Sad Guitar Songs

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As Bernie Taupin once wrote and Elton John sang, the sad songs say so much, don’t they? There probably isn’t a guitar player on the planet that hasn’t at some point been in the mood to play a mournful ballad, or strum a tender melody of loss and regret.

On the other hand, there’s Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”. Of all the sad guitar songs in history, none quite jerk the heartstrings like the petulant child of “Tears”. Personally, you’d have to pay me a large sum of money – think six figures – to sit through Clapton’s Unplugged performance of the song, let alone actually play the damn thing myself. While I’m a big fan of sad guitar songs, there’s a line I’m not willing to cross, and “Tears” is that line.

Check out this famous guitar riff by Eric clapton! ERIC CLAPTON FAMOUS GUITAR RIFF

Anyway, I’ve put together a nice list of sad guitar songs which vary in relative difficulty to play (with random links to chord charts and tabs). Check out some of these jams for yourself.

Track/Artist                                                                              Difficulty

Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley*                                                           Medium-high
Everlong – Foo Fighters                                                              Medium
No Surprises – Radiohead                                                           Medium
Pictures of You – The Cure                                                         Low-medium
Pale Blue Eyes – Velvet Underground                                      Low
The Needle and the Damage Done – Neil Young                     Low-medium
Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones                                              Medium
Working Class Hero – John Lennon                                           Low-medium
God Only Knows – The Beach Boys**                                       Medium-high
Here Comes a Regular – The Replacements                             Low-medium
Whatever – Hüsker Dü                                                                Medium-high
Lost Cause – Beck                                                                         Medium
I Know It’s Over – The Smiths                                                   Medium
Hurt – Nine Inch Nails/Johnny Cash                                         Low-medium
While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles                         Medium-high
I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Death Cab for Cutie            Medium
Casmir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens                                         Medium
Use Somebody – Kings of Leon                                                   Low-medium
Between Bars – Elliot Smith                                                         Medium
The Man Who Sold the World – David Bowie                            Medium
Marie – Townes Van Zandt                                                          Medium

* The original Leonard Cohen version is also very sweet and very easy to play, but you really must hear Buckley’s version.
* Yes, I know this is not a guitar song per se, but it’s one of the most beautifully sad songs ever recorded and you should be familiar with it, even if you hate the Beach Boys.

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