Good songs to learn on guitar


Junior Member
I've played bass for a while, but recently picked up guitar. I am currently learning House of the Rising Sun by the Animals. Do any of you have recommendations for easy songs to focus on getting some good practice playing chords that isn't too difficult?

All shook up
Barbara Ann
Stand by me
I saw the light
Ring of fire
Surfing usa
That should get you started
Horse with no name is verr EZ for a first SONG AND plus, its pretty fly for any kind of guy, not just white. A++
I'm assuming based on the House of the Rising Sun, you like classic rock.  Some suggestions.....

Disclaimer...I luv Led Zeppelin, so....

Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (gets you started picking strings vs strumming a chord)
Communication Breakdown (good bar chord tune)
Whole Lotta Love (the riff is so easy, but it's about the groove in the riff)

Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple
Just about anything Black Sabbath (mostly power chords with some riffs)
Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynard Skynard

Most of these are pretty easy, but will start getting you dialed in with chords and in some cases (like House of the Rising Sun) also include picked notes vs a strummed chord.
Back In Black - AC/DC
rauchman said:
Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Don't go out tonight / they're bound to take your life
  heeeeeeey the bathroom's on the right"

Knocking on Heavens Door- Dylan
I Shall Be Released- Jerry Garcia Band's live version.
Magnolia- JJ Cale
Hey Joe- Hendrix
Mayfly said:
rauchman said:
Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Don't go out tonight / they're bound to take your life
  heeeeeeey the bathroom's on the right"


There's a lady who's sure that his coif is too bold
And she's buying some hairspray for Kevin
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
Amazon will ship what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying some hairspray for Kevin
Ooooh ... I like that ... I Shall be released, I'm putting that one on my list.  You wouldn't happen to have a tab for that?  By the way ... I made tabs for all of mine except  Barbara Ann ... if anyone wants one. 

Let me add Friend of the Devil which has a nice G run that's not too difficult.
For a similar vibe to "I Shall Be Released", Creedence's "As Long As I Can See The Light" is also a solid tune, and easy on guitar.  I love that tune.
I Shall Be Released the intro is G to C2 and then the hole rest of the song is G/Am/Bm/Am/back to G and repeat for the Garcia version. The Grace Potter version is killer too and worth a listen on YouTube but she plays it in the key of C.
Thanks for the suggestions! I am working on A Horse with no name. It's easy, but it's good for practicing getting comfortable with strumming. I especially like the suggestion for Sunshine of Your Love. It's the first bass line I learned! I can't believe I didn't think of it.

One of the first "cool" songs I learned was Neil Young's "Down By the River".

Bill, tgo
For getting used to strumming open chords and making chord changes faster, Hey Joe (the most famous Hendrix version is a fine tempo) was what I found most useful when I was starting. Since it uses (or at least can be boiled down to) C, G, D, A and E open major chords, if you can get those transitions down then you're set for 99% of popular rock songs.

To break up the dad-rock monotony, I'd like to suggest you check out some of the simpler mid-late 80s rock and hair metal. They're all standard open major and minor chords for the verses, power chords all the way through the choruses, a reptitive pentatonic ''solo'' and back to some powerchords until you fade out. Nothing that will stress your hands but the slightly faster tempos will help you focus on making the chord changes quicker. Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead Or Alive and Guns N' Roses version of Knockin On Heaven's Door are two perennial favourites that pretty much every 6-stringer will learn at some point in their first year or two of playing.
If you really want to get your right hand rhythm down, give some early Prince a go. When You Were Mine, I Wanna Be Your Lover and Sometimes It Snows In April use very simple chord shapes but they're not ones you'll find in many other songs (so you're expanding your chord vocabulary) and the strumming is deceptively more complex and harder than it first sounds in all three songs. Any intermediate player will nail them first time, but 6-string beginners need to concentrate and that concentration is what will really make your hands improve.

And if you're willing to break with this board's traditions and try something that was recorded within the last twenty years (heresey! How dare I suggest such a thing!) then may I recommend you give Lights' Cactus In The Valley a try. It uses only a couple of simple chord shapes but in positions you don't normally see them and the slight swing of the country-esque rhythm can be a strumming challenge for those whose strumming hand isn't quite moving freely yet. In fact a lot of modern pop-country is good exercise for your strumming hand.