Top Ten Easy Rock Guitar Songs

Let’s learn ten easy rock guitar songs to supercharge your guitar playing!

In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 10 songs to get you practicing
  • Tone tips to get you sounding awesome
  • Tips for practicing to sound clearer, even with distortion
  • How to dial your amp for a clear rock guitar sound

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So You Want Some Easy Rock Guitar Songs To Jam To?

Throughout the decades, rock musicians have made beautiful use of simplicity in their songwriting to create tunes that would survive the test of time.

Many of the best rock songs are easy to play or can be broken down into simpler steps.

  • Don’t let the big guitar solos fool you – many songs are as easier than what you think.
  • In today’s lesson, we’ll take a look at ten easy rock guitar songs that will help you build your chops (and let you bang your head a little in the process).

Now stretch your hands, plug into your amp, let your hair down and let’s get started.

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Easy Rock Guitar Songs #1 – The Troggs/The Wild Ones – “Wild Thing”

Originally recorded by the Wild Ones the year before, The Troggs’ rendition of the song charted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of 1966.

‘Wild Thing’ also charts high on our list of easy rock guitar songs to get you started.

  • This song is fairly straightforward, repeating the same pattern throughout every chorus.
  • In the verse, we’re treated to some back-and-forth movement between two chords.
  • This helps us get a feeling for moving the same chord shape back and forth across the strings, so make sure you take your time in this section and grip the strings tight.

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This song helps us develop our sense of timing, and teaches us the ease of moving a power chord shape back and forth across two sets of strings.

Tone Tip: Dial back the distortion on your amp for this one, as you won’t need a lot.

60’s rock bands relied heavily on what we now call “breakup tone” – the sound that you get when you hit a clean guitar amp with just a bit of grit.

Some of these easy rock guitar songs don’t require teeth, so much as just a bit of bite.

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Easy Rock Guitar Songs #2 – The Rolling Stones – “Satisfaction”

The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards is a champion of catchy and easy rock guitar songs, and this song certainly drives that point home.

From the album Out of Our Heads, ‘Satisfaction’ gave the Stones their first #1 hit in the United States in 1965.

We get the chance to flex a little bit of riff-muscle at the beginning with a three-note guitar hook.

To make this easy, you can use your index finger at the second fret, your ring at the fourth and your pinky at the fifth.

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As well as playing the main riff to this epic, we also have some chords for the verse and pre-chorus.

Verse

For the verse, we’re going to need to play the E and A chords. For this section, we hold each chord for four beats.

1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 |

E            A                 E            A

Easy-Rock-Guitar-Songs

(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!)

If you don’t know how to play these chords, check out these lessons courtesy of your friends at the National Guitar Academy:

Pre-Chorus

This section kicks off with Mick Jagger singing “So I try, and I try…”.

Here, we use the same chords as the verse, however now we’re going to introduce a B chord. If you don’t know how to play that chord, check out this video from our very own Mike Kennedy!

We recommend using the ‘B7’ shape that Mike uses in the video.

Here’s how the pre-chorus goes:

1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 |

E               B7              E           A

For each section, Try to aim for a down-down-up-down-up-down pattern, with the first two downstrokes played slow and the next four strokes played quickly.

If you’re struggling with strumming, click here for some assistance.

Tone Tip: When playing easy rock guitar songs, it’s always fun to try a fuzzier type of distortion for the intro riff. Set your gain number just under halfway and adjust to taste.

The less distortion you use, the clearer your chords will sound!

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Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

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Easy Rock Guitar Songs #3 – Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth”

Often mistaken as an anti-war anthem, For What It’s Worth was written after the Sunset Strip Curfew Riots in 1966.

Learning easy rock guitar songs helps us as guitarists to work on our rhythm and strumming, and playing this somber tune with a valuable message is no exception.

The verse uses only the chords E and A.

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In the chorus we see the inclusion of C and D for a pattern of E / D / A / C

We can lay back between our strums and leave some space, which serves as a nice change of pace from many quicker rock tunes.

Tone Tip: Turn the clean channel on for this one, and don’t dig in too hard on the strings with your pick.

Many of these easy rock guitar songs should be learned this way first, so we can get a better feel for the chords.

easiest-way-to-play-wonderwall

Easy Rock Guitar Songs #4 – Deep Purple – “Smoke on the Water”

We can’t write an article about learning easy rock guitar songs and not mention the most well known guitar song ever.

Deep Purple’s infamous ‘0-3-5’ groove helped pave the way for waves of rock musicians, and still does to this day.

  • This song introduces what we call “double-stops” in the intro.
  • Double-stops are when we play two strings that sit next to one another, and they are vital to learn when playing easy rock guitar songs like this one.
  • You can use two fingers (ideally your index and middle) to play the double stops in the intro.

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During the verses, we are simply outlining chords by playing their notes one after the next.

Rhythm is everything in this classic rock tune, so be sure to listen well for the chord changes as they come up.

Tone Tip: You don’t need a whole lot of distortion to play many of these easy rock guitar songs, but you’ll want to turn your treble on your amp a bit past half way to get a nice “bite” from the D and G strings.

Try to keep the distortion at around 3 or 4 to compliment the treble adjustment.

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Easy Rock Guitar Songs #5 – AC/DC – “TNT”

Australia’s rowdiest and most influential rock band never failed to give us a wide selection of great guitar riffs and easy rock guitar songs.

TNT delivers a steady and pulsing groove that keeps us banging our heads all the way to the end – and it’s simple to play!

  • Often, easy rock guitar songs can be played a variety of ways, but for this example we’re going to focus our playing on the low E string.
  • You can use your index finger on the third fret, and your ring finger on the fifth.

Easy-Rock-Songs

Tone Tip: Turn this one up loud, crank the distortion knob and have fun with it!

Easy Rock Guitar Songs #6 – The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”

Arguably one of the best bands when it comes to simple songs played well, Jack and Meg White inspired the world with their raw and unique rock and roll sound.

When learning easy rock guitar songs, it would be rude not to include Seven Nation Army.

  • During the verse, we will play only on the A string.
  • Try playing the seventh fret with your index finger and tenth with your pinky, then work your way down the fretboard with your index.
  • For the chorus, we will be playing the same notes. This time however, we will be playing octaves.

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An ‘octave’ is the same note but played higher. Don’t worry too much about this for now, if you’d like to learn more about octaves, check out this lesson on guitar theory.

  • Make sure to play this section with your index and ring fingers.
  • Easy rock guitar songs become easier to play once we master the rhythm first.
  • Take your time and practice this riff slowly to help master your rhythm playing.

Tone Tip: Jack White uses a variety of pedals, one of which is an Octave pedal set two octaves down to simulate a bass guitar. These pedals are great for filling space on guitar.

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Easy Rock Guitar Songs #7 – Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Kurt Cobain and Nirvana’s influence has rang out through generation after generation of rock musicians.

Smells Like Teen Spirit is one of the best easy rock guitar songs out there, and it belongs in every beginner’s songbook.

For this example, we’re going to play the main riff on only the E and A strings to focus on rhythm and timing.

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For the main riff, we can use our index on the first frets of the E and A strings and our ring or pinky finger on the fourth frets.

  • If you want a challenge, try moving your index finger back and forth between the first and third frets.
  • During the verse, we play up on the B and high E strings at the first fret.
  • During the pre-chorus, the riff from the verse gets played in double-time, so listen carefully for when the rhythm switches!

Tone Tip: Easy rock guitar songs like this one are best played at a very high volume and with a firm grip on the fretboard. Don’t be afraid to dig in on this one!

fun-rock-guitar-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.

Easy Rock Guitar Songs #8 – Rage Against The Machine – “Guerilla Radio”

One of the hardest-hitting songs of 1999, Rage Against the Machine made it clear that they weren’t fooling around when they dropped Guerilla Radio.

As easy rock guitar songs go, ‘Guerilla Radio’ is one of the coolest tracks around, and it teaches us a great sense of rhythm.

Throughout the verse, it can be hard to make out what the guitar is doing because of the wah pedal, but we’ve included a guide for you below.

Free-Rock-guitar-lesson

Essentially, we are using the exact same notes in a different pattern to create a new groove.

During the “can’t stop us now” segment of the song, we can lean on our second fret on the E string and it’s octave on the 4th fret (D string)

Groove Tip: This easy rock guitar song helps give us a better sense of note placement inside the groove.

Listen for the space in between the guitar notes to get a better ‘feel’ for how the song works.

National-Guitar-Academy

Easy Rock Guitar Songs #9 – Blur – “Song 2”

Blur’s ‘Song 2’ is one of those fun and easy rock guitar songs to jam to.

It also can introduce us to a new concept we may not yet have heard of:

‘Drop D’ Tuning

Try This: Grab your tuner and tune the Low E string down to a D note.

Now, place your index finger across your three thickest strings.

Congrats, you just played a power chord in a different tuning!

You can use this finger and your ring finger to play all of the main riffs to this classic rock and roll number.

Playing power chords in this tuning does a number of things for our playing when we are starting out:

  • Prepares our index finger for barre chords (which will come further down the line).
  • Gives us a slightly different (and easy to use) look at the guitar (especially for rock music).
  • Helps us develop finger strength quicker.

When you reach the 6th fret, make sure to switch to your ring finger for the 8th and 10th frets. This will help your fingers adjust to working together across the fretboard.

Tone Tip: If you have a distortion pedal, try toggling it on for the choruses and off for the verse. Be generous with the distortion, but try not to overdo it.

Easy Rock Guitar Songs #10 – The Beatles – “Don’t Let Me Down”

Two chords is all it took for the Beatles to write this classic.

Don’t Let Me Down is one of the best easy rock guitar songs to jam to, and it can be a great way to explore the use of open strings.

  • Many transcriptions of this tune display it with barre chords, but we’re going to take a different approach.
  • We are going to start on an E major chord, and move to the A shape shown below.
  • This version of A does not require us to barre the chord, making it easier for those of us that don’t yet want to climb that mountain.

Tone Tip: You can jam to this easy rock guitar song with the clean channel on your amp, or you can add the slightest touch of distortion for a more modern approach to the song.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Want to keep learning from these easy rock guitar songs? Great! Here are some great ways to keep moving on your guitar journey:

  • Jam some of the songs you’ve learned with your friends.
  • Pick up a songbook from your local music shop.
  • Take these songs to your guitar teacher to help you better understand each section.

Recommended Resources

If you’re looking for more lessons from the National Guitar Academy, check out some of the resources below!

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