Paul Hackett

Bandmo called Paul Hackett "one of the most interesting webmasters in the online music world." Paul started Guitar Noise in the late nineties and still runs the site today. He can usually be found traveling and learning new languages. Paul's life outside Guitar Noise unfolds at

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  1. Mark
    December 9th, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    Knocking on Heaven’s Door and Wild Thing are good beginner chord songs. Electric Funeral, Mission Impossible are good tab songs.

    • Aidan
      October 19th, 2014 @ 3:54 am

      also yellow by coldplay

  2. Paul Hackett
    December 17th, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” could have easily made this list. We’ve looked at that song briefly in Leading Questions and again in Tricks of the Trade. Those lessons are mainly about creating guitar solos; but it’s a great song for strumming. It’s a lot easier, and far more rewarding, to learn something you can play all the way through. Learning a riff and not being able to play the whole song is a bit of a let down, for both the player and listener.

    I saw another website listing “All Right Now” by Free as one of the all time easiest rock songs to learn. It only has two chords, A and D, but they’re not regular shaped A and D chords. There’s a lot more to playing “All Right Now” than cranking up the amp and hammering the chords. I’d say it’s a fairly tricky song for beginners. The songs on our list you should be able to play all the way through.

  3. corey
    January 13th, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

    Lead belly has a bunch of songs good for a beginner who is literally a beginner up to more intermediate stuff. Good for those interested in rock blues or possibly even country/bluegrass. Where did you sleep last night and house of the rising sun come from him.

  4. Jack
    January 22nd, 2013 @ 2:08 am

    I simply can’t understand this guitar teacher’s obsession with Horse with no name. It’s ng, realls love it, but it’s also played with a touch of swing time, and that’s the very last thing on earth you want a complete beginner to get into. In the beginning, it might be better to concentrate on slow songs with a standard 4/4 rhythm, so the learners can the idea of rhythm down before branching out into stuff like that.


    • Stephen
      September 16th, 2013 @ 10:16 am

      What other classic piece of guitar material can be played entirely at the second fret ( with 4 chords if you want to, is a lilting and musical tune with great lyrics? Makes my list any day.

  5. Bobby Kittleberger
    March 22nd, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

    I would add Smells Like Teen Spirit (even though I hate that song) oddly enough, Korn’s cover of Word Up.

  6. john ferrelli
    April 22nd, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

    need lots of help hope use can help and im hurting for money and just hade major surgery music helps me so much!

  7. ZOT Zin Music
    May 3rd, 2013 @ 5:05 am

    Hello Paul,

    Great informative blog! I am always on the look out as a guitar teacher, for songs that my beginning students can learn in no time. This is really a great blog and it is showing you’re a great instructor.

    Wonderful Job! Waiting for your new blog!

  8. Colin
    August 25th, 2013 @ 4:00 am

    A great blog and some interesting examples of songs for beginners like myself. I have tried “Horse with No Name” and even this seems difficult to me. I have been playing for about 3 weeks, and the most difficult aspect for me is changing chords. The initial chord learning seems to be going ok but changing from one chord to the next is proving a real challenge!

  9. Colin
    August 26th, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

    Hey guys, I’m getting it! Just managed to change between an E Major and an A chord smoothly and it sounded pretty good. I can now also play the opening riff to “Satisfaction” – yes I know it’s easy but I’m playing music!

    A question: I’m currently practicing about 30 minutes a day and a friend says I need to practice at least an hour every day. I’m reluctant to change since I feel that I am making progress. The key for me is to actually make something that actually sounds like a song. For me, it’s this that gives me pleasure.

  10. jay
    September 28th, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    Thanks for the songs to try and learn i’ve only been playing a few weeks these should keep me busy for the next few days.

  11. Sam E
    November 30th, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

    What about ‘Smoke On The Water’ ??????

    • Paul Hackett
      December 1st, 2013 @ 12:17 am

      “Smoke on the Water” is a popular riff. But it’s not a song beginners can learn to play all the way through. Five minutes of a riff does not a song make. I think beginners should stick with learning complete songs. It’s especially important since beginners are almost certainly learning to play without a backing band.

      That’s not to say “Smoke on the Water” shouldn’t remain at the top of popular riff lists.

  12. Sam E
    December 1st, 2013 @ 12:52 am

    what about ‘Come As You Are’ ??????

    • Paul Hackett
      December 1st, 2013 @ 2:12 am

      Same as above. How about leaving a useful comment instead yelling out “Play Free Bird!”
      We love to see discussion on our blog, but disingenuous attempts to get links to your site won’t last long, nor endear us to your brand. Want to try again, Sam E?

      • Matt
        July 29th, 2014 @ 4:44 am

        Wow dude don’t be a dick. It was an honest question

      • Paul Hackett
        July 29th, 2014 @ 6:41 am

        Perhaps. But the original comment also linked to a music sales website. Every day hundreds of people try to add links to other sites here. With short comments it’s hard to know if the person is asking an honest question or just trying to get their link posted. Maybe I was having a bad day.

  13. tom
    December 4th, 2013 @ 5:23 am

    Margarittaville by Jimmy Buffet was the first song I ever played on the guitar.

  14. Chris
    January 2nd, 2014 @ 7:41 am

    Great list though quite surpised some Beatles songs like “all you need is love” isn’t in the list.

  15. Dennis Fraser
    January 6th, 2014 @ 7:15 am

    Gary Jules’ version of Mad World is pretty easy to learn on acoustic guitar as well as Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah. Two of my favourite songs. It always helps to learn a song you love. It’s great encouragement for the beginner and makes giving up a bit less likely.

  16. Victor
    May 30th, 2014 @ 7:12 am

    Awesome list. I already know 4 of these tracks. I think I should start on horse with no name. I love that song

  17. Richie
    August 3rd, 2014 @ 11:13 am

    The first song I ever learned on guitar was “One” by Metallica. I was determined and I did it. Thats all you need, determination. It will help you play any song you want

  18. Krystle
    September 11th, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

    What some more easy songs with a female vocal?

  19. Sean Caron
    September 22nd, 2014 @ 8:14 am

    One of the songs that I teach beginners is Hendrix’s version of All Along The Watchtower. Simple 3 chord progression using moveable bar chords. I always start beginners with 6th string root bar chords first because those shapes move. It aids in getting the student comfortable with all of the notes and in memorizing the fretted notes.

    • Kirstie
      February 6th, 2015 @ 5:12 pm

      I’m also interested in songs for a female vocalist. I’m trying to learn guitar so I can accompany myself, ass-about probably but the fact remains. For me satisfaction would be something i can learn to play right through AND sing with. Can’t wait to see your ideas.

  20. Aidan
    October 19th, 2014 @ 3:53 am

    try yellow by coldplay and if you like anime try pokemon jhoto journeys theme song as well. If you want something a bit pinoy (philippine) and you want to level-up your skills you might want to learn Noipi by bamboo. My advice, just try and try until you go pro. Play your favorite songs even how hard they are and dont recognize what others say, be it good or bad. There is always room for improvement

  21. gabz
    December 31st, 2014 @ 10:14 pm

    Dude…… any CCR … for acoustic rhythm……. bad moon rising easiest ever!!!!

    Foggerty also had lots of easy stuff. (Lead singer)

    • Paul Hackett
      January 1st, 2015 @ 12:32 am

      Dude, I love Fogerty and CCR. I listen to his music constantly. “Who’ll Stop The Rain” and “Proud Mary” are great songs for beginners.

      I’m afraid we don’t have any transcriptions of their music here. Hal Leonard licenses CCR and we don’t have a publishing deal with them yet. It may happen some day, and don’t go singing “Someday Never Comes” …

  22. Jim Painter
    January 6th, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

    The first song I learned to play was Happy Birthday. It is played using only the high E string but it gets you to play more of the fretboard. From second fret all the way to the 10th fret. The next song I learned was Silent Lucidity by Queensryche in fingerstyle. While I don’t recommend this as a beginners song it is a wonderful song to learn fingerstyle playing. Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line” is a great beginners song to learn. You can simplify the song down to just 3 chords (A, E and D). You can spice it up by changing your strumming patterns and by adding alternating bass notes for each chord. Lots of fun!

  23. Guitar MC
    February 6th, 2015 @ 10:30 am

    Thanks for the list – I’ve been teaching full time for over ten years and have found a few songs that are very easy to teach especially when simplified:
    Jaws = open low E string and first fret played over and over/pitches actually match the original recording.
    Brain Stew = on low E string – notes are played 2x each starting on the 5th fret –> 3rd –> 2nd –> 1st –> open string.
    Electric Funeral = on low E string –0-0-7-8-8–0-2-3-2– then –0-7-6-5-3–
    Hot Cross Buns = on the high e string –4-2-0–4-2-0–0-0-0-0–2-2-2-2–4-2-0–
    When it comes to songs that use open chords “Collide” by Howie Day is a good beginner song to play/”What’s Up” by the Four Non-Blondes is also easier than most.

  24. Hoa Nguyen
    April 8th, 2015 @ 9:44 am

    Great list about acoustic guitar song! I love House of the Rising Sun

  25. John
    September 24th, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

    Great list! Last Kiss is a good easy beginner song and several songs, much like some you have listed here, can be played with the exact chord progression used in that one. Another easy one I play fingerstyle is Everybody Hurts by REM. There are so many choices out there that I am sure we could make a list of thousands if we put our minds to it. There is more than enough for someone to get started and venture out and locate and learn other songs on thier own using the skills they learn from these. I am really liking this site. Thank you for some new inspirations and some very good suggestions for beginner guitarist.

  26. Linh
    October 6th, 2015 @ 10:13 pm

    Why don’t have “my old guitar” of John Denver. This is the easy song good for beginning. Moreover, the melody’s sweet and and make me think of something in my past. So there are a lot of cool song for playing guitar at beginning out there, just find and feet it yourself, you will find out a good song.

  27. pangky
    December 2nd, 2015 @ 8:10 am

    thanks for the info. This information is very useful for a beginner like me. Like this
    Knocking on heavens door

  28. Herm
    December 16th, 2015 @ 1:35 pm

    Great list about acoustic guitar song! I love For What It’s Worth

  29. Alastair
    December 27th, 2015 @ 12:22 pm

    First song for me was the classic campfire track- Greenday -Good Riddance (Time of my life). Mixed finger picking, and strumming sections, 4 easy base chords, consistent rhythm, and sounds great. Next would be Amercian Pie by Don McLean, varied strumming and uses several important base chords. I still use this as a warm up track.

    Good list, I’ve only been playing for a year or so, and I’m always on the look out for new ideas to progress or just learn!

  30. Lincoln
    December 27th, 2015 @ 5:57 pm

    AC/DC made a fortune off of three chords. You can play the rhythm on almost every song from high voltage the album, up to back and black the album. Lots of three chord songs you can play the rhythm all the way through even if you tune your a to their a and play along with them.

  31. Tim
    December 28th, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

    A pretty easy song to start off with is Marilyn Manson’s variation of Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics. I really like what he did with the song, and it’s pretty easy for even beginners to play, even the solo. A beginner could definitely play the whole song all the way through.

    The Man Who Sold The World by David Bowie (the original version) is pretty easy, but there are a three groups of bursts of fast notes, a little practice will get the speed up enough though. That was the first song I learned all the way through. Nirvana’s version isn’t much harder, but David Bowie’s variation is better for complete beginners.. It’s definitely one to consider, though.

  32. Johny
    January 7th, 2016 @ 3:50 am

    great list to learn. I love Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett.

  33. David
    February 24th, 2016 @ 3:26 am

    Best songs I have ever heard. I would love to learn Horse with no name. :D

  34. Hong Sang
    May 2nd, 2016 @ 8:45 am

    Thank you for your sharing, that is easy beginner song and several song. The most important for beginners sing a song and play guitar together is remember all Chords of the Song. So beginners have to more more practice before soloing

  35. eric crayon
    May 28th, 2016 @ 5:45 pm

    Thanks for this great and helpful post . All songs are great . Before song , I should decide about guitar . I got great reviews about Yamaha 700s , I think I will buy it . Then I will try your song . I hope I can play well :)

  36. Shane L. Edwards
    July 8th, 2016 @ 10:43 pm

    Thank for sharing. I’m a beginner and it really helpful for me :)

  37. Dominic Fraser
    August 21st, 2016 @ 1:30 am

    I’ve been pulling out some old folk songs and spirituals for my students to work on. While it does not have the connection the incredible songs on your list do with this generation, it does let me keep our roots alive in the world of pop-synthesized music.

  38. Andy
    October 29th, 2016 @ 1:07 pm

    Ended up here looking for ideas for my son and totally forgot that “Margaritaville” was my first one! Thanks for the memories bro!

  39. Saith Paul
    November 2nd, 2016 @ 5:01 pm

    Thank you for the the clear well-written article. Your recommendations supported with your personal experience was eye opening. Thanks so much

  40. Raphael
    December 2nd, 2016 @ 10:19 am

    Great list mate!!
    I love acoustic guitars and those are definitely a good starting point.
    All the best