20 easy rock songs on guitar for beginners.

20 easy rock songs to get you started on the guitar

#beginner
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  • boom-boom.gp
  • boys-dont-cry.gp
  • come-as-you-are.gp
  • free-fallin.gp
  • heart-of-gold.gp
  • highway-to-hell.gp
  • hoochie-coochie-man.gp
  • hurt.gp
  • knockin-on-heavens-door.gp
  • la-grange.gp
  • no-woman-no-cry.gp
  • one.gp
  • peter-gunn-themegp.gp
  • satisfaction.gp
  • song-2.gp
  • sunday-morning.gp
  • the-man-who-sold-the-world-solo.gp
  • the-man-who-sold-the-world.gp
  • where-is-my-mind-chords.gp
  • where-is-my-mind-solo.gp
  • wonderwall.gp
  • zombie-chords.gp
  • zombie-solo.gp

We’ve all been there: the first step is wanting to learn how to play the guitar, which usually comes after having heard a song that blew your mind. Now you’ve got your beginner’s guitar, your pick, and your computer and you’re wondering where to start. Of course, the balance is a tough one to find between finding a song that you want to play but one that’s not going to be so tough that you will want to give up.
So here is our selection of twenty easy rock songs that you should learn. We have put them in an order that makes sense from a learning curve point of view, but feel free to pick whichever makes you want to play your instrument!

They are available on the Play Guitar Hits app, which gives you access to videos of the guitar part being played in sync with the tabs.

Just remember: it takes time and practice for everyone, at some point even Hendrix himself was a beginner…

Peter Gunn Theme – Blues Brothers

That musical theme was written by Henry Mancini (also responsible for the legendary Pink Panther Theme) for the TV show Peter Gunn but was turned into a rock and soul staple as part of the original soundtrack for the cult 1980 movie Blues Brothers.

This is an ideal first song for a beginner since you’re only using one string, namely the low E string which means you don’t even have to look for the right one since it’s the first one!
Play it slowly and pick near the bridge to get that badass twangy tone.




Peter Gunn Theme guitar tablature. 20 EASY ROCK SONGS TO GET YOU STARTED ON THE GUITAR. Play Guitar Hits.


Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

This 1965 single by that little band from London was the track that made them huge. Funnily enough, its scorching hot sound was an accident, since Keith Richards’ iconic fuzz riff was intended as a placeholder for a horn part that should have been recorded later. But the song was released in this primal form, and the rest is history.

This is another single-note riff on a single string, which will help you work out how to alternate between downstrokes and upstrokes with your pick. The rest of the song is made out of three chords (E, D and A) that you will find in many other songs, so they’re definitely worth learning if you’re ready to go that extra mile.


I can't get no satisfaction guitar tab.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and more).

Come As You Are – Nirvana

This beautiful moody opening riff (made even better by Kurt Cobain’s use of a Small Clone chorus) is a great way to start using several strings for a single-note melody. The back-and-forth between the low E and the A string is perfect to concentrate on your right-hand picking technique since the left-hand fretting does not change during those parts.
It could have been a great exercise for a method, but it became a smash hit.

Come as you are guitar tablature. Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Where is My Mind – The Pixies

Another classic indie rock track, and another riff that you can play using two strings (B and high E). Except this time the riff ends with you playing both strings at the same time (check out the Play Guitar Hits video to understand what’s going on at that point), and this time you’re using a distorted sound. Any decent distortion pedal will do, you’ll have time to obsess over gear later on, for now concentrate on getting a clean attack with that noisy sound.

And once you’ve mastered the riff, try to sing while you’re playing, just for fun!

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie

Those who grew up in the nineties are likely to have heard this song through its cover by Nirvana on their beautiful Unplugged performance. This Bowie song is mostly famous for its haunting circular melodic guitar line played by Mick Ronson, a great part that will introduce you to bending the strings and releasing your bend with a pull-off. This is already getting into techniques that will prove very useful when soloing.

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Knockin on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan

Now we’re getting into chords! Whether you know this song as covered by the Guns n’ Roses or in its original seventies Bob Dylan form, you must’ve heard it before and it contains three of the most common guitar chords: G, D, C, and A minor. Take your time to really get to know those basic shapes, you will be using them for your whole guitar playing life. 

Once you’ve got them down, start strumming with the pattern you will find in the Play Guitar Hits tabs, and then try to sing along with your best Dylan or AXL Rose impersonation.

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley

Another campfire classic! It builds upon the chords you’ve learnt in Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (G and A minor), but adds two very useful chords, C and the mighty F, while adding short melodic parts between chords, another technique that’s definitely worth trying out.

Once you’ve got those new chords down, try singing The Beatles’ Let It Be instead of Marley’s masterpiece: both have the same chord sequence! Every new chord you learn gives you access to thousands of new songs to play and sing.

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Hurt – Johnny Cash

You already know the chords (A minor, C, D, G, F and C) and the only difficulty here is to switch your picking pattern from the verse to the chorus.

This is a great one to sing along to, since the picking pattern for the verse is very sparse and allows you to concentrate on the singing. Fun fact: this was originally a Nine Inch Nails industrial song, and Johnny Cash turned it into a late-career tear-jerking masterpiece.

Play Guitar Hits application. Guitar lessons for beginner.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

One – U2

Here is another song made even darker by Johnny Cash as part of his American Recordings album series, but the U2 original is also a gorgeous song, filled with complex sonic textures courtesy of The Edge’s effects wizardry.

To the core, this gospel-pop song uses chords you’ve seen before with a strumming pattern that should not be too complicated.

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Wonderwall – Oasis

Before being turned into a meme, this song was one of the great classics of the nineties British Pop revival. Those Manchester guys sure knew how to write an iconic song, and that acoustic guitar part is deeper and more clever than what could be expected of a beginner’s song.

The basic structure is E minor, G, D, and A, but two notes of the two higher strings remain through the whole progression, bringing a very different vibe to an otherwise pretty simple song. Anyways, here’s Wonderwall.

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Zombie – The Cranberries

Another great nineties strummer! In order to avoid controversy around the song’s topic (the Troubles and the IRA), the Cranberries’ record company offered singer/songwriter Dolores O’Riordan a million-dollar cheque for her to focus on another song. But she didn’t take up on the offer and Zombie became a decade-defining song.

The guitar part is quite simple, with four chords (E minor, C, G, and D) repeated over and over throughout the whole song, but the sound changes dramatically from a clean jangly verse to a highly-distorted aggressive chorus. Now’s the time to focus on your amp and pedals settings to get the right vibe.

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).


Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty

This 1989 classic is a masterclass on telling a story and making a song happen with only three chords. One of these chords is a B, which is a little trickier to play than regular open chords, but here it is played with a voicing that makes it more approachable (see the Play Guitar Hits video for details). Once you’ve got the three chords down, it’s up to you to play them with enough variation in your dynamic range to make the song lively enough.


Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure

This pop gem was a minor hit in New Zealand upon its release in 1979, but a new version, released in 1986 with a different mix and a newer vocal take, eventually became one of the band’s most enduring songs.

Once you’ve mastered the simpler B shape with the last two open strings in Free Fallin’, you can try to move on to the barre chords in Boys Don’t Cry, which will allow you to play any note in any key in its major or minor form. 

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Heart of Gold – Neil Young

By now you probably are used to going from one simple chord to another and strumming along at the same time. But folk-rock monument Heart Of Gold tells another story: Neil Young’s right hand is a powerful tool and uses a lot of consecutive downstrokes.

That song is a great showcase of how aggressive a simple acoustic guitar can be. Furthermore, the main riff incorporates a little riff that makes it very memorable in spite of its simplicity, a great trick to use in your own songs.

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground might be remembered as an avant-garde experimental pre-punk band, but some of their songs were as sweet and melodic as they come. This beautiful and hazy 1967 cut features easy chords that you’re already familiar with, but it also has a brilliantly sloppy Lou Reed solo that deserves to be learnt.

He doesn’t stray too far away from the chord shapes that he’s playing over, so this song is a great place to get into soloing without being too clean about it.

Play Guitar Hits application. Easy guitar songs.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Song 2 – Blur

Woo-hoo indeed! So far, you’ve been playing a lot of “cowboy chords” using every string on the instrument, but now’s the time to learn about power chords! Those “simpler” chords are at the rock of hard rock and punk and work really well with a distorted sound, as shown in this classic UK garage rock track.

Originally, Blur wanted to annoy their record company by choosing that very amateurish song as a single, but the joke was on them when it became one of their biggest selling songs.

If you’re playing in a band, this is a perfect cover to have fun with.

Song 2 guitar lesson. Song 2 guitar tablature.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters

There would be no rock n’ roll without the blues, and there would be no blues as we know it without Muddy Waters. That man was a pioneer of the electric Chicago Blues form of the 1950s, sang like his life depended on it and could play a mean slide guitar. 

Hoochie Coochie Man is one of his better-known songs, and a great way to get started in the world of blues riffs with the all-important triplet feel that goes along with it. And if you’re feeling hot, the solo is waiting for you!

This song is free in the Play Guitar Hits app!

Play Guitar Hits application.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker

If there was a Mount Rushmore of bluesmen, John Lee Hooker would be in it right next to Muddy Waters. Hooker’s sound is as raw and crude as they come, yet he has a unique boogie groove that is still to be replicated.

This song was originally recorded in 1961 but it became a massive radio hit three decades later, in a reworked 1992 version. It features some of the tastiest blues riffs you can play, complete with slides and legato. The E minor pentatonic scale has never sounded that cool.

Play Guitar Hits application. Boom Boom, John Lee Hooker guitar tab.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

La Grange – ZZ Top

Of course, La Grange has a monster solo (actually several of those) that will keep you busy for a few months trying to learn the whole thing, which will turn you into an absolute blues-in-A-pentatonic master by then.

But even if you’re not ready yet to go down that bluesy rabbit hole, the main riff, which very closely resembles John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillen, is extremely fun to play and takes quite a lot of finesse getting it right in the pocket. Try it with a band for even more fun.

La Grange, ZZ Top guitar lesson with backing track. Guitar tablature.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Highway to Hell – AC/DC

Never let anyone tell you that playing AC/DC on the guitar is easy. It’s absolutely not. Sure, it doesn’t have a lot of notes, but getting those notes right is a lot of work. And there’s no better place to start that journey than the 1979 hit that put the Australian band on the map, Highway To Hell. 

The main riff showcases the importance of silence in building a great guitar part, while the solo can be approached as a beginner and it has enough twists and turns to keep you working for a while until that sweet “minor mixed with major” sound becomes part of your own playing.

Highway to hell guitar chords. AC/DC guitar lesson. Play Guitar Hits applciation.

Practice this song with the Play Guitar Hits app.
(With backing tracks, interactive tabs, left and right hands videos, and practice tools).

Play Guitar Hits


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