5 Easy Songs on Guitar for Beginners (With Chords)

Published on 12 April 2023

So, you’re pretty new to the guitar and want to bolster your repertoire with some easy guitar songs? Your wish is our command! We’ve picked out five tunes today that are not only brilliant songs, but are also really straightforward and easy to play. You’ll need some basic chords but we’ll provide diagrams for you for each tune so can can quickly get the shapes under your fingers. We’ll also include a video of each original song so you can play along!


The Chords You’ll Need Today

You’ll find the chords you need for each song alongside each choice, but for reference, here are all eight of the chords we need today, all in one place:


Don’t worry too much about the ‘add9’ and ‘sus4’ parts of the chords right now. What’s important to know is that they are just variations - different voicings - of the basic chords. In other words, if you decide to play a normal C chord instead of a Cadd9, the song will still work!

G, C and D in particular tend to be the most common chords and you'll find they're used in thousands of well known songs! These chords fairly easy to learn and they sound great together.

Okay, let’s get started with today's list of easy songs to learn on guitar…


Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day

We’ll start with this super popular hit from the Californian pop punks Green Day. Billie Joe Armstrong certainly knows plenty about using direct, straightforward techniques to write effective songs. This tune uses a loose, easy strumming pattern that alternates between the lower and higher strings. Just have a listen to the track and you’ll see what we mean!

Here are the song’s chords:


For the verse, it’s G | Cadd9 | D twice through, followed by two measures of Em | D | C | G before getting to the chorus, which is Em | G | Em | G | Em | D | G. That last G brings you back to the main verse part. Job done!



Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd

Here’s some good news: everything you just learned can be successfully transferred across to this tune! Sweet Home Alabama is a staple for guitar players, and whilst it may be a little while before you’re throwing out the solos, you can certainly get the basic chords down pretty fast!

The vast majority of the song is just a backwards version of the main part in the Green Day song. Play D | Cadd9 | G over and over, and try playing along to the video below to practise your timing:



With or Without You - U2

This classic track from U2’s Joshua Tree record uses a simple four chord progression for the entire track, so there’s not too much to learn here if you want to play along!

What you’ll notice, though, is that there isn’t any rhythm guitar to speak of. Instead, U2 guitarist The Edge plays textural accompaniment parts for most of the song, whilst bassist Adam Clayton lays down a simple but authoritative bassline that drives the song. We suggest following the bass on this song rather than any particular guitar part, and you’ll have success in no time!

Here are the chords you’ll need:


The order is just as they are above, so repeat this over and over: D | A | Bm | G.



Three Little Birds - Bob Marley

Bob Marley was a master at getting lots out of some simple musical moves. This upbeat, delightful tune uses three of the most basic chords out there, and it’s an absolute classic. Here are the three chords you’ll need:


The song starts off with the chorus, which is a simple back and forth of A and D. The verse follows, which goes a little like this: A | E | A | D | A | E | A. 


Job done! Another great song under your belt! Let’s get one more going, shall we?


Free Fallin’ - Tom Petty

Our last tune is another stone cold classic, with an interesting twist for you as a guitarist: we need a capo! If you have a capo, attach it to the 3rd fret of your guitar, and then treat the frets as if the capo is fret zero. In other words, after the capo is on fret 3, fret 4 becomes fret 1 to us, fret 5 becomes our fret 2 and so on. Make sense? Good!

The chords for this song are shown below as if there were no capo. Simply treat the capo as the guitar’s nut and you’ll be fine:


The D chord is ‘really’ an F because of the capo, but we don’t tend to think of things that way when it comes to capos. It could be laziness on our part as guitarists, but we’re all the same!

Free Fallin’ is like the U2 song in the sense that it follows the same chord progression all the way through the song. Start with the capo on the third fret and then it’s D | G | D | Asus4.


It’s worth noting that you can still have fun strumming these chords without the capo, you just won’t be able to play along with the recording because all of your chords will be three frets too low! 


Three Chords and the Truth

These examples today are a good way to demonstrate just how much mileage you can get from a few simple chords. In truth, there are thousands and thousands of songs that use only a few basic chords. This selection of easy guitar songs for beginners will get you on the path, but check out the artists you love and see if they have some deceptively simple songs! Good luck!

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