Guitar Method Books

25 songs for beginner guitarists

So you’ve just decided to start playing guitar, or you’ve tried to learn before and you didn’t get past the first few pages of Mel Bay’s Guitar Method book 1. I don’t blame you. While I have absolutely nothing against Mel Bay (one of the biggest publishers of guitar books), starting with a method book, while informative, may not be the best approach to keep your interest at the early stages.

While there are many great beginner choices, I’ve decided to go with songs that are relatively easy to play and are popular. So you can get a lot of mileage out of these. I’ve omitted “Smoke on the Water” for reasons you can imagine!  I’ve also chosen tunes that are in a variety of genres so as a budding guitarist you can be versatile in your playing. I hope to expand on each genre in subsequent posts.

Here they are, in order of easy to more challenging:

  1. Jambalaya on the Bayou – Hank Williams – (Country)
  2. Horse With No Name – America – (Classic Rock)
  3. Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles – (Rock)
  4. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes – (Rock)
  5. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
  6. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan – (Rock)
  7. Peggy Sue – Buddy Holly – (Rock’n’Roll)
  8. Old Joe Clark -Traditional – (Bluegrass/Old Time)
  9. Yellow Submarine – Yellow Submarine – (Rock)
  10. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen/Jeff Buckley – (Folk-Rock)
  11. Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash – (Country)
  12. Sweet Home Chicago (basic version) – Robert Johnson – (Blues)
  13. Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show -(Bluegrass)
  14. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – Bob Dylan – (Folk-Rock)
  15. Redemption Song – Bob Marley – (Reggae)
  16. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day – (Rock)
  17. One – U2 – (Rock)
  18. About a Girl – Nirvana – (Grunge Rock)
  19. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana – (Grunge Rock)
  20. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd – (Rock)
  21. Sittin’ on Top of the World – Various Artists – (Blues)
  22. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran – (Pop/Rock)
  23. Malagueña (Flamenco)
  24. Blue Monk – Thelonius Monk -(Jazz)
  25. Blackbird – The Beatles – (Rock)

There are many many other songs I could list here, but hopefully these will spark some ideas. The tunes above will be easy in their original key. With a lot of songs, you can make them easier by changing the original key to G or C, simplifying the strum pattern, and/or simplifying the chord voicings.

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