Beginner Rock Guitar Songs – 18 Songs You Might Not Have Heard Of

We’ve got 18 beginner rock guitar songs that you won’t find elsewhere!

Throw up your horns and let’s rock!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 18 beginner rock tunes to get your head banging
  • Tips for making your chords sound amazing
  • Two, three & four chord beginner rock songs
  • How to transition smoothly between chords

Beginner Rock Guitar Songs Beyond The Ordinary!

Yeah, we went ahead and searched “beginner rock guitar songs.”

The same songs show up all the time!

Oh, they’re good songs, and many of them do, in fact, rock – but there are so many more excellent beginner rock guitar songs!

For the record, yes – you can and should learn “Satisfaction” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”

You should also learn and enjoy this top 20 list of beginner rock guitar songs, ranging from huge hits to deep cuts.

beginner-rock-guitar-songs

While you are jamming these beginner rock guitar songs, you are also learning some fundamental skills that will transfer to the next things you are ready to tackle on guitar.

All of these songs have a teachable moment in them, including one or more of the following:

  • How to change chords without losing the beat
  • Working out the timing between your hands so your riffs sound good
  • Chords that belong together in songs
  • Performing multiple rhythms at once by singing and playing
  • Transitions – Stringing skills together without having to pause is a major milestone in learning how to play guitar

But enough of our jabbering! Let’s boogie!

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Two-Chord Beginner Rock Guitar Songs

Are you beginning to practice changing between two chords? These are the tunes for you!

One of the first goals of playing guitar is developing the ability to “jump” between chords as opposed to the frustrating deconstruction and reconstruction process we all start with when faced with two chords.

These two-chord beginner rock guitar songs are going to make chord-changing exercises much more fun.

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Beginner Rock Guitar Songs: Sly & The Family Stone – “Everyday People”

In the midst of Sly and the Family Stone’s jazzy, funky soul-rock catalogue, there’s the simple beauty of “Everyday People.”

This song is one of the friendliest beginner rock guitar songs in history because it can be played with one chord, two chords, or one and a half chords.

G (320003)

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(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!)

C (x32010)

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C/G (3×2013)

You can stay on the G chord the entire time to play this song.

  • To work the C chord into the mix, you’ll stay mainly on the G chord and switch to C the way you hear it in the recording.
  • You can swap the C chord for the C/G shape you see above. It’s the outside of a G chord and the inside of a C chord!
  • Here’s a chord and lyric chart to “Everyday People” to help you along.

beginner-rock-guitar-songs

Beginner Rock Guitar Songs: Traffic – “Feelin’ Alright”

One great thing about two-chord rock songs is that you can easily swap the two chords to play the song in a different key.

In “Feelin’ Alright,” Traffic is playing the song in the key of C.

  • The two chords are C major and F major. If we converted those into numbers, C would be I and F would be IV.
  • You can switch those two chords by simply choosing another I – E, for example, and then just counting up to IV, which would be A.

E (022100)

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A (x02220)

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Here’s your chord and lyric chart to “Feelin’ Alright.”

Feel free to switch keys to suit your singing voice. You can use D and G, G and C, or A and D, for example.

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Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

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Beginner Rock Guitar Songs: The Doors – “Break On Through”

E minor and D are not the easiest chords to switch.

It can feel like you’re moving across town every time you try to change chords.

Spend a day with “Break On Through,” and you’ll not only have a bigger collection of complete beginner rock guitar songs but also the amazing skill of easily changing between these two totally different chords!

Em (022000)

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D (xx0232)

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The chords change every two beats, so start slowly and work your way up to a reasonable tempo.

Here’s your chord and lyric chart, complete with all the “yeah”s at the end, to “Break On Through.”

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Beginner Rock Guitar Songs: Talking Heads – “Life During Wartime”

This song doesn’t seem like it has only two chords in it, but “Life During Wartime” is a great example of beginner rock guitar songs that sound more difficult than they are.

All you need for this song are the A minor and E chords. They’re even the same shape!

Am (x02210)

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E (022100)

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Here’s the complete chord and lyric chart for “Life During Wartime.”

If you’d like to do that little riff that runs through the entire song, here it is!

beginner-rock-guitar-songs

Pro-Tip: Does tablature make no sense?

It’s a system of notation especially for stringed instruments where the horizontal lines represent the strings and the numbers represent the frets.

Check out this lesson for more help!

How to Read Guitar Tabs

beginner-rock-guitar-songs

Beginner Rock Guitar Songs: The Beatles – “Paperback Writer”

The Beatles aren’t known for their simple beginner rock guitar songs, but they do have a couple, and “Paperback Writer” is a fantastic way to get good at a very common chord change.

All you need are the G and C chords. If you like, you can use the G7 instead of the G.

G (320003)

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G7 (320001)

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C (x32010)

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This chord chart for “Paperback Writer” also includes the tab for the riff, if you are so inclined.

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Three-Chord Beginner Rock Guitar Songs

Three chords and the truth, man.

There are countless three-chord beginner rock guitar songs; as a matter of fact, while you’re playing one of these, you’ll probably hear four or five more that are very similar!

“La Bamba” is a song that goes like this. So are “Hang On Sloopy,”  “Good Lovin’”, “Twist and Shout,” and hundreds of others.

You can try any of these songs in any of these keys:

D (xx0232)

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G (320003)

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A (x02220)

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G (320003)

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C (x32010)

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D (xx0232)

C (x32010)

F (xx3211)

G (320003)

Here are chord and lyric charts for “La Bamba”, “Hang On Sloopy,” “Good Lovin’”, and “Twist and Shout.”

As Neil Young says – “it’s all one song!”

beginner-rock-guitar-songs

The Ramones – “I Wanna Be Sedated”

If it’s three-chord beginner rock guitar songs you’re looking for, The Ramones will never let you down!

“I Wanna Be Sedated” is a popular and fun song in beginning guitar classes.

This song is in the key of E, giving you a great reason to tackle the dreaded B7 chord!

E (022100)

A (x02220)

B7 (x21202)

This chord chart for “I Wanna Be Sedated” includes a key change, moving from the key of E to the key of F#.

Ignore that until you feel good about barre chords!

beginner-rock-guitar-songs

Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Up Around The Bend”

“Up Around the Bend” is one of the happiest and easiest beginner rock guitar songs ever.

  • The harmonies, that simple little riff – it’s just lovely, and it’s so much fun to play!
  • You already know and love the chords you’ll need to play this song!

D (xx0232)

G (320003)

A (x02220)

The chord chart for “Up Around the Bend” also includes that excellent intro riff.

Crosby Stills & Nash – “Southern Cross”

One of the multitude of beginner rock guitar songs using the exact same chords as “Up Around the Bend” is “Southern Cross.”

If you’ve got some harmony singers around you, you owe it to yourselves to learn this one!

This is a great song to learn because if you follow the rhythm of the recording, you’ll learn how to change chords in a syncopated way, meaning before or after the beat.

There are plenty of words to this one, so here’s a complete chord and lyric chart for “Southern Cross.” You can safely ignore the B minor chord in the chart.

easy-rock-songs

Them – “Gloria”

One of the greatest beginner rock guitar songs of all time, “Gloria,” happened before Van Morrison was famous!

E (022100)

A (x02220)

D (xx0232)

This song is in the key of E, but unlike “I Wanna Be Sedated,” where you’re using B7, “Gloria” uses the D chord. The song sounds more bluesy that way!

Here’s the chord and lyric chart for “Gloria.”

easy-rock-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

Warren Zevon – “Werewolves Of London”

If you’re looking for a Halloween hit to add to your beginner rock guitar songs, try “Werewolves of London.”

It’s another simple chord cycle in the key of G.

D (xx0232)

C (x32010)

G (320003)

You’ll need the chord and lyric chart for “Werewolves of London” to remember all the places you saw the werewolf.

Try the strumming pattern suggested in the chart for a great guitar arrangement of this piano classic.

best-rock-songs-to-learn

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Four Non Blondes – “What’s Up”

Of all the beginner rock guitar songs here, “What’s Up” is voted most likely to be performed in some karaoke bar somewhere in the world right this very minute.

It’s another chord cycle that repeats for the entire song.

G (320003)

Am (x02210)

C (x32010)

You don’t really need to know any of the words beyond the “Hey yeah yeah yeah” part, but just in case, here is the chord chart for “What’s Up.”

Pro-Tip: The three-chord groupings you see in these selections happen together all the time in beginner rock guitar songs.

Once you’ve got those changes down, you can find hundreds more songs to play and even begin to figure out by ear!

fun-rock-songs-to-learn

Four-Chord Beginner Rock Guitar Songs

Sometimes those three chords just need a little extra something to make awesome and fun beginner rock guitar songs.

Most frequently, if there’s a fourth chord, it’s a minor chord. Sometimes it’s just a little extra color.

Here are five interesting and amazing four-chord beginner rock guitar songs!

Violent Femmes – “Blister In the Sun”

Oh, yes, you should learn “Blister In the Sun” right away. It might be the best thing to ever come out of Milwaukee!

There are four chords, there’s a great little riff, and you can knock on your guitar! What’s not to love?

G (320003)

Em (022000)

C (x32010)

D (xx0232)

The verse is entirely the G chord, and you don’t use the other three chords until you get to the refrain.

beginner-friendly-guitar-songs

Rush – “Working Man”

When you think of beginner rock guitar songs, the band name Rush doesn’t immediately leap to mind, but “Working Man” has a great riff that you can learn right away!

The best part? It only has four chords.

E (022100)

D (xx0232)

A (x02220)

C (x32010)

There are two riffs in this song: the intro riff and the riff over the refrain. Here’s the intro.

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Here’s the riff that goes over the refrain – “They call me the working man…”

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Gimme Three Steps”

Sure, you can learn “Sweet Home Alabama” anywhere on the internet, but “Gimme Three Steps” is another of Skynyrd’s catchy and fun beginner rock guitar songs – and it’s a cute story!

It’s in the key of D, and here are the four chords you’ll need to play it.

D (xx0232)

A (x02220)

G (320003)

E (022100)

Here is the chord and lyric chart to “Gimme Three Steps.”

Neil Young – “Like A Hurricane”

Neil Young loves you and wants you to be happy, and to prove it, he has written loads of beginner rock guitar songs, including “Like a Hurricane.”

You’ll actually need five chords to play this song, but they are all easy!

Am (x02210)

G (320003)

Fmaj7 (xx3210)

Em (022000)

C (x32010)

Here is the “Like a Hurricane” chord chart.

For more Neil Young tablature and chord charts, you can check out the longstanding and super reliable Hyperrust.org – the unofficial Neil Young page.

free-online-rock-guitar-lesson

The Who – “The Kids Are Alright”

Finally! Rounding out your set of beginner rock guitar songs is “The Kids Are Alright.”

You’ll need just four chords to play this one, unless you’d like to insert the suspended chord, which is nothing more than a pinky added to the D chord at the end of the song.

D (xx0232)

G (320003)

A (x02220)

Em (022000)

Dsus4 (xx0233)

Here is the chord and lyric chart for “The Kids Are Alright.”

  • If, by the way, you are interested in more from The Who, there’s an excellent site with a lot of chord charts and tabs: thewho.net/whotabs/
  • It doesn’t happen much anymore, but there was a time when there were many internet pages dedicated to providing education about specific bands and their music.
  • TheWho.net is just one of many!

Time To Take Your Beginner Rock Guitar Songs Outside The Practice Space!

Now it’s time to load up your binder or tablet with these songs and take them to a jam session.

The best way to get better at the guitar, and the most fun you can have, is playing these songs with other people.

  • We like to say that the greatest benefit of playing in a group is that we cover up each other’s mistakes.
  • Have fun with your new handful of songs, and come back soon for more!

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