As a beginner, you want to avoid using a capo as much as possible so you can hone the right skills needed to master the guitar. We’ve put together a list of easy guitar songs that don’t use a capo. All of these songs follow a simple chord progression and the strumming patterns are ideal for beginner guitar players. If you’re just starting out and want to find songs to play, this list will be incredibly helpful for you.
Many of the songs we have included here use four simple chords which are the basics and easy to play. They are also open chords so you won’t need to use your capo. There are no tricky guitar techniques or advanced chords you will need to know to play these songs.
Before you begin to look at the songs in this list make sure you have the basic G, D, E and C chords down. We have also included videos and guitar tabs for each song you can easily begin to play them right away.
1. Riptide by Vance Joy
Riptide was originally composed and written by Vance Joy on the ukulele. However, the chords are easily transposed onto the acoustic guitar for the purposes of our list. If you want to sound exactly like the original you will need to use the capo on the first fret of the guitar. The guitar tab we’ve included uses the chords without the capo, but just be mindful that you won’t sound exactly like the song.
In Riptide you will need to know four basic chords which are G, C, F and A minor. There are three separate strumming patterns used in the song but these will be easy enough for beginner guitar. The intro, verse and chorus all of have separate strumming patterns and you can hear these by listening to the original song. Our advice would be to start out with this acoustic guitar song as it leads you in gently to playing the guitar without your capo.
2. All of Me by John Legend
John Legend is exactly what his name says – a legend for romantic ballads and easy guitar songs for beginners. All of Me was originally penned by Legend as a dedication to his lovely wife, Chrissy Teigen. The love ballad went on to be his first number one chart-topper in the Billboard Hot 100.
As with Riptide, the original version of this song does use a capo where, if you want to sound like the original, you will need to place the capo on the first fret. But, as before, we’re providing you with the easy guitar version where you don’t need the capo at all. The chords you’ll need to master on the guitar for this one are C, D, G and E minor. It also includes two separate strumming patterns. For the introduction to the song and the verses, you will do a DDD DDD DDD DDD strumming pattern. In the chorus, you will use a D DU DU strumming pattern.
3. Hey Soul Sister by Train
The lead singer of Train, Patrick Monahan, was the mind behind Hey Soul Sister. He had co-writers in Espen Lind and Amund Bjorklund. Much like Riptide, this is another ukulele song that transposes well onto the acoustic guitar because it doesn’t use a capo. The song starts out playing the ukulele and then the vocals come in with a drum background. Because it was originally penned for the ukulele it’s great for beginners who want to learn to play on guitar without a capo.
In this song you will need to learn the D, G, C and E minor chords to be able to play on acoustic without the capo using open chords. The strumming pattern stays the same throughout and uses a D DU DU DU D DU DU DU rhythm.
Ed Sheeran is an incredibly popular guitar player and many of his pieces have been made into easy guitar songs for beginners to learn. In the original Sheeran does use a capo but we’ve got the chords you need where you can just use open chords.
The chords without using a capo include G, C, D and E minor for the verses. You will then go on to use D, C, G and E minor again for the pre-chorus, chorus and interlude. The strumming pattern is perfect for a beginner to play with the DDD DDD DDD DDD setup. There are some small changes to the strumming pattern but you can easily pick these up by listening to the original song.
5. Happier by Ed Sheeran
Why not continue in the same vein and add in another Ed Sheeran song to the mix. This one uses the acoustic guitar to create a sad and melancholy love song which is Sheeran’s signature style. There are options to play the chord professions with or without the capo depending on what you want to sound like. At the beginning of the song you will hear the guitar riff which is then used throughout.
There are only three chords you will need to know in order to play this song as a beginner. You will use the open chords F, C and A minor. The strumming pattern is the same throughout the piece with a DU DU DU DU D D D rhythm.
6. Wonderwall by Oasis
Wonderwall is probably the top played song on the acoustic guitar and one that every beginner usually learns to play first. It’s an incredibly popular ballad by Oasis that uses a clean and crisp strumming pattern. Wonderwall is a very easy song that cab be played by beginners to make a pleasing sound even with little experience on the strings.
To get the sound of the original song you will want to add a capo onto the second fret of your guitar. This is one of the songs that can easily be turned into a non-capo piece by following a simple chord progression. You will use variations of G, E, D and A chords throughout to recreate the song on guitar. The strumming pattern is also easy to pick up if you listen to the original.
7. Turn the Page by Bob Seger
Turn the Page is a wonderfully simple song that is easy for beginners to pick up and play. While the original does make use of a capo you can still master the strings without using one. The song was originally penned to reflect what a rock artist experiences when they are on the road touring and playing gigs.
The song begins with an edgy cowboy kind of style riff on the guitar that has the key of E minor. The rest of the chord progressions you will need to use on the guitar a D, A and E minor. There’s some minor variations in there that you will need to pickup but nothing that isn’t enough for a newbie to learn.
8. Dusk Till Dawn by Zayn ft. Sia
Another one of our easy guitar songs for beginners is Dusk Till Dawn by Zayn. The artist penned this song back in 2017 and the chord progression makes it ideal for beginners. You will use a chord progression of F, C, G and A minor if you want to play without using a capo on your guitar. There’s also another melody that sits behind this one which has been arpeggiated. This melody is easy to learn too if you want to master the entire song.
For Dusk Till Dawn you will need to know a D D UU DD strumming pattern. These chords and patterns stay the same for every section in the song which includes the verses, pre-choruses and choruses which really simplifies the learning process.
9. Havana by Camila Cabello
This was one of the most popular songs of 2018 and quickly became an easy guitar song that many beginners wanted to learn. You can play this on your guitar without using the capo to recreate the Young Thug rapper’s most iconic song to date.
There’s only three chords in this progression for your guitar and they’re super easy open chords to learn. You will need an E minor, C major and B7 chord to be able to play the song. The entire piece revolves around these chords which makes it so ideal for beginner guitarists. The strumming pattern follows in this simplicity with a D DUDUDU UD UDU rhythm used throughout. You can refer to the tabs and original song below if you want to learn this easy guitar piece.
10. Fly Me to the Moon by Bart Howard
Fly Me to the Moon is best known to be sung by Frank Sinatra but was actually written by the dynamic duo Bart Howard and Kaye Ballard. It was originally written in 1954 so it’s definitely an oldie but still a classic and easy song for the guitar.
The chord progression, if you want to play the piece without your capo, is C, D minor, G, A minor, E minor and F. There are some variations to the chords as you play but all of them are easy to learn, open chords and they shouldn’t create many problems if you are a beginner. The strumming pattern is actually one taken from folk guitar and follows the D D DUDU rhythm.
11. Love Story by Taylor Swift
Love Story was Taylor Swift’s breakout hit when she first started out as a young popstress. The chord progression on guitar is super simple and the strumming patterns follow suit which makes it ideal for beginners.
The chords for the song include D, A, G and B minor. For the first bar you will only be playing downstrokes on your guitar but the next part the strumming pattern changes into a D DU U DU rhythm.
12. A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
Going back to 2011 we’re looking at another great song for the guitar without your capo from Christina Perri. This pop song was featured in the film Twilight and was also popular amongst piano players thanks to its strong chord progression used throughout. The strumming pattern is incredibly easy and this would be the perfect piece for a beginner to start out with when learning popular music.
The chords used without your capo making them open are F, C, G and A minor. You will also need to use a D DU DU strumming pattern to complete the sound.
13. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd definitely knows how to turn up a backyard barbecue with their music. The open chord riff used in this piece is the reason it’s made it onto our easy songs list. The three-chord harmony uses G, D and C throughout. The strumming pattern is simple as well and doesn’t change much throughout the piece so you can pick it up easily by listening to the original.
14. Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan
No list of guitar songs whether for beginners or experts would be complete without a Bob Dylan piece. This tune is played by almost every guitarist you will find in bars and music venues around the world. It’s definitely a great classic to add into your repertoire if you want to learn more songs without your capo.
The strumming pattern follows the same sort of rhythm throughout the piece. The open chords you will need to learn to master this one are G, A minor and D.
We hope you enjoyed our list of songs to play on your guitar without using a capo. If you have found any other songs that are easy to play make sure to mention them in the comments below. Happy playing!