Spanish music is infectious and passionate and also serves as the perfect canvas for some excellent guitar playing. Many Spanish guitar songs take influence from classical guitar and flamenco, creating a unique playing style. Many guitar players learn Spanish songs to help them push their own creative and performance boundaries. However, knowing where to start and what to learn to improve your guitar playing can be tricky. I’ve put together a selection of some of the most popular easy Spanish songs on guitar. So, without wasting any time, let’s dive straight into this list of the best easy Spanish songs.
1. Me Gustas Tu – Manu Chao
Manu Chao is one of the artists responsible for bringing modern Spanish songs to commercial radio success. The song is the second single off his album Proxima Estacion: Esperanza, which was released in 2001. “Me Gustas Tu” made the top 10 of several European Billboard charts, and the album put Manu Chao on the global map as an artist to watch out for.
“Me Gustas Tu” is an easy Spanish guitar song that follows a straightforward three-chord structure in the key of B minor. This song also offers beginner guitar players a chance to get comfortable with their first barre chord. If you want, you can turn some of the standard minor chords into minor 7th chords to give the progression some additional harmonic flare.
2. La Paloma – Sebastian Yradier
Sebastian Yradier was initially born in Paris, France, which makes it intriguing that he ended up releasing Spanish music. His mother changed his surname Iradier to Yradier in an attempt to give them a more universal-sounding name. Originally a Basque musician, Yradier first composed this song in 1860, and it has since been adapted thousands of times in different languages and countries.
The original version of “La Paloma ” can be played using drop-D tuning. This tuning will also allow you to easily play some of the chord shapes in the composition with added density around the bass notes. Try to learn the original version before scratching around for some of the newer reinterpretations of the song.
3. Oye Como Va – Tito Puente/Carlos Santana
While this song may have been made globally popular by guitar icon Carlos Santana, it is a cover of an original work by salsa composer Tito Puente. Santana’s version formed part of his hit 1970 Abraxas, which is still one of the best-selling albums to date. The Beastie Boys sampled Santana’s version of this song for their 1998 single “Body Movin”.
“Oye Como Va” uses a traditional Spanish cha-cha rhythm and progression, which is composed of just two chords. Learning to play the chords on this rhythm might be tricky for some beginner players, but if so, try practicing the progression at a slower tempo before playing at full speed. Once you have mastered the basic chord structures, you can also attempt to learn some of the licks that Santana uses in his arrangement, which can drastically improve your lead guitar playing.
4. La Macarena – Los Del Rio
Some Spanish songs have become so popular they even spark global dance movements. “La Macarena” by the duo Los Del Rio was remixed by producers Bayside Boys and quickly hit the top of the global Billboard charts upon its release. The song and video included a choreographed dance that would become a pop culture phenomenon and has been featured in countless movies, sports, and entertainment events to this day.
Learning to play this song on guitar is almost as easy as learning the dance. The entire arrangement of this easy Spanish guitar song consists of just three chords in the key of D. The trick to perfecting the song is mastering the right-hand strumming movements, which are very common techniques in traditional flamenco music.
5. Bamboleo – Gipsy Kings
The Gipsy Kings have been a full-time band for over 40 years. Many people mistakenly think that the band is from Mexico, but the band was founded in the South of France in 1978 and plays primarily Catalan songs. One of their most popular songs is “Bamboleo”. The song’s instrumentation starkly contrasts the lyrical content, which details the loss of a lover and a choice to live a destructive lifestyle.
“Bamboleo” is an easy Spanish song on guitar that can be broken down into three primary sections: verses, choruses, and bridges. The verse and choruses use very similar progressions centered around F# Minor. The bridge uses extended chord progressions starting at B Minor 7 to give the song some extra melodic content. There are also some very tight rhythmic strumming movements to pay attention to, as they give the guitar a very percussive nature while playing.
6. Guantanamera – Joselito Fernandez
There is something wonderfully timeless about Joselito Fernandez’s hit single, “Guantanamera,” which has been covered several times by artists globally. The song is a traditional Cuban folk song originally penned as a romantic story and was quickly adapted to become a song about patriotism. Since its official release in 1929, “Guantanamera” has been covered in several languages, including Italian, French, English, and even Welsh.
“Guantanamera” has a relatively simple arrangement, using only three chords throughout the composition. The chords are structured similarly to a blues standard, with a two-chord turnaround at the end of each chord cycle. This song is also an excellent opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Latin-American fingerpicking rhythms.
7. Besame Mucho – Consuelo Velasquez
An astoundingly somber and beautiful ballad, Consuelo Velasquez’s “Besame Mucho” (Kiss Me a Lot) is one of the most famous songs to come out of Mexico. After its initial release, the song managed to top the American charts for up to 12 weeks. The songstress wrote this song when she was just 15 years old and, ironically, had never kissed anyone at this point in her life. The original was recorded in 1941 and became a big band hit during the Second World War period.
“Besame Mucho” is structured in a traditional Mexican standard known as a bolero. This composition is a relatively easy Spanish song, but it has many chords and variations to remember. So, I recommend learning each chord and section individually before tackling the entire piece. The strumming and fingerpicking patterns in “Besame Mucho” are designed to lock in with the lead vocal melody.
8. Eso Y Mas – Joan Sebastian
“Eso Y Mas” is another popular Mexican ballad and is an excellent example of the crossover between American country music and traditional Spanish folk influences. The lyrics detail the singer’s eternal affection for his lover, as he describes the drastic measures he would go to to keep their love alive.
I recommend working out the different chord progressions used in the arrangement of “Eso Y Mas” before moving on to the fingerpicking patterns. The opening bars also have a very alluring intro riff that sounds great on both an electric and acoustic guitar. If you’re using an electric guitar, try and add some reverb or delay to your guitar tone.
9. Esto Es Vida – Robi Draco Rosa
Robi Draco Rosa is known for his eccentric and avant-garde approach to pop music and was one of the hot artists to watch in the early to mid-2000s eras. One of the biggest-selling singles from his catalog is “Esto Es Vida”, and the music video showcases Rosa’s slightly left-field method of producing as he goes into a strange war with a masked version of himself to win the heart of his beloved.
This is an easy Spanish guitar song with a pretty straightforward set of chord progressions to work through. Both the introduction and the outro also use a two-chord progression in G Major, which rounds off the composition quite nicely. Also, try slowing the downtempo and playing this in a fingerpicking style for a more somber variation.
10. La Cucaracha – various artists
Possibly one of the most recognizable mariachi band standards, “La Cucaracha” is a traditional folk song that comically tells the story of a cockroach. There have been several reworks of this song, and most might be familiar with the version that uses the trumpet to replace the lead vocal.
There are just three chords in the easy guitar arrangement of “La Cucaracha”. Most of your attention and efforts will go towards mastering the right-hand strumming motions. Mariachi bands do not often play with backing drums or percussion, so the rhythmic parts must be very tight and precise for maximum effect. You could also try learning the vocal melody on guitar to play as a lead part or double.
11. Siete Vidas – Antonio Flores
The story of Antonio Flores is a bittersweet and ultimately tragic one. In his song “Siete Vidas”, Flores tells the story of an intense, toxic relationship that lasted for years. He compares the mistakes made in the relationship to the lives of a cat and reveals his love that he has burned six of the seven lives they have together (in the Spanish-speaking world, cats have seven lives, not nine). Sadly, Antonio Flores would not be around long enough to fully enjoy the success of this single.
I recommend “Siete Vidas” to any beginner guitar player who wants to master a basic four-chord progression. That said, this song is also great for intermediate players who want to improve their picking technique. There are also some amazing live versions where Flores throws in some very subtle, classy, subtle licks in between the chord changes.
12. Lambada – Kaoma
Another easy Spanish song on guitar that sparked an international dance craze, “Lambada” caused quite a stir as it slowly rose to the top of the US Billboard charts in 1989. The commotion was primarily caused by the song’s accompanying dance, which involved very close and racy body movements common in Brazilian dance culture. Needless to say, not everyone was pleased with group Kaoma’s provocative visuals and performances.
“Lambada” refers to the name of the single and the traditional style in which the song is played. The Lambada rhythm is similar to reggae but with slightly more complex right-and movements. The song is also written in a traditional Lambada chord structure, which is similar to a common i-iV-V blues standard.
13. La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
Sometimes it only takes one song to send a songwriter to international stardom. “La Bamba” was so successful it even had a Hollywood movie made about it, which also showcased the rise and fall of its author, Ritchie Valens. Originally a traditional folk song, Valen released a rock and roll version of his own in 1958, which turned him into a global sensation overnight.
“La Bamba” is super fun and easy to play. The song has an attention-grabbing rockabilly-style riff that opens the song and carries through for most of the verses. You can learn this riff and its chorus variation, as well as the very simple chord progressions that make up the arrangement. This song is composed for Mariachi-style performances, so the more guitars, the merrier!
14. Clandestino – Manu Chao
Another wonderful Manu Chao classic is “Clandestino”, a laid-back, melancholy song from his album of the same name. This album was Chao’s first full-length solo album and was recorded in different locations worldwide. The lyrics detail the struggles of an illegal immigrant living in Spain. He wrote the song to support African refugees living in peril in the country during the 1990s.
Aside from having a distinct Latino flavor, “Clandestino” also intentionally uses a reggae rhythm in the arrangement to give it a very catchy pocket. This is a great song for beginner players to learn Spanish guitar rhythm, which is created by playing each chord on the off-count of each bar, preferably with a muted upstroke in the right hand.
15. Apuesta Por El Rock And Roll – Enrique Bunbury
The lively and spooky “Apuesta Por El Rock And Roll” is one part classic rock and one part cowboy rockabilly. The song is the most popular single from songwriter Enrique Bunbury. The musician adopted the stage name as an ode to the poet Oscar Wilde and was a firm favorite in the Spanish rock scene during the 1990s. He wrote this song as a sad farewell to a lover who he sadly abandoned for a life on the road.
Two overlapping guitar parts are crucial to the arrangement of “Apuesta Por El Rock And Roll”. The rhythm guitar soft strums through each chord progression in E Minor, while a second electric guitar picks out the root and 5th alongside. If you’re an advanced player, you could try playing both parts on a single guitar using a technique called hybrid picking.
16. Que Ha Pasao – Abraham Mateo
“Que Ha Pasao” is the most modern track on this list, released in 2019, but it still carries some strong traditional Spanish formulas in its fundamental composition. The song is a duo between songwriters Abraham Mateo and Sofia Reyes and is a classic tale of affection between two star-crossed lovers. The music video details all the highs and lows that come with being in an intense romantic relationship.
“Que Ha Pasao” uses a modern dancehall rhythm for its backbeat, which might be tricky for newer guitar players to adjust to. Thankfully, you can use the acoustic guitar progression in the opening bars as a solid reference for how to play this song tight and in the correct groove. There is just one chord progression throughout the song, so this should be quite simple enough for most guitar players to learn quickly and fluidly.
17. Corazon Espinado – Santana
A modern take on the traditional cha-cha standard, “Corazon Espinado” is one of Santana’s biggest hits of the new millennium. Most people might recognize its successor, as it was adapted into a collaboration with songwriter Rob Thomas for their number 1 single, “Smooth”. Still, “Corazon Espinado” remains a very popular Spanish guitar song to this day.
I highly recommend trying to learn all of the lead and guitar solo parts that Carlos Santana has thrown into this track. There is an abundance of tasty guitar licks that are effective across several genres and quite easy to learn by ear or with a tab for reference. Each section of the composition uses a variation of a chord progression in the key of B Minor, with the end of the song rounding off in a satisfying two-chord resolve.
Spanish guitar music is an excellent way to broaden your guitar skills. With roots in classical guitar and various Latin American dance styles, Spanish music is fun, engaging, and will be sure to get your body moving.
Looking for some more easy guitar songs to learn? Check out my top beginner electric guitar songs.