For a lot of us, the coronavirus pandemic has meant more time on our hands than we know what to do with. So if you’ve been taking this year to finally pick up that guitar in the corner, or you’ve run out of Netflix shows to binge-watch and are looking for something new to fill your time, here are 10 easy guitar songs you can learn with just a couple of chords.
10 Bob Dylan – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”
Chords you need to learn: G, D, Am, C
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.”