Do you have an interest in playing guitar but don’t know where to start? If so, start by learning how to play an acoustic guitar. Although an electric guitar matches many music genres, its older counterpart – the acoustic guitar – has shown to be able to offer maximum versatility. Here, I will tell you the top 10 easy acoustic guitar songs that will help you learn how to play the acoustic guitar.
What Is an Acoustic Guitar?
An acoustic guitar is a traditional musical instrument that generates sound through vibrations of the strings above a resonating compartment in the guitar’s body. These sound vibrations do not require electrical amplification because they can carry through the air. However, nowadays many acoustic guitars are functioning as electric guitars.
What Makes an Easy Acoustic Guitar Song?
When you are starting out as a guitarist, you need to find as many songs as possible to help you learn different chords. Fortunately, it is very easy to pick up easy acoustic guitar songs for your training because most of these songs use only 2 or 3 major chords. That’s why they are the best songs to start with.
However, you need to continue learning because, with regular practice, you will continue to advance your skills and become better. Also, you need to understand that every professional guitarist you see out there had a starting point. So, it is important to find some easy acoustic guitar songs when you start your learning journey.
A Note On Strumming Patterns
Strumming is the act of playing a stringed musical instrument like the guitar using your fingers or the plectrum. To strum, you brush over several strings with your fingers to produce a sound. In most cases, you can only strum with your dominant hand (strum hand). The other hand (fret hand) supports your strum hand through the alteration of the tone and pitch of the strum.
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However, you should not confuse a strum with a pluck. Plucking involves a specific string or a combination of designated strings that are targeted individually to vibrate and generate a specific sound. In strumming, the targeting of specific strings doesn’t have to be precise.
Therefore, when you brush any set of strings on your acoustic guitar in a single stroke by a plectrum, it could be considered a strum because a plectrum has a less precise string group targeting.
Nevertheless, a plectrum can pluck a set of strings in chorus without being considered a strum. Also, if you use the fingerstyle or fingerpick technique to pluck all the strings on your acoustic guitar at once, it is considered plucking, not strumming. As a guitarist, you need to master different strumming patterns so that you don’t feel like your strum hand is being outpaced.
Some of the most popular strumming patterns include the all down-stroke strumming, down and upstrokes, muted strum, strumming with resets, and the complex reset. Although it might take you a couple of practicing sessions to master each of these strumming patterns, it will be very easy for you to pick out different strumming patterns in your acoustic guitar songs when you understand each pattern.
Furthermore, you will be able to come up with your own strumming patterns over time. It’s always good to play along with metronomes or jam tracks when you are practicing different strumming patterns.
Easy Acoustic Guitar Songs for Beginners
1. “I Wanna be There” by Blessed Union of Souls
One of the main reasons why this acoustic guitar song is considered easy is because it only has three main chords: G, C, and D. These chords are undoubtedly the easiest to learn and play on the guitar.
Furthermore, these chords make it easy for you to learn to strum a song. This song’s chord movement includes G | C | D | G.
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Once you’ve mastered these chords and can easily switch to each one of them, you can play the entire song without a problem. That’s why this song is the right choice for beginners.
2. “What’s Up” by Four Non-blondes
Although this song has more than three chords, it can easily be picked up on any acoustic guitar, even by beginners. Its chords include E, Am, G, D, and B. The other good thing about this song is that almost everybody knows it. Therefore, it is a big hit for beginners who want to entertain guests at parties and family get-togethers.
3. “Love Me Do” by the Beatles
This is a very simple acoustic guitar song since it only starts with two chords: G major and C major. When you get to the bridge part of the song, you will need to add in a D major chord. These chords make the song great for beginners.
It is important to note that each song will have its own strumming pattern. Therefore, it’s important to know about the song and its tempo because you will be able to strum.
4. “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
This song is one of the most popular wedding songs. It is easy to learn because it starts with three chords: G major, C major, and D major. You will need to include an E minor chord when you get to the chorus. A lot of songs can be created using these three chords. The main pattern of this song is G | C | G | D the C | D | G | Em.
Remember that the rhythm of the song is as important as mastering the chords correctly. You also need to understand that your preferred strum pattern will make you a true guitarist.
5. “Three Little Birds,” by Bob Marley
This is one of the most popular reggae songs. It is also very simple on an acoustic guitar because it only uses three major chords: A, D, and E. When you are strumming with this tune, make it intentional and ensure it has the “island” feel to it. Also, remember that the D chord is open, and therefore one string is unfretted.
6. “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus
This tune is perfect for country music lovers. It is very simple to play on an acoustic guitar because it only has two chords: C and G. Furthermore, its chorus and verses follow the same pattern. This makes it the best acoustic song for beginners.
7. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
This is an old rock country song that only uses three chords: C, D, and G. Therefore, it is an easy song to learn and play on an acoustic guitar.
8. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
This bluesy tune has a very simple chord progression as it only uses three chords: D, A, and G. Its chord progression goes D | A | G | D and adds in a G major chord at the start when you get to the part of the chorus that goes “don’t go around tonight”.
9. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
Produced in 1971, this song is one of the songs that clearly define John Denver’s musical ingenuity. The song only has four chords: G, D, Em, and C. All of these chords are very easy to play on an acoustic guitar. It offers you a perfect way to begin your musical journey.
10. “Boys Round Here” by Blake Shelton
This is one of the best and easiest acoustic guitar songs to practice with. It only has two chords: A and D, which provide a very basic downstrum pattern and a simple beat that is easy to learn. At any rate, this song will help you to get acquainted with the acoustic guitar.
Tips for Playing an Acoustic Guitar
As a beginning guitarist, it’s difficult to master basic and advanced guitar techniques, especially if you do not have the basics down to start with. Here are some tips for playing the acoustic guitar.
1. Set Up Your Guitar
When you are starting out as a guitarist, chances are that you won’t buy the most expensive acoustic guitar. However, a cheap guitar comes with its own share of disadvantages. For instance, a cheap acoustic guitar is likely to have a higher action. This means that the strings are far away from the fretboard, making it difficult for you to form chords and playing notes. You can avoid this by getting your guitar set up by a professional.
2. Light Gauge Strings
Since guitar strings are designed to play different roles and produce different sounds, they come in varying gauges (thickness). So, before you purchase an acoustic guitar, it is important to choose a gauge that is safe for your fingers and suits your frustration levels. Thick gauges will be hard on your fingers and make the learning process very uncomfortable.
3. Press the Strings Lightly
As a beginner, you will always find the strings of your acoustic guitar digging into your fingers, especially on your fretting hand. This can be very painful and uncomfortable. To avoid this, you should press the strings down lightly, only adding a little more pressure when the strings start to sound dead.
4. Start with a Rhythm Guitar
When you are starting to learn how to play an acoustic guitar, it’s always important to start by learning how to play a rhythm guitar. This guitar helps you to enhance your timing and learn to use a pick. As a beginner, choose the light gauge picks for your rhythm guitar.
5. Tune Your Acoustic Guitar
Make sure you tune your acoustic guitar every time you play so that you can get the right sounds. This practice also helps you to hear how each string sounds like before you start playing. By listening to the strings, you get to learn what every note or open string sounds like, allowing you to build your intonation and pitch accuracy.
What is the 3rd Chord Trick?
The 3rd chord trick refers to the act of accompanying a melody by only three chords. These chords are not a combination of chords. Rather, they are three specific chords referred to as the tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords. The chords C, F, and G are all major chords and are known as the 3 primary chords in C major.
These three chords are popular because they have certain important assets and relationships between them. They are the only major chords in the major key, apart from chromatic chords. They are all linked by roots that are fifth apart. This means that G is a fifth higher than C, while F is a fifth lower than C.
The three chords define the major scale and calculate pitches of the notes in the natural major scale. Furthermore, the chords are enough to harmonize all notes of the major scale.
The most important thing to understand is that the 3rd chord trick works best in songs that are primarily made up of the diatonic notes of the major scale.
Hardest Songs to Play on Acoustic Guitar
As you progress in your training, you will need songs that can challenge you and help you become a better guitarist. These songs should introduce new techniques and inspire you to get out of your comfort zone.
If you want to become a serious guitarist, you have to challenge yourself to climb the enormous mountains created by the masters.
Although these songs are not as long or complex, they have uncommon techniques that will encourage you to extend your training into new technical terrain. Combining the familiarity of mastering tricky solos and creating improvisational sensibility, the songs will push you beyond your imaginary limits. Here are some of the hardest acoustic guitar songs.
1. Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson
2. Drifting by Andy Mckee
3. Air Tap by Erik Mongrain
4. La Cathedral by Agustin Barrios Mangore
5. Through the Fire and Flames by Dragonforce
6. Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits
7. Passionflower by Jon Gomm
8. For the Love of God by Steve Vai
9. On Impulse by Animals as Leaders
10. Recuerdos De La Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega
With these easy acoustic guitar songs for beginners, you should be able to kick start your musical career and harness your guitar skills. As you practice, start slow and build up your tempo as you grow. Don’t try to play songs at the tempo they were written and understand that everybody learns the guitar differently.