8 Top Guitar Songs For Beginner Guitarists

If you want to supercharge your chord vocabulary and your song library, this lesson is for you! Let’s explore the top guitar songs for beginners.

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • Our eight picks for the top guitar songs to learn
  • Why it’s important to learn these songs
  • What you’ll love about each song and what challenges you’ll face
  • Key points to pay attention to in each song

What Are The Top Guitar Songs To Learn Right Now?

If you’re feeling a little short on inspiration lately, you can rest assured that you aren’t alone.

The beautiful part about music however, is that there’s always something new to pick up and learn.

The music world is chock-full of inspiration in every genre of music (yes, even pop music) and we’re thankfully never short on new music by any means.

With that being said, we’re going to focus today’s lesson on the top guitar songs you can learn as a beginner to really supercharge your guitar playing in new ways.

top-guitar-songs

But what constitutes being on this list of the top guitar songs?

We’re looking for songs with awesome and easy-to-play riffs that aren’t overwhelming for beginner guitarists. Thankfully, we’ve got a lot to choose from.

We’re going to veer toward classic rock guitar riffs where possible with a few surprises along the way. T

he reason for this is that these are riffs that a lot of people know how to play, so you can show up to a jam session and jam with others easily.

If you’re ready to start stepping up your riff game, let’s get into our list of the top guitar songs to learn.

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Top Guitar Songs #1 – ZZ Top: “La Grange”

Talk about a classic tune loved by guitarists all over – ZZ Top doesn’t miss when it comes to riffs.

La Grange is a requested tune at any jam session, so it makes sense to pick this one up early.

This song gives us amazing insight into the pentatonic scale and how to make amazingly simple use of it, so we highly recommend learning this one.

The major benefit of this song is the groove it forces us to lock in on. It takes some time but by playing along to the track, we can really get a sense for the ‘bounce’ of the song.

This tune makes our list for the top guitar songs because of its focus on groove and the pentatonic scale.

What you’ll love about this song:

The groove challenges us to stay right on top of the drummer and interact with the rest of the band on the track. The guitar doesn’t stick off so much as it blends in with the rest of the band, so focus on doing the same as you play along.

Many of the top guitar songs on this list do much the same.

Challenges you’ll face:

The upstroke intensity of this tune will make you focus on the direction of your picking, but that’s a good thing. Pay attention to the rhythm and you’ll have no problems.

Click here to check out the tablature.

Scroll down to get the chords to this first installment of our top guitar songs.

A MAJOR

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(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!)

C MAJOR

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D MAJOR

 

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Top Guitar Songs #2 – Oasis: “Wonderwall”

We know that this song is probably a little bit played out at this point, but that doesn’t stop it from being a classic tune that we should all know and learn how to play.

Nevertheless, this song has some great chord changes that we should work to get under our fingers to help build our chord vocabulary.

Many of the top guitar songs out there use open position chords much like this one.

Oasis were kings of songwriting, using great chord voicings and shapes to propel their pop-worthy lyrics.

You’ll learn a few cool chord shapes with this one, check out more on the track below.

What you’ll love about this song:

This song has an easy-to-grasp strumming pattern that can be picked up by ear with ease.

The chord voicings used in this song are definitely ones you should strive to hold on to (especially the Cadd9 chord), so make sure you pay close attention to the chords being played.

Challenges you’ll face:

The chord changes happen rather quickly in this song, so it’s important to slow down while you practice to get the most out of each chord shape.

Your ears are your friends in this song and the other top guitar songs on this list, so make sure you’re listening to what’s happening in the tune itself.

Click here to check out the tablature for this song.

Get started with the chords to Wonderwall below, or click here for a full lesson on this song.

top-guitar-songs

Top Guitar Songs #3 – Extreme: “More Than Words”

One of the most ironic top guitar songs of all time, “More Than Words” was written by the metal band Extreme.

That’s right – a metal band wrote this song.

As funny as that sounds, this song soared to the top of the charts, garnering Extreme all sorts of success and securing their place in history with a timeless ballad.

This song requires you to be able to navigate your way around the G major chord quite a bit, so make sure you’ve got that under your fingers before you start this tune.

What you’ll love about this song:

“More Than Words” encourages us to embrace rhythm in a big way and to begin experimenting with fingerstyle guitar with a series of simple chord formations.

Taking the time needed with this song using some rudimentary chord formations will no doubt help turn up your guitar playing on the whole.

Challenges you’ll face:

It takes a while to be able to ‘lock in’ with top guitar songs like this one. We recommend running through each of the chord shapes individually before moving on to tackling the whole song.

Click here to view the tabs.

Check out the chords below to get started with this amazing tune:

G MAJOR

CADD9#

Am7

C MAJOR

D MAJOR

Top Guitar Songs #4 – Cream: “Sunshine Of Your Love”

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include this classic tune from Cream in our list of the top guitar songs to learn to play.

You’ll hear this one called for often at jam sessions, so it’s best to get it under your fingers ahead of time. No time like the present, right?

The little chromatic walkdown in this song is a personal favourite of ours, spicing things up just enough to keep your ears on their… toes? Yeah. Toes.

Eric Clapton knew how to write riffs, now it’s your turn to start picking some of them up for yourself.

What you’ll love about this song:

There’s lots of melody and groove to unpack in this song, and plenty worth keeping your ears open for. You’ll find yourself jamming this song on a loop if you aren’t careful.

Challenges you’ll face:

Executing the bend at the end of the main riff can be a bit challenging for beginner guitarists, but that’s what makes this one of the top guitar songs on this list – the challenge.

It takes some time and practice, but you’ll feel great once you’ve successfully pulled off all of the licks in this stellar tune.

Click here to check out the tabs to this tune.

You can get started with this song using the chords below:

D MAJOR

C MAJOR

A MAJOR

G MAJOR

F MAJOR 

Top Guitar Songs #5 – AC/DC: “Back In Black”

You knew we were going to name this one off – without a doubt.

“Back In Black” isn’t just one of the top guitar songs on this list – it’s one of the best guitar songs of all time. Easy to jam to with simple power chords and a killer lead lick. What more do you want?

If you’re going to call out a tune at a jam, it might as well be this one. Anyone can pick this tune up with a little bit of practice and some elbow grease.

What you’ll love about this song:

Rocking power chords and a simple pentatonic lick will keep you jumping back and forth between rhythm and lead guitar parts like a champion in no time.

Challenges you’ll face:

Setting your hand up to transition from a power chord to a pentatonic scale shape takes some practice, but it isn’t unattainable by any means.

AC/DC are kings of rocking licks, and this is one of those top guitar songs you don’t soon forget how to play.

Check out the tabs for “Back In Black” by clicking here.

Check out the chords for the tune below:

E Minor

D Major

A Minor 

Top Guitar Songs #6 – Bob Dylan: “The Times They Are A’ Changin’”

Bob Dylan is responsible for a variety of beautiful songs about the revolution, and this one is no different.

“The Times They Are A’ Changing” is exactly what it sounds like it’s about – it’s a song of change, a warning of a dividing line between people and what they stand for, and a warning of a rising tide.

The times were indeed changing, and Dylan’s classic tune helped narrate that.

This lands on our list of the top guitar songs because of how much of a staple it is in guitar culture, and also how easy it is to play!

What you’ll love about this song:

It’s fairly easy to pick up the strumming pattern for this song, which is great. This is a great jammer in the sense that you can just pick up and play it if you know the chords.

Challenges you’ll face:

The chord changes come up quite quickly for this song, so you’ll want to take it slow as you learn it. This is the case for a lot of the top guitar songs on this list – slow & steady always wins the race.

We recommend humming the melody or singing along so you can easily place the chords where they need to go across the melody line.

Click here to view the chord progression with lyrics.

You can find the chords themselves below:

G MAJOR

E MINOR

C MAJOR

D MAJOR

A MINOR 

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.

Top Guitar Songs #7 – Jason Mraz: “I’m Yours”

We had to include at least one nice little ballad in this list, and this is it.

This song is simply a whole lot of fun to play, making it an easy contender on our list of the top guitar songs.

The reggae-infused upstroke patterns are great practice, and the mini-melody line at the beginning is a great way for us to work on playing a melody and then immediately switching to a chord progression.

It’s worth noting how much of an amazing songwriter Jason Mraz is, and how he uses fundamental open chords to articulate himself with ease. There’s a lot to learn from this man’s style of songwriting.

What you’ll love about this song:

This song will grow your skillset the more you master it. It’s worth returning to this song over and over again for practice, as there’s a lot to unpack in terms of playing the melody and the chord progression fluidly.

Challenges You’ll Face:

The rhythm for this song takes some doing, as is the case with many of the top guitar songs on this list.

It’s important to take your time and practice effectively before tackling this song head-on. Focus on playing the melody at the beginning and transitioning smoothly to the chord progression.

Click here to check out the chord progression with lyrics.

You can check out the chords for this song below, but don’t forget to stick that capo on the fourth fret first!

G MAJOR

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E MINOR

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D MAJOR

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C MAJOR

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Top Guitar Songs #8 – Green Day: “Good Riddance/Time Of Your Life”

This song is unforgettable in so many ways, and it’s an essential tune for anyone looking to work on their chord shapes.

The top guitar songs aren’t always the ones that are the hardest, but moreso the songs that teach us the most – especially as beginners.

This is precisely why we haven’t put any intermediate or advanced songs on this list.

Green Day has always done a wonderful job of using minimalism to get their point across, and this song is no different.

What you’ll love about this song:

The strumming pattern encourages a lot of motion, so you’ll find yourself strumming in both directions and working out how that movement feels in your wrist.

This is important to pay attention to in this song.

Challenges you’ll face:

If you’re a beginner, this song will force you to focus on the chord changes quite a bit, as you can go through as many as three chords in a single stanza.

As with all things, start slowly so you can master the chord shapes and strumming pattern.

You can check out the chord diagrams for this song below.

Four chords is all it takes to nail down this installation in our list of the top guitar songs.

G MAJOR

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CADD9

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D MAJOR

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E MINOR

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These Tunes Are Considered Top Guitar Songs For A Reason

Although each of these songs has had their heyday when it comes to their peak popularity on the radio, they’ve all been enshrined repeatedly as songs that are ideal for beginner and intermediate guitar players to learn.

These songs are written simply, which gives us room to explore the foundation they create for us as players. Take the time to sit with these songs and work through them, you’ll be a better player on the whole for it!

Recommended Resources

If you enjoyed this lesson on the top guitar songs, we’ve got more where that came from.

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