Metallica were the pioneers for the genre we now know as thrash metal and they started their long and affluent career in 1981. They are part of what the music industry calls the big four – Slayer, Megadeath, Anthrax and Metallica.
Throughout the years a lot of things changed for the band, including the lineup a couple of times. Throughout their time together they always remained true to their original style. If you are a Metallica fan then we have some easy Metallica songs on guitar for you to learn. We will act as your guitar teacher, giving you video tutorials for each track so you can learn to play these on either an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. Let’s get started.
1. Nothing Else Matters
One of Metallica’s most popular songs is Nothing Else Matters. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the band, there’s a high probability that you have heard of and are familiar with this track. Thanks to the slower tempo of the song, it’s an ideal one to start our list with.
The track was originally released on the fifth album from the band titled Metallica in 1991. Fans will know this album by its other name, The Black Album, which was coined thanks to the completely black album cover. It was written by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, with Bob Rock acting as the producer. You can learn the beginning intro solo of the song as a novice because of how simple it is but the power chords become more complex towards the middle of the track.
2. Enter Sandman
Next up on our list of easy Metallica songs from the same album as Nothing Else Matters was Enter Sandman – the lead single from that album. The main theme of the song was written about a child’s nightmare and Hetfield was the one who originally penned the lyrics. The single Enter Sandman achieved platinum status in the US with more than one million copies sold.
Enter Sandman has music that was also written by Hetfield along with Kirk, Hammet and Ulrich. They said that the main power chords and riff featured in the track were inspired by Soundgarden. It’s easily one of the most popular Metallica songs out there today and the album was also a popular one too.
In the last part of the Enter Sandman song, there is a bedtime prayer included which is titled Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The last part of Enter Sandman finishes off with a version of Hush Little Baby done in true James Hetfield style.
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
Featured on the album titled Ride the Lightning, For Whom the Bell Tolls was inspired by the novel of the same name which was written by Ernest Hemingway. For Whom the Bell Tolls deals with how death is processed in modern times of war. The novel and the song were set in the Spanish Civil War.
Cliff Burton was the original writer of the into main riff and he did so before he was part of the band. He played it with his second band as a pure instrumental back in 1979. For Whom the Bell Tolls has been recorded many times lives and it’s an incredibly popular track for the band.
4. Seek & Destroy
A song from Metallica’s first album called Kill ‘Em All, Seek & Destroy is the first track the band ever recorded. It is also the third most-played song by the band when they perform live, currently sitting at 1,525 times. The meaning behind the track is the urge to want to kill someone but not following through and actually doing it.
The song is indicative of the early years of the band and it’s still one of the best songs they have ever recorded. Because of the fast tempo, it can be quite a challenge for new guitarists to pick up but it’s still fun to play. Just practice it at a slower pace first and then once you feel more confident, slowly pick up the speed.
5. Creeping Death
Another song many guitarists like to learn as one of the beginner Metallica songs is Creeping Death. It was released in 1984 and was featured on the album Ride the Lightning. Being set in ancient Egypt, the song was originally meant to be from the perspective of the Angel of Death. There’s a lot of heavy inspiration from the Bible here and mainly from the Book of Exodus.
Kirk Hammett is responsible for the guitar parts and the main riff in this one which is talking about the plagues of Egypt. It was written when Hammett was only 16. Creeping Death is featured high up in many lists of Metallica’s top ten songs and they enjoy playing it live.
6. Master of Puppets
Every metalhead is a fan of Master of Puppets because it has everything that you want from a song. There are powerful lyrics, a stunning solo, and the main riff that makes you want to pick up your guitar and start jamming. Metallica has played this song live the most out of any song they have ever recorded.
The song was released on the album of the same name in 1986 and Master of Puppets is talking to us about drugs. It shows how quickly drugs can change your life and how they will cause you to lose control so that eventually you become a puppet.
The most exciting part for any guitarist, no matter what skill level, is the spider riff. This is featured at the beginning of the song. There’s also a lot of downpicking so you will need to be familiar with this playing technique if you want to master this track.
7. The Unforgiven
Another song from the Black Album is The Unforgiven and it is a power ballad that was written by Ulrich, Hammett and Hetfield. The horn that you hear at the beginning of the track was from the original movie of the same name and it was reversed so that the source could be hidden. The lyrics are dealing with the internal fights and struggles against people who try to dominate and control others.
The beginning of this Metallica song is played on the acoustic guitar so you can learn this on your beginner instrument. The verses are heavier and you will want to swap over to your electric guitar for these parts. It’s a fun one to play and is an easy Metallica song ideal for novices.
8. Fade to Black
Fade to Black is the first power balled that Metallica ever recorded and it was featured on the 1984 Ride the Lightning album. Everyone was part of writing the song include the late bassist, Cliff Burton. The main theme of the song was about suicide as Lars and James were obsessed with the concept of death at that time.
Towards the end of the song, there is a guitar solo that is easily one of the best solos of all time. It features in almost every live performance they do and it’s a huge crowd-pleaser.
9. Harvester of Sorrow
Harvester of Sorrow was the first track to be released from the album And Justice for All. It gives you truly raw Metallica in 1988 when they were first starting out in their music career. The story in the song is about a man who is slowly descending into madness, taking out all of his anger on those he loves along the way.
If you ever want the perfect example of thrash metal, this is the song to go for. It’s also really easy to play because the tempo is a lot slower than most of the other songs that the band recorded.
10. The Memory Remains
The single that was the lead track from the 1997 album Reload and it features Marianne Faithfull. James knew she could add something different to the song and her input gives it that eerie vibe that the track is known for.
The song was written from the viewpoint of an artist who is losing their fame, leading them to go mad. For some reason the band never really play this song live even though it’s very popular amongst their fans. It’s a good song for beginners because it uses open strings and is probably the easiest song on our list.
11. No Leaf Clover
The song No Leaf Clover was written to be performed specifically at the S&M concert which was in 1999. The band played along with a symphonic orchestra and they were conducted by Michael Kamen. The track starts out with the orchestra playing and then Hetfield’s guitar comes in afterward. It varies between clean and heavier sections and overall it sounds great. It is a popular song for the band and is still played on their tours. The orchestral section is usually played from the footage of the original concert if they do play it live now.
That’s the end of our list of easy Metallica songs on guitar. We hope you enjoyed the selection we’ve given you and that they help you widen your skills. Remember to take a look at the rest of our website for other easy guitar guides on various genres of music that will help you develop your technical skills and abilities as a beginner guitarist. Happy playing!
What is the easiest Metallica song to play on guitar?
We’ve included all of the easiest Metallica songs you can play on your guitar in our guide above. All of the tracks we listed here are ideal for beginners because they use simple chords and strumming patterns that should be basic enough for a novice to master. These tracks will also help you learn more skills that will help you become a better all-round guitarist.
What is the easiest metal song to play?
If you are interested in playing other tracks from this genre that aren’t Metallica’s songs then check out our guide for easy metal songs on guitar. This is a similar guide to the one above that gives you an in-depth look at some of the most popular metal songs with tutorials so that you can play them easily as a beginner guitarist.