20 Good Songs To Play On Guitar

Want a list of 20 good songs to play on guitar that you can keep coming back to? We’ve got you covered! Let’s jump into it!

In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 20 good songs to play on guitar in different genres
  • Power chord songs
  • Open position and barre chord songs
  • The art of learning how to groove

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What Are Some Good Songs To Play On Guitar?

This is one of the most commonly-asked questions by guitarists who are starting out on their new favorite instrument.

It’s also a question asked by intermediate players who want more songs in their repertoire.

Whatever level you play at, finding a solid list of good songs to play on guitar can help you improve rapidly.

  • Learning songs helps us pick up new pieces of musical vocabulary along the way.
  • There’s never a bad time to study the musical accomplishments of other guitarists and songwriters.
  • Many times we will find ourselves feeling fulfilled and inspired after learning and mastering a piece of music.

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In today’s lesson, we’re going to look at a list of good songs to play on guitar collected from different popular genres.

  • We’ve also added an additional section with some songs that will challenge you, but help you develop your skills as a guitarist.
  • We’ve curated this list primarily from the genres of Rock, Punk, Blues, Country and Pop.
  • These genres each bring their own unique sounds and musical characteristics to the table, and it’s important to take a few lessons away from each one.

No matter what genre you prefer, you’ll always find some catchy and good songs to play on guitar.

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We should never limit ourselves by genre, no matter how vast our experience as a guitarist.

New genres bring about new musical discoveries, making us better and more conscious players in the long run.

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What Determines A ‘Good Song’?

This term largely depends upon your taste in music, but there are a few key rules we can keep in mind when looking at the qualities of what we refer to as ‘good music’

A ‘good song’ for the purposes of this article:

  • Is typically well-structured, with rotating ‘sections’ of music (Verse, Chorus, Bridge etc)
  • Makes use of patterns to create consistency throughout the song
  • Has a good groove and rhythm that we can ride throughout the piece

Pro Tip: Not all music is written this way, and it certainly doesn’t have to be in order to be considered ‘good’.

These are just some guidelines that help us understand this list of good songs to play on guitar.

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When you look at it on a large scale, there really is no such thing as ‘bad music.’

Music can be considered ‘bad’ or ‘less than good’ in a broad sense however if it:

  • Constantly breaks patterns without warning
  • Retains no consistency in the chords or groove
  • Has no recognizable ‘musical flow’ to it

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Even the most complex bands and musicians utilize structure and patterns to maintain consistency in their music, no matter how wildly technical it gets.

  • A great example of this is ‘Tendonitis’ by Jason Richardson.
  • Pay attention to how the most complex lines of music in this song are planned and executed well as a result.
  • Structure helps music come alive!

Side note: We won’t be including this song in our list of good songs to play on guitar only because we’d break our hands teaching it to you.

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What Do We Need To Know?

Before we dive into some good songs to play on guitar, we should review our skill set so that we can better focus on the music.

We’ve created a mini-list of other National Guitar Academy lessons below that you may find useful as you navigate this list.

Feel free to scroll back up here as needed if you feel like you’re lost on a chord or a technique!

Remember, there’s no such thing as useless knowledge!

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Pro Tip: Some articles on this website may have similar titles, but they all contain unique content geared toward improving your skills as a guitarist.

  • Many times, reading different explanations of similar musical concepts can help us understand them quicker.
  • No two articles are created alike!
  • In the meantime, check out the strategy for this list of good songs to play on guitar.

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Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

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Slow & Steady Wins The Race

No matter what level of skill you play with, there is one key concept that every musician and guitarist can share in:

Practicing slowly helps us improve quicker.

It might seem illogical to practice a song at a slower speed at first, but in doing so we allow our brain more time to process what we are learning.

Don’t forget about muscle memory – the function of your brain that recalls how to do physical things.

This is a concept that every guitarist relies upon. In order to maximize our muscle memory, we should play through these good songs to play on guitar slowly so we can soak in the information.

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Every piece of music that we learn is unique to all others in small ways. Two pieces of music can be similar in sound and nature, but rarely (if ever) are they identical.

  • This concept allows us to find similarities in different pieces of music and connect the dots of our guitar knowledge.
  • If you want some good songs to play on guitar that will help you connect your various points of knowledge, try learning different songs in the same genre.
  • Each song teaches us something that makes learning the next one easier.

So that’s the benefit in playing songs slowly and drawing comparisons between them to learn more.

Now, let’s talk about why we have different genres in this list, and why that’s important too!

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Good Songs To Play On Guitar: Why Learn From A Variety Of Different Songs?

Every genre of music has its own flair and character to it.

With that in mind, it only makes sense that we should take as much knowledge as we can from each, and apply it to our own playing.

Any list of good songs to play on guitar should have something from a variety of musical categories so that we can switch things up often and stay inspired.

Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana may sound completely different from one another, but if you dig a bit deeper you’ll realize that they play the same scales.

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How these two legendary guitarists play these scales is what makes them unique from each other, and that’s the beauty in learning from different genres.

On an even better note – it can also be said that if Jimi Hendrix had not played the guitar the way that he did, Carlos Santana might have played it differently.

This is why it’s important to learn from a variety of genres – So we can not only see how people interpret the same concepts differently, but what new concepts they invent in the process.

So you want a unique list of good songs to play on guitar? Scroll down to find ours!

Don’t forget to bookmark this page so you can come back to it as you need new songs to learn.

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Good Songs To Play On Guitar: Rock

Blur – Song 2

This classic chart-topping hit from Blur is sure to give you an adrenaline shot if nothing else. Tune your guitar to Drop D and lean in heavy with your pick.

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Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love

This song has got groove for days. Even though it takes a little bit of learning to master, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ does a whole lotta teaching when it comes to pick control.

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AC/DC – Back In Black

Australia’s representative rockers deliver all the fun with this power chord song. Listen for the punctuation in the chords and play on beat as well as you can for this one.

TAB LINK

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Blink 182 – Miss You

Blink’s iconic ballad is a simple chord progression with a swinging hook that keeps us grooving like it’s 2003 and we’ve all still got safety pins on our denim jackets.

Among this list of good songs to play on guitar, this one ranks high on playability and singability alike.

TAB LINK

 

Alkaline Trio – We’ve Had Enough

The Windy City’s Punk Rock prophets smashed the scene in 2003 with this power chord-driven anthem of frustration.

This song is a great tool for practicing rhythm and strumming, but keep an eye out for changes in the rhythm (and probably the sudden urge to protest).

TAB LINK

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Good Songs To Play On Guitar: Pop

Daft Punk – Get Lucky

Get funky, while you’re at it. This feel-good Summer hit is great practice for upstroke-based rhythm.

Funk in general is a great learning tool, and Daft Punk & Pharrell know all about that.

TAB LINK

 

Ed Sheeran – Perfect

This waltzy ballad is easy to pick up and strum along to, and it helps us get the feeling of 3/4 time under our fingers. Your list of good songs to play on guitar should definitely include a few 3/4 tunes.

Play this one for someone you love.

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Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are

Bruno Mars’ breakout hit is a straightforward 4 chord song that can be played with a bunch of different strumming patterns.

Experiment with this one!

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Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah

You’ve no doubt heard this song before, even if the name doesn’t look familiar.

Jeff Buckley’s most famous tune is primarily 5 chords, and is slow enough that even a beginner can keep pace just fine.

TAB LINK

 

Prince – Purple Rain

We can’t talk about good songs to play on guitar without talking about Prince.

It would be a crime against Prince.

Purple Rain is an iconic must-know for any guitarist. At the beginner level, the chords are super easy to pick up.

At the intermediate level, you can try tackling the solo.

TAB LINK

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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.

Good Songs To Play On Guitar: Blues & Country

ZZ Top – Got Me Under Pressure

The beards of Blues music create some pretty driving grooves. This song teaches us how to keep pace with faster tempos, so keep a metronome close by.

TAB LINK

 

Brad Paisley – She’s Everything

With a distinct verse and chorus section, Brad Paisley gives us some room to play around on this tribute to his wife.

Want an endless supply of good songs to play on guitar in front of your loved one?

Dig up some Brad Paisley albums.

TAB LINK

 

Blake Shelton – God Gave Me You

Another Country ballad, this Blake Shelton hit mixes in a barre chord of Bm with our basic open position chords for a bit of a challenge.

TAB LINK

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Garth Brooks – Friends In Low Places

Garth knows how to groove.

  • This song primarily deals with arpeggios, making it great for the entry-level guitarist who wants to practice playing up and down the strings.
  • Your list of good songs to play on guitar should include a few arpeggio-based songs to help your picking hand along.
  • Make sure to use alternate picking to navigate the strings easier!

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Gary Clark Jr. – When My Train Pulls In

Gary Clark Jr. is a king of shredding Blues guitar. The forward-pushing momentum of this song mixed with a standard Blues groove makes it a jam-worthy tune indeed.

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Good Songs To Play On Guitar: Notable Songs To Help Us Develop

Bruno Mars – 24k Magic

If you thought ‘Uptown Funk’ was groovy, then ‘24k Magic’ is sure to get your toes tapping. The upbeat swing in this song makes it ideal rhythm practice.

Try using upstrokes to maximize the funk in your picking!

TAB LINK

 

Vulfpeck – Dean Town

Though this is a primarily bass guitar-driven tune, the guitar playing is unique nonetheless.

Vulfpeck has a very lesson-worthy style of playing that teaches us plenty about rhythm and timing. Pay close attention, practice with a metronome, and keep Vulfpeck’s music high on your list of good songs to play on guitar.

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Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke

We couldn’t pass up a chance to shout out one of the masters of songwriting. ‘Sir Duke’ is a groove-worthy tune that we can count in 8th notes.

Try to put a little push in your picking to get that swing from the drums into your guitar playing.

TAB LINK

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John Legend – All Of Me

This musical craftsman knows how to string a melody together.

Among this list of good songs to play on guitar, this straightforward chord-based tune is an example of great songwriting using very few chords.

‘All Of Me’ teaches us that you don’t need complexity to write an amazing song.

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Lil Nas X – Old Town Road

Okay so this song probably won’t help you develop much, but it surely is notable.

If you want to play a song for a whole room of teenagers to sing along to, ‘Old Town Road’ is a good place to start.

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Where Do I Go From Here?

Not quite done with our list of good songs to play on guitar?
Here are some extra tips for practicing these tunes:

  • Play slowly and focus on the details
  • Keep a practice journal to log your progress
  • Practice jamming these songs with a friend
  • Ask your guitar teacher to help you break these songs down further
  • Watch videos of the musicians who wrote these songs playing them. Pay attention to how they play

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If you loved this article on good songs to play on guitar, you’ll love some of our other free content below!

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