If you’re a beginning acoustic guitar player, you no doubt want to reap the rewards of all the learning and strumming you’ve been doing. And what better way to do this than to play an entire song? But how do you find easy and good acoustic guitar songs that are within your present capability to play? Perhaps you’ve tried playing several songs only to get frustrated halfway through them because they got complicated. Well, take heart. There’s a secret to finding good acoustic guitar songs for beginners.
Although mastering the guitar takes years of playing, be encouraged in knowing that you don’t have to be a master to be able to play songs. What you do need to do is to master a few chords. All guitar songs are comprised of chords, which are nothing more than three or more notes that harmonize. So, as a beginner, concentrate on learning chords. There are seven you should master: G, C, D, E, A, E minor, and A minor. Start with G, C, & D. Once you learn these chords, practice moving from one chord to another. Try transitioning from one chord to another smoothly and quickly. When you’ve gotten those down, learn the others.
It may come as a pleasant surprise to you to learn that some of the best acoustic guitar songs use only three chords. That’s right. Three chords. You can easily play “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash because it uses just the G, C, and D chords. G C D is one of the most popular chord progressions in popular music. “Twist and Shout” uses this progression. So do the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”, Bob Dylan’s “The Times Are A’Changin”, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” as well as “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, “Wild Thing”, “The Joker”, “Free Falling”, “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Amazing Grace”, and a host of other songs. Not all these songs use just the three chords, but many have been published in an easy to play format that allows the beginner to play them. You can play the simplified versions of the songs with the arsenal you already have, and insert additional chord progressions later on for a fuller sound.
So, as a novice player, good acoustic guitar songs for you are the ones that use a minimum of chords, especially if they’re the seven chords you’ve already learned. You’ll find that a large number of popular pop, folk, and rock songs use these same chords. Stay away for now from songs with intricate musical structures that may be difficult to follow. When you hear a song, check if it’s something you can easily hum or follow in your head. If it is, chances are this is a good song for you.
To help you look for good acoustic guitar songs, there are websites that publish simplified versions of songs of such artists as U2, Van Morrison, Roy Orbison, James Blunt, Tracey Chapman, Tom Petty, Gabrielle, Dido, Duffy, Coldplay, Razorlight, Oasis, Delirious, The Feeling, The Killers, Scouting for Girls, Take That, Status Quo, King of Leon, and any Country Music. Look for these sites.