Easy Songs to Play on Guitar

Learning Two Easy Songs for Guitar

A question I'm often asked by beginner guitar players is 'what are some easy songs I can play on guitar.' This is a bit of a tricky question to answer because the truth is most songs are easy when you're an intermediate or advanced player and all songs are difficult when you're a beginner. But of course some songs are easier than others, and there are some songs that I can not play after 20 years of practice. So it is all relative.

In this free tutorial, I'll give you a few songs that you can play that are typically considered to be 'easy to play' by many guitar players - that is to say good songs to learn if you are just starting out. Along the way I will also point out to you some resources you can use to help speed up the process.

First of all, you should know that even before you start playing the simplest of songs you'll want to brush up on some key fundamentals so that you know what's going on and so that you can follow along with the songs we are going to be trying to play. In order to do so, please take a few minutes to skim through the beginner guitar lesson titles on the right side of this page in the sidebar. If you already know everything being taught in that section than you are definitely ready to start learning songs. But if you think you need to catch up a bit, go through those lessons starting with the introduction and working your way up to the beginner guitar chords lesson. Don't be afraid to take your time going through the lessons. The lessons are meant to take you step by step through the process of mastering the fundamentals that you need to know before playing songs.

Ok, so assuming you are up to speed, here are a couple of easy songs that you can start to learn in order to get some songs to practice in your tool belt. The first song is the easiest and the second song is a bit more challenging. But along the way I am going to be teaching you some important lessons that will allow you to get to a point where you can learn all of the songs that are on this website (over 100,000 tabs and chords).

Song #1: Happy Birthday - Tabs 101

The most widely known song in the United States is actually Happy Birthday. So this is a good one to know. You can use it to impress your girlfriend(s) and can take out your guitar once a year to make her think you're cheezy.

But before I show you how to play the song I first must give you a quick tutorial on how to read guitar tabs in case you don't already know. If you already know, then please skim down to the section entitled 'Easy song number 1: happy b-day on guitar.'

Reading Guitar tabs

What the heck is a guitar tab?

Guitar Tablature is a notation system designed to make it very simple for guitar players to be able to communicate about how to play a chord, lick, phrase, or song on the guitar. If you can write and read tabs, then you will be well on your way.

Reading tabs

Reading tabs is very easy once you know what you are doing. Essentially, one phrase or measure of tablature consists of six lines, each of which might look something like this:

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The main point to grasp is that each of the six lines in a phrase of tablature actually visually represents a guitar string. And when we put six lines on top of one another like this:

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----------
----------
----------
----------
----------

...we can visually represent each of six strings of the guitar. The bottom string pictured represents the low E string and the top string pictured represents the high E string. So now we just need a way to be able to designate which frets, or notes to play on each string. So how is this done using tabs?

Easy Peasy - we just write the fret number on a given string using plain old numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.)

So if, for example, I want to tell someone to play the 3rd fret of the low E string, I would simply draw this:

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------------
------------
------------
------------
----3-------

Ok, easy enough. But what if I want to communicate multiple notes? Easy again. Now we just have to write the different notes, in order, from left to right. For example, if I want to tell someone to play the 3rd fret of the low E string immediately followed by the 5th fret of the A string (the fifth string), I can write this:

-----------
-----------
-----------
-----------
----5------
-3---------

Notice that this form of notation does not allow you to indicate how long each note should be played. This is a drawback of tablature. So you have to know how the song sounds and just use your ear to figure out the timing. Sometimes players will put more space in between the notes, like this:

------------
------------
------------
------------
---------5--
-3----------

And this will indicate that you should leave more time (or rest) for longer before moving onto the next note.

And that's all there is to reading tabs. You now know everything you need in order to read any tab in the entire world. Now let's get on to learning your first song.

Easy Song #1: How to Happy Birthday

-----------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------
--------------5-4-----------7-5------9-5-5-5-4-2-10-10-9-5-7-5---
------5-5-7-5-------5-5-7-5------5-5-----------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------

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-5-7-5-8-----------
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Having a bit of trouble? That's ok. Go back and read the part above again a couple times until you really understand how to read the tabs. Then take your time with the song until you're able to play without looking. It may take a couple times, days, or weeks, depending on where you're at. Make sure you practice it and try it with a little echo and or distortion.

Now if you really want to challenge yourself, let's try another song that requires some light strumming and chord knowledge. Watch the video below and follow along to test your knowledge of chords and to see if you can get the strumming down. If so, you will be able to learn another song on guitar. This is a great one to know for beginners. It is called 'Knockin on Heaven's Door.'


Easy Song #2: Knockin on Heaven's Door

And that's all there is to it. So now you have got two songs under your belt! Make sure you practice both songs. If you are having trouble playing the notes for happy birthday or the chords for knockin on heaven's door, don't worry. It takes a while to really get the hand eye coordination. Practice makes perfect. But if you found this to be easy then you can start applying your newly found knowledge about how to read guitar tabs and start searching our tabs archives to learn some of your favorite songs by your favorite artists.

Finally, a small plug for Fret Daddy Sticker Sets: If you are a beginner and are still learning chords or don't yet know the names of the notes or want to learn how to play guitar scales, then you might want to check out Fret Daddy instructional guitar stickers. These are designed to make your life a whole lot easier. Thanks for reading and enjoy the new digs.