Learning These Three Easy Guitar Songs Will Quickly Progress Your Guitar Playing

Posted by Andy on 5th June 2018

Before we even start to recommend the best easy guitar songs to learn, we should really define what we mean by an “easy guitar song” as it means different things to a different standard of guitarists. For the purpose of this article, we are looking at songs that:

  • have a relatively straightforward rhythm pattern (but one that can be embellished as you progress)
  • no barre chords (but can also be played using some barre chords if you so wish
  • can use individual notes to join chords or progressions
    are cool to play (no nursery rhymes) 
So here we go – five great beginner songs and how each one can improve you as a guitarist

Song No.1 - The One I Love –REM 


  • A cool song to play
  • No quick chord changes
  • A basic up/down strum 
Let’s start by look at the chords, in the order, they are played in the song.
Intro: Em/D/Em X 2
Verses: Em/D/Em Em/D/Em G/D/C Em/D/EM
Choruses: Em/D/Em X 2
How will it improve you?

Learn a new chord and start to add feel 

Substitute the D chord with a Dsus2 and emphasise the top open E string slightly more to give you a different feel. This will probably add another chord to your library and, if you randomly pick the high strings, it will give you a different feel and help you put your own stamp on the song.
The Dsus2 Chord

Add emphasis to the rhythm
Embellish the basic pattern by adding a strummed triplet when playing the G chord

Song No.2 – Stuck in the Middle with You (Stealer’s Wheel) 


  • A 70’s classic
  • One relatively quick chord change
  • Subtle changes in strumming patterns
  • A chance to learn the intro which uses more than just chords
This song will give you the experience of playing major, minor and seventh chords within a song i.e. D, G7, C and A. If you listen to the groove you will hear that it is a kind of take on a 12 bar blues.
And here are the order of the chords
Intro: D
Verses: D/G7/D
Choruses: A/C/G/D
Middle 8: G/D/G/D/C
Solo: One Verse and One Chorus Chords
How will it improve you?
The quick transition between the C and G chords, along with its accurate execution, will test and improve your chord changing skills.
The single chord strum at the end of the middle 8 will test and improve your ability to stop a rhythm pattern and then effortlessly pick it back up again
Substitute the G major and A major in the chorus with a 7th. This will still sound grand but allow you to “play around” with the playing aspect of things and give you a “7th” practice session. Great if you want to start playing the blues
The strumming pattern count is one and two and, and also has a couple of variations; so why not release the pressure on the strings of your fretting hand during the verse after the “two and” so the strings do not momentarily ring out. This is a very effective technique that will help provide a different feel to the verses – and also something else for your armoury.
And finally, why not have a go at learning the very beginning of the song. This is relatively simple – fretting the B and E strings at the 7th fret, followed by the 5th fret, then 3rd fret on the B string and 4th fret on the G string and the same on the 1st and second frets. With the melody created by removing your finger from the 1st fret. Check it out on YouTube. This will be a great addition to your “melodic” playing skills and incorporate into a complete song.

Song No.3 – Bad Moon Rising (Credence Clearwater Revival) 


  • A 60’s must learn to play 
  • Higher tempo rhythm, but using basic chords 
  • Addition of single notes to link chords
The Chords.
Intro: D A G D
Verses: D A G D
Chorus: G/D/A/G/D
How will it improve you?
Essentially, this will challenge the speed and accuracy with which you change chords, strummed at a relatively high tempo. There is no let-up, so you will have to execute these changes throughout the song. Soon it will become second nature.
And how about adding in a little single note pattern to help you learn to transition from chords to a single note and then back to chords again? Between the verse and chorus play a little run on the D string (Open…2nd fret…4th fret). You will be strumming the D, playing the run and then playing the G. This is a great way to start mastering this technique. 


Aside from general fretting and basic strumming practice, each of these easy to play guitar songs gives you the chance to hone and improve your skills and learn new techniques.
Your muscle memory will also improve and, why not use this article to learn these tracks, without checking out the plethora of YouTube guitar instructors. A great way to ”learn” how to “learn” songs. Enjoy!

By Andy

As a well-respected player, teacher and coach, Andy Partridge is the lead instructor for Guitar Coach Magazine. Andy’s gentle step by step approach and detailed note by note lessons will give you the confidence, reassurance, and motivation you need to really achieve your guitar playing goals sooner than you thought possible. His relaxed and engaging teaching style (complete with sometimes questionable jokes) make learning easier, faster, and so much more fun.

By Andy on 5th June 2018 at 14:33

Thanks for posting Andy! Some great choices there :)