A man playing guitar, while a woman and her dog play.

Easy Popular Songs to Play on Guitar: Mastering Hits in Minutes

Guitar enthusiasts, welcome to your new favorite jam session guide! Whether you’re a beginner strumming your first G chord or a seasoned player looking for some easy tunes to add to your repertoire, this list of easy popular songs to play on guitar will have you hooked. Let’s dive into the world of acoustic melodies and catchy choruses that are not only fun to play but also a hit at any gathering.

The Magic of Three Chords

When starting out on the guitar, a good practice is to have a repertoire of your favorite songs ready to play. The trick is to choose songs that are both easy to memorize and easy to learn. These tunes are not only iconic but also incredibly beginner-friendly. With simple chord progressions played in a loop, they create a sense of familiarity that even non-musicians can appreciate.

Strumming Patterns and Chord Progressions

When you listen closely to a great song, you’ll notice that the strumming pattern and chord progression are the backbone of any hit song. Take “Wonderwall” by Oasis, for example. It’s a four chord song with a staccato style strumming pattern that’s as distinctive as the lyrics themselves.

The same goes for “Hey Soul Sister” by Train – a simple strumming pattern paired with a four chord progression that’s easy to follow.

The Essential Guitar Chords for Beginners: Unlocking the World of Popular Music

Two young men sitting by the seaside, while one man plays the guitar.

For anyone aspiring to play the guitar, mastering a few basic chords is the first step towards playing a wide array of songs. Whether you’re interested in pop, rock, country, or folk music, these fundamental chords form the backbone of countless popular tunes, making them essential for all beginners.

The Must-Know Chords

  1. G Major: Known for its full, rich sound, the G major chord is a staple in many songs. Its versatility makes it a favorite in genres ranging from country to rock.
  2. C Major: Often paired with G major, C major has a cheerful and uplifting tone. It’s a gateway to playing many folk and pop songs and is essential for chord progressions.
  3. D Major: Recognized for its bright, resonant quality, the D major chord often appears in upbeat and catchy tunes. It’s relatively easy to learn and essential for many simple songs.
  4. E Minor: As one of the easiest chords to play, E minor is crucial for beginners. Its somber tone adds depth to a variety of songs and is frequently used in rock and ballads.
  5. A Minor: This chord brings a mellow and slightly melancholic sound, perfect for adding emotion to a song. It’s also one of the simpler chords to master on the guitar.
  6. E Major: Known for its clear and vibrant sound, E major is often found in blues and rock music. It’s a fundamental chord that helps in understanding basic guitar theory.

Why These Chords Matter

  • Versatility: These chords are widely used across various genres, allowing beginners to play a diverse range of songs.
  • Foundation for Progression: Learning these chords provides a strong foundation for advancing to more complex chords and techniques.
  • Songwriting Tool: Understanding these basic chords opens up opportunities for beginners to start experimenting with songwriting.
  • Boosts Confidence: Being able to play recognizable songs early on boosts confidence and motivation in learning the instrument.

Practical Tips for Beginners

  • Start Slow: Focus on getting the finger positions right before increasing speed.
  • Practice Transitions: Smoothly transitioning between chords is key to playing songs fluidly.
  • Use a Metronome: This helps in maintaining a consistent rhythm while playing.
  • Learn Songs: Applying chords to real songs enhances understanding and makes practice enjoyable.
  • Regular Practice: Consistency is crucial for muscle memory and mastering these chords.

Easy Pop Songs for Every Guitarist

A group of young people at a campsite, listening to a man play guitar.

Let’s get into the meat of our list, shall we? Here are some easy guitar songs that are perfect for any beginner guitar player or anyone looking to add some new songs to their playlist:

1. “7 Years” by Lukas Graham

“7 Years” by Lukas Graham is a song that tells a story, a narrative that unfolds over a simple and beautiful piano melody which translates well to the guitar. For beginner guitar players, this song is a gem because it revolves around a simple chord progression that allows for a focus on timing and emotion rather than complex fingerwork.

The chords are standard, open chords that most beginners learn first, and the strumming pattern is straightforward, making it an excellent song for practicing rhythm and chord transitions. The song’s slow tempo gives beginners ample time to think about their finger placement for the next chord, which is crucial in the early stages of learning.

2. “Ride” by Twenty One Pilots

“Ride” by Twenty One Pilots is an energetic song that features a reggae-like rhythm, which can be a fun new strumming pattern for beginners to learn. The song is built around a repetitive chord progression that uses basic chords, making it easy for beginners to memorize and play without having to look at a chord chart constantly.

The simplicity of the chord shapes and the repetitive nature of the progression means that once a player gets the hang of the pattern, they can play the entire song with ease. This allows beginners to focus on their strumming hand and getting the groove of the song down, which is essential for developing a good sense of timing.

3. “Kids” by MGMT

“Kids” by MGMT is a synth-heavy track that translates surprisingly well to the acoustic guitar. The song is based on a four chord progression that repeats throughout, making it another fantastic choice for beginners. The chords used are among the first that guitarists learn, and the strumming pattern is simple and repetitive.

This song is particularly good for practicing chord changes and getting comfortable with moving from one chord to another quickly and smoothly. Additionally, the upbeat tempo and catchy melody of “Kids” make it a fun song to play and sing along to, which is always a bonus when you’re just starting out.

4. “All of Me” by John Legend

John Legend’s “All of Me” is a heartfelt ballad that has become a modern classic. For guitarists, this song is a great introduction to playing ballads. It features a simple chord progression with a few basic chords that are essential to any beginner’s toolkit.

The tempo is slow, which gives new players time to thin about their finger placement. Moreover, the song’s structure allows for a simple strumming pattern or, for those looking to challenge themselves a bit more, a basic fingerpicking technique.

The versatility in how it can be played makes “All of Me” a perfect song for beginners to experiment with and find their own style.

5. “Let It Be” by The Beatles

The Beatles’ “Let It Be” is one of the most iconic songs in the history of popular music, and it’s also wonderfully accessible for beginner guitarists. The song is built around a classic four chord progression with a simple strumming pattern.

The chords used are fundamental to any guitar player’s education, and they are played in a sequence that is common in many other songs, which helps in learning other music as well. The melody is slow and steady, providing a good practice ground for maintaining a consistent rhythm.

“Let It Be” is not only an easy song to learn but also a great song to build confidence for a beginner.

6. “Riptide” by Vance Joy

“Riptide” by Vance Joy is a modern indie folk classic that has a very distinctive ukulele riff which can be easily adapted to the guitar. This song is particularly beginner-friendly due to its use of just a few simple chords and a repeating progression throughout the song.

The strumming pattern is lively and involves a mix of down and upstrokes that can help beginners get comfortable with different strumming techniques. Additionally, the song’s chorus and verses use the same chords, which means that once you’ve got the pattern down, you can play the whole song seamlessly.

7. “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” is a pop hit that features a catchy rhythm and a tropical house vibe. On the guitar, the song uses a capo which allows beginners to play the song using open chord shapes that are easier to handle.

The chord progression is repetitive and uses a minimal number of chords, making it easy to memorize and play. The rhythm of the song is consistent and can be played with a simple strumming pattern, which is great for practicing timing and strumming accuracy.

“Shape of You” is a fun and modern song that beginner guitarists can quickly learn and impress their friends with.

8. “My Church” by Maren Morris

“My Church” by Maren Morris is a country song with a rock edge that’s perfect for beginners who want to explore different genres on the guitar. The song has a straightforward chord progression that uses basic chords, and the strumming pattern is simple yet driving, giving the song its anthemic feel.

The tempo is moderate, which is ideal for beginners as it’s not too fast for keeping up with the chord changes. The song also offers the opportunity to practice the minor pentatonic scale during the solo sections for those who are ready to venture into playing lead guitar.

9. “With or Without You” by U2

“With or Without You” by U2 is a powerful song that’s extremely simple to play on guitar. The song is famous for its haunting ambiance and emotional depth, which can be conveyed even with simple instrumentation.

For beginners, this song is a great choice because it uses a repeating chord sequence throughout, and the strumming pattern is slow and steady. This allows for a focus on the dynamics of playing, learning how to build intensity throughout the song without the need for complex playing techniques.

10. “Time of the Season” by The Zombies

“Time of the Season” by The Zombies is an oldie but a goodie with a simple three chord progression that’s easy for beginners to master. The song has a laid-back groove that’s achieved with a straightforward rhythm pattern.

The chords are basic and familiar, and they repeat in a way that’s easy to remember. This song is a great example of how a few chords and a catchy melody can create a timeless hit. It’s also a good practice piece for beginners to work on their timing and to experiment with adding a little bit of a swing feel to their strumming.

11. “I Wanna Be There” by Blessed Union of Souls

“I Wanna Be There” by Blessed Union of Souls is a heartfelt tune that resonates with many due to its themes of love and support. For the beginner guitarist, this song is a treasure trove of simple open chords and a basic strumming pattern that can be picked up quickly.

The chord progression is repetitive and uses a combination of major and minor chords that are fundamental to any guitarist’s learning curve. The strumming pattern is consistent throughout the song, allowing beginners to practice maintaining a steady rhythm.

Additionally, the song’s structure is straightforward, making it easy to follow along and remember the sequence of parts.

12. “Horse With No Name” by America

“Horse With No Name” by America is famously known for its two-chord structure, making it one of the easiest songs for beginners to learn. The entire song revolves around just two chords, E minor and D6add9/F#, which are played with a simple strumming pattern.

This song is an excellent choice for absolute beginners as it allows them to focus on the basics of strumming and switching between two chords without overwhelming them. The rhythm is relaxed and the tempo is slow, giving new players plenty of time to get comfortable with the chord shapes and strumming technique.

13. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd is an iconic song that features a memorable intro riff and a simple chord progression. The song is a great introduction to playing individual notes and chords, as the intro riff is slow and melodic, which helps beginners get used to picking individual strings.

The chords used throughout the song are basic open chords, and the strumming pattern is straightforward. This song is also a good opportunity for beginners to practice transitions between picking and strumming, which is a valuable skill to develop.

14. “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals

“House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals is a classic tune that has been covered by countless artists. It features an arpeggiated picking pattern that is played using a sequence of open chords. This song is excellent for beginners who want to practice fingerpicking technique, as the picking pattern is repetitive and the chord shapes are simple and common.

The tempo of the song is moderate, which allows beginners to focus on the accuracy of their finger placement. Learning this song can give beginners a sense of accomplishment as they play a recognizable and timeless piece.

15. “Get It On Bang A Gong” by T-Rex

“Get It On Bang A Gong” by T-Rex is a rock classic with a groovy feel that’s infectious. The song is built around a few basic chords and a driving rhythm that’s fun to play. For beginners, this song is a great way to practice power chords and palm muting, which are techniques used in many rock songs.

The chord changes are not too fast, which makes it easier for beginners to play along with the song. The simplicity of the chord progression and the catchy riff make this song a quick learn and a staple for beginner guitarists.

16. “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” is a song that has been famously covered by Jimi Hendrix, but the original is much more accessible for beginners. The song’s chord progression is simple and cyclical, using just a few chords that repeat throughout the song.

This repetition allows beginners to get comfortable with the progression and focus on their strumming pattern. The song’s structure is also quite straightforward, with no complex bridges or interludes, making it easy to memorize and play.

17. “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band

“The Joker” by Steve Miller Band is a laid-back tune with a catchy guitar riff that’s easy to play. The song uses basic chords and a simple strumming pattern, making it ideal for beginners. The rhythm of the song is steady and doesn’t require fast chord changes, which can be challenging for new players.

Additionally, the song has a playful feel to it, which makes practicing it enjoyable. Learning “The Joker” is also a good way for beginners to start playing songs that incorporate a mixture of strumming and single-note riffs.

18. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival is an upbeat song with a country-rock edge. It’s a fantastic song for beginners due to its repetitive chord progression and straightforward strumming pattern.

The song uses a few basic chords that are essential for any beginner’s repertoire, and the fast tempo of the song is excellent for practicing strumming speed and accuracy. Despite the quicker pace, the chord changes are predictable and the structure of the song is simple, which helps beginners to build confidence and stamina in their playing.

19. Bob Dylan – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is a timeless classic that has been covered by many artists over the years. Its enduring appeal for guitar beginners lies in its simplicity and emotional depth. The song features a very straightforward chord progression that repeats throughout, typically G, D, Am, and then G, D, and the C chords, which are some of the first chords that guitarists learn.

The strumming pattern is also quite simple, with a gentle rhythm that allows for a lot of expressive playing. It’s a song that teaches beginners how to convey feeling through music, as the chord changes are slow, giving the player time to put real emotion into each strum.

20. Ben E. King – Stand By Me

“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King is an iconic song with a smooth and soulful melody that has captured the hearts of listeners for generations. For guitarists just starting out, this song is a great addition to their repertoire because it introduces the concept of a bassline within a chord structure.

The song revolves around a classic and easy-to-remember chord progression and incorporates a simple bassline that’s played within the chord shapes. This bassline helps beginners to develop their finger independence and timing. The rhythm is steady and not too fast, which is perfect for those still getting comfortable with changing chords smoothly.

21. Eagle Eye Cherry – Save Tonight

Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight” is a 90s hit that remains popular among acoustic guitar players for its catchy melody and laid-back vibe. The song is built on a repeating four-chord progression that’s easy to learn and play, making it a go-to for beginners.

The strumming pattern has a nice groove to it, yet it’s not overly complex, which helps beginners to focus on keeping a consistent rhythm. This song is also a good practice piece for learning to maintain the same strumming pattern throughout an entire song, which is a fundamental skill for any guitarist.

22. “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty

“Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty is a song that epitomizes the heartland rock genre. It’s a fantastic song for beginners due to its repetitive chord progression and the fact that it can be played with just a few simple chords.

The strumming pattern is straightforward and the tempo is moderate, which allows beginners to sing along while playing, a practice that can help with timing and rhythm.

Additionally, the song’s structure is very simple, with no complex bridges or solos, making it easy to memorize and perfect for beginners looking to add some sing-along classics to their setlist.

23. “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix

While Jimi Hendrix might be known for his virtuosic guitar skills, “Hey Joe” is a song that’s accessible to beginners. The chord progression is a continuous loop of C, G, D, A, and E, which are all open chords that are essential for beginners to master.

The song has a slower tempo, which gives new players time to switch between chords. Although Hendrix’s original has some more advanced lead guitar work, the rhythm guitar underneath is approachable for beginners and provides a solid foundation in blues-rock guitar playing. guitar songs for beginners guitar chords easy songs electric guitar simple chord progression played

24. “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath

“Paranoid” by Black Sabbath is one of the foundational tracks of heavy metal, and it’s surprisingly straightforward to play, making it a great introduction to the genre for beginners. The main riff is iconic and involves only a few power chords, which are simpler to play than full barre chords.

The song has a fast tempo, but the riff is repetitive and doesn’t require complex fingering or fast chord changes, allowing beginners to practice playing with speed and power without getting bogged down by intricate techniques.

25. “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” is a powerful ballad that has soared in popularity. For guitarists, this song is a great way to practice chord transitions and playing with emotion. The song uses a series of open chords that are common in many pop songs, making it a useful addition to a beginner’s practice routine.

The tempo is slow, which allows for more time to think about chord shapes and the strumming pattern is simple and repetitive, helping beginners to focus on the dynamics and feel of the song rather than complex playing techniques.

26. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynard Skynard

Lynard Skynard’s classic hit, “Sweet Home Alabama,” is a must-learn for guitar enthusiasts, especially those who love Southern rock. This song provides an excellent opportunity to master a variety of guitar techniques including strumming patterns, chord progressions, and basic lead guitar riffs. The song primarily uses three major chords, making it approachable for beginners.

The rhythmic strumming pattern and the iconic guitar riffs offer a fun challenge, allowing players to develop their timing and fingerpicking skills. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy melody make it a favorite at gatherings, making it a valuable addition to any guitarist’s repertoire.

27.”Love on the Weekend” by John Mayer

John Mayer’s “Love on the Weekend” is a smooth, laid-back track that’s perfect for guitarists looking to delve into a more mellow, acoustic style. The song features Mayer’s signature blend of soulful melodies and intricate guitar work. For beginners, this song is a great way to practice fingerpicking and chord changes in a relaxed tempo.

The chord progression is straightforward, with a focus on open chords and gentle strumming patterns. This song is particularly useful for players aiming to enhance their ability to convey emotion through their playing, as Mayer’s style is deeply expressive and nuanced.

28.”You Belong with Me” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me” is an ideal choice for budding guitarists interested in modern pop-country music. The song is known for its catchy melody and relatable lyrics, paired with a simple yet engaging chord progression. It mainly involves basic open chords, which are perfect for beginners to practice chord transitions smoothly.

The strumming pattern in this song is straightforward and consistent, providing an excellent foundation for mastering rhythm and timing. Additionally, learning this popular tune can be a fun way to improve singing and playing simultaneously, a skill highly valued in acoustic pop performances.

29.”Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison

Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” is a timeless classic that ranks high on the list of guitar songs for beginners. Its popularity stems from its cheerful melody and easy-to-follow structure, making it a favorite for novice players. The song features a simple chord progression played primarily with open guitar chords, which are fundamental for beginners to learn and master.

This track is particularly suitable for those starting on the electric guitar, as it introduces the essentials of electric guitar playing without overwhelming complexity. The rhythm and strumming pattern are consistent and repetitive, allowing beginners to focus on clean chord transitions and maintaining steady timing.

Additionally, “Brown Eyed Girl” offers a great opportunity to practice playing in a band setting, as it harmonizes well with other instruments. Overall, its catchy tune and straightforward composition make it one of the easy songs that beginner guitarists can enjoy and quickly add to their repertoire.

30.”Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns n Roses

A great song by Guns N’ Roses that is both popular and relatively easy for beginner guitarists to try is “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” This song is known for its iconic opening riff, which, while initially challenging, can be a fun and rewarding learning experience for beginners. The main riff uses a series of single notes, which is a good exercise for developing finger dexterity.

The verses and chorus of “Sweet Child o’ Mine” involve simpler chord progressions compared to other Guns N’ Roses songs, making it more approachable for those just starting out. The song also offers a mix of strumming and single-note picking, providing a well-rounded practice experience.

Additionally, its slower tempo during the verses allows beginners to focus on clean chord transitions and rhythm. Overall, “Sweet Child o’ Mine” is an excellent choice for beginners eager to play a classic rock tune that is both recognizable and achievable.

Campfire Favorites and Folk Anthems

A close up of a camp fire.

Nothing beats the feeling of playing a guitar around a campfire with friends. Songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty are perfect for these moments. They are straightforward songs with repetitive chord progressions that everyone can sing along to.

Modern Pop and Timeless Tunes

The beauty of guitar playing is that it transcends genres and eras. A song written decades ago can feel just as fresh and relevant when played on a guitar today. For instance, “Love on the Weekend” by John Mayer is a modern tune that feels like a classic, while “You Belong with Me” by Taylor Swift brings a pop star’s hit into the acoustic realm.

The Story in the Strings

Every song has a story, and as a guitarist, you become part of that narrative. When you play “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band or “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, you’re not just playing chords; you’re bringing to life tales of love, adventure, and mystery.

The Guitarist’s Journey

Remember, playing easy popular songs to play on guitar is not just about learning chords and strumming patterns; it’s about expressing yourself through music. It’s about the journey from awkward first chords to fluid transitions and, eventually, to adding your own flair to the songs you love.


A young woman and man playing electric guitars.

So, grab your guitar, tune up those strings, and dive into these 65 easy pop songs. Whether you’re serenading a loved one, entertaining friends, or just enjoying the sound of your own music, these tunes are sure to bring joy and a sense of accomplishment. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find that playing these easy guitar songs is just the beginning of your own musical story.

Remember to check out more song ideas and tutorials at All Axess, where you can find lists like “35 Easy Folk Guitar Songs Every Aspiring Guitarist Should Learn” and “20 Campfire Guitar Songs to Get Everyone Singing Along” to further inspire your guitar journey.

Now, go forth and strum your heart out!