Epiphone acoustic
| May 30, 2024 |

Easy Acoustic Guitar Songs for Beginners: Start Strumming Today

When you first picked up the guitar, you probably didn’t envision yourself practicing scales and doing exercises. No, you probably saw yourself playing along to your favorite songs.

While practicing scales can be a vital part of improving your craft, there’s nothing quite like learning guitar chords and playing a real song—at home alone, with your friends, or onstage at your local open mic.

Of course, when you’re learning, not every acoustic song will be within reach. Some take time and effort (like learning guitar tabs or a barre chord) to master. But some simple songs are perfect for beginners—even without getting a guitar lesson. We’ve compiled this list of easy acoustic guitar songs to have you strumming along in no time.

Song Selection Criteria

What makes a song easy to learn on acoustic guitar? It’s an excellent question.

What comes easy to one player may not come easy to another. We all have different playing experiences, hand sizes, acoustic guitar types, and skills.

That said, some elements can help make a song easier for amateur guitarists. As we chose these beginner guitar songs, we took the following factors into account:

  • The chords used – Frankly, some guitar chords are easier to play than others. A two-finger E minor is easier to play than a B minor barre chord. As we browsed our easy guitar song playlists, we kept an ear out for those beginner-friendly open chords, prioritizing them over more complex guitar tabs or voicings.
  • The number of chord changes – We also factored in the number of different chords in the acoustic guitar song. Because each guitar chord change involves repositioning your hand, it’s always easier to start with a handful of the basics. We aimed to select tracks that use four or fewer open chords.
  • The tempo – When you’re a beginner, one of the hardest parts of playing along to a song is changing chords on time. The guitar chord changes in fast songs happen faster, so whenever possible, we stuck with slower, mid-tempo beginner guitar songs. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to adjust your fingering.
  • The prominence of the guitar – At the very beginning of your guitar career, you may find it more approachable to “copy” what the artist is doing on the recording. So, the more clearly you can hear the acoustic guitar, the easier you may find it to play along. That doesn’t mean a song needs an acoustic guitar for you to play along, but it can make your life easier.

As you move beyond this list and start looking for other easy guitar songs to learn, take these criteria with you. Listen to how often the chords change and how fast the tune is, and you’ll soon be able to identify if a song is worth tackling at your skill level.

Image: Hummingbird Standard Rosewood, Rosewood Burst

10 of the Top Easy Acoustic Guitar Songs

Our goal with this list was to give beginners of any skill level some simple, inspiring, easy guitar songs to learn. Our selection includes songs from various eras and genres, so you can pick and choose your favorites and start playing.

1. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac

Take one listen to “Dreams,” and you’ll hear its simplicity on full display. The verses bounce back and forth between F and G, while the choruses add a little flavor to those chords without amping up the difficulty. Sprinkle in an A minor in the instrumental bridge, and you have yourself an exceptional first song.

2. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

As poignant today as it was upon release in 1988, the original “Fast Car” is a beginner’s favorite for a reason. With a capo on the second fret, you can play along using those familiar C, G, and E minor shapes.

The chord changes may feel a little fast at first, but once you recognize the similarities in the chord shapes, you can find economical ways to change between them.

3. Love Me Do – The Beatles

Would any beginner acoustic guitar song list be complete without The Beatles? And there’s no better introductory track to learn than the one that started it all: “Love Me Do,” their debut hit single.1

Bobbing back and forth between amateur-friendly G, C, and D chords, this classic is always a crowd-pleaser. With enough practice, you can add in the harmonica part and hit the stage solo!

4. Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash

If you can play “Love Me Do,” you can learn this Johnny Cash classic—it uses the same three chords. We love “Ring of Fire” as an easy guitar song because of its Western feel.

Listen to the bass notes, and you’ll hear them alternate between the C and the G. As you become comfortable with the chord changes and the timing, try to mimic this lumbering rhythm by moving your ring finger between the A and E strings.

5. Zombie – The Cranberries

Released in 1994, this dark and brooding song is surprisingly straightforward to play. Its plodding tempo gives you plenty of breathing room for your chord changes, and its beginner-friendly Em, C, and G chords should feel familiar by now.

“Zombie” also gives you an opportunity to practice a slash chord (in this case, D/F#), a chord in which the lowest note (the bass note) is not the root of the chord. Slash chords will come in handy as you expand your repertoire, so now is the perfect time to learn how to read and play them.

6. Good Riddance – Green Day

Always a slideshow favorite, Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” is another of those G, C, D, and Em songs that are easy enough to learn in a few practice sessions.

Don’t let that opening picking pattern scare you off; you can start by simply strumming the chords. Once you familiarize yourself with the chord changes, experiment with playing the individual notes in each chord—slowly, at first, then along with the song.

7. Valerie – Amy Winehouse

Okay, this song may have more than four chords, but we couldn’t overlook it. It’s that much of an acoustic guitar classic, and it’s an excellent song for exploring simple major seventh and minor seventh chords.

The Amy Winehouse cover of this song—originally by The Zutons—has become a coffeehouse staple over the years. Playing this tune in a group is a surefire way to start an impromptu round of karaoke.

8. Stick Season – Noah Kahan

If you blinked, you may have missed Noah Kahan’s meteoric rise to fame. This is the song that kicked things off, and it’s a pleasure to play (especially if you strum, rather than fingerpick, the chords).

Although “Stick Season” is up-tempo, it sticks to the same four chords—A, E, F#m, and D—in the same order the whole way through. This consistency makes it straightforward to play, and once you get a grip on the chord changes, you can work on nailing the folksy strumming pattern.

9. Waterfalls – TLC

This 90s R&B classic is unique on our list for not having an acoustic guitar in it. But the song works so well as a solo acoustic song that it’s hard not to include.

Learning “Waterfalls” on the acoustic guitar shows you that you can play anything on guitar—not just tunes with a prominent six-string. Listen to the chords as they shift, and try to match those changes with your own playing.

10. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Although there’s a lot of virtuosic playing on this track, its foundation is relatively approachable. First, strum along to the D, C, G (and occasional F), not worrying about the picking pattern. Once you feel comfortable with the shapes and timing, you can work on playing that distinctive pattern.

This is a classic jam song, so learning it will serve you well if you plan to eventually play with others.

Image: Gibson SJ-200 Standard, Tri-Burst, Exclusive

Tips on Practicing 

To master these songs—and others—it’s not enough to play along to the recording. Especially in your early stages of learning, it’s crucial to practice as much as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Start slow – As tempting as it is to play along to a song at full speed, learning at half speed is infinitely valuable. By slowing things down, you can nail the foundations. Once you’re comfortable, you can crank up the speed.
  • Play along to a metronome – If you’re not playing to the recording, try strumming along to a metronome to keep your rhythm, tempo, and timing consistent. You can use an app if you don’t have the real thing.
  • Practice often – Instead of sitting down for long, grueling sessions, consider picking your guitar up in short bursts a few times a day. Taking breaks will help you avoid fatigue and strain and may keep you from feeling “stuck” on a part.
  • Keep playing fun – Practicing can be frustrating, especially when you’re struggling with a new song with an unfamiliar chord. The easiest way to combat this feeling is to have fun. Pick songs you like, and remember why you’re learning in the first place—because you love music.

Best of Luck on Your Musical Journey

So, there you have it: Ten simple songs to kick off your journey with the acoustic guitar.

With a little practice, you’ll be able to play these tunes with your eyes closed—and hundreds of others along the way. Be patient, play often, and before you know it, you’ll be able to jam along with any song you put your mind to.

For more beginner-friendly resources, check out the Gibson Gazette—home to acoustic guitar maintenance tips, artist interviews, and more. 


  1. Rolling Stone. 50 Years Ago Today: The Beatles Released Their Debut Single, ‘Love Me Do’. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/50-years-ago-today-the-beatles-released-their-debut-single-love-me-do-97574/