Did you know many of the most popular songs in the world are actually some of the most straightforward songs to sing and play? The song might sound complicated at first because of all the other instruments in the background, but playing a lot of songs with just a guitar can be quite easy to learn.
If you’re looking for some new tunes to practice and sing, I’ve put together a list of 15 songs that will be easy for you to start playing right away.
How can you determine if the song is easy
One of the most challenging parts for beginner guitarists is learning all the different chord variations in the song. For most songs, you can simplify the chords to make it easier to play. For example, if there’s a “C7” chord, you can simplify it by just playing “C”. Doing so can help you play the song using familiar chords that you’ve learned.
Songs that can be played around the top part of the guitar neck are much easier compared to songs that require you to move up and down the frets. If you have a popular song that uses a lot of complicated chords, try finding a less complicated version so that you can focus on playing it accurately rather than figuring out all the intricate parts.
When you’re more comfortable with the song, then you can start adding more advanced techniques.
Sing in a comfortable key
When singers sing outside of their range, they strain their voice, which poses a risk of hurting their vocal cords. If done frequently, it can lead to long term damage to the singing voice. That’s why it’s essential to find a song that you can sing comfortably.
You can find out whether or not the song is right for you by asking yourself some of these questions:
- Are you struggling to hit the high notes?
- Does your throat hurt when you sing?
- Are you pushing your voice to sing higher than it’s comfortable with?
- Does your voice feel tired after singing once?
If the answer to these questions is “yes.” Then the song is outside of your comfort range.
So does this mean you can’t sing the song?
No, it doesn’t! You can still sing the song BUT it has to be transposed to a key that is comfortable for you. We’ll get into that a bit later into the article.
Rhythm is not too fast
The speed of the lyrics and melody is essential to consider before you decide on playing the song. When you sing faster, it means you have to switch chords and strum faster. If you’re just starting out and are not familiar with singing and playing together, it can seem quite daunting playing fast-paced songs. So pick songs that are a bit slower at first so you can slowly build up the skill of changing chords quickly and easily.
If you’re having some trouble with singing and playing guitar at the same time, you can check out a step by step article that i’ve written here.
How to make the song more comfortable to play
Use a capo
If you come across a song that is not in your vocal range, you can easily change the key by using a capo. Using a capo is an easy way to transpose any song to your liking so that you don’t have to strain your voice.
A capo can also simplify the chords if the song is initially in a key with more complicated chords.
For example, instead of playing a song like Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” in C#, you can put the capo on the first fret and play the chords for C.
I recommend using this handy capo from Amazon to help you you out. The cool feature about this capo is that it helps you hold your guitar pick!
Memorize the lyrics and guitar parts
Although many beginners often overlook this step, memorizing the lyrics and chords to a song can help you play the song a lot easier. In my article, 15 Essential tips For Singers To Remember All Their Lyrics, by remembering how to play the whole song, you can focus on the emotion and techniques while you’re playing.
When you first try to memorize the lyrics and the guitar parts, focus on each section individually before putting them together. Doing so will allow you to remember the parts much more effectively.
15 Easy songs to sing and play guitar
Here are 15 songs that all beginners can start their musical journey with. They are not in any chronological order. Depending on your vocal range, some songs may be easier or harder to sing than others.
1. Let it be – The Beatles
“Let It Be” is one of those crowd-pleasing songs that everyone knows how to sing. The chords of the song are pretty simple as it’s in the key of “C” and the rhythm is at a comfortable speed.
2. Sunrise – Norah Jones
If you’re into singing and playing jazz, a few of Norah Jones’ songs are quite simple and beautiful. Many of her songs, including “Sunrise” use only a handful of chords, and the range isn’t overly big.
3. Yellow – Coldplay
Coldplay’s “Yellow” is probably among the finest songs to learn as a beginner. The entire song uses just 5 chords, not to mention it’s incredibly catchy as well. If you’re playing this song in front of a crowd, expect many people to sing along. Especially the chorus!
4. Like I’m Going to Lose You – Meghan Trainor & John Legend
If you are a female singer that has a higher register and is looking for a duet, “Like I’m Going to Lose You” is a straightforward song to sing and play. The entire song uses just seven chords, and they’re repeated throughout the intro, verse, and choruses.
5. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
A lot of Elvis’ songs are known for the rockabilly blues and fantastic dance moves. But Elvis also has a lot of great slow songs like “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. This song only uses a few chords and is a beautiful song to sing for valentine’s day or at a wedding.
6. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
If you’re at a party and someone asks you to play a song, “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz would be a great song to do. This song will get any party to start dancing on its feet. Definitely add this to your repertoire. You can also use a capo on the 4th fret to play the chords in “G”.
7. Havana – Camila Cabello
When you first listen to this song, you might think it’s a difficult song to play on the guitar. But in fact, the song only uses three chords (Em, C, B7) !
An acoustic version would sound pretty cool with this song. You can also slow it down a bit, so it’s easier to play. Slowing the song down even makes it a bit “moodier,” which adds more complex emotions to this song.
8. Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman
For female singers who have a lower voice, Tracy Chapman’s songs are perfect for you. “Give Me One Reason” is one of her greatest hits and also among the easiest to play. The song uses 12 bar blues throughout the verses and choruses. If you have a guitarist who you can jam with and play solos over your strumming, the song would sound pretty nice.
9. Lose you to love me – Selena Gomez
This 2019 hit features a lot of piano and synthesizers, but it can also sound great with just an acoustic guitar. “Lose You to Love me” has a slow and longing mood to it, which can translate very well as a “stripped down” version.
10. Just the way you are – Bruno Mars
This is one of those songs that performs well no matter what the setting is. Whether it’s a wedding, a talent show or playing at a retirement home, “Just The Way You Are” is always going to be a crowd-pleaser. What’s even more pleasing is how simple the chords and the lyrics are.
11. Love Story – Taylor Swift
“Love Story” is the leading single from Taylor Swift’s second studio album “Fearless.” It has a nice midtempo pace which makes it easy to strum to. The song’s range isn’t too wide either, so female singers won’t need to belt any high notes for this one.
12. Zombies – The Cranberries
This 1993 classic is for singers who love to rock out. If you have an electric guitar with some effect pedals, you can have an excellent time with this song. The song only uses five chords and is extremely easy to play.
13. Stay with me – Sam Smith
For male singers who have a higher register, you can try “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith. Although the song uses the piano as the main instrument, the guitar can also bring out the mood of the song. I would suggest using fingerpicking for the verses before strumming the choruses to add more variations.
14. Ring Of Fire – Johnny Cash
If you’re a country music fan, you must’ve heard of this song. It’s one of the most popular songs, with so many different versions throughout the years from different artists. The song is very simple as it only uses the chords D, G, C. One thing to take note of is the rhythm. The beat is quite uptempo, so make sure you’ve got the rhythm well-practiced.
15. Creep – Radiohead
“Creep” is one of the most played songs for bands in the 90’s and 2000’s. This song can be very versatile as it can sound good using both electric and acoustic guitars. The chords G, B, C, and Cm, are repeated throughout the song. If you’ve haven’t mastered barre chords yet, focus on the “B” and “Cm” chords first before trying to play the entire song.
When you’ve just started learning how to sing while playing guitar, it can be challenging at first. To quickly improve, you should first start playing songs that are at your level and then slowly add songs that require more technique. Keep practice daily and as long as you’re playing within your skillset, you’ll find yourself slowly improving over time.
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