Playing the guitar is an exciting and rewarding experience. It can be one of the easiest instruments to learn songs quickly. Some of the most iconic rock songs are relatively easy to play and a great way to strengthen your chops without noodling around on scales repeatedly.
When I was a beginner, the best path for learning and sticking with the guitar was to choose songs that made me feel like a rock star while at the same time teaching me chords and techniques to up my game effortlessly.
In this article, we will explore some easy rock songs on guitar that will give you quick wins and keep you motivated and excited to push through the “pain period” of learning a musical instrument.
From classic acoustic rock tunes to electric guitar-driven anthems, these songs have been carefully selected to provide a diverse repertoire and inspire you to continue mastering this versatile instrument. Along the way, we’ll share essential techniques, tips, and tricks to help you sound like a rock star, even if you’re starting your musical journey.
- Easy rock songs on guitar offer beginners a chance to apply their knowledge and feel accomplished
- A diverse repertoire of acoustic and electric guitar songs can cater to various skill levels and tastes
- Mastering essential techniques and following expert tips will help you sound like a rock star in no time
Table of Contents
Top Easy Rock Guitar Songs
When I Come Around – Green Day
This classic song by Green Day has a simple, catchy riff, making it an excellent choice for beginners. The repetitive power chord patterns make it easy to memorize and master. This song is great for learning fundamental picking dynamics and palm muting.
With some practice, you’ll be playing this popular rock song in no time.See Interactive Tabs
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
One of the most iconic rock songs, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, features an easy-to-learn riff. This song has simple power chords, a simple lead verse riff, and an accessible, melodic rock solo, making it a great beginner rock guitar song.See Interactive Tabs
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” offers a catchy, repetitive riff that’s simple and memorable. This timeless classic is an excellent choice for those wanting to learn single-note picking and the pentatonic scale quicklySee Interactive Tabs
You Really Got Me – The Kinks
This song from The Kinks features an infectious riff of power chords, making it perfect for beginners learning to play rock music. This riff trains rhythmic chops with its pickup chord and frequent rests.
It also has an explosive solo that lends itself toa pic a bit of messiness, which is perfect for beginner and intermediate guitarists.See Interactive Tabs
Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash
The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” is another excellent beginner song with easy chords and a catchy rhythm. The song’s simplicity lets you focus on perfecting your strumming and chord transitions.See Interactive Tabs
Machinehead – Bush
“Machinehead” by Bush has easy power chords and a consistent strumming pattern. This rock song is a great choice for beginners trying to strengthen their transition technique up and down the neck and practice their rhythmic timing.See Interactive Tabs
Today & Zero – The Smashing Pumpkins
“Zero” by The Smashing Pumpkins features straightforward chords, harmonics, a memorable riff, and an out-of-control solo that will kickstart your pedal addiction.
“Today” has a simplistic riff that will help you with your arpeggios, and the chord progression has both beginner and intermediate parts. This song also has great dynamics and is a joy to play.See Interactive Tabs
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Everlong – Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” is an excellent choice for beginners with its catchy rhythm and simple chord progression. It utilizes Dave Grohl’s rhythmic technique of imaging the low E as a kick and the A and D strings as the snare.
By learning this song, you’ll develop your rhythmic chops and strengthen your strumming, a fundamental aspect of rock guitar playing.See Interactive Tabs
I Love Rock N’ Roll – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Joan Jett’s anthem “I Love Rock N’ Roll” showcases a repetitive riff of basic power chords. This song is easy for beginners and a fantastic way to improve your timing chops.See Interactive Tabs
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
While not an easy song for beginners, this southern rock hit is perfect for intermediate guitar players who want to step up their lead guitar-playing game. “Sweet Home Alabama” will help you work on finger placement, play with feel, and get comfortable playing the pentatonic scale and blues rock.See Interactive Tabs
Zombie – The Cranberries
“Zombie” by The Cranberries features a straightforward chord progression and a simple strumming pattern to help you develop your rhythm. There are also some easy guitar licks to get you started with your lead guitar playing.See Interactive Tabs
Wild Thing – The Troggs
“Wild Thing” by The Troggs is a three-chord wonder, making it a great starting place for aspiring rock n’ roll players. The basic structure of this song will help you develop rhythm skills and practice power chords.See Interactive Tabs
Enter Sandman – Metallica
This classic Metallica song is an excellent choice for beginner guitarists looking to improve their lead and rhythm guitar-playing skills. The song’s main chug riff is a great way to practice power chords and palm muting techniques, while the classic intro lick is straightforward and not too advanced.
Additionally, the song features a solo that is relatively easy to learn. However, you will want to invest in a wah pedal to get the most satisfaction with learning it.
This is an excellent song to master many essential rock techniques.See Interactive Tabs
Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
A classic rock song that teaches beginner guitarists how to play a simple yet iconic riff. The song’s riff is a great way to practice your hammer-ons and hammer-offs.See Interactive Tabs
Highway to Hell & TNT – AC/DC
AC/DC is known for their simple yet powerful guitar riffs, and “Highway to Hell” and “TNT” are no exceptions. These songs feature easy-to-play riffs perfect for beginner guitarists looking to practice power chords and palm muting techniques. Additionally, both songs are great for practicing playing in the pocket and developing your timing.See Interactive Tabs
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Beverly Hills – Weezer
Beverly Hills by Weezer is a great choice for beginner guitarists because of the rudimentary rhythm pattern and use of power chords. There’s also a simple guitar solo to practice to elevate your scale chops.See Interactive Tabs
Self Esteem – The Offspring
Self Esteem by The Offspring is an excellent song for beginner guitarists who want to practice power chords and palm muting. The song’s main riff is relatively easy to play and is a great way to practice these techniques.
The song’s chorus also features simple yet effective chord progressions perfect for practicing chord changes and strumming patterns.See Interactive Tabs
Just A Girl – No Doubt
“Just A Girl” by No Doubt is an upbeat song that will teach you picking control with the intro riff. The song’s chorus is an excellent way to practice chord changes and strumming patterns. It is a perfect choice for those looking to improve their precision and speed.See Tab
at Ultimate Guitar
I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
“I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is another excellent option for guitarists who want an easy song to learn basic rhythm and lead guitar parts. The song’s main riff is a simple eighth-note strum, and the guitar solo is tasteful and will help you learn phrasing.See Interactive Tabs
Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival is a classic, bouncy rock song that teaches beginner guitarists to master up and down strokes with their strumming hand. The song’s chord progressions are relatively easy to learn, making it a great choice for those looking to improve their rhythm guitar skills.See Interactive Tabs
December – Collective Soul
“December” by Collective Soul is a fantastic song for learning how to play arpeggiated chords. The open G chord is a beginner guitar chord that gets elevated in this classic 90’s rock song. Learn this song to develop your picking control and find new and exciting ways to play familiar chords.See Interactive Tabs
Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers isn’t the easiest song on this list. Still, it will help you to develop a sense of bass melody, single note picking, and groove. It will also help you build your chord knowledge beyond basic power chords.See Interactive Tabs
Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
To master the iconic riff of Sunshine of Your Love by Cream:
- Get a feel for the bluesy, psychedelic rock sound.
- Focus on playing each note cleanly and accurately.
- Don’t rush the tempo; take your time to master the finger positioning and picking technique.
- Once you’re comfortable with the basic riff, try experimenting with different guitar tones and effects to emulate the style of Eric Clapton.
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
One of the most iconic riffs in modern rock music, the “Seven Nation Army” riff by The White Stripes is straightforward to learn. Focus on the simple yet powerful melody and work on palm muting to achieve a distinctive sound. Jack White’s working man’s approach to guitar makes it easy for beginners to master this iconic riff quickly.
Also, the guitar solo follows the main riff, so this is a good jumping-off point for building up those single-note chops.See Interactive Tabs
Smoke on The Water – Deep Purple
“Smoke on The Water” by Deep Purple is a cornerstone of rock guitar playing, with a riff many beginner guitarists learn early in their musical journey. Start practicing the iconic power chords and work on finger positioning to ensure clean, crisp notes. Gradually increase the tempo and focus on playing the entire riff smoothly before moving on to the rest of the song.See Interactive Tabs
Iron Man – Black Sabbath
“Iron Man” by Black Sabbath features a timeless, heavy riff that captures the essence of hard rock. Start by learning the basic power chords and slowly increase the tempo to build confidence. Focus on achieving a powerful, heavy sound by emphasizing the low-end frequencies and getting clean slides between the chord changes. Once you have the main riff down, explore the rest of the song to develop your abilities further.See Interactive Tabs
Song 2 – Blur
Now iconic riff of “Song 2” by Blur is an excellent addition to your repertoire. Its infectious energy and simplicity make it an enjoyable and relatively easy riff to learn. Concentrate on the timing and dynamics of the riff, practicing each note and power chord with precision. Experiment with distortion and other guitar effects to create that authentic Britpop sound.See Guitar Tab
at Ultimate Guitar
Acoustic Rock Songs
The acoustic guitar is a fantastic instrument for beginner guitarists to develop greater finger strength and playing precision.
These easy guitar rock songs not only showcase the versatility of the acoustic guitar by exploring some classic acoustic rock songs suitable for beginner guitarists.
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan is a great choice for beginner guitarists who are also interested in singing and songwriting. The song’s chord progressions are relatively simple, making it a great choice for those looking to improve their rhythm guitar skills while singing.See Interactive Tabs
Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
“Free Fallin'” is both a beloved Tom Petty classic and a perfect song for beginners to learn on acoustic guitar. With just a few basic chords, you’ll find yourself quickly mastering this tune. Its repetitive strumming pattern is also great for practicing your rhythm and timing.
Also, if you’re wondering why your acoustic doesn’t sound as “chimey” as the one in the recording, they use a 12-string acoustic guitar.See Interactive Tabs
Wonderwall – Oasis
As one of the most famous songs by the British band Oasis, “Wonderwall” is a quintessential song to learn on acoustic guitar. This song involves some basic open chords and a capo on the second fret, allowing easier transitions between chords. The strumming pattern may be more challenging to a beginner. Still, it will ultimately help you develop your guitar skills.
It’s worth noting that you will need to purchase a guitar capo to play this song effectively.See Interactive Tabs
Horse with No Name – America
If you’re starting on guitar, “Horse with No Name” is a perfect song to learn due to its simple two-chord progression and easy-going rhythm. Difficulty = easy.See Interactive Tabs
Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” is a prime example of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s timeless appeal. With a catchy melody and easy-to-play open chords, this song is perfect for beginners looking to build their repertoire. The strumming pattern is a straightforward “down/up” pattern, so you can focus on mastering the chord changes effectively.See Interactive Tabs
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
Another great song for novice guitarists is “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day. With a combination of open chords and a well-known arpeggio pattern, this song allows you to practice chord transitions, alternate picking, and even fingerpicking, perfect for developing your intermediate guitar skills.See Interactive Tabs
House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
“House of the Rising Sun” is an excellent song to learn because it combines the feel of a classic folk melody with a memorable rock progression. Practice the finger-picking pattern, and emphasize the arpeggios while playing the riff.
Pay close attention to the chord changes and dynamics to accurately convey the haunting mood of the entire song.See Interactive Tabs
Yellow – Coldplay
Last but not least, “Yellow” by Coldplay is an excellent song for beginners due to its basic chord progression and simple strumming pattern. This is a mix of both acoustic and electric guitars that utilizes a few basic chords. This song is a brilliant introduction to anthemic rock guitar.See Interactive Tabs
Essential Rock Techniques
On your journey to becoming a rock guitarist, there are some essential techniques you will want to focus on and master. Let’s look at four critical techniques to help you master these easy rock songs on guitar.
Power chords are the backbone of many modern rock tunes. They’re typically played with just two or three notes and don’t change shape, making them ideal for beginners. Start by practicing the basic shapes of power chords with your index and ring fingers on the guitar’s lower strings. Then, experiment with different fret positions to discover a variety of power chord sounds. Remember to pay attention to your strumming rhythm and keep it consistent as you play.
Barre chords are essential for playing rock songs and learning more complex chords and harmony. To practice barre chords:
- Lay your index finger flat across all six strings while forming the shape of a chord with your other fingers.
- Ensure that your thumb is placed comfortably at the back of the guitar’s neck, which will help you apply pressure evenly.
- Work on transitioning between barre chord shapes to build finger strength and develop your technique.
Open chords are fundamental for playing easy rock songs on the guitar. They are called “open” because they use one or more open strings. Focus on learning common open chord shapes, such as A, C, D, E, and G, as many rock songs utilize these chords. Develop a solid strumming rhythm with open chords by focusing on your timing and staying relaxed when playing.
Though solos may seem advanced, learning simple solos can be an excellent way to develop your rock guitar skills. Begin by learning essential guitar scales, like the pentatonic or blues scales, often used for rock-song solos.
Listen to some of the easy rock guitar solos from your favorite bands for inspiration and start learning their solos section by section, practicing until you can play them up to speed. Remember, your focus should be on proper technique, smooth transitions between notes, and remember to have fun with it!
Additional Tips for Beginners
Choosing the Right Guitar
When you’re just starting out, choosing a guitar that feels comfortable for you to play and suits your budget is crucial. An acoustic guitar might be a good option for a beginner, as they are generally more affordable and don’t need all the extra gear.
However, if you’re passionate about playing rock music, consider picking up an electric guitar. These guitars are excellent for playing rock songs, as they’re designed to produce the distinctive sounds associated with the genre. Remember to choose a guitar that feels right for your hands and inspires you.
Developing good practice habits is crucial for improving your guitar skills. Start by setting aside regular practice times, even if it’s just 15-30 minutes per day. Focus on mastering basic techniques such as:
- Finger placement
- Chord progressions
- Strumming patterns
- Picking techniques
Remember to start with simple and easy rock songs that incorporate these basics before moving on to more complex songs. Combining these practice techniques with appropriate song choices will help you improve your skills as you progress.
It’s crucial to stay motivated as you develop your guitar skills. Keep your practice sessions fresh and exciting by:
- Continue learning new easy rock songs
- Playing along with your favorite tracks
- Setting achievable short-term goals
- Experimenting with different techniques and styles
You’ll see significant progress in your guitar-playing abilities by continuously challenging yourself and staying motivated. Enjoy the journey, and keep on rocking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some beginner-friendly rock songs to learn on guitar?
There are many beginner-friendly rock songs that you can learn on guitar. Some popular choices include “Horse with No Name” by America, “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam, and “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles. These songs have simple chord progressions and are easy to follow as a beginner.
What are some easy guitar chords for popular rock songs?
Some easy guitar chords that you will come across in popular rock songs include the open chords like C, G, D, A, and E. Additionally, you can learn the power chords commonly used in rock music. Power Chords are based on the root note and the fifth.
Which easy 90s rock songs are good for guitar players?
Several easy 90s rock songs are suitable for beginner guitar players. For example, you can try learning “December” by Collective Soul, “Wonderwall” by Oasis, or “Basket Case” by Green Day. These songs have simple chord progressions, catchy melodies, and easy-to-follow rhythm patterns.
What are the best easy rock songs to learn on electric guitar?
Some of the best easy rock songs to learn on electric guitar include “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash, “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream, and “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by Scorpions. These songs feature simple riffs and chord progressions, making them perfect for beginner electric guitar players.
What are some classic rock songs with simple guitar chords?
Classic rock songs with simple guitar chords include “Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)” by The Rolling Stones, “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks. These songs are well known for their catchy riffs and iconic chord progressions, making them accessible to beginner guitarists.
To Wrap Up
Learning to play rock guitar can be a rewarding experience, and there are many easy songs that beginners can start with. From classic hits like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana and “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones to modern anthems like “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers and “Yellow” by Coldplay, there is a wide range of inspiring songs to choose from.
By practicing these songs, beginners can develop their strumming, picking, and chord transition skills and learn essential techniques like palm muting and power chords.
So, grab your guitar and start playing!