Are you a guitar beginner ready to play legendary rock songs? Many classic rock riffs are easier to play on electric guitar than you think! If you’re tired of strumming chords and want to start playing real rock as soon as possible, then these easy guitar songs for beginners are for you!
The following article lists ten famous rock songs that aren’t too difficult to play and are therefore perfect for beginners. In addition, you’ll get background information on these simple guitar songs for beginners – and of course sheet music and tabs!
First, let’s listen to all the riffs in fast forward:
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Any list of rock songs for beginners wouldn’t be complete without this timeless hard rock classic from 1972 by Deep Purple. Everyone knows the classic riff, which was written by Ritchie Blackmore and played on a Strat. A survey showed that “Smoke On The Water” is the best-known song in the US right behind the Star Spangled Banner. That’s why most guitar salespeople can’t hear it anymore and have (hopefully jokingly) banned it from their showrooms.
Extremely important for the effect of this riff, by the way, are the fingered two-voice fourths, which are often mistaken for ordinary power chords.
Song 2 – Blur
“Song 2” was initially only the working title of this song by Blur. Nevertheless, the name stuck and the song became a huge hit for the British band in 1997, although it actually had little in common with the style of the band. Originally intended as a parody of the grunge wave that was coming to an end, “Song 2” was ironically particularly well received by fans of this sound. The riff can be played entirely on one string group. This creates the characteristic slides that are an important part of this riff.
Come As You Are – Nirvana
“Come As You Are” by Nirvana was released on the heels of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the second single from the Nevermind album, which made the band world famous and grunge a mass phenomenon. The main riff of this rock song is played by the guitar and bass in unison and is therefore also very popular with beginners on the bass.
Absolutely crucial for the right tone is the chorus effect, which gives the guitar sound that certain something. When playing along with the original, note that Kurt Cobain had tuned his guitar two semitones down.
Highway To Hell – AC/DC
“Highway To Hell” from AC/DC’s album of the same name is without doubt one of the most famous rock songs of all time – and it’s surprisingly easy to play for beginners! More than any other song, it catapulted the Australian band to international stardom. At the same time, the album was the last to feature singer Bon Scott, who died the following year. Even though many of the band’s songs are relatively similar, this riff probably best captures the AC/DC sound.
Wild Thing – The Troggs
For the song “Wild Thing”, we must venture back to Great Britain in the 60s. This song was originally composed by the songwriter Chip Taylor for the American band Jordan Christopher & The Wild Ones. However, it was The Troggs who made it a hit. The song was a forerunner of the punk wave that took off in the 70s. Accordingly, this rock song is based on a very simple chord riff that’s easy to play for beginners.
Blitzkrieg Bop – Ramones
A true punk classic shouldn’t be missing from our collection of rock songs for beginners. This song from the debut album of the Ramones, who pioneered the punk sound in the US, was released in 1976 and has everything a good punk song needs: a distorted guitar and three power chords.
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
For many, the British band Black Sabbath and their guitarist Tony Iommi are the pioneers of heavy metal. “Paranoid”, which appears on the album of the same name, became one of the band’s most iconic songs. The intro riff and main riff of this rock song are relatively easy to play for beginners. For an authentic sound, choose a guitar with humbuckers and a wide-open vintage Marshall amp.
Bad Moon Rising – CCR
Surprisingly, the Southern Rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival was only active for five years, but left behind some classic rock songs that are very popular with cover bands – and with guitar beginners. Among them is “Bad Moon Rising”, which is very typical for the band’s sound.
All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
This song was written by Bob Dylan, but got much more attention when Jimi Hendrix covered it in 1968. A three-chord progression forms the basis of the entire song. An important element is the underlying rhythm of the chords, which Hendrix changed. He also overdubbed the guitars several times on the original recording, which contributes a great deal to the effect of the song.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
The last song on our list of rock songs for beginners comes from what was probably the first supergroup of rock music. We’re talking about the British blues-rock band Cream with its prominent members Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker. The catchy riff of “Sunshine Of Your Love”, released in 1967, is one of the absolute classics of rock music history. You can achieve the typical Clapton sound of that time with a humbucker guitar and a closed tone knob, paired with a moderately distorting amp.
More Guitar Tipps for Beginners
- 7 Guitar Effects Pedals you need to know
- Best Electric Guitar for Beginners
- Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners
- Best Guitar for Beginners – Acoustic or Electric?
This article was originally published in German on bonedo.de.
- Deep Purple – Smoke On The Water: Remise 3
- Blur – Song 2: Remise 3
- Nirvana – Come As You Are: Remise 3
- AC/DC – Highway To Hell: Remise 3
- The Troggs – Wild Thing: Remise 3
- Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop: Remise 3
- Black Sabbath – Paranoid: Remise 3
- Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising: Remise 3
- Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower: Remise 3
- Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love: Remise 3