Guitar tricks blog

Posted: October 2, 2017

6 Not So Easy Guitar Songs on Acoustic

By Billy Saefong

If you're like me and get bored of strumming the same old three chords, playing the same old songs, there's one thing I like to do, and that's to learn new, challenging songs. Some of the most difficult songs to play are either super fast, sweep and shred fests, or really intricate fingerpicking songs on an acoustic. Since I'm not Herman Li and my left hand is mostly useless, fingerpicking is more of my style. If you want to learn some new chords and a few ways to not use a pick, take a crack at the songs below and let us know what you think! 

 

"GREEN, GREEN, ROCKY ROAD" - DAVE VON RONK

The tough part about this song is Dave’s use of Travis picking. For a beginner, the fingerpicking style could be tough, especially since it requires the player to pick bass notes with their thumb, while independently plucking the higher strings with their remaining fingers. Learning the style is a bit like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time. But if you go slow, you can learn anything, including how to Travis Pick!

 

"HERE COMES THE SUN" - THE BEATLES

Played with a capo on the 7th fret, this George Harrison classic is probably the easiest song to play on this list but that doesn’t mean any beginner guitar player can pick it up. All of the chords Harrison uses here aren’t too complex, but there’s a bit of pinky work here that could prove to be a useful exercise for your fretting hand. 

 

"YESTERDAY" - THE BEATLES

This was the first song a member of The Beatles performed and wrote an entire song solo. Even though it was written and played by Paul McCartney, the credits still went to both John Lennon and Sir Paul. McCartney tuned his guitar a full step down for the recording, and also plays a variety of not-so-common chords, and changes between them quickly in the “had to go, I don’t know…” section. 

 

"I GOT A NAME" - JIM CROCE

Jim Croce was a master acoustic guitar player, and one listen from any of his songs is proof of this. His fingerpicking made him sound as if he was playing more strings than he actually was. There are two versions of this song you can learn right here on Guitar Tricks, but to play it the way Jim played it, one must fingerpick the song. The fingerpicking involves five major sections and an intricate picking pattern. Again, like the other songs on this list, the combination of tough fingerpicking and quick chord changes really ramp up the difficulty. 

 

"DON’T KNOW WHY" - NORAH JONES 

Perhaps the most famous song from the singer, “Don’t Know Why” features a ton of great jazz tones and chords, mixed with some pop influences. For anyone wanting to learn some 7th chords, and more variations on common barre chords, this is the song to learn. For example, the song begins with a Bbmaj7 chord, and eventually gets to an Fsus4add9 chord. Woah! 

 

"LITTLE MARTHA" - ALLMAN BROTHERS

It’s not like the usual Allman Brothers heavy blues sound, instead, “Little Martha” is made up of two steel-stringed acoustic guitars. There are three main sections done in the Open E tuning but what makes this song particularly interesting is that both guitars work together to create a single sound. Solo guitar players can play this tune but it really sounds best when perfectly synced with another guitar. 

 

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