If you’ve been playing acoustic guitar for a while and are comfortable with strumming open string chords (A D E G and C etc) challenge yourself by learning some intermediate level songs. These songs should include more challenging guitar techniques such as bar chords, arpeggios, riffs, syncopated rhythms and fingerpicking. Here are 11 of the best intermediate acoustic guitar songs to learn.
Space Oddity – David Bowie
This song has a gazillion (lots anyway) chords with a few bar chords including F Fm and Bb. The more challenging part here is the rhythmic bar chord section using the 4 bar chords C F G and Am which happens after the lyrics “planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do”.
Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson
A great Jack Johnson song about taking it easy that includes riffs and syncopated bar chord strumming. The challenge with this song is putting all the parts together. Practice each part separately until you’re comfortable with them before connecting the parts.
Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
The best part of this Bon Jovi song is the descending intro riff which is a great arpeggio exercise. Use fingers 1 & 2 for the first chord in the run and fingers 2 & 3 for the next chord. You then simply alternate between these 2 shapes when required as you move down the guitar neck. This way finger 2 simply moves down G string.
Yesterday – The Beatles
Written by Paul McCartney after he heard it in a dream Yesterday is a great introduction to fingerpicking technique on guitar. The chord shapes are all based on open string chords with some only requiring one finger. The thumb plucks the bass note while fingers 1 2 & 3 pluck the other strings of the chords.
Angie – The Rolling Stones
A song about David Bowie’s ex-wife the song mixes arpeggios, licks and chord variations within the Am E& G F C chord progression.
More Than Words – Extreme
Almost all of my students want to learn how to play this one. Playing fingerstyle guitarist Nuno Bettencort uses a percussive effect on beats 2 & 4 by slapping the strings on the frets of the guitar to create a back beat.
In part 2 of 11 Best Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Songs To Learn we will look at some more popular guitar songs with challenging parts for intermediate players.
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