Guitar Tabs For Beginners: 20 Easy Songs That Sound Great

Guitar tabs for beginners need to be easy and fun. In this free lesson you’ll learn some iconic riffs and licks. Let’s crank it up!

This free guitar lesson includes:

  • 20 iconic guitar riffs which sound great and are easy to play
  • 20 videos to help you master each tab
  • These tabs cover a wide variety of genres and will help you develop your lead guitar skills

Ready? Let’s do it. 🙂

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Guitar tabs for beginners need to strike the right balance between simplicity and musicality; they have to be easy to play but sound good too.

It can be difficult to find tabs that match that criteria so we put together this list to make things easier for you. Enjoy!

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson

This is one of the best guitar tabs for beginners because the riff is awesome and it’s not super-difficult to play. It’s uses our trusty Minor Pentatonic scale and sounds great.

Let’s listen to the track before we look at the tab.

The main riff looks like this:

guitar tabs for beginners

Here’s a video explaining how to play it:

Notes on how to play this guitar tab

  • Practice it SLOWLY. Get it right. Gradually increase the speed. Practicing slowly and correctly is the best way to build muscle memory.
  • The tricky part with this riff is jumping from the A string to the G string, as you have to skip over the D string. Look at the strings while making this change.
  • Practice playing the A string then go to the G string. This helps you get used to jump.
  • Pay attention to whether you’re plucking up or down with the guitar pick. (For example, when going from the G to the D string you may find it easier to be plucking up, so the pick is travelling in the direction you need to go. Plucking away from the direction of travel can make things more difficult.)

If you want to learn a lot more about lead guitar, check out this article:

How To Play Lead Guitar: The Ultimate Guide

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ by Cream

This is one of the very best guitar tabs for beginners. A big fat iconic riff that’s easy to play. Turn up your amp and channel Clapton in ’67!

Let’s listen to the riff before we look at the tab:

The part we’re going to focus on is the intro riff:

guitar tabs for beginners

Watch Jack explain how to play this riff in this video:

Tab notes

  • Practice it SLOWLY. Get it right. Gradually increase the speed. Practicing slowly and correctly is the best way to build muscle memory. (This is so important I thought I’d repeat it!)
  • Pay attention to the bit when you cross strings.
  • Make sure you take each part of the riff really slow.

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.

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes

Here’s another awesome riff from a great rock band. (They made a lot of noise considering there was only two of them!)

This is one of my favourite guitar tabs for beginners because it sounds great and it’s all played on one string.

The riff we’re going to be focusing on is the main riff at the start. Here’s the tab:

easy guitar tabs for beginners

In this video I explain a bit more about each part of the riff:

Notes on how to play this guitar tab

The tricky part of this riff is deciding which fingers you need to use, I tend to use my 1st finger on the 7th fret to start with, then stretch up to the tenth with my pinky, after this I use just my first finger on the rest of the riff.

However, if you’re a total guitar newbie you can certainly play it with just one finger. Try both and see what feels best for you!

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Come As You Are’ by Nirvana

Guitar tabs for beginners don’t get much moodier than this. The main riff in this song is so cool.

Here’s the tab for the iconic riff:

best guitar tabs for beginners

Check out this video to see Jack explain how to play it:

Notes on how to play this guitar tab

  • The tricky aspect of this riff is playing the 2nd fret then going to the open A string. Consider practicing just that part as it will increase your fluidity.

With any riff, it’s always really important to practice the parts you are struggling with, even though it may seem difficult you simply need to build the muscle memory.

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Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Day Tripper’ by The Beatles

Another one of my favourite guitar tabs for beginners, this one has a truly awesome riff. Dial up the gain on your amp and hear how wild it sounds. So cool.

This riff is quite similar to ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson and it uses the same scale and some open strings.

indie guitar tabs for beginners

Watch this video to see Jack explain how to play this riff:

Notes on how to play this guitar tab

As always: Practice it SLOWLY. Get it right. Gradually increase the speed. Practicing slowly and correctly is the best way to build muscle memory.

There are two elements to this riff which can be tricky:

  1. The first part is going between each string, your accuracy needs to be on point. When you first learn this riff, play SLOWLY.
  2. Secondly, when the riff goes from the 2nd fret on the A string to the 4th fret on the D string, this can be a bit of stretch, so make sure you take your time and relax with it.

You may need to move your wrist forwards or backwards to make this riff comfy. Make sure your forearm is free to move. (Not resting on your thigh or tucked into your torso. Remember, we play chords with our whole left arm, not just the fingers on our left hand.)

Check out this article from the NME with ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ featured in the Top 50 Greatest Guitar Riffs of all time. This is a cool article for inspiration: 50 Greatest Guitar Riffs Of All Time

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Wonderful Tonight’ by Eric Clapton

This is a gorgeous riff…. Takes me back to when I first started to learn guitar.

This riff uses a few different lead techniques which makes it great for developing beginner guitarists.

This is one of the more difficult guitar tabs for beginners because the bends require control, but it’s a fantastic learning exercise so stick with it:

guitar tabs for beginners wonderful tonight

Here’s a video that will walk you through it:

The tricky part with this riff, is getting the bending right. Make sure you TARGET the notes you want to hit when you’re bending up the strings. Concentrate and LISTEN to ensure they’re in tune.

You can learn a lot more about lead guitar techniques in our guide: How To Play Lead Guitar: The Ultimate Guide

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Iron Man’ by Black Sabbath

The next riff helped shape the start the metal genre. If you’re ready to rock this is the riff for you.

The riff we’re going to be focusing on is the main intro riff (after the weird robot stuff). It kicks in around 0.28. Here’s the tab:

essential guitar tabs for beginners

Jack explains the riff in more detail in this video:

Notes on this tab

This can be pretty tricky once you get to the 10th and 9th fret. Those changes are quick! This is great practice for developing your picking speed.

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd

This is a classic rock song, but this video is worth a watch purely for the OTT bass player at 0.46. I love it!

This is one of the weirder guitar tabs for beginners because there are multiple guitars on the ‘official’ recording. We’re going to look at the easiest part of the intro riff:

Sweet Home Alabama tab

Here’s some more guidance from Jack:

Notes on this tab

This is one of the trickier guitar tabs for beginners because you need to know the chords before you attempt the lead work. Get these chords down, just strum them in time and THEN add in the fills.

If you don’t understand the chord diagrams below read this lesson: How To Read Guitar Chordboxes

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National Guitar Academy

Learn more easy ways to play D in this lesson: 3 Easy Ways to Play the D Chord on Guitar

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guitar tabs for beginners

Check out this article to learn lots of easy ways to play C: Easy Ways To Play The C Guitar Chord

G Major

guitar tabs for beginners

G might be best guitar chord of all. So we’ve created a whole article talking about easy ways to voice it: 4 Easy Ways To Play The G Chord On Guitar

It’s vital we have these chords down as they underpin this entire song.

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Smoke On The Water’ by Deep Purple

This riff is pure rock n roll and nice and EASY, which is why it’s one of the very best guitar tabs for beginners. Let’s take a listen to the song:

This riff is super simple and is only played on one string:

Smoke On The Water tab

This riff is pretty easy but Jack explains it further in this video:

National Guitar Academy

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica

Metal riffs are some of the very best guitar tabs for beginners. This one is another classic. (I remember learning this riff in my bedroom and rocking out to it for hours!)

We’re going to be focusing on the intro riff:

Enter Sandman tab

Tab notes

Watch out for those changes between strings and as always make sure you take it SLOW. Jack explains the riff in a bit more detail here:


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guitar tabs for beginners

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