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Top 10 Easiest Famous Songs to Play On The Guitar

VO: Matt Campbell
Script by Sean Newman It’s time to Rock n’ Roll Mojoholics. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 easiest famous songs to play on the guitar. For this list, we’ll be looking at songs that are great starter projects for those of us just learning the basics of guitar. Special thanks to our user MattW128 for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Easiest+Famous+Songs+To+Play+On+Guitar

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Top 10 Easiest Famous Songs to Play on the Guitar

It’s time to Rock n’ Roll Mojoholics. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 easiest famous songs to play on the guitar.

For this list, we’ll be looking at songs that are great starter projects for those of us just learning the basics of guitar. So throw out your Hot Cross Buns sheet music, and turn the amplifier to 11, because you don’t need to be the next Jimi Hendrix to shred on these tunes!

#10: “TNT” (1975)

AC/DC is no stranger to electrifyingly simple guitar riffs and Highway to Hell makes a strong argument for a beginner’s lesson. However, it’s their high voltage hit TNT that takes the cake for the ease of which it can be learned. If you know an E power cord, A power cord, and G note, the intro riff can be effortlessly replicated. It’s recommended to play this one on an electric guitar with the distortion turned all the way up. With enough practice you may just be able to play Angus Young’s lead guitar solo one day!

#9: “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” (1973)
Bob Dylan

This song has been successfully covered on several occasions, with a new sound highlighted each time. Clapton gives it a reggae vibe, Guns N’ Roses provides the feel of a rock ballad, but Dylan initially created the folk classic, which we recommend adapting first. Its gentle acoustic melody and repetitive chorus make for some prime campfire performances. Requiring knowledge of only a G chord, D chord, A minor chord, and C chord, its mastery is made all the more easy by the ease of which each chord can be switched over to. Clapton and GNR use the same chords, but with different pacing, allowing for three songs for the price of one if given proper attention.

#8: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

For those just starting out, power chords are very easy to learn, but take time to master. In particular, they allow you to switch between chords by simply repositioning on a different fret of the guitar. As long as you have a thumb, pointer, and ring finger, you’ll be able to play a whole array of rock songs, such as Nirvana’s grungy hit Smells Like Teen Spirit. The main four chords take little memorization, and allows for focus to be placed on picking with your dominant hand. The greatest guitarists understood the value of simplicity, and Kurt Cobain is no exception to this rule.

#7: “Wonderwall” (1995)

Ever go to a house party in the early 2000s? Did someone break out an acoustic guitar at some point? Odds are this was one of the songs they performed, as it’s gained notoriety as a perfect beginner’s song through the years. Like many on our list, it requires knowledge of just four basic chords. What’s notable however, is your pinky and ring fingers stay put during the entire progression. Moving just your middle and pointer fingers during every chord transitions makes it easy to produce a clean sound, even after knocking back a few. We guess this explains its prominence at house parties?

#6: “Good Riddance (Time of your Life)” (1997)
Green Day

This one’s going to take some honing of your picking skills, but it’s well worth the work. Good Riddance is another impeccable campfire tune and its main progression consists of three easy chords that take a little dexterity to transition between. If you prefer to play it just like Billie Joe Armstrong, it will require a 5-part picking sequence with each chord, but it sounds a lot harder than it is. With a little practice, this makes for the perfect starter song to master, and even when you become an expert; it’s still a treat to revisit from time to time!

#5: “House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
The Animals

The oldest entry on our list is recognizable by people of all ages, and admittedly probably the most challenging on our list, but it’s unique and recognizable sound make it well worth the work. Consisting of 5 chords, its final chord, an E7, might be tricky at first, and rapidly picking each chord requires an elementary level of coordination. Once you figure these out, it’ll be hard to stop playing, and you’ll have mastered the basics! What’s more, it wins most likely to be recognized by your grandparents during the next family gathering.

#4: “Zombie” (1994)
The Cranberries

Does this chord progression sound familiar? That’s because these four chords of awesome lay claim to countless famous songs, not the least of which is the perpetually catchy Zombie chorus. These four relatively easy chords open up the possibility of playing Eminem’s Not Afraid and One Republic’s Apologize to name a few. What’s more, if you have a halfway decent singing voice, Zombie will be a great way to flex your musical prowess the next time you find a guitar lying around. There’s only so much you can do without learning the four chords of awesome, and this song is a prime introduction to them!

#3: “Iron Man” (1970)
Black Sabbath

Before Robert Downey Jr. was forever associated with Iron Man, Black Sabbath made an impact on heavy metal like few others have with this simple, yet constant power chord progression. In its most simple form, Iron Man can be played with just two strings on the guitar, and once again the use of power chords requires just your pointer and ring fingers. This riff all but necessitates an electric guitar with massive levels of distortion, and works quite well as an introduction to classic metal. An absolute must within the repertoire of any self-proclaimed rock n’ roller.

#2: “Seven Nation Army” (2003)

The White Stripes

Of all the rock songs created in the 21st century, we would put our money on this one in particular as a modern day classic in its own right. Using a bass for the verse portions of the song, an electric guitar enters in to the equation during the chorus. Power chords ensue, and careful memorization of the continuously repeated riff is pretty much all that is required to play the entire song! What’s more, if you find a bass lying around, the same riff will sound great in the lower octave. It’s truly a stroke of genius to make such a unique progression so simple to replicate, earning this a well-deserved top spot on our list.
Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few encore-worthy honorable mentions:
“Blitzkrieg Bop” (1976)
The Ramones
I Love Rock N’ Roll (1981)
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

You Really Got Me (1964)
The Kinks

#1: “Smoke on the Water” (1972)
Deep Purple

Was there ever any question about this songs place in every guitar player’s repertoire? Instantly recognizable despite its unbelievably simple power chord progression, it’s the inclusion of one particularly bluesy note that catches your attention every time it’s played. We’ll save advanced scale technique for another day, and just point out the unusual sound that has made this a hallmark piece for Deep Purple decades after the fact. Seriously, if you’re thinking of picking up guitar today, make this a top priority to learn in the first week! Just about every guitar player has picked this one up in the early stages of practice.

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