Starting to learn to play the guitar can be a lot of work. You have to study music theory, chords, notes, tempo, and tons of other things. All the studying definitely affects your motivations – simply because it gets so boring. An excellent way to be productive while doing something you enjoy is to learn a few popular songs that you can play for your friends and family.
Alright, I have to admit – rock isn’t the genre that’s recorded with an acoustic guitar. Luckily, this doesn’t have to stop you, as all the songs on the list will do just great for an acoustic jam.
The chord progressions in some of the tracks may be simplified, yet sound great. A lot of beginners may be intimidated by some of the iconic riffs features in these easy rock songs on the list. I suggest you don’t worry about it and focus on adding more tunes to your strumming repertoire. Soon you’ll be surprised how good you’ve actually become!
1) Lola by The Kinks
Lola was written by Ray Davies in early 1970 and released by the Kinks on June 12 of the same year in the UK, and 2 weeks later in the US. Featured on Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround album, the hit reached #2 of the top charts in the UK and #9 in the States.
The best part is how easy the chords for the song are all basic except for F#7, which will take some time to master. Other than that, everything in this acoustic guitar song is pretty straightforward.
2) Lonely People by America
America is one of the most famous classic rock bands of all time that had more hits than I can remember. Lonely People was written by Dan and Catherine Peek, picked up by America and has become one of the hottest released of their 1974 album Holiday.
Did you know that it was originally written as an optimistic response to the famous Beatles’ hit Eleanor Rigby? Who knew at that time that Lonely People would reach #5 on the Billboard Hot 100? That was the only song written by Dan Peek that ended up in top 10 – pretty impressive.
The song is easy to play on an acoustic guitar, and it sounds incredibly pleasing. You know what they say – don’t give up, give it a try.
3) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Remember Pink Floyd’s 1975 album with Wish You Were Here being the title? Yeah, those were the good old days (not like I would know, I wasn’t born yet). It got a really positive response from the audience that loved the highlighted feelings of alienation from people Roger Waters was experiencing at the time. To put it shortly, the song really clicked with the listeners.
Similar to many other albums of the band, the album narrates the breakdown story of ex-member of Pink Floyd Syd Barrett, with David Gilmour and Wares writing the music.
The chord pattern on easy acoustic guitar song repeats over and over again, throughout the entire song.
4) Light My Fire by The Doors
Recorded in 1966 and released in early January of 1967 on The Doors’ debut album, Light My Fire became the biggest hit that held the #1 spot of the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks! What can I say – Jim Morrison sure had enough money to throw TVs off his hotel room’s balcony after that.
Want to hear a fun fact? The producers weren’t happy about the lyric “girl, we couldn’t get much higher,” which presumed they were using drugs and ask Morrison to replace “higher” with “better.” The band agreed. During the live performance, however, Jim Morrison sang the original lyric, which infuriated the producer but stuck to the listeners for decades to come!
This acoustic guitar classic rock song is not the most simple on the list, but I just love the energy of it. Moreover, the chords aren’t that complex, to be completely honest with you. The only one that you may find hard is F#m.
5) House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals
Looking for something more folk? Here is the perfect example of a traditional folk song to play on an acoustic guitar. Recorded by the Animals in 1964, it really blew up in Europe and North America topping the charts of Canada, the US, Sweden, Finland, and the UK.
You may be getting tired of the fun facts, but I can’t miss this one. The song has been recorded in one take! How crazy is that? Takes a lot of confidence of both the artists and management.
The chord pattern of the acoustic guitar folk song is simple and repeating – every beginner can pull it off after a little bit of practice!
6) You Might Think by The Cars
Written by Ric Ocasek and produced by Mutt Lange and the Cars, You Might Think came out in 1984 on their 5th album Heartbeat City. Similar to other star hits, it managed hitting #1 on the US charts without blinking an eye. The computer-generated music video for the song was praised by everyone at the time and was nominated for 6 huge MTV awards.
The rock song isn’t hard to play on an acoustic guitar, but it has its own unique rhythm that you’ll have to get used to. Don’t worry, nothing a few hours of practice won’t fix!
7) I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty
The first single on Tom Petty’s first debut solo album, I Won’t Back Down has captured the hearts of millions over the years and became multi-platinum shortly after the release. The theme of the song is something to love and respect as well – stand your ground and never back down.
There are only 4 chords here, and they repeat over and over again throughout the entire song, which makes the hit even more appealing to the beginners who still have a hard time learning the basics of how to play the acoustic guitar.
8) Take It Easy by The Eagles
Most people who are asked to name the Eagles song will probably say Hotel California. Not going to lie, I love the song myself. However, there is no way I’ll be okay with giving no credit to Take It Easy – their first single from 1972. The band wasn’t the hottest back then, and the track landed at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which I think was a huge success for them.
The classic rock song has become one of the Eagles signatures, and possibly even a theme song of the 70s. Love it or hate it, Take It Easy is a classic!
The song is easy to play on an acoustic guitar as it follows a simple chord pattern and pretty monotonous tempo – another gem for a beginner guitar player!
9) Have You Ever Seen The Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival
CCR is a gem of a band that thrived in the 70s. One of my favorite tracks is the one from Pendulum album of 1970, Have You Ever Seen The Rain. A beautiful melody, catchy lyrics, and nice groove – no wonder it peaked at #8 on the charts in 1971.
It’s easy to play as it only has 5 chords that repeat over and over (learn how to play the chords faster). The best part is that you can also play the song to your own groove, as both the melody and the tempo permit – perfect for beginners who are just getting the feel of how every song has its own energy but can’t quite comprehend it yet.
10) The Joker by Steve Miller Band
The song is so popular for one simple reason – it’s relatable, fun, and laid back. Picker, grinner – we’ve all been there. Released in 1973, it had a harder time getting to the top and was only recognized on the UK charts 17 years after the release!
Fun fact here – the song’s been featured in Levi’s commercial. Can you remember which one?
The Joker is one of the best easy acoustic guitar songs for beginners as it only has 3 chords – and that’s it! How much easier can playing a rock song get?
Hopefully, you enjoyed the post! There are way more rock songs that you can play on an acoustic guitar, but the bad boys on the list are classics that I couldn’t overlook.