Best Songs To Play On Guitar: Our Top 10

We’ve curated a list of some of the best songs to play on guitar that will help you step up your A-game! Let’s dive in!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 10 songs that will help advance your playing
  • Tips for each tune
  • How to make the most out of your chord progressions with different strumming patterns
  • A cool instrumental tune that’s fun to play!

Looking For The Best Songs to Play on Guitar? Start Here!

These songs are so good, and they each have a little guitar treat in them somewhere.

  • Some have really juicy chord progressions that you’ll never want to stop playing.
  • Some have tasty riffs that you can throw into the song arrangement.
  • Some of these songs are really satisfying to sing and play together, and some are simply loads of fun to play on guitar.

We’ve got your mix of the best songs to play on guitar right here.

Get them all down and come back for more! We have so many suggestions for you that you’ll never run out of interesting songs to play.

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Best Songs to Play on Guitar I – Lou Reed – “Walk on the Wild Side”

This song is the perfect blend of easy, weird, and fun to sing.

This 1977 hit by Lou Reed was played constantly on the radio in spite of its many adult themes and generally seedy vibe.

That may have been at least partly the result of the fact that it was produced by known hitmakers David Bowie and Mick Ronson, two guys who are supremely able to dress up two chords and make a scene.

The song is recorded in the key of C, but the first version you can try is in A. If you like, you can put a capo on the third fret and use these two chords to doot-doo-doo along with Lou.

A

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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!)

D

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If you really want to take a walk on the wild side, take the capo off and use these chords!

C

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

F6

Need a little help reading these chord diagrams? Check out this lesson.

  • The rhythm can be as simple or as complicated as you like.
  • The chord changes every measure, or four counts.
  • Start with a simple constant down-up strum, and as the changes get easier, try to double down on your strumming, so each beat is down-up-down-up.
  • That will get you close to Lou Reed’s rhythm.

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

Best Songs to Play on Guitar II – Bob Marley – “Redemption Song”

I bet you can remember where you were the first time you heard this song.

This is a unique Bob Marley tune because although the lyrics are unmistakably his (well, and Marcus Garvey’s), the guitar sounds like he’s covering a Bob Dylan song.

  • It’s one of the best songs to play on guitar because it’s so compelling.
  • Also, the chords are easy.

The verse goes like this:

G Em C Am

G Em C D

The chorus goes like this:

G |C D| G |C D|

Em |C D| G |C D| G

G

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Em

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

C

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Am

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

D

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The intro to the song is a nice little melody. Play it twice like this:

For help on reading tablature, check out this lesson.

The rhythm of the recording is pretty simple to pick up if you keep a constant down-up motion with your strumming hand.

  • There’s a basic calypso strum if you like.
  • It goes down, down-up, up, down-up.
  • Keep practicing and you’ll have one of the best songs to play on guitar ready to go!

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

Pro-Tip: Tablature usually doesn’t provide the rhythm for playing the notes. Have the recording handy while you read tab so that you can match the rhythm of the recording while you learn.

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Best Songs to Play on Guitar III – Third Eye Blind – “Jumper”

The strumming and satisfying chord changes make this one of the best songs to play on guitar.

This 1998 hit is from a dark place in Third Eye Blind singer Stephan Jenkins’ life, but ultimately it is an encouraging and uplifting song, and the chorus is really fun to sing.

Just a couple of easy chord progressions to go through here. The chorus kicks off the song, which is smart, because that’s the hook! The chords go like this.

Fmaj7 C G G

Am C G G

The chords in the verse go like this:

Am C G G

Am C G G

Am Dsus2 C C

Fmaj7

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C

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

G

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Am

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Dsus2

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The rhythm is pretty constant in this song, with some breaks where the chord is only played at the beginning of each measure.

Listen to the song to try to cop the groove. It’s based on a sixteenth note strum, where each beat has a down-up-down-up strum instead of just a down-up.

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

Best Songs to Play on Guitar IV – Eddie Cochran – “Summertime Blues”

The best songs to play on guitar are most often the timeless ones.

This song was famously covered by the likes of The Who, and Rush, as well as Jimi Hendrix, Brian Setzer, the Beach Boys, Alan Jackson, Blue Cheer, and T. Rex to name just a few!

The original version is in E, but because it is a three-chord song, you can do it in any key you like!

Let’s try it in D, and if you like Eddie Cochran’s key, you can put your capo on the second fret. Need help with a capo? Check out this lesson.

Here are the chords:

D D |D G|A D|

D D |D G|A D|

G G D D

G G D D

D

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G

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A

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This is one of the best songs to play on guitar because of the rhythm in between the singing. It goes:

D D D G

A A A D

Some people like to play those chords entirely with down strums because it rocks a little harder, but you might also try: up down up down, up down up down.

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

Best Songs to Play on Guitar V -Neil Young – “Heart Of Gold”

How does everybody still know all the words to this song? Simply put, because it’s one of the best songs to play on guitar.

Harmonica songs are also super-hard to forget.

The song has three parts: The intro, the verse, and the “getting old” section.

Good old Neil was singing that he was ‘getting old’ 47 years ago!

Here is the intro, with a handy tab:

best-songs-to-play-on-guitar

 

That “h” there is a hammer-on. If you haven’t yet received your hammer-on certificate of achievement, there’s a good explanation in this guitar lesson, among other handy tips.

That intro riff also happens in the coda of the song, the part that repeats “Keeps me searchin’…”

The verse and harmonica solo use the same chord progression, which goes like this.

Em C D G

The last line of the verse, the part about getting old, goes like this.

Em G C |C G|

Em7

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Em

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C

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D

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G

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Each section of the song has its own rhythm.

  • The intro follows the lyrics “keep me searchin’ for a heart of gold.”
  • In the verse, there is a straight strum. Try down, down-up, down, down-up.
  • Follow the recording for the “and I’m getting old” part.

best-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

Pro-Tip: Don’t feel obligated to the key in which a song was written.

Different keys have different personalities, and the best songs to play on guitar are strong enough to withstand the changes you make to personalize your arrangement.

Get the capo out and experiment!

Best Songs to Play on Guitar VI – The Eagles – “Hotel California”

Get ready to rekindle your love for The Eagles (or kindle it), because we could do an entire lesson on the best songs to play on guitar by this band alone.

This song is too legendary to really need a lot of background, so let’s dive in with the fact that this song is in the key of B minor but here, you’ll learn it in A minor with much friendlier chords.

The verse progression is this cycle:

Am E G D

F C Dm E

The chorus progression is this cycle:

F C Em Am

F C Dm E

Am

E

G

D

F

C

Dm

Em

One thing that makes a lot of Eagles songs the best songs to play on guitar is their characteristically melodious guitar solos.

The ending guitar battle between Don Felder and Joe Walsh is broken down for you by Steve Stine, right here.

Best Songs to Play on Guitar VII – John Denver – “Country Roads”

This classic is an essential part of your collection of the best songs to play on guitar. It’s for any time!

Here is our favorite fun fact about this song: It was written by John Denver along with Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert.

Bill and Taffy went on to get married and form the Starland Vocal Band, of “Afternoon Delight” fame.

The song is recorded in A but most frequently played in G with the capo on the second fret.

Here is the chord progression for the verse:

G Em D |C G|

Here is the progression for the chorus:

G D Em C

G D C G

There’s also a bridge, the part that goes “I hear her voice, in the morning hour she calls me.” That progression goes like this:

|Em D| G |C G| D

|Em F|C G| D D

G

D

Em

C

F

This song is a little bit folky, a little bit country – but that’s what makes it one of the best songs to play on guitar!

Playing a bass strum, where you pick the root of the chord and then strum the chord, sounds great. If that seems a bit confusing, check out this lesson.

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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.

Best Songs to Play on Guitar VIII – Tears for Fears – “Head Over Heels”

This is just such a great song. It is great to listen to, fun to sing, and easily one of the best songs to play on guitar from this list:

“Head Over Heels” is a 1985 single by Tears for Fears. It’s an interesting song, in addition to being fun and satisfying to play, because the verse is in A, and the chorus is in G.

  • Some of the best songs to play on guitar that we’ve encountered involve key changes or key modulation.
  • This technique makes for some awesome sounds!

The chords in the verse go back and forth between A and C, like this:

|Aadd9 A|Cmaj7 C|

The chords in the chorus go back and forth between G and E minor, like this:

G Em

This is followed by a Dm7, and then you’re back to A.

Aadd9

A

Cmaj7

C

G

Em

Dm7

If you’re interested in playing the keyboard intro to one of the best songs to play on guitar from this list, here is a little tab to get you started:

Best Songs to Play on Guitar IX- The Go-Go’s – “Our Lips Are Sealed”

Not to have the 1980s hijack this list of the best songs to play on guitar, but this one is just too much fun.

“Our Lips Are Sealed” was a smash-hit for the Go-Gos in 1981, written by guitarist Jane Wiedlin and Terry Hall, singer for The Specials.

This song is is in A, and that’s where you’ll play it.

The verse is a simple three-chord progression that goes like this:

A G D D

Then there’s a little refrain (“Doesn’t matter what they say…”) that gets a little juicy. It goes like this:

F D Bb E A D A

A

G

D

F

Bb

E

The bridge, “Hush my darling,” is just an A chord.

If you are not into playing barre chords at the moment, check out this lesson for some handy alternatives for that Bb chord. Some of the best songs to play on guitar involve barre chords, so don’t be afraid to try them out!

The rhythm for “Our Lips Are Sealed” is just a straight eighth-note strum. Keep a steady down-up strum going and it will sound amazing!

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Best Songs to Play on Guitar X – The Surfaris – “Wipeout”

The last in your new pile of best songs to play on guitar is an instrumental!

This 1963 single by the Surfaris took a couple years to catch on, but it has been used nonstop for the past 50 years in TV shows and guitar lessons all over the world.

This is, in our opinion, one of the best songs to play on guitar – period.

It is a 12-bar blues, which is a specific chord progression, and in the key of G it goes like this.

G G G G

C C G G

D C G D

G

C

D

When you have a drummer taking a solo, you just punch those chords once at the beginning of each measure and let the drummer do her thing. Some of the best songs to play on guitar are those that you can play with others!

When it’s your turn, follow these tab patterns. The G pattern goes like this:

The C pattern goes like this:

When you get to the D part, it goes like this:

crowd-pleasing-guitar-songs

The Best Songs to Play on Guitar Are The Ones You Can Play Over & Over Again!

You’ve got plenty of background on each of these songs to be able to practice them efficiently and learn them thoroughly!

Whatever you do, make sure you play these songs over and over until you can get through them without stopping.

The key to good practice is simply repetition – playing a song over and over until you just get it.

Have fun!

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