It wasn’t easy at first. My fretting hand’s fingertips were so painful that I couldn’t touch anything for days! But once I got the hang of it, I discovered it was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. Over the years I would look back at those times and smile thinking how my life was changed the moment I picked up the guitar. It was actually my big sister’s guitar. However it turned out that I was more inclined to it that she was. She eventually turned over all the guitar playing duties to me.
I thought of making a random list of easy guitar songs that beginners might want to try playing, just to get things started. It will cover different genres but the objective is to improve playing, one song at a time. These are the criteria I’ve used for the selection of the songs:
a) Minimal number of chords -the less chords in a song, the easier it is to remember how to play it.
b) Minimal barre chords – barre chords require us to use our fretting hand’s index finger to press all 6 strings in a particular fret. Less barre chords is better for beginners.
c) Familiarity of the song – the songs are some of the most popular during their times.
And since we’re talking about beginner songs here, the primary goal of this list is to give novice players some songs to STRUM the guitar along with. No point in doing any complicated stuff yet. We have to first establish the rhythm within the player. So here it goes, in no particular order:
1. “Horse With No Name” – America
Chords: Em, F#m7sus
2. “Leaving On A Jet Plane” – John Denver
Chords: G, C, D
3. “No Rain” – Blind Melon
Chords: E, D, A, G
4. “Every Rose Has It’s Thorns” – Poison
Chords: G, C, D, Em
5. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan/ Guns N’ Roses
Chords: G, C, D, Am
6. “One” – U2
Chords: Am, D7, FM7, G
7. “Four Strong Winds” – Neil Young
Chords: C, Dm, G, F
8. “I Remember You” – Skid Row
Chords: G, C, D, Am, Em
9. “Come As You Are” – Nirvana
Chords: Em, D, G, Am, C
10. “Wonderful Tonight” – Eric Clapton
Chords: G, D, C, Em, Am
F#m7sus (2-0-0-2-0-0) G (3-2-0-0-0-3)
D – the chord name
x – E string will not be struck
x – A string will not be struck
0 – D string open
2 – Press G string on 2nd fret
3 – Press B string on 3rd fret
2 – Press e string on 2nd fret
There you go! Most of the songs have similar chords. That way, if we can recall chords from another some and incorporate that chord into another song then you get to practice applied knowledge. Ain’t that grand!
Enrico Monsanto is a freelance writer, avid guitar player and teacher. He has been playing guitar for more than 25 years and offers free online guitar lessons at his website, GuitarNode.com.