Whether you’re just getting started on guitar or just want to find something relaxing to strum to, it’s nice to have a few easy guitar songs to fall back on from time to time. In the first of what will (hopefully/probably) become a series, I’m listing out some of my favourite easy guitar songs. This first volume won’t have any theme to to, later volumes probably will.

These easy guitar songs will use beginner guitar chords, there’s no barre chords on this list. These are all songs that use only open chords. That’s not a promise for future lists though. You may see a 7th chord here and there on some of these songs. Don’t worry, these are usually pretty easy to play. If you’re not there yet, just play the basic chord shape.

Finally, this article isn’t intended to be a guide on how to play any of these songs. While we’ll link to the chords, I’m not going to go into strumming patterns or anything like that. If you’re a beginner, my suggestion is practice the chord changes, making sure all the strings ring out; the rhythm will come. If you’re more advanced, you don’t need me telling you how to strum.

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And It Stoned Me By Van Morrison

And It Stoned Me by Van Morrison is well know by all and will surely get a few people singing along. And you should be able to learn it quickly because it’s a song that only uses open chords! What’s even better is most of the chord changes are also pretty easy and it’s a pretty slow song.

There’s tons about this song that make it perfect for beginners just starting to learn the guitar. Have fun.

The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out Of Denton by Mountain Goats

If you know the Mountain Goats, you know this song. If you don’t know the Mountain Goats, this song probably seems like it’s coming a bit out of left field, but it’s a great song and, more importantly for this list, it’s easy to play and only uses open guitar chords.

The rhythm that Darnielle uses in this song can be a little difficult at first, but what makes this and easy guitar song (other than the chords) is that the song works even if you’re doing a different rhythm to the original. So have fun.

Dead Flowers by The Rolling Stones

Songs don’t come much easier than Dead Flowers. Ignoring Keith’s wonderful lead guitar on this track, the rhythm guitar is easy to pick up and doesn’t have anything terribly complicated. For a beginner, this is a song that you can easily pickup, play, and sound pretty good doing so. Sure, Dead Flowers wasn’t The Rolling Stones’ biggest hits, but it’s still a great song.

You’ll notice in the chords linked that the song calls for a Dsus4 and a Dsus2 in the chorus. Feel free to try these, but you’ll still sound great playing a straight D.

I Won’t Back Down By Tom Petty

Although I Won’t Back Down has a nice lead line, you don’t need to play it to just strum away on this song and have people singing along. And at only four open chords, this song couldn’t be easier.

Some of the changes in the chorus for I Won’t Back Down can be a little quick, but the main changes are between the open C and G chords. If you’re brand new to guitar, any chord changes can be difficult, but going from G to C (and back) is a relatively simple change, and a common one, so you should get used to it.

Finally, if you watch the attached video and listen to the song, you’ll notice that the palm muted rhythm guitar is a lot more prominent. However, Petty is also doing full strums of the chords as well. My suggest would be to do the full strums, assuming you’re playing this song by yourself.

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is another one of those easy guitar songs that a lot of players learn early on. It’s a great song and it’s only a handful of chords that are all open, so you should be able to pick it up quickly. Like a few of the songs on this list, you can make this song as easy or as difficult as you want. Just start with strumming however you feel comfortable. Then, overtime, add some different patterns and bass notes as you pick up the skills.

No Rain by Blind Melon

Here’s a fun song that perhaps isn’t as remembered as it should be… but No Rain by Blind Melon was a hit in its day! The lead riff really makes this song but it needs a sturdy chord progression to sit behind it, and that’s what you’ll be playing. It’s all a pretty simple chord progression, making it an easy guitar song you can learn pretty quickly.

An E7 is thrown in there towards the end of the verse, but feel free to just stick with the E while you’re getting used to things. Otherwise, just have fun!

This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie

Here’s another easy guitar song. It’s an oldie but a goodie, and fairly well known by all. If you listen to the song on the video, you’ll hear Woody doing a lot of fancy stuff with the bass line and melody. Don’t worry about that, just strum away and have fun with it.

Once you master the strumming and singing, this is a song that can grow with you. Start simple, and as you learn new techniques you can add them to this song.

Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show

Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show couldn’t be easier to play; it’s just 4 open chords! This song has had its time in the sun but it’s still pretty well known. For those who don’t know it though, they’ll be singing along with the chorus after they hear it once, making this a great campfire song.

I like to play this song without a pick, using my thump to do an alternating bass line with my fingers doing the strumming.

Wonderwall by Oasis

Yeah, sorry, but we had to throw this in here. There’s a reason why pretty much every new guitarists learns this song: it’s easy and well known. To that end, this is another song you should be able to nail quickly and have friends singing along with you as you play.

If you’re super new to the guitar, you’ll notice on the chords (linked below) that they’re suggesting an A7sus4 chord; you’re fine to play a regular A7 here or even a regular A chord here while you’re still learning.

Zombie by The Cranberries

Zombie by The Cranberries couldn’t be easier to play on guitar. It’s just Em, C, G, and D. On the chords linked below, you’ll notice that the D chord being used is actual a D/F#. Here you’re welcome to just play a standard D chord. If you want to play the D/F#, I wouldn’t suggest using the fingering on the linked chords. Instead, check out my beginner slash chords article for an easy way of playing a D/F#. Honestly, it’s a better chord to play and more easily transitions to the Em in both sound and playability.

And there you have it. Some easy guitar songs that should have you strumming away in no time. If you’re having trouble with any of these songs, that’s OK. You have to start somewhere. Concentrating on making sure each string rings out for the chords you’re playing, then practice changing between chords quickly and cleanly. Play it slow then build up. Before you know it you’ll be strumming and singing at the same time.

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