There is a vast and growing number of electric guitar players. For those wanting to learn to play the instrument, it can be very exciting and frustrating at the same time. There are many different paths you can take. Whether your goal is to pursue music as a profession or just for fun, you’ll want to choose an instrument that sounds good and matches your abilities.
One of the most common questions I get is, “how do I learn to play electric guitar ?” As many others have asked the same question, there are literally thousands of teaching methods and audio/video tutorials available. So how do you choose? A good place to start is with one of the songs that define your favorite genre of music. That’ll give you a goal to work towards and something to practice while you wait for your instrument and lessons to arrive.
By studying the guitar parts of popular songs, you will learn: How the artist utilized the electric guitar in their song How to play riffs and melodies on your own The techniques used by the players As every new player knows, one of the biggest challenges is to be able to play on demand.
Best songs to learn on electric guitar
By learning songs that are within your grasp, you can build your confidence and start sounding good right away. As an added benefit, once you’ve learned one song really well, it’s easier to learn the next!
Click on each artist for our suggested beginner chords, intermediate riffs, and advanced solos. Also included are links to the free downloadable guitar tab so you can play along with your favorite songs.
Top 10 electric guitar songs for Beginners
Here are 10 songs that are popular with beginners. All the chords and riffs you’ll need to know are shown in the free downloadable tablature (TAB).
Let it Be – Beatles
If you’re just starting, this is a great song for learning your first open-position chords. You may want to start playing around with singing along as well. It’s even more fun if you can find someone else who wants to learn! With so many simple notes, it should be fairly easy for most people to pick up on this one quickly! If not, don’t worry – I’m sure you’ll have plenty of other ones under your belt soon enough 😊
Crazy little thing called love – Queen
The studio version of this song is very easy. It’s also a lot of fun to play along with the original recording. If you want an extra challenge, try playing it live without being able to hear the track!
Blackbird – Beatles
Here’s another great open-position chord song by the Beatles. The picking pattern can be tricky at first but gives you lots of practice for changing between chords quickly. You may or may not want to use your guitar’s whammy bar during this one 😉
Sunshine of your love – Cream
This is a classic rock song that was written in 1967 by Eric Clapton and Pete Brown. Tom Dowd was responsible for the production and John Paul Jones contributed the keyboard parts Be sure to check out the live version on YouTube for some great Clapton guitar solos.
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
As with “Sunshine of Your Love”, this song is played in the key of G. Which means you’ll be playing lots of open-position chords throughout. If you’re not familiar with playing in that key, take your time and focus on chord changes during the verses until it becomes comfortable. Here are our guitar tabs for Sweet Home Alabama.
I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash / Hank Snow
This is a fun one to play along with! It’s also available as a Karaoke backing tracks so you can sing along if you want 😊 You’ll need to use some quick chord changes here, so be sure to practice the timing on those a bit before diving in.
Two of a kind, working on a Full House – Garth Brooks
This song is available as a free downloadable guitar tab. It has an interesting intro and uses open-position chords throughout. It’s fun to play along to once you’ve gotten the hang of it.
I Wanna Hold Your Hand – Beatles
Although this song is typically played in the key of C, we’re listing it here in D instead. This will allow you to play an easier version that uses open-position chords. The intro riff is very simple and fun to play! You can access our free downloadable TAB for this song here.
No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley
This song was originally performed by the late great Bob Marley. It’s considered reggae, but also uses folk and pop elements to create a unique sound. It’s very relaxed yet upbeat at the same time. It has some fast chord changes, so make sure you can change between A and G without much trouble before starting this one 😉
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
This pop-punk song has a cheerful mood and a great melody. It’s a nice little tune that you can play for fun or even as an encore once you’ve mastered it 😀 You can check out our guitar tab here.
Which ones did you find easy to play? Did we miss any songs that you would recommend beginners try out? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Top 10 Electric Guitar Songs for Intermediate Players
Here are some intermediate-level songs that will help you to develop your guitar skills further. They use barre chords for most of the foundation, which is a pretty advanced technique. However, by this point, you should be comfortable with at least 2-3 basic barre chord shapes. If not, don’t worry – it’s never too late to start 😊
The Pretender – Foo Fighters
This song is played in the key of E. If you’re not familiar with barre chords, this is a great opportunity to practice using them. A little-known fact about this Foo Fighters tune is that it starts with an intro riff that sounds very similar to the start of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”.
Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
Here’s another classic rock song made popular by the legendary Sir Elton John. It’s performed here as an instrumental version with lots of jazzy chords and improvisation. We recommend playing along with either our TAB or the original recording!
My Hero – Foo Fighters
This one starts at a moderate tempo so there won’t be too much stress on your left hand. It uses barre chords throughout, but then brings in some nice open-position chord changes for variety.
Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
This song is played in the key of E minor. This means that you’re going to be playing a lot of barre chord shapes here. However, it’s well worth the effort because this song rocks! You can check out the lyrics here if you want 😊
Romeo And Juliet – Dire Straits
If you were looking for something easier at this level, give “Sultans Of Swing” a try instead. It uses similar classic rock style guitar parts, but has simpler chord progressions and only 4 chords used throughout! Since both are great songs, you can’t go wrong with either choice.
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
This song is a classic rock favorite and uses barre chords throughout. It’s quite a bit faster to play than the other songs on this list – so be sure to work slowly so that your fingers have time to move from one chord to the next 😊 This version has nice booming drum parts which complement the guitar melody perfectly!
Stairway To Heaven – Led Zeppelin
This iconic song by Led Zeppelin is a popular choice for bands around the world. It features some very interesting chord progressions that take some time to master. If you’re up for a challenge, try playing along with our TAB or original recording while singing.
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
This song has become a classic rock favorite that is still played all over the world. It has fast chord changes, but there are plenty of opportunities to take your time and let the notes ring out. This version doesn’t repeat any verses for variation, so be sure to learn them in order if you want to sing along!
Here’s to the Heroes – Cold Chisel
This song was made popular by the Australian rock band “Cold Chisel”. It has a simple verse and then an epic chorus that builds up to a powerful ending. There are only 4 chords used throughout, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to master!
The Final Countdown – Europe
This 80’s classic is still popular with rock bands around the world. The original recording features lots of keyboard parts and synthesized sounds. However, you can simplify it and make your version if you like (just play all notes as regular guitar power chords). Keep an eye out for those tricky chord changes in the pre-chorus 😉
Top 10 electric guitar songs for Experts
And Justice For All – Metallica
This is probably the most challenging song to play on our list, so if you’ve mastered it then you are an expert level player! It starts with a fast arpeggio section that requires accurate playing and quick switching of positions. Practice slowly until you’re confident, then speed up gradually over time 😊
Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
This iconic song by Jimi Hendrix is also in the key of E minor. If you can master this one then congratulations – you’ve reached expert level guitar playing 😊 This version has very simple chord progressions that make it easy to learn compared with some other versions out there (just 4 chords used throughout Here’s a cool site that tells you what they are too 😉 ).
Voodoo Chile – Jimi Hendrix
This beautiful track is another example of Jimi’s expansive range and ability on the guitar. It starts with some tricky arpeggio sections, followed by a fast solo that uses lots of hammer-ons and pull-offs. Try practicing it slowly until your fingers get used to moving around the fretboard 😊
Highway To Hell – AC/DC
This classic by Australian heavy metal legends “AC/DC” is much easier to play than their other songs. The main riff uses only 4 chords throughout, so it’s quite simple compared with many of their other songs. This song also features some cool sliding low E notes in the intro and verses that are worth working on if you want to improve your fretboard knowledge 🙂
Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits
If you were looking for something easier at this level, give “Sultans Of Swing” a try instead. It uses similar classic rock style guitar parts, but has simpler chord progressions and only 4 chords used throughout! Since both are great songs, you should be able to find other versions on YouTube if you prefer 😊
Knocking On Heaven’s Door – Eric Clapton
This version of the classic Bob Dylan song features the legendary guitar player “Eric Clapton”. It is a little more challenging than others with fast chord changes and lots of sliding up and down the fretboard. If this version is too difficult then try out some beginner or intermediate versions that are available online 🙂
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne This iconic metal track by Ozzy
Osbourne also has a limited number of chords used throughout, but faster changes between them. We recommend practicing it slowly at first so your fingers have time to move from one chord to the next 😊 Another easy way to practice is by playing the root note of each chord instead of when it changes (e.g. play just an E when it goes to A etc).
Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
This classic rock song has only 4 chords used in most versions, so you can play along with almost any recording out there! It starts with some simple blues-based picking, but gets more complex as the song continues 😊 If you find this one too difficult then try learning “You Shook Me All Night Long” instead 🤘
Highway To Hell – AC/DC
As mentioned earlier, this is one of AC/DC’s simpler songs to master on guitar (but still not easy!) This version is similar to what was played on the record, so it’s a good idea to learn that one in particular if you’re heading towards expert level 🙂
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
One of the most iconic riffs of all time is “smoke on the water” by the classic band “Deep Purple”. This song has only 4 chords used throughout (E, A minor, D, and B) but very fast chord changes between them. It starts with some simple arpeggio notes played in quick succession, followed by an equally fast solo section! Start at a slow tempo and gradually increase when your fingers are warmed up 😊
Have fun playing these classics at full speed soon 😉
You can also try these slightly more challenging songs from this same level 😉
Layla – Derek And The Dominos
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
Highway Star – Deep Purple
We hope you enjoyed playing through these classic songs that are perfect for beginner to intermediate guitarists. Some of them (e.g Layla) use more open chords, but they’re all still great choices if you’re developing your technique and want something easy 😊
If you’ve made it this far then we congratulate you on becoming a guitar hero 🙂 You should now make sure to check out our beginner, intermediate, and expert level pages next! We also highly recommend checking out some of our in-depth guitar lessons like: ” Blues soloing for beginners “, ” How to play fast lead guitar “, ” Power chords explained ” and many others from the top navigation menu 😊.