Everyone knows it takes a lot of skill and a lot of practice to be able to play the guitar. Begin able to play easy guitar songs everyone knows means that you can impress people with your playing and even have a sing-along. Imagine sitting around the campfire with the ones you love and playing acoustic guitar songs to impress them. In this article, we are looking at the easiest guitar songs that everyone will know so that you can get others involved and enjoy the guitar with family and friends.
1. John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads
We’re kicking off our list with the classic country singer John Denver and his 1971 song. This is a great signature song from the artist and a lot of people will know the lyrics to sing along to. The lyrics conjure up images of the West Virginia mountains and countryside and the overall tune definitely has that homey feel.
When you first start playing the guitar chords you’ll notice they’re super simple and are almost like a lullaby. The tempo is easy enough for a beginner guitarist and your fingers will strum along with the vocals simply.
Strumming the guitar is an excellent way to get other people to sing along with your guitar playing. There is a nice arpeggio used in the piece as well that can be a special touch for those times when you’re playing alone. Whatever way you choose to play this piece, it still stands as an easy guitar song that everyone who you play it for will know.
2. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
Many people may recognize this song from Despicable Me which was released in 2010. However, before it joined the Minions on the big screen this country rock piece was famed for its singalong qualities. The hook is really catchy and it’s hard not to notice the background tune with its upbeat feeling. All you have to do is get your guitar playing down and then match up the vocals to go along with it.
We’ve included this song in our list of guitar songs because it can teach a beginner some great music theory on singing and playing acoustic guitar at the same time. The bass notes have a punchy feel to them that takes you to a New Orleans jazz bar. The lyrics have their own unique feeling that almost feels like a poem and you may even want to add in some words of your own.
A lot of people will recognize this song and it can really get a crowd going if you can master the guitar technique correctly. This piece is one of those acoustic guitar songs that will develop your skills for playing and signing along at the same time.
3. Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond is definitely an artist a lot of people will know, especially when you get to the chorus of the song. It has a great structure to the chords which makes it exciting to play. The into starts out with a soft ballad feel and then the intensity grows gradually as you make your way into the chorus. There’s also the instrumental part in the background that provides those wonderful harmonies and gives the entire song a much more colorful melody.
This song is so well known that it will make the perfect acoustic guitar song for back yard parties and camping trips. The strumming technique used throughout is easy for a beginner to learn and you may also want to use your arpeggio skills to for that extra bit of flavor.
Adding in the lyrics to the song is simple as well as long as you can play the correct rhtyhm throughout. Even if you don’t have a whole host of people around you when you perform, you can still enjoy belting out this Diamond classic alone. If you’re looking for easy acoustic guitar songs that everyone will know and love, this one is a brilliant choice.
4. Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
Let’s move into the hard rock genre with a twist on glam metal with Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses. This is another great song to cover on the guitar that a lot of people will know and sing along to. You don’t need to be able to play the guitar like Slash in order to nail the chord progressions used throughout this piece. There are also areas that give you license to add your own little flair into the song and riff a bit on your instrument.
A technique that you will see used throughout this song is string skipping. It’s a piece that will put your fingerstyling to its ultimate test. The great thing about the song is that it contains multiple different aspects so that you can choose to focus on one specific part at a time. You may want to tackle the rhythm with some simple strumming to start off with as this will form the basis of the song. The bassline may also help you with this.
It may come as a surprise to many beginners that this song actually only contains three songs. It was Slash’s playing that made the song come alive and gives it that mesmerizing melody that harmonizes perfectly with the rest of the band.
5. Bob Dylan – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Many people think that this song was created by Guns N’ Roses but it was actually covered by them and originally written by Bob Dylan. There have been many different renditions of the piece of the years, including by Eric Clapton, which is what makes this song so well known today.
The riff used in the opening of the song is enough to get any guitarist excited about playing the piece. Within the first few lines you are set up for a hit. When you get to that chorus make sure you are strumming with the right forcefullness so that the song will get everyone up and singing along with you.
6. Simon and Garfunkel – Mrs. Robinson
You’ll be hard pushed to find anyone in America who doesn’t know the infamous song about Mrs. Robinson. Whether it’s just the chorus or the heys they know, this song is definitely worth mentioning in our acoustic guitar songs list. The rhythm is lively to get everyone singing along and the timing as well as the strumming pattern is perfect for beginners.
The chords used in the song make for a great finger exercise for budding guitar players. The fingerstyling of the song can also make the overall playing of the piece sound much more like a pro. If you can’t get the fingerstyling down then strumming along is perfectly fine too because it won’t make a difference to the harmonics used throughout the piece.
We can’t emphasize enough how important the strumming pattern is in this song. The way that you play the guitar is crucial for the rhtyhm and how the vocals will fit along with the chords. It can be a tricky song to master but once you have it right, everyone will be able to recognize your playing.
7. Eagles – Hotel California
We’ll go into more soft rock with the 1977 Eagles classic, Hotel California. There’s a few tricks you can learn in terms of fingerstyling in this piece that will help you develop your acoustic guitar skills moving forward. It’s one of those songs that gets everyone singing along when you play it in front of a crowd. If you feel like you’ve nailed the basic part of the song you can try out the arpeggiated chords and also the hammer-ons and sliding techniques that are used int he original piece.
Professional guitarists enjoy covering this song because of the long guitar solo featured in the intro. If you’re only just beginning to play the guitar save the arpeggio chords for later on and just focus on a basic strumming pattern. Having a a simple strumming technique means that you can get all of those melodies and harmonies down so that the song sounds right from start to finish.
8. Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
What list of guitar classics would be complete without some Cash. This is a song that everyone will know and dance along to. The rhythm is lively and it will definitely put your finger flexibility and coordination to the test. These are skills that form the foundations of any guitarists abilities so it’s a great song to build on these techniques. Being able to keep up with a song that has more of an allegro movement like Ring of Fire will help pave the way to playing much more lively and quicker songs.
Even though this song wasn’t originally recorded by Cash, his version is easily the most famous. The song was made popular by the country singer as his fame and recognition propelled the piece to the infamy it has today.
9. U2 – With or Without You
The reason songs become well known is because they either have lyrics that can easily be memorized by the masses or they have a hook that is so catchy it’s hard to shake it. With or Without You by U2 utilizes that catchy hook technique to make it so recognizable. It’s a song that only uses a few simple lyrics over and over but it will definitely get people singing along with you.
So many guitarists enjoy playing this piece because of the chords. Even the most novice of beginners will be able to master those few chords after practicing for a few hours. There is also a lot of room for more seasoned guitarists to use their own flair to add some uniqueness to the song. You can choose to fingerpick your way through the melody or use a strumming pattern. You may even want to combine the two for a really unique sound.
10. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Who doesn’t know Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen? It’s been recognized in the Grammy Hall of Fame and became an all time bestseller for the group. Even now the song it still highly streamed online. The popularity of the piece has spanned generations from the time of its original release in the 70s.
This song has a more progressive rock feeling to it. What can be difficult for beginner guitarists is that it doesn’t have a clear cut structure or a chorus. It has a long intro that leads into a power ballad and then features highs and lows as the intensity of the song builds. The brilliant part is that there are guitar solos that span large amounts of the song and rock sections which can be fun for a fledgling guitar player to learn. We’ve included the song here because we aim to push your playing skills to new levels as well introduce a new range of techniques you may not have experienced before.
11. Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Now, this song won’t be the upbeat piece to play at parties but it’s still a simple guitar tune and it’s very well recognized by everyone. It features a beautiful melody and a slow rhythm that will make it an ideal piece for practicing your guitar skills. The lyrical structure is easy as well which could become useful if you want to start playing and singing at the same time.
What’s funny about this song is that it actually wasn’t that popular when it was originally released in the 80s. It was actually the film Shrek that increased its popularity and now more and more artists cover and perform the song as part of their gig sets.
Playing Hallelujah you will notice that it sounds its best arpeggiated. This is the perfect time to master this technique because you will definitely need this skill throughout your guitar playing. The into is pretty seamless and has basic fingerpicking that can be picked up by children and adults alike.
12. The Cranberries – Zombie
This hit is probably the most well known Cranberries song of all time. The grunge track was originally penned in 1994 as a protest song against the zombification of society. It has a catchy hook and a good refrain that will be recognized by a lot of people that you play for.
Zombie is one of those songs that you know will sound right no matter how well or poorly you play your instrument. The chords are a messy arpeggio mix so you don’t want to be as clean cut as you would with a country song. The melody can accompany the vocals well but remember that you are playing grunge so you can give it some personality and flair.
13. R.E.M. – The One I Love
We’ll round out our list with a love song that is well known and is fun to sing along to. The rhythm of the song is a great challenge for beginners and the arpeggios will also help you develop your skills. We would recommend that you do use arpeggiatd chords for this one because of the song’s rhythm. Adding in a couple of bass notes as you go along will also help solidify that rhythm and tempo.
This song hit the Billboard Hot 100 songs list and there’s definitely some charm to the piece from R.E.M. What’s unique about the song is that the chorus only has one word that is said over and over again and gets a good backing treatment from the production crew. It’s a piece that you can definitely belt out with your friends and family.
There are plenty more songs that are easy to play on the guitar that we haven’t been able to include in our list. What makes a song easy to play and recognizable to people is knowing your rhythms and instrumental parts well. While a lot of song listed here won’t be so exciting, they can definitely help you develop your guitar playing chops and can also help you learn to play the guitar and sing along at the same time. Every song here can be used to improve your playing and in no time you will be able to play those well-known favorites for your friends and family.