Quick Hit: A curated list of links to easy guitar tabs for beginners, or those who just want to take a stab at some low-pressure song learning.
When I say easy guitar tabs, I don't just mean songs that are easy to play. We have an easy guitar songs roundup that is mostly focused on tracks with simple chord progressions that are more in the style of campfire strumming. This list focuses on songs that are easy, yet don't fit into a simple strumming routine, needing a full tab as opposed to a stripped down chord sheet. For some of these songs, I've listed resources for a strumming and tabbed versions, but my goal is to provide a list of tabs that are simple but more challenging than a raw chord progression.
Tabs For Beginners
The intent of this list is to provide a starting point for beginners who want some easy guitar tabs to work with. It doesn't mean that these songs can't be enjoyed and played in other situations or skill levels. However, I'm recommending them as ideal for players who want to get their feet wet reading tablature and moving on from chord sheet song study.
- Ideal for learning how to read tablature
- Helpful for moving beyond chord sheet song study
For each song recommended, I've linked to a tab, audio and (where applicable) full lesson resources.
These songs are not ranked by difficulty, length or anything like that. I've simply listed them in alphabetical order based on the artist's name.
I'll add to this list over time, so check back for new songs.
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1. "Rock or Bust" by AC/DC
Angus Young's distorted rhythm track / Tab Via Songsterr
The rhythm tab for this song is easily picked up. The tuning is a bit tricky in the Songsterr version (check out our full Songsterr review), which you'll have to figure out if you want to follow the tab exactly and play along with the track. The Ultimate Guitar tab uses a standard tuning, so you could downshift to that version if preferred.
2. "Fur Elise" (the simpler arrangement by Beethoven
Simpler arrangement for classical guitar based on the piano melody / Tab Via Guitar Tricks
The piano melody of this song can be adapted to the guitar in a classical finger picking style, which is done particularly well by Christopher Schlegel. He teaches the simpler arrangement of this piece in one of Guitar Tricks song lessons.
3. "Song 2" by Blur
Multiple rhythm guitars playing mostly power chords / Tab & Lesson Via Guitar Tricks
This song is almost entirely made up of power chords in a drop D tuning. It's a bit on the fast side, but if you can memorize the progression, it shouldn't be too difficult to pick up on the speed.
4. "Missile" by Dorothy
Heavy Guitar Track with Fuzz and Pitch Pedal / Tab Via Ultimate Guitar
You could probably think of this guitar tab as a bass line, as most of the song can be played with one string or a root and fifth power chord combo. The melody is simple and the rhythm is a quick pick up.
5. "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elivs Presley
Rhythm and lead track (from Elvis's backing band) / Tab & Lesson Via Guitar Tricks
The chord progression in the background is a I, IV and V sequence in the key of E, with a lot of seventh intervals thrown in. You can do just the chords, but the Guitar Tricks and Songsterr links tackle some of the more nuanced aspects of the guitar track, including the lead melodies and improvisation segments.
6. "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'em Up)" by Fallout Boy
Simple Guitar track with light distortion and minimalist approach / Tab Via Songsterr
Audible guitar playing on the track is minimal, but the song can be tabbed and covered for a more involved guitar part. It's a simple rhythm, which makes the tab a quick pick up for a fun song.
7. "Keey Away" by Godsmack
Tony Rombola's distorted guitar track / Tab Via Songsterr
For heavy rock fans, this was one of Godsmack's first singles, released in 1998. Guitarist Tony Rombola uses a straightforward drop D power chord progression for both the verse and chorus of the song.
8. "ABC" by The Jackson 5
Funk electric guitar track adapted from the song's chord progression / Tab Via Guitar Tricks
Sharon Aguilar's lesson on Guitar Tricks is the most complete instruction available for this song, which you can get access to for free. Otherwise, most people have just outlined chords that are adapted from the bass line, which drives the song.
9. "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Acoustic-driven arpeggiated version / Tab Via Songsterr
You can play this with straight chords or you can follow the arpeggiated picking pattern of the actual track. Both methods are pretty simple.
10. "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Three-part mixture of lead and rhythm guitar with arpeggiated chord progressions / Tab & Lesson Via Guitar Tricks
There are "easy versions" of this song that focus mostly on the chord progression, but the more nuanced tabbed versions aren't tremendously difficult. You have a few different options since there are three electric guitars on the original track. I've linked to tabs as well as lessons for the complex and simple versions of this song.
- Tuning: Standard (E, A, D, G, B, E)
- Genre: Southern Rock
- Songsterr Tab Link
- Ultimate Guitar Tab Link
- YouTube Track
- Full Lesson & Demonstration of the "Made Easy" Version by Anders Mouridsen
11. "Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana
Power chord and melody riff pulled from Kurt Cobain's arrangement / Tab & Lesson Via Guitar Tricks
If you can pickup the melody at the beginning of the song, the chord progression is a simple drop D power chord run and easy to put together. Mike Olekshy's Guitar Tricks lesson does a good job of laying it all out. You can try it free, here.
12. "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum
Mixture of lead and rhythm guitar with strong presence of effects / Tab Via Ultimate Guitar
If you want to tackle the full tab, there's a good bit of lead and rhythm guitar work, none of which is significantly difficult.
13. "Devil" by Shinedown
Heavy power chords and dyad melody/ Tab Via Ultimate Guitar
The intro is a bit tricky if you aren't comfortable jumping from dyads to power chords, but once you have that in you mind, the rest of the song should be fairly intuitive.
14. "Feel Like I'm Drowning" by Two Feet
Simple acoustic fingerpicking pattern/ Tab Via Ultimate Guitar
The bass and rhythm drive this electronic-themed song, yet the acoustic guitar has a strong presence, accentuating the walk-down chord progression with a fingerpicking pattern. It's a fun one to play.
15. "Beverly Hills" by Weezer
Rivers Cuomo's rhythm and solo from the popular track/ Tab Via Songsterr
This classic from Weezer is fun to play and limited mostly to power chords and an attainable guitar solo. The whole song - solo and all - is worth a shot.
How to Read Guitar Tabs
For those of you that aren't totally comfortable with reading guitar tabs, I've added a couple diagrams to get you started. Keep in mind that while these are a bit fancier type of diagram, all guitar tabs are displayed with six horizontal lines that represent the six strings of the guitar.
Wherever a note should be played or "tabbed", a number will be used to inidcate which fret should be played.
For example, in the diagram below you would play the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh fret notes on the fourth string (low D).
This might simply be displayed in courier font like you often see in the Ultimate Guitar tabs. I prefer Songsterr tabs or the Guitar Pro format, which makes room to display beat and a number of other important pieces of musical information.
The only really important part, especially if you're just dealing with easy guitar tabs, is the line and numbering system. If you understand that, you're good to go.
These tabs have been picked out to let you get a quick start, playing something fun and easy. They're not a lot of work and most can be tackled by even the more timid beginners. Try and guard against feeling like these songs are "too hard." If you can get through some basic melody and chord progression mechanics, you should be able to play most of this list.
Here are a few prerequisites that I'd recommend:
- Comfort with basic barre and power chords
- Knowledge of basic open chords
- Understanding of melody and ability to follow a melodic note line
In other words, if you're comfortable with the basics, these tabs should be the right amount of challenging for you. If you want to look for more easy guitar tabs, perhaps other songs entirely, look for the following qualities:
- Simple chord progressions and bass lines (two to four chords, max)
- Melody that's easy to decipher
- Straightforward rhythm that's easy to play along with
Remember, I'm not talking about strumming a chord progression as much as an actual "guitar song" with quicker chord changes, melody lead or a combination of both. You should be playing songs that have some nuance and guitar-related dynamics to them, even if the tabs themselves are relatively simple.
Your Questions & Suggestions
If you have questions about these songs, or even other easy guitar tab suggestions, feel free to leave it in the comments section below. I prefer that over direct email since it allows other readers to benefit from the additional information.