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!

guitar tabs for beginners

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 a free beginner chord guide and learn easy versions of every chord

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  This is one of our most popular guides and will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.

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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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.

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. Click here to download your copy.

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:

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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:

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘The Simpsons Theme Tune’

What? We’re learning the Simpsons theme tune? That isn’t a guitar riff!

When you’re learning guitar tabs for beginners all that matters is that you have fun and develop your finger dexterity. And the Simpsons Theme fits the bill. Check it out:

We’re only going to be focus on the first part of this, so let’s take a look at the tab:

The Simpsons tab

Notes on this tab

The hardest part is going to be stretching from the 2nd fret on the D string up to the 4th fret, that can be a bit of a stretch. Make sure you get that part down and you’ll be on a good footing.

Watch Jack’s video for more guidance:

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Mission Impossible’ Theme Tune

Another great theme tune and one of the coolest guitar tabs for beginners. (You can pretend to be your favourite spy while you play this for extra flavour!)

One important thing to mention when learning theme tunes is that they’re a great way of finding and playing music which isn’t presented on guitar in its original form. Remember, music doesn’t have to be limited to just one instrument, you can translate it to any other instrument. (If you hear something which is played on strings or a saxophone, you can play it on guitar too.)

Here’s the tab:

Mission Impossible tab

Tab notes

This riff is super-simple to play, just watch that last string change to the B String. Check out this video where Jack explains this riff in more detail:

Guitar tabs for beginners – James Bond Theme

Forget about guitar tabs for beginners, let’s just pretend we’re spies and keep this theme going! 🙂

We’re now going to look at the James Bond Theme tune. Another great riff, which sounds brilliant on guitar. Let’s take a listen.

We’re going to be focusing on the very first part of the riff. Let’s take a look at the tab:

James Bond Theme guitar tab

Tab notes

The tricky part with this is changing between the high E string and the B string, if you’re struggling with that part, it would be useful to practice playing between those strings first. (That way your right hand is used to playing that part first.)

Check out this video where Jack explains in more detail:

Here’s the tab for the next part:

guitar tabs for beginners

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones

This is one of those guitar tabs for beginners that has real energy. A fantastic punky riff by The Undertones. (The favourite song of John Peel, no less.) It’s simple to play:

We’re going to be focusing on the main riff. Here’s the tab:

Teenage Kicks tab

Tab notes

If this is the first time you’ve ever played power chords this is a great track to learn with. Use fingers 1 and 3 to play this. Give it some chops!

Guitar Finger Numbers

Watch the video to learn more:

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Killing In The Name’ by Rage Against The Machine

One of the most angsty guitar tabs for beginners comes from alt rockers Rage Against The Machine. Let’s take a listen to the tune:

Here’s the tab:

guitar tabs for beginners

Tab notes

This can be a little tricky to get down as the timing can be strange, try practicing with a metronome (or metronome app) to make sure you’re in time.

Take a look at this video to hear this in action:

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol

This is one of the more gentle guitar tabs for beginners in our list. We’ve rocked hard, now it’s time to chill.

Let’s have a listen to this iconic indie riff.

This riff is super simple, but the timing requires concentration. Let’s have a look at the tab.

guitar tabs for beginners

Tab notes

The really important thing to notice when you’re practice this tune is the stretches. Stretching between the 6th fret on the D string and 9th fret on the G string is a killer stretch!

Make sure you practice that carefully, your posture will really help with this, make sure your wrist come forward under the guitar to give you the reach you need.

Check out this article where we talk about guitar posture How To Play Guitar Chords: A Beginner’s Guide

Also have a look at this video where I explain how to play this riff in more depth:

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones

This next riff is a stone-cold-Rolling-Stone classic! It sounds great and is dead simple. This is one of the very best guitar tabs for beginners (because it’s so easy and sounds so great).

Here’s the tab:

satisfaction guitar tab

Learn more in this video:

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Redemption Song’ by Bob Marley and The Wailers

This is a lovely song by reggae legend Bob Marley. So soulful and heartfelt.

This is one of the most useful guitar tabs for beginners because it teaches us a big chunk of the C major scale.

We’re going to be focusing on the intro riff, before the chords kick in. Here it is:

guitar tabs for beginners

This riff can be a bit of a finger twister as it changes quite a bit between each string, make sure you take it really slow and build up speed as you get comfortable. Watch the video to see it in action and learn more:

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘I Predict A Riot’ by The Kaiser Chiefs

We’ve looked at tons of classic guitar tabs for beginners, but this is one of the more modern ones. Let’s have a quick listen:

We’re going to be focusing on the main riff after the ghostly soundscape fades out. Let’s take a look at the tab.

I predict a riot guitar tab

Tab notes

The main aspect of this is changing between frets. Make this easier by using one finger per fret:

  • Your first finger on Fret 8.
  • Your third finger on Fret 11.
  • Your second on Fret 10.

As we only cover these frets, it means you can keep your fingers in one space, rather than just using one finger for ALL the frets. Here’s the video:

Guitar tabs for beginners – ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ by Survivor

Is this the most uber of all guitar tabs for beginners?? Maybe! Let’s finish with a blinder of a track: ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ by Survivor. What a riff!

This sounds amazing on guitar and is so easy. Let’s listen to the track:

We’re going to be focusing on the main riff which starts at 0.09. Here’s the tab.

guitar tabs for beginners

Tab notes

In this tune, the timing is absolutely key. Make sure those breaks are so clear in-between changes.

Here’s a video explaining how to play this awesome iconic riff:

Can you play each riff? Download this lesson’s worksheet to keep/save/print for future practice.

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

I made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. I hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

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We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

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