If you’ve recently embarked on your acoustic guitar journey, it’s never too early to start building your repertoire. Even if you already have some experience, it’s always a good idea to quickly learn a new simple song. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy acoustic guitar songs for anyone to learn. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the best songs you can choose to play, no matter your skill level.
1. A Horse With No Name – America
This is, by far, one of the simplest songs that you can learn on acoustic guitar. It’s a slow and steady one, and the strumming pattern isn’t difficult to figure out at all. What’s more, there’s even a simpler way to play it.
“A Horse With No Name” by America technically has four chords. However, it’s essentially two variations of E minor and D major. So, this is an easy song to learn and a good choice if you really want to learn something fast. You’ll simply need to learn to strum a few basic chords, and you’re off to the races!
There’s the basic E minor chord and E minor 9. Then there’s also D6/9 and Dmaj 9. Don’t be afraid of these strange chord names. They’re pretty easy to play in the open position.
2. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an unavoidable mention on a list of easy songs to play on acoustic guitar. The best Dylan tune to start with is probably “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” For this one, all you’ll need to know are four chords and a slow and simple strumming pattern.
The chord progression consists of two parts and repeats throughout the song. The song follows this progression: G major, D major, and A minor, and then repeats with C major in place of A minor. It’s also incredibly easy to sing along to this song, so that’s a great way for any beginner to practice doing both.
3. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
Although Green Day is a pop punk band best known for energetic electric guitar-based songs, they have also released some acoustic songs. Likely, the most famous example is “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” which is also an extremely easy acoustic guitar song to learn.
For this one, you’ll need to know six chords. Once again, we have one of those unusual chords. Cadd9 is essentially the C major with one added interval on top. But it’s fairly easy to play in the open position. Pay attention to how that chord feels and how it works in the context of the full chord progression.
Check out my post on the easiest Green Day songs for some more recommendations.
4. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
“Wish You Were Here” is one of the most popular beginner acoustic guitar songs. And while it isn’t all that difficult to learn, this Pink Floyd classic isn’t as straightforward as you might think. There are simpler ways to perform it, but if you want to get the feel of the original, you’ll have to sort out all of the nuances in there.
Additionally, the song uses chord inversions that are different from what we’re used to. And that’s exactly what gives it such a specific feel. For bonus points, learn the opening riff and the acoustic guitar solo at the beginning. Again, pay attention to all the details and take it slow.
5. Drive – Incubus
“Drive” is not only one of the most laid-back acoustic guitar songs but also a pretty simple one to play. What’s more, this 1999 rock classic is engaging and a sure crowd-pleaser.
While there are definitely simpler ways to perform the piece, I recommend learning the original chords in order to really capture the feel of this song. The song uses open strings to give the riff a droning sound that is super unique. You’ll need to know the following chords to play this song: E minor 7, E minor 9, C major 7, A minor 7, and A7. Once again, don’t worry about these seemingly weird chord names. For now, all you need to know is that these chords are easy to play!
6. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
If you want a simple, slow, and steady acoustic guitar song, “Free Fallin'” should be on your repertoire. Besides, it’s one of the classics!
For this piece, you’ll need to know only four chords. There are A major, D major, E major, and Asus4. The last one is also fairly simple to play, so this will also be a great introduction to these suspended or “sus” chords.
Although simple, to play the song like the original, it will take some time and skill to get there. I recommend slowly learning the tabs and playing along to the original recording to get things right.
7. I Walk the Line – Johnny Cash
An absolute country music classic, “I Walk the Line” takes us all the way back to the 1950s. Despite that, the song feels as fresh as it did back in the day, making it a true evergreen piece. And, on top of that, it’s really easy to learn.
There’s a relatively longer list of chords to learn, but they shouldn’t be difficult to memorize.
What might be just a little tricky is figuring out the strumming pattern. While you can strum along in a simple way, learning Cash’s strumming pattern is crucial if you want to make it sound like the original.
8. One – U2
There is no question that U2 is one of the most influential bands of all time. And while most songs have some pretty complex guitar riffs, “One” is one of the easier U2 songs on acoustic guitar tunes. For the most part, the song features A minor, D major, F major, and G major chords. The chorus also brings the C major chord into the mix.
The song has been covered by countless artists over the years. Apart from U2, the song is one of the most covered of all time. Plenty of artists have performed it both live and in the studio, including Warren Haynes, R.E.M., Joe Cocker, Pearl Jam, Shinedown, and even Johnny Cash, just to name a few.
9. Jolene – Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is the ultimate “Queen of Country”, releasing countless hits over a more than 65-year career! “Jolene” is one of the most fun and engaging songs that you’ll find out there. And, more importantly, it’s an incredibly easy song to learn on acoustic guitar. This is a perfect song to play guitar and sing along with at the same time.
There are only four chords that you’ll have to know. These are A minor, C major, G major, and E minor. However, if you want to play it like the original version, there’s the intro riff, consisting of two bars that repeat. It isn’t that hard, but it takes some practice to master.
10. Wonderwall – Oasis
The classic Guitar Center jam, “Wonderwall” is one of the most iconic songs for beginners to learn on acoustic guitar. This is the song that should always be in your repertoire. Sure, it may be a bit of a cliché, but it’s still one of the most popular and influential guitar songs.
Overall, the song is not difficult to learn. However, bear in mind that, in order to play it as the original, you’ll need a capo on the second fret. You should also pay attention to the strumming pattern. It’s not a difficult one, but changing it only a little will affect the song’s feel.
11. Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd
I am bending some rules here a little since the original version of “Simple Man” is played on an electric guitar. However, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” is often covered on an acoustic guitar. And, most importantly, it’s super-easy to perform.
For this one, you’ll only need only three chords. The entire song is basically C major, G major, and A minor going on a loop. However, what’s also really great here is that the song is very open to improvisation or different arrangements. You can also try to play some of the riffs from the original song. But even if you just strum along with an occasional fill and lick, you’ll still make it sound great.
12. Seven Turns – The Allman Brothers Band
This song may not be as popular as most of the others on the list. However, “Seven Turns” is an awesome song and a fairly straightforward one to play. If you want to get into Southern rock, this is a good jumping-off point.
It’s super easy to learn on acoustic, especially the intro and verses. There are also some parts with extended chords. However, once again, these are all simple fingerings of these chords.
Additionally, this song is great to play as a duet. You could have someone playing an electric guitar over your acoustic parts.
13. More Than Words – Extreme
“More Than Words” is one of those songs that can be performed in a few different ways and still keep its original vibes. While Extreme’s original version is a little tricky, you can easily modify it to turn it into a simple strumming version.
If you see a long list of chords for this one, don’t be afraid. They’re not that hard to figure out. And once you get into the song, they’ll feel so natural, and everything will fall into place. Just strum along to the chord chart, and you’ll nail this song pretty easily.
14. Polly – Nirvana
Of course, Nirvana is known for their highly energetic electric-guitar-driven songs. But once in a while, Kurt Cobain preferred to do an acoustic song as well. One of the most interesting examples has to be “Polly” from the 1991 album “Nevermind.”
In many ways, the song’s structure is reminiscent of the usual Nirvana material. However, it still features a fairly laidback feel and, most importantly, simple chord progressions. The intro and the verse consist of E minor, G major, D major, and C major chords. The chorus is D major, C major, G major, and Bb major, repeating over and over again!
15. Tennessee Whiskey – Chris Stapleton
Calling all country music lovers! “Tennessee Whiskey” is an iconic country song. Originally, this song was written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove for David Allan Coe. It enjoyed some success but only became widely known when Chris Stapleton covered it for his 2015 debut record.
This is an incredibly simple acoustic guitar song. And no matter what style of music you’re aiming for, most people will love to hear it. But despite there only being three chords, you still need to understand its feel. You can even play it using only two chords. In order to make it sound like the original, you’ll have to use a capo on the second fret and use standard open chord fingerings.
16. Rockin’ in the Free World – Neil Young
Countless musicians have covered “Rockin’ in the Free World” over the years. It has found many different forms, and it’s often adapted for full electric band arrangements. There’s a total of five chords to know here. These are E minor, D major, C major, G major, and A major.
There are also two really interesting things about this song. Firstly, this can serve as the perfect introduction to palm muting. And secondly, the song is simply open to interpretation and different arrangements. Both of these things make it incredibly fun to play.
17. About a Girl – Nirvana
It’s hard not to mention Kurt Cobain and Nirvana at least one more time. After all, the man was a genius at composing simple and captivating music. Another interesting Nirvana acoustic guitar song is “About a Girl,” originally released from the band’s debut album “Bleach.” However, the song got a completely new life when Nirvana performed it for the “MTV Unplugged” show.
So, to this day, “About a Girl” is remembered as an acoustic-based piece. And it just feels better that way. There’s a relatively longer list of chords here, including some extended chords. But the structure of the song and the fingerings that you can use are not complicated. So you’ll sort it out pretty quickly.
18. Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival
This Creedence Clearwater Revival song takes us all the way back to the beginning of the 1970s. Written by the band’s frontman and leader, John Fogerty, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” is a steady-tempo ballad that has gotten the status of an evergreen classic over the years.
Just like with many songs, there are a few ways to perform this one. And if you want to make it simpler, all you need to know are four basic chords. These are A minor, F major, C major, and G major. And if you want to get closer to the original, there are a few others — F/C, C/B, and A minor/G. These “slash” chords just show what note is in the bass. So, this is a great song to introduce to this concept.
19. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals (Traditional)
The Animals made “House of the Rising Sun” popular back in the mid-1960s. But did you know that this was originally an old traditional folk song? And although The Animals did it as your regular electric guitar-based band of the 1960s, it can work as well — if not better — on an acoustic guitar.
“House of the Rising Sun” is one of the most popular songs for beginners. There are two reasons for that. Firstly, you can play it with five basic chords. Apart from F major, all of them will be super easy. And secondly, if you play it the way The Animals did, you’ll learn how to arpeggiate.
20. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
If you’re starting out on a guitar, you can’t avoid “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Co-written and recorded by John Denver back in the early 1970s, it’s an absolute classic for guitar players of all genres. In other words, you simply have to know this folk-country song.
The good news is that this acoustic guitar song is really easy to play. You’ll also get familiar with seventh chords, so that’s another great thing. Additionally, having this in your repertoire is sure to give you the spotlight at every party. Just bear in mind that you’ll need a capo on the second fret if you want to play it like the original. Check out my guide to guitar accessories for some good capo recommendations.
21. Heart of Gold – Neil Young
Neil Diamond’s “Heart of Gold” is one of the most iconic classic rock songs. What’s better is that this song is easy to play, and every beginner will be able to learn it with just five basic chords. These are E minor 7, D major, E minor, C major, and G major. And, if you want a simplified version, you can just use the regular E minor instead of the minor seventh chord.
What’s great about the song is that it doesn’t have your usual average strumming patterns. Instead, it comes with somewhat specific rhythmic and dynamic patterns. Playing that E minor 7 chord at the beginning, you’ll have to play it as eight notes and mute it every time. So that’s a great picking hand exercise.
22. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
With another Lynyrd Skynyrd song on the list, we’re once again bending the rules since this is originally played on an electric guitar. However, “Sweet Home Alabama” is incredibly popular as an acoustic cover as well.
Most of the song hovers around D major, C major, and G major chords. That said, if you want to play it true to the recording, use Cadd9 instead of C major. There are also some picking patterns that you’ll have to learn in order to play the main riff. But it still follows the basic D, C, and G chord progression.
23. You Are My Sunshine – Jimmie Davis (Traditional)
“You Are My Sunshine” is an old traditional folk song that was first introduced to the masses by Jimmie Davis in 1940. Eventually, it also became even bigger when other names covered it, especially Johnny Cash back in 1989.
This is your usual country folk tune that’s easily played on an acoustic guitar. Apart from a few chords, you’ll also have to learn the main theme. Fortunately, that one isn’t that difficult to play either. The song is also open to interpretation, so give it your signature stamp if you’d like.
24. Hurt – Johnny Cash
“Hurt” is a song originally written by Trent Reznor for his band Nine Inch Nails. Funnily enough, it only became huge when Johnny Cash covered it and completely reinvented it with the help of producer Rick Rubin. Cash was reluctant at first, but soon after its release in 2003, it became an instant classic.
It’s also incredibly popular among guitar players to learn. It is very slow, with an easy arpeggiated riff, and the chords you’ll learn are fairly simple. You’ll just need to play A minor, C major, D major, G major, and F major.
25. Hound Dog by Elvis Presley
The list of easy acoustic guitar songs can’t go on without any Elvis Presley songs. And the one that’s worth learning is “Hound Dog.” This is a piece that’s upbeat, energetic, easy to learn, and super fun to sing along to as well.
What I’d suggest is to keep a steady and slow tempo at first. The chords don’t change that fast. However, in order to get the strumming pattern and the feel of the song, you shouldn’t rush things. But other than that, you’ll have a great time learning and playing this tune.
26. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
Released in 2008, Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” still feels like a brand-new song. Going from a mainstream pop hit to an evergreen piece. It’s also become extremely popular among guitar players. And it’s one of the obligatory songs to learn if you want to have a decent repertoire.
For this song, you’ll get the chance to practice a reggae-like rhythm and strumming pattern. Although it isn’t that hard to learn, if you want to make it sound right, there’ll be a lot of practice involved. So we’d recommend this one as a great way to practice your picking hand.
And there you have it! Every song on this list is a classic hit that will be super fun to play on acoustic guitar. Better yet, they are all super easy and beginner-friendly!
Looking to buy your first acoustic guitar? Check out my list of the best budget acoustics under $300!