Learning to play the guitar is fun and exciting, and most everybody who starts taking lessons wants to start playing songs right away. It can take years to play with the skill level you dream of playing at, but that doesn’t mean you can’t begin playing some of your favorite songs right out of the gate. While you’re learning the basics—stuff like where the notes are on your guitar, chords, and proper strumming techniques, you can find a few easy popular guitar songs you can work on playing as well.
There are a lot of easy popular guitar songs in a variety of genres arranged for the guitar. A lot of guitar teachers use these songs as part of a lesson plan to keep students interested and to help them apply the principles of playing guitar in a real life setting.
Before you get into playing any of these songs, make sure you can switch smoothly between chords, that you’ve practiced your strum patterns, and that you have at least a basic idea of how the song goes. The last part is important. Since easy songs usually just have the lyrics and chords, there’s no real information given about timing. Guitar players who use basic chord charts to play a song typically already have a good idea what the song they want to play sounds like.
“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd is a guitar-friendly song that’s easy extremely popular, easy to play on electric or acoustic, and is a song that you can make sound good even in its simplest form. It features three chords, all basic and in the open position, Those chords are D, C, and G and used throughout the verses and chorus.
Those power ballads from the 80s hair bands are great songs to learn because they work on electric or acoustic guitar, people know and love them, and they often use the same chords with just slight variations. The first power ballad that comes to mind is “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison, but if you’ve already played that one, give “I Remember You” by Skid Row a shot. The verse uses G to C and the chorus is G, D, Em, C, D, G. These are the same chords you use for the pOison song, so now you get two for the price of one just by applying a different rhythm and learning new lyrics.
Another popular guitar song that’s easy to play is “Heaven” by Warrant, which features these basic chords: G, D, Dsus2, Cadd9. Don’t let the Cadd9 chord and the Dsus2 chords fool you. They aren’t that difficult to play. The Cadd9 is simply a C chord with the ninth (2nd) degree of the scale added. The Dsus2 is a D chord with the 3rd degree left out and the 2nd degree of the scale in its place.
Here are a few other easy popular guitar songs that use these same basic open chords. Each of these songs will sound great on an acoustic or electric guitar.
“What About Love” by Heart, “Keep on Loving You” by REO Speedwagon, “Tears on My Guitar” by Taylor Swift, and “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty, which has a real simple but recognizable strum pattern.
Besides these songs, there are hundreds of others you can use playing the same few chords. A quick search of the Internet’s many tab sites will supply you with all the easy popular guitar songs you’ll need to keep you playing for weeks.