What are the 11 best beginner guitar songs? Here is part 2 of a list of easy to play songs using a range of open string chords and strumming patterns making them a great set of tunes for beginner guitar players. The 11 songs are listed in order of difficulty to play.
7. Knocking On Heavens Door – Bob Dylan
This Bob Dylan song has been covered by many people including Eric Clapton and Guns n Roses. Like Stand By Me it uses just 4 chords – G A minor C and D however to play in the same key as Bob Dylan you don’t need to use a capo. This song introduces the A minor chord which uses the same fingering shape as the E major chord simply moved over a string over towards the 1st string (the thinnest string near the floor).
The “down – down down up” rhythm pattern used here involves the first down strum being held for 2 beats giving the rhythm more space.
8. What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes
This song was a mega hit for 4 Non Blondes in the early 90s. Like High & Dry by Radiohead this is a 3 chord song requiring a capo to be placed behind the 2nd fret of the guitar to play the chords G Am and C. While these chords are east to play the strumming pattern is a bit harder than other strumming patterns looked at so far.
As the beat for the song is fairly slow the strumming pattern introduces 16th notes. 16th notes are counted in a bar as 1e+a-2e+a-3e+a-3e+a (1 e and a – 2 e and a – 3 e and a – 4 e and a). So in this song you strum down on the “on” beats (the numbers) and the “and/+” beats and then up on the “e” and “a” beats. Have a look at the strumming diagram to see how it looks taking note there’s no strum on the “4” beat.
9. Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix
Hey Joe was Jimi Hendrix’s first hit single that was actually a cover of a folk song originally written by Billy Roberts. While you might be thinking that a Jimi Hendrix song would be way too difficult for a beginner guitarist the actual chords of the song are quite easy. Hey Joe is a 5 chord song using C G D A and E major. You can substitute the E major chord for an E7 chord if you like to give it a more of a blues/R n B sound like Hendrix did. The great thing about the E7 cord is that it’s just a 2 finger chord.
10. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison is a staple of classic rock radio and cover bands throughout the world. This is another G C D song that also adds an Em and D7 chord into the chorus. This song also uses the “down down up up down up” strumming pattern used in Love Me Do by The Beatles (see 11 Best Beginner Guitar Songs – Part 1) and many more songs. This song is slightly more difficult due to it being faster than Love Me Do.
Check out the video to learn how to play this pattern.
11. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
The final song in list of the 11 best beginner guitar songs to learn is Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. This song uses G E minor D and A for the verses with the same “down – down down up” rhythm used for Knocking On Heavens Door.
For the chorus it uses C G Em and D with 4 quick down strums on each chord. The end of the chorus is C G and B7 with the B7 being a new chord to learn. B7 is a bit more fiddly to play due to it using all 4 fingers. For this song the chord change from G to B7 will have to be practiced many times before it becomes smooth. With this chord change work on moving fingers 1 and 2 diagonally as a pair from the G to the B7 shape.
If you’re looking for even more easy to play beginner songs on the guitar check out
The Great American Campfire Songbook. Perfect for singing around the campfire and other locations this book contains 80 well known songs with lyrics notes and chords and is great value at only $12.95US.
All lyrics and chords on this website may only be used for educational purposes, private study, scholarship or research.