Electric Guitar Songs: Our Top 8

Check out our top 8 electric guitar songs for you to learn in order to step up your practice routine today!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 8 amazing electric guitar songs to help you step up your playing
  • Tips for playing each song
  • Songs from a wide variety of genres
  • Cool voicings for chords you already know

Electric Guitar Songs Aren’t All Difficult To Play

This glorious swiss-army knife of an instrument was built to tackle all sorts of musical roles in different genres – and it certainly has throughout history.

  • Many a string-slinger through the years have favoured the sound of the electric guitar to characterize their music.
  • The electric guitar is capable of all sorts of different tones and colours, especially when paired up with pedals and different rigs.
  • Today, we’re going to break down eight must-know electric guitar songs to help supercharge your guitar playing.

Grab your guitar, plug in, and try not to wake the neighbours!

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Who Else Helped Make The Electric Guitar Famous?

We know that players like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page all helped popularize the instrument, but rock and blues music weren’t the only ones to do it.

  • Often associated with the pop universe, Prince took up a Fender Telecaster for many years to convey his passionate message of love and unity to the world before switching to a custom-built electric guitar.
  • Johnny Cash’s guitarist Luther Perkins was well known in the Country music world for accompanying Johnny’s aggressive acoustic playing with smooth electric guitar lines.
  • The funk world has also played host to the electric guitar for years.

New-wave funk pioneers Vulfpeck favour the smooth and slappy sound of Fender Stratocasters to keep your head bobbing and your toes tapping with their electric guitar songs.

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Reggae is another genre that enjoys its fair share of electric guitar songs.

The instrument is capable of interacting perfectly with the other preferred instruments of the genre like bass and keyboard, as well as steel-pans and drums.

Pro Tip: The electric guitar is a deceiving instrument. Plugged directly into an amp with nothing else, it can produce beautiful clean tones. We can write a whole variety of new electric guitar songs by using guitar pedals and other external gear to affect our sound.

Many amplifiers have an effects loop or onboard effects that you can experiment with.

Never stop experimenting to find new sounds for your guitar – The possibilities are endless!

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Electric Guitar Songs: John Mayer – ‘New Light’

We’re going to start off easy.

This is one of John Mayer’s simplest (and most fun) electric guitar songs to play, and it operates primarily in two parts.

  • New Light’s main riff is simply one passage of notes on the D string, which we will illustrate below.
  • You’re going to want to palm mute this section to get that extra bit of punch that you need to stand out in this song.

If you’re not familiar with palm muting or how to apply it to your electric guitar songs, click here first.

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The funky break section of New Light is a beautiful two-chord progression using only our top three strings. These chords are a G major 9 chord followed by a G major chord.

Pro Tip: You may notice that it looks like there are three chords in this section. The 7th fret triad you see later in the passage is actually just the G major triad moved up one octave!

Play these two triads back and forth to get a feel for how they sound, and to hear what chords sound like in different octaves as well.

As a side note, the video for this song is both fantastic and cringe-level hilarious.

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Electric Guitar Songs: Prince – ‘She’s Always In My Hair’

With his diverse and well-rounded sound, Prince had generations of music fans convinced that he was from another planet altogether.

  • Even after his unfortunate passing in 2016, we have yet to hear his complete catalogue of recorded music.
  • Prince may have been a mystery, but his love for electric guitar songs was not.

‘She’s Always In My Hair’ is one of those easy-to-jam four-chord electric guitar songs that forces us to groove with the drummer.

We’ve included the chords below for you to play along with the rhythm section.

Focus on the groove and make sure to keep an even count of 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 throughout the song!

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Pro Tip: We’ve also included the main riff of the song if you feel like playing some lead guitar.

This riff is rooted in the E minor pentatonic scale, and it’s super easy to play. Start out on the 5th fret on your A string, and hammer-on to the 7th.

  • Step up to the 5th fret on the D string for the first and second pass, then to the 5th on the E string for the final pass of the phrase.
  • This lick is groovy, and teaches about moving between different strings – a valuable technique for this list of electric guitar songs.

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Electric Guitar Songs: Bob Marley – ‘Buffalo Soldier’

A champion of the electric guitar in the rhythm world, Bob Marley produced plenty of electric guitar songs that left an impression on countless generations.

‘Buffalo Soldier’ is a classic tune that incorporates a reggae-style strumming pattern.

This upbeat strumming is designed to leave space for the drummer and bass player to shine through, so make sure you take note of the string mutes!

  • Our intro is simply an A chord and nothing more.
  • The chorus is straightforward, with us leaning on A and F# only.

We’ve included the verse and chorus for you to jam along to, and we’ve outlined the chord changes as well so it’s easy to follow.

Check out the chorus below:

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In the verse that follows, we make use of three more chords – C#m, D and E.

This progression gives us some good chord variety to play with, as well as some unique voicings.

Pro Tip: When approaching a new set of chords for the first time, don’t try to play through the progression right away!

Instead, take the time to practice each illustrated chord shape so that those shapes become second nature.

This is a great technique that helps us get closer to mastering chords rather than simply playing them.

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Electric Guitar Songs: Blue Swede – ‘Hooked On A Feeling’

If you don’t know what song this is just by looking at the title, we can guarantee you’ve heard it in the movie ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.

  • Regardless of how educated you are in Marvel movie music, this is one of many electric guitar songs that has some really musical moments.
  • In the chorus section specifically, the guitarist does a great job of setting up a wonderfully funky undertone.
  • Look out for how the guitar makes full use of each chord it plays with accompanying riffs in each section. Alternate picking will help make these passages a breeze.

Let’s have a closer look at the chorus:

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The verse features some nice drawn-out chords with some additional riffage to accompany.

  • Once again, the guitar makes great use of the chords being played to add a very surf-meets-funk vibe under the vocalist.
  • This type of interplay between instruments is what makes music so amazing, so pay close attention to grab all the details!

Electric guitar songs like this have a lot to teach you!

Check out the tabs for the verse below:

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Electric Guitar Songs: Kelly Clarkson – ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’

Kelly Clarkson has always delivered her own unique brand of pop music. 

Clarkson’s collection of electric guitar songs all help to give her an edge in the pop world, and ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ is no exception.

The main riff of this song is awesome, as it imitates Clarkson’s vocal line. This is a great way to learn more about melody and how it works on different instruments.

Check out the verse riff below:

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The chorus of this song features some barre chords, so make sure you stretch before you play this section.

  • Throughout this song we should stick to an 8th note count to keep things steady.
  • This song is one of the rare few that we can play on every single beat, so strum away to your heart’s content while you play through the chorus.

Our count should look like this:

‘1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &’

It’s important to take note of the minor 7th in F#m7.

Instead of using our pinky and ring fingers like we would on a typical F#m chord, we will only need to use our ring finger at the 4th fret.

The minor 7th is the E on the 2nd fret at the D string, and it adds a unique flair to the F#m chord.

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Electric Guitar Songs: Vulfpeck – ‘Half Of The Way’

The infectious funk grooves and Stevie Wonder-esque ballads of Vulfpeck are hard to miss.

This band’s discography is chock-full of electric guitar songs that pulsate with colour.

‘Half of the Way’ is a tune that will get stuck in your head after one listen, with plenty of note space in the verse groove.

  • The really interesting part of this song is Vulfpeck’s Cory Wong plays a baritone guitar.
  • These are guitars with longer necks than your typical electric guitar, and resonate with a much deeper tone. This makes these guitars ideal for funk music.
  • Don’t worry – You can still play these licks on your guitar too! We’ve transposed this lick up to the range of your guitar to make it easy.

Check out the verse below and listen carefully for where to place the notes in this section.

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Challenge Yourself: This riff can be difficult to work out at first because of the short note bursts – but that’s why we’ve included it. Pay attention to the overall groove of the song to hear where the note emphasis lies.

Electric guitar songs like this challenge us to really pay attention.

Pro Tip: Note Emphasis refers to the beats that we play with a harder accent.

In upbeat tunes like this one, there can be more than one accent per bar, so keep your ears peeled!

Take the time to listen close so you can play up close with this groovy tune.

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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.

Electric Guitar Songs: The Scorpions – ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’

We couldn’t go without dropping at least one Classic Rock tune on you; and The Scorpions are a great fit when we’re learning about playing electric guitar songs.

This tune uses power chords, which are great for adding some ‘beef’ to our playing.

Pro Tip: The chorus comes first in this song. Hit those strings with some heavy pick attack to really make the chords pop.

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During the verses, we’ll want to apply some light palm muting to make the chords chug a little harder.

This helps us stay down low with the vocalist, leaving room for us to attack the strings more heavily in the chorus section.

Pro Tip: We can apply varying degrees of palm muting depending upon to position of our palm across the bridge of the guitar.

Bringing our hand closer to the strings will give us a tighter sound, while moving it further away will ‘loosen’ the sound of the mute.

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Electric Guitar Songs: Johnny Cash – ‘Folsom Prison Blues’

Luther Perkins’ electric guitar wizardry was the perfect accompaniment to Johnny Cash’s aggression-fueled acoustic guitar strumming.

  • In this song, we’ll be looking at how Perkins’ managed to help make this acoustic guitar jam into one of Cash’s greatest electric guitar songs.
  • We’re going to want to bust out the palm muting for this one.

Listen closely for note placement. Country music is known for its back-and-forth swing, and so you’ll want to make sure you’re playing along in time and groove.

We’ve included one of Perkins’ most well-known licks below from Folsom Prison Blues for you to practice.

Slide with your middle finger from the 8th to the 9th fret on the B string, and use your index finger and pinky finger to reach the 7th and 10th frets.

This is a classic country lick that fits over all different types of chord progressions, so keep it on hand! This one can be used over all types of electric guitar songs!

Where Do I Go From Here?

If you’re looking for more ways to supercharge your list of electric guitar songs, we recommend:

  • Start trying your hand at learning scales
  • Practice these songs with a friend!
  • Have your guitar teacher go over these songs with you at your next lesson
  • Practice these songs at varying speeds to get them under your fingers
  • Practice bar-to-bar for maximum practice efficiency

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