40 Easy Electric Guitar Songs for Beginners

There are many reasons to start learning the guitar. Some aspire to play in a band and perform live. For others, it’s just a fun hobby to pursue at home as a life-enriching endeavor.

Whatever your reason, learning new songs is one of the best ways to improve on the instrument, from bettering your technique to improving your ear and musical timing. All while having fun and avoiding the boredom of traditional practice routines and exercises.

So today, we’ve gathered a list of 40 easy songs for the electric guitar that players of any level can have fun learning while they improve.

40 Easy Electric Guitar Songs for Beginners

Iron Man – Black Sabbath

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There are a few songs and riffs which are considered an absolute ‘must learn’ for any new guitarist. As common as Smoke on The Water or Stairway to Heaven, the opening riff from Iron Man is one of the most recognizable and catchy electric guitar riffs of all time. Made by the progenitors of the Heavy Metal genre as we know it, Black Sabbath, Iron Man is arguably one of the most iconic guitar riffs in all of metal.

An ideal song for beginners as it will introduce you to playing the power chord, the most common shape you will see used on the electric guitar. It’s also a great example of how the power chord is ‘transposable’. This means the chord shape can be played on any fret and still sound good. The pentatonic-based solo is also a great opportunity to learn some easy lead guitar playing.

Back in Black – AC/DC

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AC/DC is the quintessential rock band that appeals to everyone. They’re fronted by lead guitarist Angus Young who shook the world of rock guitar and is well known for his intense stage performances, blistering lead guitar playing, and some of the most iconic electric guitar riffs ever written. Black in Black is a fantastic song not just to improve technique, but to help you improve your tone.

The song is quite accessible for beginners, using mostly minor pentatonic playing and big sounding open chords. Remember to turn your gain up! Place some emphasis on hitting fairly hard and making sure everything sounds loud, proud, and confident. Just as important as hitting the right notes is the attitude and energy that makes this song sound great.

Last Nite – The Strokes


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Formed in 1998 and helmed what some call the revival of indie rock in the early 2000s, The Strokes are known for their raw and unprocessed sound that held a similar appeal to bands such as Nirvana or Pearl Jam. After a 5-year break and short hiatus, the Strokes came back with a vengeance with the album The New Abnormal which was received with great critical acclaim.

Last Nite was the second single from their debut album This Is It, which sold over 1 million copies in the US. An upbeat and groovy song that is very easy for electric guitar beginners to play (using only simple 2 note intervals and a few chords on the verse), this is a song you can relax and have a lot of fun with.  Don’t worry if the solo is too daunting, there is a rhythm guitar playing underneath you can easily play instead.

Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple

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Another ‘must learn’ song for any beginners for the iconic opening riff alone. It’s so famous that over 6000 guitarists gathered to play the main riff at the same time for the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 in Wroclaw, Poland. The song was also placed at number 12 on Q Magazine’s 100 Greatest Songs of all Time list.

Contrary to how many people play this song, the opening riff is not played with power chords. Instead, it’s played with a fourth interval by just barring two notes on the string. It also makes great use of the flat 5th for a bit of blues attitude. And you’ll be playing some arpeggiated power chords on the verse, which means instead of hitting all the notes of the chord at once, you will play them one at a time. If you like rock, this is one of the first songs to get under your fingers!

Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin

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One of the all-time great classic rock bands formed in London, England in 1968. They are also largely credited with pioneering the heavy metal genre, but often included influences from styles such as blues and folk. Their innovative mentality and pioneering music style garnered them massive commercial success with almost 300 million albums sold worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands ever.

This is an ideal song for beginners, as it uses good fundamental techniques for the electric guitar. There’s some palm muting on the opening riff which includes some accented open power chords, great for developing some solid rhythm technique. The solo also has a lot of that minor pentatonic flair with some pretty big bends which will help develop your lead ability.

Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones

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One of the true original punk rock groups of the ’70s. Although not one of the best selling bands of all time, there is no denying The Ramones’ substantial impact on music. Having released 14 studio albums in 20 years, it’s clear that founding member, guitarist, and songwriter Johnny Ramone was a prolific songwriter and musical force.

This song primarily uses power chords with the extra octave on the top and some pretty fast down picking which is going to help loosen your wrist and improve your electric guitar picking technique. And at 176bpm, doing this for the length of the song can become quite tiring! So try to ensure your wrist and forearm are not tensed as you play.

Cherub Rock – Smashing Pumpkins

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Originally starting as what many would call alternative rock, over the years (and plenty of lineup changes) the Smashing Pumpkins have expanded their musical repertoire to include more progressive and psychedelic influence. Cherub Rock is a single from their second album Siamese Dream.

This song uses a lot of octaves while pedaling off of the low open E root note. When you play these octaves, there is an unused string between them (generally your third string), and this string must be correctly muted to ensure you’re only hearing the two notes. You can do this by using your index finger to rest on the third string (just rest, not fret) which will mute or choke the string, allowing everything to come through nice and clear.

Creep – Radiohead

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Abingdon is not where you would expect a six-time Grammy Award winning band that’s sold more than 30 million albums to rise from, but here we are! Creep is Radiohead’s most successful single ever despite it not being indicative of the band’s current sound. And although they have had plenty of other successful singles in different styles, this is by far their most widely known.

Creep is a great song for beginners to learn as it’s relatively slow at 92bpm. It has a great 3 chord progression that evokes a lot of emotion, particularly going from the C to Cm chord.

You will be playing most of these chords as arpeggios (single notes instead of strummed). There’s some tremolo picking on the chorus. If you can, try to accent the first note of each bar to help you keep in time as tremolo picking can get quite messy!

It Hurts Me Too – Elmore James

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Elmore James was classic singer/songwriter from the ’50s and ’60s who was well known for his iconic blues style and his extremely powerful and evocative singing voice. In addition to this, he was also an avid user of the slide and has been cited as a major stylistic influence on other musicians that came after. Because of this, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

It Hurts Me Too has been recorded and interpreted many times by different musicians, but we have picked the Elmore James version as it is a quintessential blues piece that will familiarize you with the blues scale, plus it also has some very creative phrasing and will serve to get you familiar with that classic blues style.

Low – Cracker

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A fantastic band from Bakersfield, California, who have been characterized as being country rock or ‘desert rock’. They have also had a number 1 ranking single called Teen Angst on the U.S Modern Rock chart. Low is a single from their 1993 album Kerosene Hat and was featured in several big-budget movies including The Wolverine and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is a great song for beginners, as it uses a lot of country twang and flair, including some microtonal bends (bends that don’t quite go up a full note) which give it a lot of edge and personality. That is also complemented by some straight-rock power chords on the chorus which are a ton of fun to play.

Master of Puppets – Metallica

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As one of the biggest metal bands of all time, Metallica played a huge role in evolving the sound of heavy, distorted guitars and chunky rhythm playing. With thousands of guitarists trying to develop the insane picking precision of lead singer and guitarist James Hetfield.

Master of Puppets has some absolute monster riffs that are going to turn your right arm into pure steel.

The main draw of these riffs is that they are almost exclusively played with down picking, and at 212bpm this is going to be an extreme (in a good way) test of your picking ability. It’s an incredibly fun song to play when you can lock in with the riffs and keep up with the pace. So grit your teeth, bang your head, and prepare to down pick like never before!

My Best Friend’s Girl – The Cars

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A classic American rock band from the ’70s that would use a great combination of rock & roll guitar riffs and catchy vocal harmonies. Their debut album sold 6 million copies and they were also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. My Best Friend’s Girl is from their self-titled album released in 1978 and also appeared on the OST for the movie Over the Edge.

Fortunately for a beginner, this song is about as easy as they come. You’ll be playing straightforward power chords in a rhythmic fashion. Try to tap your foot along to keep in time and, if you are feeling up for it, there are a lot of higher melodies you can join in on should you feel comfortable.

This Means War – Avenged Sevenfold

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Avenged Sevenfold is a band that has matured a lot over the years, originally formed in 1999 with a metalcore sound. By their 3rd album City of Evil they had embraced more of a hard rock and traditional heavy metal feel. This Means War is from their sixth studio release Hail to The King, and although the song got criticized for sounding extremely similar to Metallica’s Sad But True, it is still a great song to learn.

This song uses a drop D tuning which means you will be able to play power chords by just barring a single fret. These are all very traditional, chunky and rhythmic focussed riffs which are both easy to play and also a lot of fun to rock out to.

Zombie – The Cranberries

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One of the few Irish bands to make it to the worldwide stage. Formed in 1989, they saw huge commercial success with their debut album and some exceptionally well received singles, of which Zombie was the most successful. The band sold nearly 50 million albums, making them one of the most successful artists in the alternative and indie rock space.

The song is using mostly big sounding open chords, try to keep note of the strumming pattern indicated in the tab. The chord progression is also simple using just an Em, Cmaj7, G6, ato, a, and Dsus2add13 which are all quite comfortable to hold. Try to keep your gain on the electric guitar fairly low so you can hear each note clearly.

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult

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(Don’t Fear) The Reaper is one of the best-known songs from the New York heavy metallers Blue Oyster Cult. Active since 1967, they have been able to amass a whopping 25 million in album sales over their 15 studio album career. They have also been credited as large influences for many successful bands we know and love today, including Alice in Chains and Stabbing Westward.

The song opens with some arpeggiated chords you will need to pick while letting each note ring out. Be sure to not use a lot of gain here to allow the notes to ring clearly. Outside of that, there are just some fairly simple power chords to pick. Right up until the solo where you will be able to spend a little time with the very eastern-sounding harmonic minor scale.

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

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An absolute classic song from the highly successful singer and songwriter from New York. Boasting over 50 million albums sold worldwide, Grammy awards, and an induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. If you need songs that are interesting, catchy, and pop through and through, look no further than Cyndi Lauper.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun is one of her signature songs and has been rated by many as one of the greatest songs of all time. It’s very easy to play with a nice almost funk lead line opening the song, which uses a few hammer-ons. Once you have the lead line mastered, you’re essentially finished with the song. Have fun!

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

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From the quintessential rock band, this is one of their biggest singles of all time and was written by Mick Jagger and the legendary Keith Richards. With many revering the main riff of the song as one of the best hooks of all time.

The main riff is extremely easy, making it ideal for beginners. It’s all on one string and will introduce you to some small slides as well as how to mute with your left hand.

As the song progresses, the three notes of the main phrase will turn into a triplet, so be sure to keep in time with that and check the tab carefully for when that starts.

I Can’t Quit You Baby – Willie Dixon

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A well known and widely respected songwriter and vocalist with a distinctive voice. I Can’t Quit You Baby is one of his best known singles from the ’50s, which is essentially a twelve-bar blues piece that lyrically discusses the difficulty of ending a relationship. This song was also famously covered by rock legends Led Zeppelin.

As this fits into the twelve bar blues format, this is a great opportunity for you to either play the rhythm section to familiarize yourself with the chord changes and get used to that kind of song. Or if you are up for it and have spent a little time practicing your minor pentatonic and blues scales, you can try your hand at improvising your own leads over the song.

Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin

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An equally famous song as Whole Lotta Love, Immigrant Song has an iconic opening riff and uses lyrical themes of Norse Mythology. And while not charting particularly high (by Led Zeppelin standards) at the time of release. Because of its extremely prevalent use in various media such as films, including the famous Jack Black movie School of Rock. It is a song that is still relevant and highly recognizable today.

The opening motif is the large driving force behind the song, you will need to practice hitting the 4th fret on the D string while making sure the adjacent strings are kept nice and quiet. You can do this by hitting that note with your ring or pinky finger and using the rest of your left hand to ‘choke’ the open strings to stop them from ringing.

Lonely Day – System Of A Down

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One of the most prolific heavy metal or alternative metal bands around, System of a Down blend great musicianship with a hint of comedy, while also addressing quite serious political and social topics. Lonely Day is one of their lighter songs from the critically acclaimed 2006 album Hypnotize which also has an accompanying music video that sits at almost 300 million views on YouTube.

The song itself has some quite unique arpeggiated chords, providing a good opportunity to expand your chord-voicing knowledge. This chord progression repeats for the majority of the song, and there is a cool tremolo picked solo which will help improve your right hand a lot.

Otherside – The Red Hot Chili Peppers

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As eclectic a style as they come, from rock to funk, rap to alternative. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been able to reach a mass market and become one of the best selling bands of all time with over 100 million records sold. Otherwise is from their best-selling Californication album which discusses the struggle of recovering addicts.

This song is a perfect one for any beginner to learn as it’s played at a very slow tempo and uses mostly single-note lines. Everything is very comfortable for the hands so even the newest of players will have no trouble learning this. There are a few big open 6 string barre chords thrown in for a little extra spice too.

Reptilia – The Strokes

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Another great one from American ‘garage’ rockers The Strokes. Reptilia is a single from their second album Room on Fire which also had a unique music video in which the shots were all extreme close up of the performer’s hands and faces. It was very successful and sits at 211 million views on YouTube.

The song is a great exercise on how to mute adjacent strings. You’ll notice on the opening note there are only two notes being played, but you can clearly see in the video they are striking all the strings. This is because they are using their left hand to mute the unwanted strings so even when they are struck, they don’t make any sound. A really important skill to master and this is a great song to practice on!

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

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This was the song that skyrocketed Nirvana to international success extremely early in their career. It became something of a cultural phenomenon, vastly transcending the expected audience of just grunge and alternative rock fans to becoming a household name. The song went 8x platinum in Australia alone and is one of the world’s best-selling singles.

When it comes to learning this song, there’s a good chance you are already slightly familiar with the main riff. It uses just 4 power chords and doesn’t need to be played particularly tight to fit that rough around the edges ‘garage rock’ sound. It’s a wonderful song to just rock out to and not think about too much.

Smoking Gun – Robert Cray

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Another classic rock and blues player from the ’70s who has released and played on a huge number of tracks for various bands as well as winning five Grammy Awards over his career. Smoking Gun was a single release from 1986 which was one of his most successful songs, reaching no 2 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks.

This song plays a lot with using open strings in combination with fretted notes which give unique chord voicings. You’ll want to ensure your left hand isn’t choking out any notes and everything has room to breathe and ring clearly. It also has some nice, easy classic blues lead lines which are a lot of fun.

Two Tickets To Paradise – Eddie Money

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Eddie Money is a prolific songwriter, having had 11 Top 40 songs throughout his career between the ’70s and ’80s as well as releasing 11 full studio albums. Two Tickets is one of the most popular singles from his debut, self-titled album Eddie Money. It has a nice upbeat feel to it and is considered a staple of classic rock.

Using mostly single-note lines and melodies, this is a very easy song to play. But at the same time will introduce you to some basic phrasing techniques such as bending and slides. It’s a great way to ease you into those things, but it’s also easy enough to play that it won’t pose many difficulties for newer players.

Wild Thing – The Troggs

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This is a chorus you’ve no doubt heard before and can already sing along to, even if you’re not familiar with The Troggs. Wild Things is one of their biggest singles and was a cover of a song originally written by the band Wild Ones. But the original did not receive the same success as The Troggs’ version which has been ranked amongst the best songs of all time.

In this song, you’ll be playing some huge, loud, and proud open sounding chords reminiscent of what you might see from someone like Angus Young. You’ll need to crank up the gain for these and make sure you’re hitting the chords with some force to get the energy to translate. But all the chord shapes are nice and easy to play, so it shouldn’t pose too much difficulty.

You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ – Judas Priest

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Absolute top-tier British metal (or British Steel if you will), the band rose to commercial success after a few ‘under the radar’ releases in 1980. Known for singer Rob Halford’s ripping, high-pitched vocals as well as some classic heavy metal guitar work. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ is from their follow-up to British Steel called Screaming for Vengeance and is considered a quintessential Priest tune.

This one is at a bit of a slower tempo for a Judas Priest song, making it easier for a beginner to dive in. There’s still a lot of signature heavy metal lead playing and riffs to sink your teeth into, which will use techniques such as bending and slides. Be sure to learn the song at a slower tempo and bring it up to speed when you feel comfortable.

Ace of Spades – Motorhead

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Another classic, world-class, British rock band. Led by bassist and singer “Lemmy” Kilmister who was known for his signature gravelly voice and for playing at ludicrously loud volumes, Motorhead has been a huge part of the legacy of heavy metal and played a big role in influencing the next generation of bands. Ace of Spades is their biggest single from the album of the same name, and has been ranked in many greatest songs of all time lists.

The song has a great groove and essentially plays with classic heavy metal riffs that have a blues tinge to them. Making good use of techniques such as the minor pentatonic scale and that flat 5th. It’s all fairly easy, the main thing to focus on is making sure your rhythm is in time with the song.

All the Small Things – Blink 182

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Blink 182 has always excelled at combining a kind of pop-punk style with comedic self-awareness, crafting meaningful songs that span from high-energy to traditional ballad. All The Small Things was a huge single for them, and was part of their widely successful Enema of the State album. It charted worldwide, selling millions of copies and going double platinum in the UK alone.

The song has an upbeat, light-hearted tone which is a joy to jam. It’s played using mostly power chords, but also has some cool variations such as the suspended 2nd chord. The verse in particular is a great exercise in simple palm muting and will help you improve your consistency a lot.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day

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Green Day is considered part of the punk or pop-punk movement. But as their career progressed and they embraced a musical style that had a wider appeal, the band garnered massive commercial success. Selling over 75 million albums worldwide and winning 5 Grammy Awards is no small feat for an alternative band.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams is one of their more ballad-esque songs. With its slower tempo, it’s considered one of their easier songs to play. You’ll mostly be playing large open chords with a few power chords peppered in. Remember to use a capo on the 1st fret!

Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers

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For having such an eclectic style, RHCP has been able to forge their own fan base and achieve lasting commercial success. Originally formed in 1983, they’ve sold more than 16 million albums worldwide. Californication is a single from the album of the same name and is a favorite among fans.

The song follows a very simple chord progression, just jumping between the Am and F chords. This motif will repeat for a lot of the song until the chorus, where you will be playing some big open chords. This is one of the few songs where you will use a clean tone throughout.

Come as You Are – Nirvana

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When Nirvana first began in 1987, they offered a much needed respite from the glam and hairspray-fueled rock of the ’80s. With their dirty, raw, and comparatively underproduced sound, no one expected them to achieve the level of commercial success they did. At this point, Nirvana is a phenomenon with 75 million albums sold worldwide.

While Nirvana is not known as a ‘riff’ kind of band, Come as You Are has one of the best and most recognizable opening riffs ever. It’s exceptionally easy to play, making it ideal for anyone who is just starting on the guitar. It’s also complemented by a very simple power chord progression on the chorus.

Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

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After Ozzy Osbourne decided to pursue a solo career, his first album titled Blizzard of Ozz received great commercial success and fan acclaim. In particular, Rhoads’ guitar work and riffs, which are considered legendary at this point. Crazy Train was the first single from this album and has one of the most iconic opening riffs ever and is an absolute must for every guitarist to learn.

Outside of that opening riff, the song has some cool chord voicings on the verse where you will also get to practice some alternate picking palm mutes on the bass notes. In addition, there is also some very fast tapping on the guitar solo which is much easier to play than it looks, so don’t be intimidated by the speed!

Enter Sandman – Metallica

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Ascending from their thrash roots to become one of the biggest metal bands of all time. Metallica pretty much redefined what heavy metal guitar playing was, with their scooped chugging riffs played by James Hetfield’s monstrously accurate right hand. Enter Sandman is one of their biggest and most famous songs, selling 30 million copies as a single.

Also considered a must learn. From the straightforward power chord chugging to clean passages. There’s a lot here that will keep you busy and help you improve all the fundamentals involved with playing the electric guitar. If the solo is a little much for you, don’t be afraid to play the rhythm guitar during that section instead.

Hot for Teacher – Van Halen

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Eddie Van Halen is an absolutely pivotal character in the guitar space, bringing technical lead guitar playing in tandem with catchy rock tunes to a mass audience. And while technically not the inventor of it, he is still largely credited with popularizing techniques such as tapping.

This is certainly a song that will test your technique! While at first glance it may seem impossibly fast, as you learn it slowly and bring it up to speed you’ll discover that a lot of these tapping passages are in many ways much easier to play than traditional picking. The key here is to learn slowly, and bring it up to speed only when you’re comfortable.

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Guns N’ Roses

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This is a cover that was originally performed by equally legendary musician Bob Dylan. It was made specifically for the original soundtrack of the movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The single was hugely successful and charted highly in many countries.

The Guns N’ Roses version is a more ‘rockified’ rendition of the original, but it’s all quite easy to play using simple octave chords and slow lead guitar melodies which are very bluesy in their phrasing. This song will have you performing all the beginner fundamentals of guitar and is a great song to help cement those basics in place.

Raining Blood – Slayer

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We previously described Metallica as having thrash roots, Slayer is pretty much the next level of thrash after that. With blisteringly fast riffs and heavy use of chromatics and atonal scales. Raining Blood is Slayer’s most popular single and comes from the album of the same name. You can also see its use in video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Guitar Hero.

If their riffs are so fast and technical, why would we include them? Well, there is a beauty to Slayer in that their riffs do not need to be played with absolute clinical precision. There is a lot of fun to be had by jamming to their music and not worrying about the minutia of details. You can just rock out and have fun while giving your picking hand the workout of its life.

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

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The White Stripes are known for their stripped-down, raw, and unprocessed sound which some positively refer to as ‘garage’ rock. This simplicity in both production and songwriting is the very thing that garnered them massive commercial success, offering a great respite from hyper-produced modern bands.

Seven Nation Army is their most popular single, with an iconic and instantly recognizable guitar line. The whole song is very beginner friendly, with just the single note riff and a few power chords for the chorus. You are going to sound great playing this song regardless of where your skill level is at. And remember you don’t need a world-class guitar tone to play The White Stripes. Raw and dirty works in your favor here!

The Trooper – Iron Maiden

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Another of the legendary classic British heavy metal bands that can sit right alongside the likes of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, Iron Maiden are known for their high-energy live performances, which included theatrics like giant puppets of the band’s mascot, Eddy.

The Trooper can be an intimidating song at first, with quite a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs and tons of twin harmonies to boot. But this is probably the best song to begin learning those on as they are all quite comfortable to hold. If you have a friend who’s also learning guitar, this song is absolutely ideal to learn together as the song accommodates two guitarists perfectly.

Wicked Game – HIM

Best of Rock: Him WICKED GAME Gitarren Tutorial Lesson + TABS CHORDS NOTEN

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HIM are a Finnish rock band who have a darker, gothic feel to their music. Despite this alternative flair, they have had no issue in garnering great commercial success throughout both Europe and the US. This budding popularity was given a big boost when Bam Margera, one of the stars of the hit TV show Jackass, became a fan and assisted in promoting them.

Wicked Game is actually a cover HIM recorded and was originally written by Chris Isaak. The HIM version is about as easy to play as songs come, where you will be mostly just down-picking simple power chords. But on the chorus, there are lots of nice single-note melodies to keep you busy if you’re looking to spice things up a bit.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to play the electric guitar is an exciting journey that can lead to a lifetime of musical enjoyment. With the help of this list, you have a great starting point to begin practicing and honing your skills.

Remember to take your time, be patient, and practice regularly. With enough time and dedication, you’ll be able to master these songs and move on to more challenging pieces.

Most importantly, enjoy the process and have fun as you embark on this musical journey.

  • Liam Engl

    Liam is a British guitarist who splits his time between the UK and Asia. He fills his time with guitar as a full time guitar teacher, producer/songwriter/engineer for his own projects Mera and Decode The Design, YouTuber with over 2.5m views, occasional Twitch streamer, and featured artist for brands such as Carillion Guitars and WristGrips.