Anyone thinking of playing the guitar will be weighing up whether they want to hone in on playing the electric guitar or whether they should move onto playing the classic acoustic guitar.
Both have their pros and cons. Electric guitar can make you rock out and sound awesome, whereas acoustic guitar playing is much smoother, more beautiful and easier to hear when in a calmer environment.
Either way, you’re going to need to learn how to play some songs, but for beginners – that’s easier said than done.
What songs should you choose? You want something pretty simple to learn and follow, right?
Luckily, we’ve got that covered for you here. We’re going to provide you with our picks of the top 10 simple acoustic guitar songs for those setting out in the world of guitar.
Take a seat and read on!
Acoustic Guitar V Electric Guitar
Before we continue and introduce you to our list, we want to address something that we know will be a key question with some of you.
You might be wondering, what is the point of learning acoustic guitar songs? Why even learn acoustic when you can learn electric?
Well, we’d argue that even though the skills are pretty interchangeable, learning on the acoustic guitar is slightly simpler and can be transferred over to the electric guitar in a much more streamlined way than the other way around.
Next, although this will be debated – there are so many songs that sound better on acoustic guitar.
You can play an electric guitar song on an acoustic, and it will sound okay, whereas the other way around it will sound awful!
There is also the little point of the feelings it evokes. If you’re out camping, you can easily bring out the acoustic guitar and everyone is happy, and it’s a welcome event!
However, you can’t exactly bring the electric guitar out in the wilderness now, can you? (Cue the people that have!)
Anyway, without further ado, here’s our choices for acoustic songs for learners that are quite simple to learn and play – and yes, there will be some songs on here that are originally electric guitar songs!
Tenacious D – One Note Song
Okay, so you can argue until the end of time that this is more of a skit than a song, but in any case it is technically a Tenacious D song!
As Jack Black says in the song, you play one note and every once in a while bend it.
The funny thing is with this song, although it is one note only, it is recognizable as being a Tenacious D song because of its simplicity and the fact you can play it wrong!
Due to it being only one note, it makes its place safely as number 1 on our list!
America – Horse With No Name
Listed as possibly the easiest song to play for acoustic guitarists, it is literally a case of strumming two chords.
Albeit, it is a very simplified version of the famous song, when you get this right, you’ll almost certainly be asked “is that Horse With No Name?”, and you can happily say yes!
Metallica – Enter Sandman
Perhaps one of the most famous songs by Metallica, this song is very simple to learn for beginners to the acoustic guitar.
It has no chords, and you can keep playing in a loop once you’ve mastered it.
We dare you not to start singing “exit light!” when you’re playing this.
Nirvana – Come As You Are
We move onto the great Kurt Cobain for this one.
Many Nirvana songs are good for acoustic guitar players, but some are very difficult to master as they move into further complexity as the song develops.
Come As You Are however, is very simple. Perhaps the most challenging part is the speed of playing.
If you can get the speed just right, you’ll be sounding like a guitar master in no time!
Green Day – American Idiot
You may be thinking that this song can’t possibly sound any good on an acoustic guitar, but you’d be surprised.
Not only is it pretty basic to perfect, it sounds intriguingly better than the original.
Although Green Day have done songs with acoustic guitars (Wake Me Up When September Ends), this is one of their electric guitar songs that sounds better on its acoustic brother.
Mason Williams – Classical Gas
“Now do Classical Gas!” A phrase that any Simpsons fans will recognize, and to be fair – for great reason.
Classical Gas is actually much easier to learn than some people might think, however the latter end of the song grows into complexity.
We’d recommend playing the start of the song and mastering that.
It will get your fingers moving and everyone will know the song you’re playing!
Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved
Sometimes, pop songs can sound beautiful when played on an acoustic guitar only, and Maroon 5’s classic “She Will Be Loved” is an ideal example.
The beginning of the song opens with acoustic guitar playing and some bass background.
It’s really easy to get to grips with this one. All it needs is for you to play it!
Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
Come on, who doesn’t want to play a Queen song? This has to be the simplest song for acoustic guitar players to learn, and it gets everybody who hears it to move and sing along. Prove us wrong!
Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line
This is another song that we feel everybody should be learning to play. Nobody will beat the great Johnny Cash, but we can sure try!
This song needs to be treated with respect, so we’d recommend you do your homework on YouTube before you start off with this one.
Oasis – Wonderwall
This tune is very, very easy and does not need you to move anywhere really! You keep your fingers in pretty much the exact same space.
A real party song, everybody will hold their glasses in the air when you start playing this and watch everybody singalong to the British, iconic, staple of an acoustic guitarists’ arsenal.
For some reason, many acoustic guitar players over-complicate things and make life much more difficult for themselves when they really don’t have to.
We’ve noticed there is a tendency, perhaps a bit of impatience, for beginners to start adding complicated and interchanging strumming patterns to their guitar game.
The fact of the matter is, this will just make your life and learning much, much more difficult.
You can make your life easier by having a guitar tab open and ready to go, along with of course, an easy chords chart, but this won’t play the guitar for you.
You need to put in the hard work too and the one way that you can help yourself is by getting a metronome.
You can find pretty good ones via your smartphone’s app store.
What Exactly Do We Classify As “Easy?”
Yes, you might be wondering how someone can say this is a simple song or an easy song for beginners.
If you’re a beginner, you likely have little knowledge of what chords even are, let alone what to do!
We understand that, but we’ve got a basic and easy breakdown of how we decided are simple acoustic songs. We’ve considered:
- How easy is this song to play for somebody who has little to no guitar experience?
- Could you teach this song to a beginner in one or two sessions to play at a basic level?
- Are the amount of notes and chords low? Is it difficult to move?
- Can the tab be easily read and understood?
- Could we have played this as a beginner?
As you can see, these criteria are easy and to the point. These 5 points were considered when we drafted our top 10 list and all of our choices went through this ringer!
Acoustic Guitar Artists – Those To Think About
If you’re hoping to make your own decisions and maybe explore some other acoustic guitar players that you may like to emulate, we totally understand!
Here’s our suggestions for people that you should check out on your music player or on YouTube:
- Bob Dylan
- Johnny Cash
- Jose Gonzalez
- Ed Sheeran
- Ben Howard
- CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
- John Lennon
- The Beatles
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
These are arguably the best individuals and bands that play acoustic guitar, and you may find a gem among them that you’ll find easy to play as a beginner.
The Last Note
Learning to play the guitar is a perfect thing to do. It can be an outlet for your passions, improve mental health and can even make you into a music star!
However, you can’t run before you can walk.
Ensure that you’ve started to learn some of our choices before you go too advanced. Good luck with your guitar lessons!