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Classics Du Jour
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Top 10 Easiest Rock Songs to Learn on Guitar

The holidays are just around the corner and many of you are going to try to channel your inner rock star and ask Santa for an acoustic guitar.  I mean – how hard can it be, right?  Well, here’s a quick guide of songs to try first – maybe you’ll even stick with it!

10 Bob Dylan – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”

Chords you need to learn: G, D, Am, C

An acoustic classic, this Bob Dylan original has been covered by everyone from Eric Clapton to Guns N’ Roses. Featuring just four chords, it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser.


09 Tom Petty – “I Won’t Back Down”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: Em, D, G, C

Written by Petty and Jeff Lynne (Petty’s partner in The Traveling Wilburys), this song was a Rock #1 chart topper for over a month.


08 Steve Miller Band – “The Joker”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: G, C, D

Just three easy chords make this one a delight to play. You’ll be a “picker and a grinner” in no time!


07 America – “Lonely People”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: G, Em, Bm, D, Am

Supposedly written as an optimistic response to the Beatles‘ “Eleanor Rigby,” you have to learn five chords to play this song, but when you do, we can guarantee you’ll be surrounded by a crowd and not so lonely anymore.


06 Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: C, G, Em, Am, F

John Fogerty wrote many classic rock songs, and this is one of them. Although many interpreted it as an anti-war song during the Vietnam era, Fogerty has said it was really about the tensions in the band and their imminent split.

Related: John Fogerty’s 7 Best Songs


05 The Animals – “House of the Rising Sun”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: Am, C, D, F, E7

Sometimes called “Rising Sun Blues,” this song is actually a traditional folk number tracing its origins back into the 1800s. But it’s been known as a rock staple from The Animals, and it was recorded in just one take.


04 The Eagles – “Take it Easy”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: G, D, C, Em, Am

Written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, this was the Eagles’ first single, released in 1972.


03 ZZ Top – “Tush”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: D, G, C

You can break this ZZ Top song down to a “campfire” version with only three chords. Just remember to rhyme “tush” with “rush” and you’ve got it made.


02 The Beatles – “Eleanor Rigby”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: Em, C

You can play this one by only using two chords efficiently. That’ll be more than the Beatles did, as not one of them played an actual instrument on the song when it was recorded.


01 Deep Purple – “Smoke On The Water”

Chords you need to learn: Chords you need to learn: E, G, A, B

Featuring one of the most recognizable guitar riffs ever, the song is also known as “the first song you need to learn on guitar” because you only need to master four chords. The late Dimebag Darryl, speaking to Guitar World in 1993, called it “the ultimate simple tune” and revealed it was the first song he ever learned. “I learned it on the E string, then my dad taught me a chord and I thought it was as heavy as sh*t. It’s simple, but totally bad-ass. It proves that you can play three notes and still make it killer.”

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