I've always encouraged beginner guitarists to create their own music
using the skills they learn. However, learning some simple guitar songs
can help put those skills quickly into practice and spark inspiration
for your own songwriting.
Now, there are already some fantastic lessons out there teaching you
how to play virtually any song you can think of. What I'll do is hand
pick some of the most clearly and professionally taught
and easy to learn/play songs that will put a number of basic skills to
the test... and perhaps introduce you to some new ones.
Even if you're not too fussed about the song, have a go at it anyway.
It's beneficial to keep your playing broader than your music taste! You
can always modify it and make it your own. No rules!
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town by Pearl Jam
Three simple verse and chorus chords (many combinations of which you
can learn in the three
chord guitar lesson). The 6/8 strumming pattern, which isn't
as it sounds, is broken down in detail...
Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
A great simple strummer which makes use of open D tuning and a capo at
the 2nd fret (but it can be played without the capo).
Basic song, but as the video below demonstrates, there's room for more
intricate variation, adding in your own ideas as your skills develop.
The song is played right through without any break downs, but if you've
studied the basic
chords section well, you should be able to recognise the
chords being used and you can always pause when
the chord changes (there's plenty of time between each change!).
Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Another classic. A great song to develop your picking and
phrasing (you'll see what I mean when you
watch the video).
House of the Rising Sun by The Animals
This song uses what's known as chord arpeggiation. Basically, each note
in the chord is picked individually rather than all chord notes
strummed at once. The tutor in this video lays the foundations
for you by strumming through the chord changes before then showing you
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
A nice, relaxing, soulful number. The rendition taught in this video
gets you working on that E
form barre chord, often awkward for
beginners. The tutor also adds in some useful techniques such as palm
muting and other rhythmic nuances.