7 beginner songs you can learn in a week

by Dan Davies, July 5, 2016

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Let's face it, we all learn the guitar because we want to play songs. And while we only teach techniques and licks on Musicisum at the moment, we're under no illusion that each and every one of you wants to learn how to play new music. In fact, it's a problem we're working very hard at tackling!

If you're just starting out it can often be difficult to know what songs are within your grasp. It's not always easy to identify whether a song is going to be easy to learn or not. What might sound like a simple chord progression could actually be a flurry of barre chords and extended chords that you haven't learned yet. We've all been there!

With that in mind, I have put together a list of 7 beginner songs that you can learn on guitar within a week. You might not be able to nail the solo, or play them perfectly, but I'll bet if you spend a couple of hours per day, you'll have these ones under your fingers in no time! I've tried to keep a balance of pleasant chord progressions, solid riffs, and wicked licks so that there's something for everybody.

Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

If you've just learned power chords, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is a great place to start. The main body of the song is based around 4 power chords. There's a slightly tricky strumming pattern to get your head around, but don't worry if you don't get that right away. Just strumming each chord 3 times is enough to get you on your way! And when you've worked on some lead guitar techniques, there's an iconic guitar solo for you to work on as well!

Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe

If you're looking for a song to help you perfect switching between all the major chords, look no further than "Hey Joe"! The main chord progression is C major, G major, D major, A major, and E major. If you can strum along with the song then you're off to a great start! Jimi also does some cool stuff like moving the E major shape up a few frets, and he plays his classic "Jimi Hendrix chord", the dominant7#9. Start by nailing the major chord progression, then see if you can figure out the ascending chromatic riff in the bridge.

Rage Against The Machine - Bulls On Parade

"Bulls On Parade" is a wicked place to start perfecting your palm muting and left-hand muting. The intro riff and verse riff are going to help you focus on only ringing out the strings you want to hear, and the brutal chorus riff will help you focus on your rhythm and timing. The whole song is tuned down a step, so don't be afraid of checking out the Eb drop-tuning. This is also a great place to dive into the world of effects pedals! The solo is pretty much free rein too, so break out your F minor pentatonic licks and see what happens!

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

You don't need a 12-string guitar to play this acoustic classic. In fact, you don't even need an acoustic guitar! All you need is the ability to play a G major chord and the patience to learn the riff. The chorus has a blend of major and minor chords, and overall this is just a lovely song to play. If you're feeling adventurous, try to figure out the bit of acoustic lead at the beginning!

AC/DC - Back In Black

Never have the chords E, D, and A sounded better! Crank the gain and study this one hard because there's so much going on! Fifteen years on as a guitarist, and I still love playing along to this one. You'll develop your rhythm, perfect the minor pentatonic, and learn a load of licks that you can apply to your improvisation whenever you're playing! Start by learning that epic opening riff and play it over and over and over until you pass out. Once you're comfortable with that, start on the chorus, and soon enough you'll be killing it with the vibrato in one of the many face-melting solos "Back In Black" throws at you.

Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead Or Alive

"Wanted Dead Or Alive" has a load of interesting stuff going on. The opening riff might take you a little while to get down, but it's going to massively improve your picking and get you used to moving up and down the neck. The chord progression is pretty simple, but the strumming pattern and hammer-ons & pull-offs give it an interesting sound. You can start by just playing the chords, and once you're comfortable try to get some of the more technical stuff under your fingers. Once you've done all that, you're not going to be able to resist stomping on the distortion pedal and learning the solo!

The Animals - House Of The Rising Sun

This is a classic song that has a mix of major and minor chords with a picking pattern that's great to learn. There's an F chord in here too, which is a good way to practice switching between open chords and barre chords. Don't worry if you don't get it right away, it can definitely take a while. You could even cheat and play an F major 7, but we're not going to tell you how to do that! ;)

So there you have it! Spend a week on each of these and we're certain you can get them down! If Musicisum were to teach songs, which ones would you like us to teach? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!

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