Learning some of your favorite songs can be a great way to jump-start your starting your guitar journey. Not only does it give you a familiar baseline to refer to, it is also a pretty fun feeling to play a popular single when you're hanging out with your friends or family.
But while cracking away at a particularly tasty Van Halen solo or a mighty Cream riff might be the end goal, players on that level weren't created in a day, to put a spin on that classic adage about Rome.
So pick up your acoustic or electric guitar and take a shot at one of these 40 simple songs that any beginner can master with the help of Fender Play.
And if you're ready to try Fender Play today, you can get 3 months of unlimited access free no credit card required.
1. J Mascis: "Feel The Pain"
Inspired by Black Sabbath and their classic rock ilk, J Mascis and company created a unique blend of punk, rock and indie alternative.
Learn how to play “Feel The Pain” here.
2. Oasis: "Wonderwall"
"Wonderwall" is one of a handful of singles off of Oasis' 1996 release (What's the Story) Morning Glory? The song was a massive worldwide hit for the band and spawned a new era of British rock.
Learn how to play “Wonderwall” here.
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3. The Bobby Fuller Four: "I Fought the Law"
Written by Sonny Curtis of the Crickets, "I Fought the Law" is one of the greatest rebel songs of all time, even covered by the Clash, despite the hero losing to authority in the end. The Bobby Fuller version of it was ranked No. 175 on Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004. To make this easy, Matt Lake breaks it down into a campfire strummer that will help keep your strumming steady.
Learn how to play "I Fought the Law" here.
4. Carrie Underwood: "Blown Away"
Some call Carrie Underwood the new "Queen of Country," and based on her spin on classic country songwriting, they may be right. "Blown Away" was her 13th No. 1 hit on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and also reached No. 20 on the Hot 100. With only one chord progression to master, you can make it through this Grammy-winning track.
Learn how to play "Blown Away" here.
5. Lukas Graham: "7 Years"
Danish pop band Lukas Graham formed in 2011 and quickly gaining commercial success. They broke into mainstream American pop culture with "7 Years," their 2015 hit that topped charts arond the world and earned three Grammy Award nominations (Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance).
Learn how to play "7 Years" here.
6. Brad Paisley: "He Didn't Have to Be"
Telecaster master Brad Paisley has helped define the modern country sound, and this easy-to-learn smash hit shows why. This easygoing song - that was his first No. 1 hit - will help refine your strumming hand technique.
Learn how to play "He Didn't Have to Be" here.
7. The Rolling Stones: "Honky Tonk Women"
Mixing hard rock strut with country honk, the Rollling Stones' classic "Honky Tonk Women" topped the charts in both the U.K. and US. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, this song milks the G chord throughout, and you'll learn the intro riff, verse and chorus in this lesson.
Learn how to play "Honky Tonk Women" here.
8. Jimi Hendrix: "Purple Haze"
"Purple Haze" is a song written by Jimi Hendrix and released as the second record single by the Jimi Hendrix Experience on March 17, 1967. The song exposed many to Hendrix's signature psychedelic rock sound.
Learn how to play “Purple Haze” here.
9. Joni Mitchell: "Big Yellow Taxi"
"Big Yellow Taxi" was written and released by Joni Mitchell in 1970, coming off her acclaimed album, Ladies of the Canyon. She explained to a journalist that she wrote it in Hawaii when she looked out her window and saw the beautiful mountains, and then looked down and saw a huge paved parking lot.
Learn how to play "Big Yellow Taxi" here.
10. Buddy Holly: "Not Fade Away"
Buddy Holly's 1957 recording of "That'll Be the Day" with his band, the Crickets, achieved widespread success and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. In this tutorial from Fender Play instructor Nikki Stevens, you can use down strums or work up to a more percussive alternate strum through the three chords (E, A, and D major).
Learn how to play "Not Fade Away."
11. The National: "I Need My Girl"
Jen Trani runs through four chords (A minor, C, F and G) of the National's "I Need My Girl" to give you a simplified strumming version of the 2013 single. It's perfect for a beginner, as using a capo makes this song easier to play.
Learn how to play "I Need My Girl" here.
12. Leonard Cohen: "Hallelujah"
Prolific songwriter, poet, and novelist Leonard Cohen was one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the late ‘60s. He may be best remembered for his anthem “Hallelujah,” which was famously covered by Jeff Buckley.
Learn how to play “Hallelujah” here.
13. The Animals: "It's My Life"
"It's My Life" was written by Brill Building songwriters Roger Atkins and Carl D'Errico and originally performed by English band the Animals in 1965. Championing the theme of personal individuality, it was one of a group of songs from the likes of the Beatles, Bob Dylan and others at the time that showed rock could play a role in the social consciousness.
Learn how to play "It's My Life" here.
14. Grace VanderWaal: "Clay"
This metaphorical tune about bullying is featured on ukulele prodigy Grace VanderWaal's debut album Perfectly Imperfect. The heartfelt ballad features four easy chords in the open position: G, E minor, D and C.
Learn how to play "Clay" here.
15. Delta Spirit: "California"
"California" was essentially Delta Spirit's breakout single, as the 2012 track earned the indie rockers some of their first radio airplay. It's jagged pop has hints of roots-rock and is pushed by a cool alternate strum. All it takes is four chords (A minor, C, G and D), as taught by Fender Play instructor Jen Trani, and you're off and running.
Learn how to play "California" here.
16. The Isley Brothers: "Shout"
While the song did not reach higher than No. 47 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Shout" became the Isley Brothers' first gold single on the basis of its longevity. If you've ever been to a sporting event or wedding (or seen National Lampoon's Animal House, for that matter), it's likely you've been implored to get "a little bit softer now."
Learn how to play "Shout" here.
17. Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Bad Moon Rising"
Never has bad mojo sounded so happy and upbeat than on the peppy Creedence Clearwater Revival classic "Bad Moon Rising," with its steady, basic strumming. This timeless rock tune is a great start to learning some basic chords (D, A and G) and chord switching.
Learn how to play "Bad Moon Rising" here.
18. Billie Eillish: "Ocean Eyes"
Originally released on Soundcloud in 2015, "ocean eyes" was the debut song from Billie Eilish. This hit song, written by her brother Finneas O'Connell, started her path to performing at the Grammys just a few years later at age 18.
Learn how to play “Ocean Eyes” here.
19. Andra Day: "Rise Up"
"Rise Up" is the platinum selling single from Andra Day's debut album Cheers to the Fall, released in 2015.
Learn how to play “Rise Up” here.
20. Willie Dixon: "I Can't Quit You Baby"
Willie Dixon originally wrote the blues classic "I Can't Quit You Baby," and it was first recorded by Chicago artist Otis Rush in 1956. You also might remember this track when Led Zeppelin included a cover on their 1969 self-titled debut album. In this tutorial, you'll through its three basic chords (G, C and D).
Learn how to play "I Can't Quit You Baby" here.
21. Butch Walker: "Chrissie Hynde"
"Chrissie Hynde" was written and released by folk/pop singer-songwriter Butch Walker in 2014 on his seventh album, Afraid of Ghosts. The country-tinged ballad talks about his desire to just shut the world out and throw on some Pretenders records for a moment of introspection.
Learn how to play "Chrissie Hynde here.
22. Frankie Ballard: "Helluva Life"
"Helluva Life" is a country song released by Frankie Ballard in 2013 that talks about being grateful for the things in life. One of Ballard's most popular tracks, "Helluva Life" was even certified Gold for the accomplished singer/songwriter.
Learn how to play "Helluva Life" here.
23. Carl Perkins: "Matchbox"
It only takes three chords (A, D and E) to master Carl Perkins' rockabilly-tinged "Matchbox," as it's a great song to practice alternate strumming while solidifying your rhythm playing. Originally recorded in 1956, it has lived on over the years - even the Beatles recorded a version!
24. Elmore James: "It Hurts Me Too"
"It Hurts Me Too" is a blues standard that was first recorded in 1940 by musician Tampa Red, but Elmore James supplied some of the lyrics that are most familiar today. James didn't initially chart with the song in 1957, but he re-recorded it in the early '60s and soon had a hit on his hands. This version boasts only three chords, with two types for each chord (A5, A6, D5, D6, E5 and E6), making it a terrific entry point to the blues.
Learn how to play "It Hurts Me Too" here.
25. Bonnie Raitt: "Something to Talk About"
Blues artist Bonnie Raitt is known for her buring slide guitar playing and smooth vocals. In fact, she was Fender's first female signature artists, coming out with a namesake Stratocaster in the early 1990s. Around that time, Raitt scored international success with her multiple Grammy-winning albums Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw, and "Something to Talk About" was one of those singles that still endures today.
Learn how to play "Something to Talk About" here.
26. Muddy Waters: "Mannish Boy"
Muddy Waters recorded "Mannish Boy" in 1955, and it reached No. 5 on the Billboard R&B chart (staying there for six weeks) with its great bluesy riff that threads through the whole song.
Learn how to play "Mannish Boy" here.
27. Guitar Slim: "Things That I Used to Do"
Guitar Slim's "Things That I Used to Do" has a single chord progression that allows you to play the entire song with just three chords (E, A and B7). The New Orleans bluesman nabbed a bestselling single when it was released in 1953, staying at No. 1 on the R&B charts for six weeks. This lesson shows you how to get this standard chord progression down.
Learn how to play "Things That I Used to Do" here.
28. The Smithereens: "Blood & Roses"
The Smithereens had a hit on their hands with "Blood & Roses," the first single off debut album Especially For You. Fender Play instructor Barrett Wilson takes you through this classic that has five chords (E minor, G, C, D and A minor). In this lesson, you'll use pivot fingers and 8th note alternate strumming.
Learn how to play "Blood & Roses" here.
29. Cracker: "Low"
It takes only four chords (D, C, E and G) to get through "Low," the 1993 hit from rockers Cracker. The song was a hit, reaching No. 3 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart the year it was released. In this lesson, you'll dive into basic chord switching with a consistent strum pattern.
30. ZZ Top: "Tush"
VH1 named ZZ Top's "Tush," the only single from fourth album Tush, the 67th best hard rock song of all time, and it definitely deserved to be on the list. A 12-bar bluesy rocker, it took John Lee Hooker's rhythm approach and added modern hard rock picking and lead work. Fender Play instructor Scott Goldbaum breaks it down to a campfire version to give you a three-chord (D, G, C) rhythm progression.
Learn how to play "Tush" here.
31. Hank Williams: "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)"
Hank Williams' single-note-picking technique helped define country guitar playing, and this No. 1 Billboard Hot Country single proves he knew his way around song structure as well. This simple progression backing a catchy melody makes this tune into a country favorite. You've got two chords here!
Learn how to play "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" here.
32. The Beatles: "Here Comes the Sun"
"Here Comes the Sun" is a song written by George Harrison that was first released on the Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road. Along with "Something" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", it is one of Harrison's best-known compositions from the Beatles era.
Learn how to play “Here Comes The Sun” here.
33. The Cactus Blossoms: "Stoplight Kisses"
The Cactus Blossoms might be a modern band, but they've got an old-school, rockabilly vibe, as demonstrated by the jangly "Stoplight Kisses." Its upbeat mood will get any party moving, and you can play it with only four chords (E, A, B7 and E7).
Learn how to play "Stoplight Kisses" here.
34. Traditional: "I Shall Not Be Moved"
Bluesman Mississippi John Hurt's version of this classic gave blues and rock fans a lesson in songwriting and how to milk classic countrified chords. What's more, it's also been covered by Johnny Cash, Son House and even Elvis Presley. This song straddles folk, blues, and country and features three basic chords and syncopated rhythms.
Learn how to play "I Shall Not Be Moved" here.
35. Paolo Nutini: "Candy"
Paolo Nutini's "Candy" was a worldwide hit in 2009, boasting a neo-soul feel that was fresh at the time. It might even be the Scottish singer/songwriter's best-known track. This lesson from instructor Scott Goldbaum gives it a folky spin, unlocking the Sunny Side Up single with alternate and syncopated strumming.
Learn how to play "Candy" here.
36. Blue Öyster Cult: "(Don't Fear) The Reaper"
Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" came out in 1976 and was the band's highest charting single. The track's haunting vibe and lyrics talking about the inevitability of death gave it an eerie feel, and despite that, Rolling Stone named it Song of the Year when it was released.
Learn how to play "Don't Fear the Reaper" here.
37. Traditional: "Amazing Grace"
"Amazing Grace" is more than 200 years old, but it still tugs at the heartstrings each time it's played. This simplified version focuses on finger picking in 3/4 time with the chords A, A7, D and E7.
Learn how to play "Amazing Grace" here.
38. Santana: "Oye Como Va"
"Oye Como Va" is a song written by Latin jazz and mambo musician Tito Puente in 1963. Mexican-American rock group Santana's rendition further popularized the song.
Learn how to play “Oye Como Va” here.
39. John Legend: "All of Me"
John Legend's piano-driven "All of Me" also sounds great on the guitar, as you'll see in this explanation. The beautiful open chords during the intro and verse consist of just E minor, C, G, and D, with A minor coming in during the pre-chorus and chorus.
Learn how to play "All of Me" here.
40. Kris Kristofferson: "Me and Bobby McGee"
"Me and Bobby McGee" is a song written by Kris Kristofferson and originally released in 1969 by Roger Miller. But the song really gained steam when it topped the U.S. singles chart in 1971 after Janis Joplin released her version. Joplin actually recorded vocals for the timeless classic just a few days before her death.
Learn how to play "Me and Bobby McGee" here.
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For more easy songs to learn, click on the links that follow: Easy Pop Songs l Easy Folk Songs l Easy Rock Songs l Easy Blues Songs l Easy Country Songs l Easy Songs for Electric Guitar l Easy Songs for Acoustic Guitar l Easy Ukulele Songs l Easy Bass Songs