By Billy Saefong
The guitar chord is something any new guitar player will struggle with but hopefully this will help your playing. If you were lucky enough to get a new guitar this season, here are a variety of easy guitar songs to help you on your guitar-learning journey. These songs from bands old and new incorporate a handful of open chords, and a couple of barre chords. For those of you looking to learn some new techniques may also find songs that use simple fingerpicking, as well as new ways to strum. Read on for the songs!
“Watching the Wheels” by John Lennon
The single was released posthumously a year after John Lennon’s death in 1981. Played primarily on piano, the chords can easily be arranged for a single guitar. The guitar chords are also pretty simple as the majority of the verse consists only of F and C, while the remaining parts sprinkle in Am, Dm, and G.
“Let It Be” by The Beatles
Recorded in 1969 and then released in 1970, “Let It Be” became the title track of The Beatles’ final album Let It Be. It was written by Paul McCartney and again, like the previous song on this list, is played primarily on piano. But the rhythm is simple and even has a nifty guitar solo by George Harrison.
This song is perhaps the best part of Joel Schumacher’s terrible Batman Forever movie from 1995. Beneath the waltz time signature, and amazing melody, there’s a simple three chord pattern that dominates the majority of the song.
“Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash famously played this song at Folsom Prison in 1968 and it was one of the singer’s most recognizable hits. The song incorporates elements of the “train song” with its “boom-chuck” strum patterns. The entire song is played mostly with E and A chords, and a couple of others for variety.
“Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” by Dave Van Ronk
This classic folk song from Dave Van Ronk features a simple fingerpicking pattern. Use this song as a guitar lesson on learning the technique. The song was most recently featured in the movie, Inside Llewyn Davis which was heavily inspired by the singer’s early life.
Dave Van Ronk photo credit: By Jack Mancini (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
“I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie
Like the previous song, this song is a great way to learn a simple fingerpicking pattern. The entire song features just one acoustic guitar and the player not only picks with their finger, but also adds a bit of a percussion sound with each strum.
“Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s
By Justin Higuchi (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jus10h/16561918584/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Easily one of the most popular songs of the early 2000’s, this song as made famous by The Plain White T’s features a nice fingerpicking pattern that repeats itself the entire song.
“Frosty the Snowman”
Just in time for the holidays, and the weather, this classic Christmas song features a couple of easy open chords, and a simple strum pattern not unlike the “boom-chucks” of “Folsom Prison Blues.”
The grungiest song out of the bunch, this song as made famous by Nirvana has the player play 5th chords, or power chords, up and down the neck. For fans of a heavier sound on acoustic, look no further.
“Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes
This upbeat song from The Marvelettes, and then covered by The Beatles, is fun and will no doubt have everyone around you singing. The song mainly consists of four chords, one of which is the B minor. For those of you looking to brush up on your B minor, this is a pretty great place to start.