When it comes to playing guitar, it is not hard to gain impressive skills. In the world of pop music you need only learn just four simple chords and you can play an astounding number of songs. Or, if you prefer to start with some fingerpicking, there are some recognizable tunes that you can master in just a few short hours.
Here are a few of the best simple songs to memorize and add to your campfire repertoire.
Songs Using C, D, Em, and G
If you are able to master the chords C, D, Em, and G, you will have opened yourself up to a surprising amount of popular music, everything from Taylor Swift to Led Zepplin. A few good options for your first song include crowd favorites Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, which both have a G, C, D chord progression. Another great option is Van Morrisson’s Brown Eyed Girl or Greenday’s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) which surprisingly both follow a G, C, D, Em chord progression.
Check out this list for more songs with these four simple chords. Along with these classics there are many contemporary pop and hip-hop songs that can be fun, and sometimes funny, to play on the guitar that follow very simple chord progressions. Ultimate Guitar has chords for thousands of popular songs.
Playing a guitar by picking individual strings instead of strumming can make you look quite impressive to any audience. First, you will need to learn to read a guitar tablature. Once you have that down, a few easy songs to start with include Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes, Come As You Are by Nirvana, and Beat It by Michael Jackson. Check out how to play these and other songs here.
When you gain the ability to read a tablature, you are opened up to any song in the world. From there, it just takes lots of practice and dedication.
Once you have a few simple songs under you belt, try moving on to more difficult songs and learn more chords. Here is a list of songs that would be good to try next. Don’t forget to practice and build up your calluses. Before you know it, you’ll be nailing your own creations.