The Beatles are often looked at as the first band to ever achieve superstar status. The term “Beatlemania” was invented to describe the sensational success that the band experienced in their illustrious career. Consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, the band has a dense catalog of 227 songs that are perfect for guitar players to learn. That said, not all Beatles songs are easy on guitar, in fact, some are quite advanced. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular and easy Beatles songs to learn on guitar. So, grab your guitar and get ready to learn some of the best songs ever written by the most famous rock band to ever exist!
1. Come Together
One of the funkier and bluesy Beatles songs, “Come Together,” was one of the last songs that the band worked on while recording Abbey Road. The song had been loosely thrown around between previous jams and an idea spawned between John Lennon and author Timothy Leary. Lennon also outright admitted to writing the song around an older Chuck Berry tune, “You Can’t Catch Me”.
“Come Together” is a very easy Beatles song on guitar. The verses roll over a slow swamp-blues style groove in the key of D Minor. You can also play the song in drop-D tuning to let your top string drone over the D Minor chord. Paul Mccartney is known as one of the best bassists ever, and his bassline in “Come Together” is iconic. For an added challenge, learn the bass parts of “Come Together”, which is a super easy and fun bass line.
2. Hard Day’s Night
Next up on my list of the best easy Beatles songs on guitar is “Hard Day’s Night”. The songwriting work ethic of the Beatles is something of an urban legend. Primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney would often write songs during tours, on airplanes, buses, trains, and in their hotel rooms. “Hard Days Night” was written in full during an 18-day concert tour throughout Europe in 1964. The song is a direct quote from one of Ringo Starr’s famous lines that he would say after a long day playing, performing, or recording.
The Beatles described “Hard Day’s Night” as a made-to-order pop song with very conventional song structures. It shouldn’t take long for beginner guitar players to memorize the general arrangement of the song, and the chord progressions are equally simple. The song consists of an A and B section, and there’s a quick but cheeky guitar solo just before the final verse.
While this is technically a John Lennon song and was written after the Beatles split up, its roots lie firmly in the Beatles’ songwriting foundations and is one of the most politically iconic songs of its time. Lenon wrote and recorded the entire song in one session from his home in 1971, along with a few producer and musician friends. Lennon specifically penned the song to send the world a strong call for peace in a musically soft setting. Still today, in certain countries, “Imagine” is used as often as national anthems for peaceful mediation.
“Imagine” follows a beautiful and simple chord progression through the verses. This progression shows the harmonic effect you get when switching from a major chord to a major 7th chord.
The chorus uses chords to step over each of the lyrics, and this might take some time to get rhythmically tight, but it is incredibly satisfying once achieved. All in all, “Imagine” is very easy to play on guitar. You can also take things up a notch and try and transcribe Lennon’s piano playing to fingerpicking for the guitar.
4. Hey Jude
The verses of “Hey Jude” sound very similar to Lennon’s “Imagine,” which is why I’ve listed it next. You can closely identify bits and pieces of the melodic ideas Lennon used for “Imagine” by listening to it back-to-back with “Hey Jude”. The song was written by Paul McCartney for John Lennon’s son, Julian, at the time of his parent’s divorce. The lyrics and feel of the song are written to lift Jude (Julian)’s spirits and to remind him that he will be okay through all the pain and heartbreak.
“Hey Jude” uses a slightly more complex chord structure and arrangement than “Imagine”, but it is still definitely an easy Beatles on guitar. The choruses, in particular, will take some extra learning, as they use a few descending chord phrases that will be a challenge for beginner players. However, all your time learning the first two sections will reward you with the very simple interlude that wraps up the song, which is perfect for karaoke or campfire singalongs!
5. Let It Be
One of the most popular Beatles songs of all time is “Let It Be”. While the song was originally played on piano, transitioning this Beatles song to guitar is pretty easy. “Let It Be” is a bittersweet farewell letter from Paul McCartney to The Beatles and fans for their final album of the same name. Mccartney claims that he saw his mother come to him in a dream, affirming that it was time to move on from the band and to simply “Let It Be”. The “Mary” that McCartney sings of in the lyrics is a reference to his mother, who was also named Mary. The song would see huge success and is still one of their most well-known ballads to date.
You can see Lennon’s influence on McCartney in this song’s arrangement and slower nature. The verse chords rotate around a very smart progression in C Major. The chorus opens up to a slightly simpler chord progression with a sturdy four-on-the-floor timing, and there’s a quick phrase played at the end of each chorus to give it resolve.
6. All My Loving
Written during the first epic wave of Beatlemania, “All My Loving” shows the American rock n roll themes that the Beatles would effortlessly weave into their pop tapestries. The idea for the song came about shortly after Paul McCartney had met his then-lover, Jane Asher, and he was thinking about her specifically while writing the lyrics. The song was slowly worked out on tour buses and hotel lobbies during one of the band’s earlier package tours in 1963.
You’ll need a capo at the second fret to play the song in the same key as the original, and advanced guitarists can also try adapting these chords to drop D tuning for some stunning resonant chord shapes. “All My Loving” is a slightly more complex version of a blues standard, with a few extra chords thrown in to add some harmonic density to the song.
7. Day Tripper
Even though this song has such an innocent tone and feel, the lyrics are a mischievous joke between songwriters Mccartney and Lennon. The Beatles were quite vocal about their explorations into psychedelic substances, and this song refers to some of the experiences that the band had with LSD and has a few subtle innuendos sprinkled throughout the lyrics.
One of the best parts about learning “Day Tripper” is mastering the cowboy-style rock lick that opens the song. This lick holds out for the verses and shifts along with a classic blues standard. This is a very easy Beatles song on guitar with a simple chord progression that lifts the chorus and sounds great on an electric or acoustic guitar.
8. Eight Days A Week
The term “Eight Days A Week” was often referred to as another one of drummer Ringo Starr’s famous sloppy catchphrases and was quickly adapted to become a catchy hit single during the Beatles’ earlier years. In some interviews after the band split, Lennon revealed that the song felt like a labor to finish and record and stated that it felt lousy and forced. However, it is one of the songs that topped the Billboard charts during their iconic 1960s run.
There are some very easy and effective triad shapes on the upper fretboard that are used for the song’s introduction, and I highly recommend beginner guitarists give it a swing. The verses and choruses are relative to each other in key (D-Maj – B-Min), and this a very subtle but impactful songwriting trick to use if you need to split a song into sections.
9. Helter Skelter
The recording and songwriting sessions for “Helter Skelter” were almost as transformative and experimental as the song itself. There are early demo versions of the song that include a 2-minute long jam session from the band. All the earlier takes did not fit with Paul McCartney, who sought to make something much heavier and frantic. The result is the loud, raucous single we know today, complete with wacky brass sections and an extended ending that fades out and back in.
The intro riff used in Helter Skelter is both easy to grasp and very satisfying to play. The hardest part of learning the intro is getting it played tight at the speed of the original recording. The rest of this Beatles song is made up of chord progressions substituted into a series of well-composed pentatonic hooks.
10. Can’t Buy Me Love
Next up on my list of easy Beatles songs to play on guitar is “Can’t Buy Me Love”. This famous song was another track recorded during the famous Beatles European tour in the summer of 1964. This is also one of the first Beatles songs to use the chorus as the start of the song, which was the idea of producer George Martin during the writing process. At one point, the Beatles held the top 5 spots on the Billboard Hot 100, one of which was “Can’t Buy Me Love”.
The use of the dominant 7 chords in this song is very frequent and is a songwriting trick used to create harmonic tension in a composition. The choruses swing around to a blues progression in E Minor, with slightly quicker chord changes. I recommend beginner players to learn this song at a slower tempo for more accuracy.
11. Ticket to Ride
The song idea from “Ticket To Ride” sparked from a hitchhiking trip that Lennon and McCartney took along the Isle of Wight to a town called Ryde. The song was recorded over a hectic period for the band in 1964 and mostly featured John Lennon’s production choices. It’s a shining example of one of the brilliant songs that the Beatles seem to have pulled off effortlessly during their chaotic rise to stardom.
To play “Ticket To Ride” accurately, you’ll need another guitarist. The first guitar holds the upper end of the guitar hook that opens up the song, and the second guitar holds down the chord progression on the bottom register of the guitar. Both guitars come together in the chorus to double on the chord progression and play the same chord shapes over each other to give the section a heavier feel.
12. Rocky Racoon
Once they’d released the intensely explorative Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, the Beatles released a few more singles and EPs with a much less serious mood. One of my favorite lesser-known Beatles songs is “Rocky Racoon”. This song was inspired during a visit to the mountains of Rishikesh in India, where McCartney spontaneously put the song and lyrics together during an informal jam session.
You can completely feel McCartney’s quirky sensibilities when you play through the chord progressions in this song. The fingerpicking patterns of this Beatles song are easy enough for beginner players to pick up, and the track doesn’t use advanced structures or chord shapes. There is also just one progression through the entire song, but McCartney plays the first them slightly differently during the interludes.
Many listeners and long-time Beatles fans often don’t realize how personal the hit song “Help” is to writer John Lennon. Lennon claims in many interviews that the song is one of the few Beatles songs he projected himself into and reflects his feelings of anxiety and helplessness caused by the onset of global fame. The song was written with the assistance of Paul McCartney at Lennon’s home in Kenwood in 1965.
“Help” is one of the more mature and sophisticated Beatles songs, which is evident in some of the arrangement choices. This Beatles song may not be the easiest for beginners due to the quick chord changes, but it is simple enough on guitar for most players with some practice. The song uses a clever key change to give the listener the sonic illusion of feeling slightly insane. It might feel strange for some players and singers when moving through this key change, but just lean into it, and you’ll feel more comfortable with some repetition.
14. Twist And Shout
One of the factors that helped the Beatles skyrocket to fame was their ability to churn out catchy songs continuously without missing a step. Some fans may be shocked to discover that this song is a cover of the 1962 rock n roll hit by the band The Isley Brothers and sparked a major dance craze at the time of its release. The Beatles were smart enough to add the song to their repertoire, and it only exponentially added to their mass appeal.
There are two ways to play through the Beatles’ easy arrangement of the song “Twist and Shout” on guitar. I recommend strumming along with the chord cages to get the just of the song’s structure. Once you’ve learned this part, you should be able to learn or work out the lead hook that runs through the majority of the track.
15. Get Back
Originally written as a dig at the British government for their anti-immigrant policies, the Beatles later decided to dial the lyrics of “Get Back” down a bit to make the song more universally accessible. The track was released during a string of singles in 1969 and is said to be a throwback to the original rock n roll roots of the early Beatles songs.
I personally love the song “ Get Back” for its infectious locomotive shuffle groove and its impactful punchy stabs. The song is a great lesson on how to add dynamics to your guitar playing with simple changes in velocity in your right-hand movements.
16. Here Comes The Sun
George Harrison is often seen as one of the silent geniuses of the Beatles, and most of his contributions to the band are largely underrated. One of his most popular compositions with The Beatles is “Here Comes The Sun”. During a very stressful summer with the band, Harrison opted out of his obligations for a spontaneous trip to friend Eric Clapton’s house, and it was in his garden where he first conjured up the song idea.
Most of the verses in “Here Comes The Sun” are delightfully easy to play on guitar and sing along to. I like to play my open D Major chord on the upper register beyond the 12th fret and leave the rest of my strings open to a drone for added effect. You can also use this same chord shape with a capo on the 12th fret to give your guitar a ukulele-type sound.
17. I Want To Hold Your Hand
This song was written by Lennon and McCartney at the request of manager Brian Epstein to write a song specifically for American markets. The song replaced The Beatles’ “She Loves You” at the top of The Billboard Top 100, marking the first time an artist had ever taken their own spot on an international pop chart.
The no-nonsense rhythms and straightforward chord progressions of this song make it ideal for songwriters to use for learning basic song arrangement. You can play the chord turnaround in the chorus using open shapes of barre chords, and they both have a highly satisfying descending feel about them.
Another one of George Harrison’s significant contributions to The Beatles catalog, “Something” shows a massive progression and shift in the Beatles’ songwriting journey and begins to show flavors of their influences from more psychedelic-sounding genres. When Harrison initially came up with the idea of the song, he thought that it was too catchy to be original and that he might have inadvertently stolen it from someone else! It’s also the first George Harrison song featured as an A-side Beatles single.
“Something” is not the easiest Beatles song to play on guitar. The song has a complexity that might be overwhelming to beginner players, but with a bit of patience and practice, the song is surprisingly easy to play. In total, there are just three sections of chord progressions to work through, and the song moves at a very accessible pace, including each chord change. There are also some very fun and simple lead guitar parts to mess around with in the song.
19. Yellow Submarine
“Yellow Submarine” has a childlike nature to it that made many listeners question the seriousness of the Beatles’ creative efforts. However, in a time when the world expected nothing but perfect hits from them, this song is a perfect example of how artists rebel directly against their listeners’ demands. The song is sometimes referred to as “The Ringo Song”, as it was composed for drummer Ringo Starr to feature as the lead vocal and became a surprise hit for the band.
Given that this song was written so late into The Beatles’ career, it’s intriguing how easy this song is to play the guitar. The chord structures are super simple through the verses and are played using drawn-out downstrokes with your strumming hand. The choruses use even easier two-chord progressions rotating between G and D Major.
20. Love Me Do
“Love Me Do” was originally composed well before the Beatles were officially global superstars. The song’s first demos were developed by Lennon and McCartney during their teenage jam sessions in 1957. The song would form part of the Beatles’ string of hit singles that came from their debut album.
“Love Me Do” is a super fun and easy Beatles song to pick up on the guitar. The song’s arrangement uses a single-chord progression based on the classic 1-4-5 chord structures used in blues and early rock music. To give yourself an extra challenge, try integrating Paul Mccartney’s epic bassline into your chord playing for some added dynamic.
21. Lady Madonna
The song “Lady Madonna” was put together after the band’s chain of experimental songwriting in late 1968. McCartney himself wanted to take some of the band’s songs back in a simpler direction and took inspiration from piano player Fats Domino for the feel and lyrics of the song.
The song was recorded over two days just before one of their many legendary trips to India.
It’s possible to adapt the phrasings that McCartney uses on the piano to the acoustic guitar for this song, and you can lock into his rhythm for reference while learning the two chord progressions that make up the arrangement.
22. Penny Lane
“Penny Lane” is one of the few Beatles tracks to feature no guitar recordings, and this was an intentional choice from songwriter John Lennon at the time. The song details a simple account of John and Paul meeting at one of their common bus stations on a street named Penny Lane. The lyrics are mostly McCartney writing down what he sees in his surroundings from the viewpoint of the bus stop.
“Penny Lane” is possibly the most complex song on this list chord-wise, but learning to play this track will drastically improve your understanding of harmony and song arrangement. The song has a decidedly melancholy feel to it, and you can use the recorded keyboard parts to help you navigate the chord changes in each section.
“Julia” is another song that might not be familiar to passive fans of the Beatles’ music. But this is a fun and easy Beatles song to play on guitar. During the recording of the famed The White Album, each band member took a turn writing a solo song with themselves at the center of the song. “Julia” is a sweet ode from John Lennon to his mother of the same name, who strongly supported and encouraged Lennon’s love for music and art.
The fingerpicking style used for this song is very unique and unconventional for Beatles arrangements. The technique was picked up by John during one of the band’s visits to India. You can still strum through the basic chord progressions if the fingerpicking is too advanced, but I highly recommend learning the original to improve and develop your playing.
24. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is one of the few songs that show reggae’s influence on rock bands during the 1960s and 70s. The title itself was lifted from a band led by famed reggae artist Jimmy Smith, and you can easily pick up the rhythmic and melodic stylings of Jamaican music when you play this song alone on the guitar. Ironically, the only member to enjoy and approve of this song was songwriter Paul McCartney.
Be sure to use the classic upstroke technique when playing through the arrangement of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” as it is essential to creating that signature reggae feel. This technique is achieved by muting the strings with your strumming hand and only playing them on the off-count of each bar with a quick, palm-muted upstroke.
25. Eleanor Rigby
I like to think of “Eleanor Rigby” as the defining song for the Beatles. It has a combination of every band member’s influence and playing habits and manages to finely balance the creative relationship between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The song was first penned in John and Paul’s early days of recording demos, and it would take 9 years from its original concept to become the iconic complete recording we know today.
While the chord progressions used in “Eleanor Rigby” are very straightforward, the true challenge lies in mastering the sneaky timing that The Beatles use for the chord changes. Certain sections of the verses intentionally fall short by one bar, so be very attentive when playing alongside any of the original recordings before attempting the song on your own.
There is an immense amount of songwriting knowledge and techniques that you can learn from The Beatles music catalog. The band has an incredibly impressive span of song styles ranging from straightforward pop to progressive rock and several other experimental songs. The songs listed above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to The Beatles’ music, and I highly encourage all players to dig into their work as deeply as possible.
Looking for more song recommendations? Check out more of my guitar song recommendations!