic on our list of the best 3 chord guitar songs for beginners.

The Troggs’ Wild Thing only uses the chords A, D and E, but it spares no expense in giving you a solid groove to rock out with.

  • The strumming pattern for this song can be accomplished using only downstrokes, and we recommend you play it this way when you start out.
  • Playing exclusively with downstrokes helps our picking hand get used to some quicker movements as beginner guitarists. Momentum is important, so hit those downstrokes extra hard!







The chord progression for this song is very pronounced, making it easy to follow.

Practice the chords above until you’ve got them under your fingers.

  • Challenge Yourself: Figure out the order of the chords by listening along.
  • If you’ve already practiced the chords above and know how they sound, it will be super easy for you to hear the chord changes and match them to the chords above.

This might seem like we’re ripping you off a bit, but putting your ears to use is super important as a musician. Sit down with this classic tune and listen for the changes, then play them back.

Pro Tip: Be conscious of what you’re playing and you’ll hear any mistakes that you’re making a lot easier. It’s easy to get caught up strumming along and not paying attention, but the more you listen, the better you get!


3 Chord Guitar Songs For Beginners – ‘Hound Dog’

Elvis Presley truly was a King of hit songs, and Hound Dog is no different.

This song got people’s toes tapping and booties shaking even when the Church was opposed to it. To make matters even better, many of his songs contained only a few chords!

  • Hound Dog grooves hard, and the changes are fairly quick; so make sure to pay attention!
  • This song is styled as a Blues song, so it only uses three chords.
  • This is one of those 3 chord guitar songs for beginners that will get stuck in your head for sure.

The chords for this tune are laid out for you below:







Pro Tip: Watch out for that F chord! Keep in mind that you don’t have to play the entire chord in order to play the F major chord.

  • Partial chords are a great way to get ourselves started when we haven’t learned 5 and 6 string chords yet.
  • Don’t feel pressured to learn them all at once, either! Start out one chord at a time and take your time learning.
  • This will ensure that you can memorize each chord as you learn it.

We’ve included the partial versions of these chords below so that you can easily play along if you’re just starting out!









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