So, you’ve just bought your first electric guitar, and you are looking for some fun electric guitar songs to play. While there are plenty of programs and electric guitar books that will provide you with good beginner songs, you can also find plenty of learning material for free right on the internet!
If you are an absolute beginner electric guitar player, learning some fun and recognizable songs is a great way to get better and keep things interesting. Here are the 26 best electric guitar songs for beginners!
1. “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple
An absolute classic guitar song that everyone has heard. “Smoke On The Water” was originally released in 1973 by Deep Purple. The legendary main guitar riff is played by Ritchie Blackmore. This song is about the Montreux Casino fire in 1971, during which smoke billowed over Lake Geneva.
The four-power chord riff is simple and easy enough for any beginner to learn and rock out with! The main riff, chorus, and verse of “Smoke On The Water” are all reasonably easy for any beginner to learn. However, the solo is a bit more complex.
2. “Back In Black” by ACDC
“Back In Black” was released in 1980 and is easily one of ACDC’s most popular songs. “Back In Black” was one of the first songs released by the band after the death of their original lead singer Bon Scott. The album from which “Back In Black” was released (which is also titled Back In Black) is the 2nd best-selling album of all time.
The main riff to this song is easy to play, catchy, and sounds super impressive. If you can do a few simple pull-offs and play power chords, then you can play “Back In Black”!
3. “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Californication” is a super popular Red Hot Chili Peppers song from their 1999 album of the same name. This album also included “Otherside”, “Scar Tissue”, and “Around The World”.
“Californication” is not the easiest song to play on guitar, but it is definitely beginner friendly. If you already have a basic grasp of chords and alternate picking, you’ll be able to learn this song. This song is a great way to learn how to arpeggiate chords and play chords higher up on the neck, as you will play a barred Fmaj7 at the 9th fret during the bridge progression.
4. “Hotel California” by The Eagles
If you don’t like this song, you’re lying. Simple as that. “Hotel California” is one of the most famous classic rock songs ever, and for a good reason! Better yet, if you take away the shredding guitar solo at the end of the song, the riffs are relatively easy to learn for beginners.
The arpeggiated intro has a Spanish guitar feel and sounds impressive once you nail it. This song has a unique chord progression with many interesting chord changes you wouldn’t normally find in classic rock.
5. “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
The main riff of “Crazy Train” is one of the most iconic rock guitar parts, played by none other than Randy Rhoads, who is one of the best metal guitarists to ever grace the stage. This song was Ozzy Osbourne’s debut single as a solo artist after he was fired from Black Sabbath due to substance abuse in 1979.
The intro riff, verse, and chorus are pretty easy to play, and a beginner guitarist should be able to learn this song with a bit of practice and dedication. Even the solo for “Crazy Train” is relatively simple. It may sound daunting and will definitely take some time to learn, but “Crazy Train” is a realistic challenge for an enthusiastic beginner electric guitarist.
6. “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica
“Nothing Else Matters” is one of my personal favorite Metallica songs. With the clean Spanish-style intro and slow shredding electric guitar parts, this is an awesome beginner-friendly heavy metal song. Elton John even once called this power ballad “one of the best songs ever written.”
But can a Metallica song really be easy to play? Well, this song is definitely not a walk in the park. There are plenty of hammer-ons, pull-offs, and arpeggios to go around in the guitar parts of this song. That said, with some effort, a beginner can learn this song, and you will definitely take away a lot of valuable skills in the process.
7. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
This was the first “real” song I ever learned on guitar, outside of the little jingles in my Hal Leonard book. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the biggest hit off of Nevermind and was one of the main songs that unexpectedly boosted Nirvana to become one of the most famous bands of the 90s.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a classic song that is an incredibly easy Nirvana song to learn. The verse is straightforward, and the chorus is just five power chords. Even the solo is very feasible for novices.
This is one of the best “first” electric guitar songs, as it is fun to play and doesn’t require any technical skills.
8. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Sweet Home Alabama” is the most famous song by Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The song was written after Neil Young wrote 2 songs, “Alabama” and “Southern Man,” which the members of the band felt unfairly represented people from the southern states. This iconic song calls out Neil Young on this. And in his biography, Young admits that he is not proud of these songs and has no hard feelings, even going on to call “Sweet Home Alabama” a “great record.”
“Sweet Home Alabama” is an easy guitar song with simple yet catchy riffs. The entire song only follows three simple chords with a few riffs and fills added on.
9. “Creep” by Radiohead
“Creep” was the first song ever released by Radiohead in 1992 and is, to this day, their biggest hit. The song is very simple to play, and as long as you can play simple barre chords and strumming patterns, you shouldn’t have much trouble playing “Creep”. The song only has 4 chords and doesn’t have any complicated lead guitar parts, so an absolute novice can easily learn to play this song.
10. “All The Small Things” by Blink 182
“All The Small Things” was one of Blink 182’s biggest hits that shot the relatively unknown band to stardom in the late 1990s. This is a super fun and easy song to learn on electric guitar with fast pop-punk strumming and palm muting.
Fun fact about Blink 182: The “182” was added as an afterthought. The band was originally simply titled Blink, but they were threatened with a lawsuit by an Irish band of the same name, so they added the “182” to the band name. Well, what’s so important about the number 182 to the band, you might ask? It is the number of times Tony Montana says the F-word in the movie Scarface!
11. “Zombie” by The Cranberries
“Zombie” is a deep and meaningful song about “The Troubles” in Ireland. This anti-war song was written in response to a 3-year-old being killed in a bombing by the IRA in 1993. The song is slow and heavy, with distorted chords and melodic singing. It is one of the greatest rock songs of the 20th century and has been described as a “visceral response to the death of two children.” The band described it as “our cry against man’s inhumanity to man”.
Beginners will be pleased to know that this song is super easy on guitar. It is a simple 4 chord progression throughout the entire song without any complex rhythms or licks.
12. “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
“Seven Nation Army” was released by the White Stripes in 2003 and was a life-changing hit for the band. This rock anthem has now become a popular chant at sporting events and is one of the essential alternative rock songs.
This song is simple to play with a few simple riffs, power chords, and a solo. The solo will take a bit of practice, but it is easy enough for any beginner to learn with some patience.
13. “Buddy Holly” by Weezer
“Buddy Holly” is one of the singles from Weezer’s self-titled debut album (also popularly called “The Blue Album”). It is one of the best and most popular Weezer songs that encourages everyone to sing along.
If you are a fan of Weezer, you’ll be happy to know that this song is very beginner friendly. “Buddy Holly” is essentially a collection of distorted power chords. The solo is also a pretty easy guitar solo for beginner guitar players.
14. “Mr. Jones” by The Counting Crows
“Mr. Jones” is by far the biggest hit by the Counting Crows. This debut single launched the band to stardom in 1994. Adam Duritz has claimed the song is about musicians that are struggling to make it big.
This song is a great song to learn if you are just starting to learn guitar and only know open chords. The song only has 6 different chords with only one barre chord, the F major.
15. “Simple Man” by Lynard Skynard
Another song from legendary southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd has made the list. “Simple Man” was released in 1973 and is the band’s 3rd best-selling song after “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird”.
“Simple Man” has a simple 3 chord riff with a slightly complicated picking pattern. The pattern isn’t overly complex, though, and learning this riff is sure to improve your arpeggio skills. Take it slow when learning this song and break up the progression into bite-sized chunks, and you should be able to nail the riff in no time!
16. “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath is one of the most influential rock bands of all time. The band has even been credited for inventing heavy metal music. “Iron Man” is one of the band’s biggest hits and has an iconic main riff that every aspiring guitarist should learn.
The main riff of the song is pretty slow and easy to play. However, I wouldn’t attempt learning the solo for “Iron Man” until you are at least an intermediate-level guitar player, as it is much more difficult than the rest of the song.
17. “Last Nite” by The Strokes
“Last Nite” was a single off of The Strokes’ debut album, Is This It, which was released in 2001 and is widely considered one of the most important and influential albums of the 2000s. It was praised for its raw and energetic sound.
The distinctive guitar riff of “Last Nite” was inspired by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers hit “American Girl.”
The guitar parts of this song are repetitive and follow power chords and simple rhythms. This is an excellent song to learn and enjoy as a beginner electric guitarist.
18. “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World
“The Middle” was released in 2001 and is the most popular song released by Jimmy Eat World. This record was self-produced by the band and became their breakout hit.
Any beginner guitarist can learn to play “The Middle”. The song contains most bassline-like riffs, simple chords, and fast straightforward rhythms. The solo is definitely more complex than the rest of the song, but that isn’t saying much, and if you are patient and take it slow, you’ll easily be able to learn “The Middle” from start to finish.
19. “Sweet Child O Mine” by Guns N Roses
This was one of the first songs I learned on guitar that made me feel like a real rockstar! Sure, “Sweet Child O Mine” has some challenging riffs. With Slash as the lead guitarist, you can’t expect something too easy. But this song’s intro, verse, chorus, and bridge are straightforward.
The intro is a great challenge for a beginner-level guitarist learning how to play higher up on the neck, and the riffs in the song are non-technically demanding lead guitar parts. The guitar solo, on the other hand, is pretty technical and is definitely not beginner friendly, so leave out this part until you have some more experience under your belt.
20. “Come As You Are” by Nirvana
Kurt Cobain was an amazing songwriter and guitar player, but his guitar parts aren’t known to be very technical, so Nirvana songs are generally pretty easy to play. “Come As You Are” is one of the band’s most famous songs.
The song has a few tricky bits, but most of it is power chords and simple riffing. The solo of “Come As You Are” is about as easy as it gets, so if you want to dabble in lead guitar, this is a great first guitar solo.
21. “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton
It’s rare for an Eric Clapton song to be easy to play on guitar. Clapton is known as one of the best guitar players of all time, and most of his riffs are complex and technical.
“Wonderful Tonight” is a wholesome love song that Clapton wrote about his then-wife Pattie Boyd when preparing for a party at Paul Mccartney’s home.
The song only has 5 simple chords, so it is very beginner friendly. The main riff has a few bends, which can be difficult for absolute beginners, but otherwise, this is a perfect song to learn for a beginner electric guitar player.
22. “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles
No rock band has made as big of an impact on music as the Beatles. Abbey Road was the final album to be recorded by the band and featured a set of unforgettable songs, including “Here Comes The Sun”.
This is one of the best-known compositions by George Harrison; he played the guitar parts and recorded the vocals for this track.
“Here Comes The Sun” is easy to play on paper, but it does have a few slightly complicated techniques. The most difficult part of the song is that it uses a hybrid picking technique that is a mix of fingerstyle and picking notes.
23. “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
“Whole Lotta Love” is an extremely popular hard rock song released in 1969 by Led Zeppelin. The song’s guitar parts are representative of many hard-rock riffs with chugging power chords, heavy distortion, and face-melting guitar riffs.
If you take away the guitar solo from “Whole Lotta Love”, it is actually a pretty easy song to learn. It follows the same chord progression and riff throughout the whole song, so once you work out the main riff, you have pretty much learned the whole song!
24. “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones
The Ramones are credited with being one of the original punk rock bands and have influenced countless musicians to this day. “Blitzkrieg Bop” was the first track on the Ramones’ first album.
The guitar parts of most Ramones songs are fast and easy, mostly consisting of 3-4 power chords played throughout the entire song. “Blitzkrieg Bop” is no different, with 4 simple power chords and only two distinct progressions. Guitarists of any level will enjoy playing this classic punk song.
25. “Holiday” by Green Day
“Holiday” was one of the 5 singles released on Green Day’s legendary 2004 album American Idiot. This politically motivated album is considered by most critics to be the “magnum opus” of the band and one of the best pop-punk albums of all time. The album contained other huge hits such as “American Idiot”, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, “Wake Me Up When September Ends”, and “Jesus Of Suburbia”.
“Holiday” is a relatively easy Green Day song to play for beginners as it contains most power chords and simple riffs. Even the guitar solo is slow and non-technical, so a beginner should be able to learn it. This song is a great way to learn how to play higher up on the neck, as many of the chords are in the 5th, 7th, and 9th positions.
26. “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)” by The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones is one of the most popular rock bands of all time. Even more impressive, the band was formed way back in 1962 and still tours today, more than 60 years later!
“I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)” was released in 1965 and was the song that contributed to their breakout in the USA when they famously played live on the Ed Sullivan Show. This song is one of the best rock songs of all time and one of the first times distortion was used in a recording!
The iconic slow, driving guitar riff played by Keith Richards is relatively easy to play, and the entire song pretty much follows the same main guitar riff. So, nail this, and you have pretty much mastered the song!
Looking for more beginner guitar resources and advice? Feel free to reach out! I am always happy to help.