There is a good reason why the 4/4 time signature is so most commonly used across all genres of music. That’s because it’s simple, easy to follow, easy to play to, and doesn’t require a master’s degree in mathematics to figure out the subdivisions.
So having a decent repertoire of 4/4 songs in your guitar handbook is going to serve you incredibly well when it comes to playing at social functions and family events. Plus they’re just pretty fun songs to learn in general.
So today we’ve gathered up a list of 40 classic tracks, all of which are in 4/4 timing, and span a range of genres and styles. So no matter what kind of music you’re in the mood for, there will be something here you’ll be able to enjoy learning.
We’ve also included both video lessons and tablature for each song to help you with the learning process too!
- Have You Ever Seen The Rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival
- I’m a Believer by The Monkees
- Photograph by Ed Sheeran
- Stand By Me by Ben E King
- A Tout Le Monde by Megadeth
- Another Brick in The Wall by Pink Floyd
- One Love by Bob Marley
- The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
- Three little birds by Bob Marley
- Zombie by Cranberries
- Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
- All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
- Beat It by Michael Jackson
- Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
- Dust in the Wind by Kansas
- Apologize by One Republic
- Eruption by Van Halen
- Firework by Katy Perry
- Hey Jude by The Beatles
- Highway to Hell by AC/DC
- Horse with no name by America
- I Have A Dream by ABBA
- Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
- Knocking On Heavens Door by Bob Dylan
- Lazy Song by Bruno Mars
- Leaving On A Jet Plane by John Denver
- Let It Be by The Beatles
- Mama, I’m Coming Home by Ozzy Osbourne
- Love me do by The Beatles
- Rolling In The Deep by Adele
- Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
- Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
- Pieces by Sum 41
- Snow (Hey Oh) by Red Hot Chili Peppers
- We Will Rock You by Queen
- Whiskey In The Jar by Metallica
- Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top
- Nobody’s Home by Avril Lavigne
- Hand In My Pocket by Alanis Morissette
- Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
Have You Ever Seen The Rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival
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Starting things off nice and simple with this classic single from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s album ‘Pendulum’. The song details some of the tensions that existed within the band around that period, and served as something as a precursor to the departure of songwriter John Fogerty’s brother, Tom, from the band. It essentially points out the irony between the fact they were all rich, famous, and successful musicians, yet all were simultaneously deeply unhappy within the band.
This is about as easy as things will get as you’ll just be strumming some simple open chords with a steady 8th note pattern. The chords are Am, F, C, and G which are maintained throughout the entirety of the song. Most of the melody and movement actually comes from the bass guitar, with the acoustic guitars acting as more of a foundational layer for the other instruments.
I’m a Believer by The Monkees
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Next up we have a tremendously popular song from the legendary L.A. pop band The Monkees. Released in 1966 from their album ‘More of the Monkees’, this track would also feature prominently on the band’s own comedy television series. Further adding to its popularity the band Smash Mouth also covered this song for the hit movie Shrek in 2001 which really helped keep the song’s relevance and popularity high.
Starting off with a tiny little minor pentatonic/blues lick before going into the chords. Once again we’re only playing easy open chords, but you’ll notice they move at a much quicker pace and the strumming pattern is also a little bit more involved. Definitely a good workout for those looking to practice their chord changes!
Photograph by Ed Sheeran
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Ed Sheeran has been able to strike this perfect balance between melodic yet intricate guitar parts which he combines with some of the most infectiously catchy vocal melodies you will ever hear. Because of this rare talent, Ed is now one of the most successful musicians in the world. This song is from his second album simply titled ‘x’ and was written in collaboration with Snow Patrol member Johnny McDaid, who provided the base piano melody the song was built from.
Ed’s songs can become fairly involved, even for being in 4/4. So the provided tablature is quite tough and is pretty close to how Ed plays this. But if you’d like a simpler version the provided video tab details how to play an easier rendition of the song (but you’ll need a capo to bring it in key with the original song).
Stand By Me by Ben E King
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This track is most notably used as part of the original soundtrack for the film also titled ‘Stand By Me’, and an official music video was also released to help market the film. But that’s just the start of things, it would later be used in a promotional campaign by Levi’s Jeans, and it has been re-recorded by over 400 different artists who wanted to make their own rendition of the track. It’s estimated that the royalties for this song alone are over $22 million.
There’s a very prominent bassline throughout the song which many people like to join in on with the guitar as it’s generally the part that catches most listeners’ ears. However, if you listen carefully you can hear some strummed chords behind that bassline which you can also play if you wish. The provided tablature details both parts so just pick whichever one you feel like playing!
A Tout Le Monde by Megadeth
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While we can’t quite throw the acoustic out in exchange for a high-gain electric guitar just yet. Despite being a Megadeth song this is still somewhat of a slower ballad that features heavy use of the acoustic guitar. It’s something that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Black Album! (hopefully, it’s not too sacrilegious to say that).
The song starts with some arpeggiated acoustic guitar chords, which just means we are playing them 1 note at a time instead of strumming them. The arpeggiation patterns works in ascending (moving up) groups of 3, 3, and 2. So although you might hear 1-2-3, 1-2-3, it’s that last group of 2 that makes the final note count 8, which of course fits into 4/4. A really useful trick to get the feel of 3 in a 4/4 time signature!
Another Brick in The Wall by Pink Floyd
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This is actually a 3 part composition for the rock opera ‘The Wall’. Which essentially means it’s a collection of songs that are all a part of an overarching story, instead of individual songs which each have their own meaning. Despite this slightly progressive approach to composition and the heavy topics the song tackles (which include subjects like corporal punishment and abusive school disciplines) the song was a huge commercial success, selling over 4 million copies worldwide.
From an instrumental perspective, you have an eclectic assortments of parts you can play which range from funky chordal parts to some classic bluesy lead playing, all underpinned by a nice and steady 4/4 beat.
One Love by Bob Marley
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This is one of Bob’s most popular tracks ever. Although it has been released a few different times, it was first heard as part of his band ‘Bob Marley and The Wailers’ debut album ‘The Wailing Wailers’. But the most popular iteration of the song appears on the 1977 album ‘Exodus’ where the title was changed slightly to ‘One Love/People Get Ready’. The accompanying music video features some cool cameo’s from the likes of Paul McCartney and Neville Staple.
This has a really stable and consistent strumming sequence in which you will need to play a staccato 8th note pattern (which simply means you mute the chord straight after playing it) and then you wait for an 8th note. This is what gives the rhythm that reggae feel.
The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
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Despite the popularity of the song, it was actually a complete failure when it was first released, resulting in the duo disbanding and moving to separate countries. But then a year later in 1965, the track began to get some airplay at certain radio stations, notably in Boston and Florida. This prompted producer Tom Wilson to remix the song, adding some additional instrumentation which was then re-released as a brand new single. This version completely blow up, hitting the number 1 spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 which prompted the duo to pair up again and continue as a group.
This track uses what is called an ‘ostinato’ which is essentially a small repeating phrase (in this case it’s a 4 note phrase) which the chords move underneath. You’ll need a capo on the 6th fret of the guitar to be able to play in key with the original song, but if you are playing solo you can also just lower it down a few frets to make it a bit easier on your voice as it’s pretty darn high!
Three little birds by Bob Marley
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Another hit track from Bob Marley and the Wailers as part of their album ‘Exodus’. The track is often mistakenly called ‘Don’t Worry About a Thing’ or ‘Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright’ because those lyrics are used for the hook of the song. A good lesson to the songwriters out there on how lyrical hooks can supersede the actual name of the song!
This is another example of the classic reggae strumming pattern. Where the bar starts off with an 8th note rest with you coming in on the & of 1. Then for the rest of the bar, there are dotted 8th note rests with you coming in on the 16th note right before the downbeat. It sounds complicated but if you tap your foot along to the song you’ll be able to ‘feel’ this rhythm pretty easily! Certainly a good way to add groove to what is otherwise a pretty stable time signature.
Zombie by Cranberries
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Without a doubt the Cranberries’ most popular single. After its release in 1994 as part of their album ‘No Need to Argue’ it hit the number 1 spot on charts all over the world. It is also credited with being the first song by an Irish band to pass 1 billion views on YouTube. There’s also a very notable cover of this song performed by American metal band Bad Wolves which features ex-Divine Heresy singer Tommy Vext and former members of God Forbid.
This song uses the dark art of loading up distortion and fuzz and using it to strum big open chords, very unapologetically I might add. Then, over the top of this, there are some nice clean passages that help to ground things in a very musical way.
Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
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At this stage a lot of Billy Ray Cyrus’s legacy is associated with Miley, it’s important to remember that he also has his own very successful career too! And although this track was not written by him (it was written by Don Von Tress), it was the song that garnered him a huge amount of commercial success. The song was certified platinum and charted at the number 1 spot in many countries. Then, over 27 years after its initial release the track got a second wind after being featured by rapper Lil Nas X on one of his tracks.
We have our pick of 2 separate guitar parts in this song, the first is kind of a bassline/groovy melody that hangs out on the lower strings. The other part being a more open/strummed chord progression which helps complement that main rhythm section. They are both in 4/4 so just pick whichever part seems cool to you!
All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
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This is a wonderfully catchy tune that was intended to promote the idea of body positivity and self-acceptance. Although it did draw some controversy for the fact it only promoted Meghan’s particular body type, leaving many wondering if having a different body type from hers is ‘bad’, which effectively defeats the intention of self-acceptance. Most people decided not to read too deeply into it though and just enjoyed the catchy tune!
It’s a heavily electronic-driven song with a very clear chord progression that is outlined by the bass synths in the song. This is perfect for us to take and utilize on the guitar by converting them to simple strummed chords.
Beat It by Michael Jackson
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This song is proof that Michael Jackson has great taste in musicians as he picked the legendary Van Halen to perform the guitar solo for this track. Pretty much every song from the album Thriller is a legendary hit, with Beat it being the 3rd single release from the album. It’s been certified a whopping 5x platinum and is one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Even if you don’t feel up to playing the guitar solo (it’s a hard one, particularly if you’re a beginner), that’s ok as there’s a strong rhythm section here that contains one of the most catchy guitar riffs of all time. What’s quite unique about it is although it’s in 4/4, the riff starts on the last 8th note (the & of 4) and rolls over the bar. This idea of beginning a riff on an unusual space on the music bar can really make things interesting from a rhythmic perspective.
Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
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This is a song that, for anyone around in 2011 while the song was charting, probably grew more than a little sick of it due to the massive amounts of radio play it was given. The tune was also nominated for two Grammy Awards for both Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. It’s estimated the song has garnered over 18.5 million in single sales and has reached nearly a billion streams on Spotify alone.
This is a fairly straightforward track to play on the guitar, just needing a few nice and easy open chords throughout. The thing that makes it perhaps a little more interesting are the pauses between the strums. These are very effective at adding that groove and interest to the rhythm and also requires you as a player to be reasonably good and muting a chord fast after you’ve strummed it.
Dust in the Wind by Kansas
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Changing things up a bit for a 4/4 song that makes prevalent use of fingerstyle guitar. Although this is a softer tune by them and is from their 1977 album ‘Point of Know Return’. It was originally written as a technical exercise for guitarist Kerry Livgren to get better at fingerpicking on the instrument. But the song went on to be one of their most popular and memorable tracks.
Although it’s all in that nice and easy 4/4 timing, the main challenge here is just the higher tempo. But you’ll notice on every 1 count there is a double-picked note utilizing 2 ‘bass’ note on the A string and a melody note on the high B string. You can use these to ground you and help stay in time, then the rest of the melody and fingerpicking will fall into place around them.
Apologize by One Republic
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Due to the hugely positive response and commercial success of the song, which was originally produced as a collaboration between One Republic and Timbaland, after its initial release on Timbaland’s second album ‘Shock Value’, One Republic would go to release it on their own album ‘Dreaming Out Loud’. Which has an additional guitar solo on the second verse, but also omits the various percussion and backing layers that Timbaland added.
The song is heavily driven by the piano, and has a lot of percussion and orchestral elements to back it up. Yet even though it’s not really a guitar-centered song, we can easily take some of those melodies and chords and translate them onto the guitar. Whether you’d like to play some nice single-note lines or play a strummed chord progression, you can do either with this song and it’ll work fine.
Eruption by Van Halen
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Although we covered a little Van Halen with Michael Jackson’s Beat It. He definitely deserves his own spot on this list because of his overall importance to the guitar as a whole. Plus the fact he can write wickedly catchy guitar-driven tunes that are a ton of fun to play. Although this one in particular does sit on the more technical side of things, it can offer a great challenge if you’re up for developing your technique further.
To play this song you’ll need to tune your guitar 1 step flat on all strings giving you the tuning of D,G,C,F,A,D but every note will be sharp. There are a ton of demanding things in this track that will test the limits of your technique, from fast tremolo picking to some crazy tapping sections. But it’s very satisfying to learn and we encourage you to give it a whirl regardless of your current skill level!
Firework by Katy Perry
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Katy Perry had been going from strength to strength with each of her full album releases. This song in particular which is from her third studio record titled ‘Teenage Dream’ was nominated for two Grammy Awards and it was ranked as the fifth most played song in the US during 2011.
This is another track that’s very heavily driven by electronics and is essentially a pop/dance track. But that solid 4 on the floor beat (which is also in 4/4 timing) allows you to take the chord progression of the song which is G, Am, Em, C, and D, and lock it into that hard and driving rhythm. It works exceptionally well on guitar and can make a great solo performance piece if you can sing to it too!
Hey Jude by The Beatles
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The Beatles have no shortage of incredibly catchy 4/4 songs in their catalog. The trick is finding the ones that are the most fun to learn. Hey Jude in particular is quite important because it was written during a period where tensions within the band were quite high. John Lennon had also just left his wife for Yoko Ono and wrote this song for his son, Julian, in order to help improve his mood and outlook on things during this difficult time.
For this track, you’ll predominantly be strumming some big barred chords that span 5 or 6 strings. It also makes heavy use of powerful downstrokes making it quite a demanding song considering the effort you need to exert in order to hold down those big chords for such a long period of time. But it’ll definitely do some good in terms of increasing your forearm stamina!
Highway to Hell by AC/DC
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AC/DC are the kings of making straightforward 4/4 rock and roll bangers that are so iconic they are consistently revered by generation after generation of new musicians. This song is taken from their 1979 album of the same name ‘Highway to Hell’. It was inspired due to the grueling touring and promotion schedule they had to keep up with for each record release, which guitarist Angus Young had often described as them being on a ‘highway to hell’.
You have the chance to crank the gain up a little bit on this song, but not too much as we’re playing chords with 4 or 5 tones in them which can easily start to sound muddy if the gain is over-saturated. Try to set the gain so it’s decently gritted up but you can still hear each individual string clearly.
Horse with no name by America
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America is one of those bands who got to enjoy a hefty amount of success right from the start of their career. This was both their first and most successful single and is from their self-titled album ‘America’. Originally the album was released without this particular song, however, after the studio wanted there to be a more radio-friendly track they submitted this one and it was added to the album’s European release.
At first glance, this appears like a simple case of strumming open chords in 4/4. But what makes it a little more interesting is that the strums target specific groups of strings, where one strum might favor the bass strings while another might focus on the treble. The tablature makes it look very scientific and specific, but as you learn it you’ll soon find that you naturally want to target specific strings groups because it feels ‘right’.
I Have A Dream by ABBA
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Where would we be without ABBA? They are one of the most important pop groups of all time and have a tremendous number of iconic songs in their catalog. This one, in particular, is from their sixth album ‘Voulez-Vous’. It topped the charts all over the world and nearly was the Christmas no1 song of the year in the UK. Additionally, it was also covered by the popular Irish pop group Westlife, their version actually did reach the no1 spot on the UK Christmas charts.
Upon listening to the song it sounds like the strummed chords are either played with a 12-string guitar or dubbed with something in a higher register. Either way, you can simply take those chords and outline them on the acoustic in standard tuning and it will work great!
Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
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This is the quintessential classic rock and roll track and probably one of the most famous songs in history. Although it was released in 1968, I think for many people in subsequent generations their exposure to this song was through the incredible Steven Spielberg movie ‘Back to the Future’ in which the protagonist, Marty McFly, plays this song during the final act of the movie.
The song makes heavy use of classic blues rock and roll style riffing and leads, so there’s a lot of minor pentatonic soloing and some nice bluesy chord progressions going on here all set to a nice and steady 4/4 rock beat.
Knocking On Heavens Door by Bob Dylan
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Another classic folk-esque track from American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan. The song was originally written and recorded in order to be a part of the soundtrack to the 1973 hit movie ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’. But the song was released as a standalone single 2 months after the film’s release and went on to become a massive hit. It’s been rated by Rolling Stone magazine as number 190 in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song starts out with a nice and simple single-note passage that contains an assortment of arpeggiations with a little bit of harmony thrown in. From there, we’re on to strumming some super simple open chords using the progression G, D, Am7, followed by G, D, and C.
Lazy Song by Bruno Mars
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Bruno garnered a number of successful hits from his very first album ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans’. But this one in particular, with its slight roots reggae influence but presented in a hyper-accessible way, seemed to rocket above the others in terms of popularity. The official music video for the song is sitting at an eye-watering 2.3 billion views and seems to be a song that never really falls out of relevance to his audience.
As we mentioned there is a bit of reggae influence here which is primarily reflected in the strumming pattern. The first strum doesn’t come in until the offbeat of 1, then the 2 is a muted strum. This pattern continues throughout the bar, so all your actual played chords always fall on the backbeat which is what gives it that smooth and upbeat groove.
Leaving On A Jet Plane by John Denver
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This was originally written and recorded by John Denver back in 1966 as part of his debut album ‘Rhymes & Reasons’. But has since been recorded 2 more times of which one was for his greatest hits album released in 1973. The song details the feeling of having to leave family and loved ones behind when you have to travel for business, as he often had to do as a performing musician.
The song is very simple to play, just using 2 or 3 tone chords which are very comfortable to hold. This makes it great for beginners or if you like to sing over music at the time as it won’t tax your brain too hard while you’re also handling the vocal duties.
Let It Be by The Beatles
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The concept for the song was written after Paul McCartney had an experience in which his mother came to him in a dream and told him “It will be all right, just let it be”. This was during a period when the Beatles were suffering a lot of internal pressures and tensions between the band members. It was actually their last single release before Paul announced his departure from the group.
This song has a lot of quite pleasant and relatively simple-to-play lead guitar work that fits within those popular bluesy/minor pentatonic shapes. Or if you’re not in the mood to break out the electric there’s a nice bed of strummed acoustic guitars underneath you can happily play along with too!
Mama, I’m Coming Home by Ozzy Osbourne
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Of course, we had to include at least one song from the prince of darkness himself. This is from Ozzy’s 1992 solo album ‘No More Tears’ and features some tremendous guitar work from Zakk Wylde.
Zakk actually uses a 12-string guitar for the acoustic parts of the song. However, it works just fine on a regular 6-string because the tuning matches up perfectly. It’s a really good chance to work on your single-note acoustic playing while using a guitar pick here as playing this with your fingers simply doesn’t have the right attack to fit the mood of the song.
Love me do by The Beatles
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Yet another example of a band that really came out swinging as this was their first-ever single released which immediately got to the number 17 spot on the UK charts. Then 2 years later after it finally saw the US release it immediately charted at number 1. But despite being an iconic Beatles song, it was actually written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney quite a few years before The Beatles had even formed.
In terms of guitar parts, this is about as simple as it gets. You’ll just be playing nice and big 5/6 string open chords in 4/4 at a really comfortable pace. This is ideal if you are a beginner or are just looking to have a song that’s not-taxing on the brain to play so you can just relax and have some fun with it.
Rolling In The Deep by Adele
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Adele has been able to consistently blow people’s minds with her ludicrously powerful voice and world-class songwriting skills (of which a large amount of credit should go to producer Paul Epworth). This was a part of Adele’s second studio album titled ‘21’ which won all kinds of awards and has been credited as being ‘one of the greatest songs of the 21st century’. The official music video for the song is also sitting at a whopping 2 billion views on youtube.
The original song is heavily piano-driven, but it holds a very consistent rock kind of beat which we can easily transfer over to the guitar by just following the root notes of the bass and copying them using power chords. So for anyone who’s even a little bit familiar with rock music is going to find this one exceptionally easy to play as you are quite literally just palm muting power chords for the majority of the song.
Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
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In stark contrast to Adele’s powerful voice and impeccable technical ability. The White Stripes intentionally sit on the other side of the spectrum, where their rough around the edges style (or what some people describe as ‘garage rock’) prides itself on a raw and gritty sound. People clearly love this more unrefined style of music as it went on to win the Best Rock Song award at the 46th Grammy Awards.
The song has a fairly consistent motif played throughout, so once you’ve memorized that you’re basically good to go. The only thing that’s slightly unique about it is that it does make quite heavy use of a slide, particularly for the lead guitar parts. If you don’t have one to hand I wouldn’t worry about it too much, it sounds pretty good played without one too!
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
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Nirvana came in at the tail end of the 80’s excessive glam rock scene, at a point where people were growing tired of the flashy shows and guitar solos. They presented a raw more raw, dirty, and unapologetically rough sound that people really took to. Smells Like Teen Spirit is Nirvana’s biggest single and unexpectedly became the anthem for the next generation of rock music, even the band themselves couldn’t have anticipated the level of success it received.
Part of the mantra of this kind of grunge music is that it’s not overly technical, putting a far bigger emphasis on the mood and vibe of the song over trying to show off any kind of skills. This makes it great for beginners to learn as it’s played with just 4 simple power chords.
Pieces by Sum 41
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Sum 41 are predominantly known for their upbeat pop-punk style. But they know how to turn it on when it comes to more melancholic songs too. This one in particular is a little bit more serious and is about how people latch on to the idea of a perfect relationship even though the reality is they are not great together and are perhaps better off alone. They do a really good job of juggling the comedic persona while still being able to write some very moving pieces too.
As you might expect from a bit of a lighter ballad, the song is just played using simple open strummed chords in 4/4. There are a fair few big barre chords in there too, look out for that A sharp Maj where you still need to barre the F on the E string, that’ll test your forearm strength a bit! But there’s also a fair bit of straight power chords too so it’s not too demanding.
Snow (Hey Oh) by Red Hot Chili Peppers
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Taken from the Chili Pepper’s 2006 album ‘Stadium Arcadium’, this song approaches the topic of restarting, like someone has made a mess of a particular situation, and now they have a blank canvas (which the snow represents) to start over and try again. Despite it being a number 1 hit they didn’t perform the track live until 5 years after its initial release.
This one is a bit more technically demanding as it makes use of some quite fast alternate picked arpeggios with some quick little hammer-on and pull-off triplets. We recommend slowing the song down at first to get a good feel for both the rhythm and fingerings and speed it up as you feel comfortable. With a little practice, you’re sure to get this as fast as the Chili Peppers can!
We Will Rock You by Queen
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We probably don’t need to tell you this, but Queen are one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Few can boast the number of incredibly iconic and successful songs that they have produced. This was written by guitarist Brian May and released as a single for their 1977 album ‘News of the World’. Since its message resonates with so many people it’s been re-recorded a staggering number of times by various artists from around the world.
Although it was written by a guitarist the majority of the song is in what’s called ‘acapella’ form, which means there’s no instrumentation behind it and that it only features Freddy’s vocals. That’s ok, we will wait and enjoy the song until the end when Brian May rips out a classic guitar solo, that’s also in 4/4.
Whiskey In The Jar by Metallica
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Metallica doesn’t have any shortage of lightning-fast thrash songs in their catalog for you to learn. But in terms of a great song in 4/4 at a reasonable tempo you can rock out to, Whiskey In The Jar is the one to learn. It was originally a traditional Irish folk music song from the late ’60s, but over the years it’s been covered by many artists, Metallica and Thin Lizzy being the two most notable versions.
This is one of the easier tracks on the list to learn as outside of the little intro melody section you’re just strumming some easy power chords. The only thing to remember here is that they make use of that second octave, so you’ll be playing 3 string power chords rather than the usual root and fifth.
Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top
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Another must learn for every guitarist with an electric guitar and a little distortion. This classic is taken from ZZ Top’s 1983 album ‘Eliminator’ and has a guitar solo that Guitar World magazine ranked as one of the best solos of all time.
This is a really good blues-rock song that makes heavy use of the perfect fourth interval instead of a regular old power chord. This gives it a really nice attitude, then combined with the groove you have a tremendously catchy song that’s a ton of fun to play on guitar.
Nobody’s Home by Avril Lavigne
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Although Avril really blew people away with her debut album, we often forget how many catchy tracks there were off her second album. This one in particular was very well received. It also features guitar work by former Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody.
If you’re interested in playing the electric guitar part for the song you’ll simply be playing a 5-note arpeggiated version of each chord which repeats on each musical bar. It’s really slow and simple to grasp making it a great one for beginners to learn.
Hand In My Pocket by Alanis Morissette
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Another quintessential 90’s track that everyone should learn. Taken from her 1995 album ‘Jagged Little Pill’ the song was her second number one hit in the US and played a large part in popularising her in other countries across the world.
The guitar part for this looks quite involved, but most of the intricacy comes from the right hand as you target particular groups of strings. The left hand is generally planted down on a particular chord for a few bars at a time meaning you can purely focus on the strumming technique.
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
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Snow Patrol are one of the biggest alternative rock bands around, and this is one of the primary singles that garnered them recognition over in the US thanks to it being featured in the popular television series Grey’s Anatomy. It was also nominated for Best Rock Song at the 2007 Grammy Awards.
A tremendously simple song to play requiring you to just hold that simple power chord shape on the 7th fret of the D, and then a perfect fifth higher on the 9th fret of the G. You’ll just need to alternate between these two using ‘outside picking’.