Singing and playing the guitar simultaneously is something that many people struggle with, especially at the beginning. However, if you start with songs that you know by heart, it can make the process much easier.
All of the following songs are relatively easy to master when it comes to singing and playing the guitar. There’s a chance you’re already familiar with these songs on some level, and you’ll find this familiarity comes in handy.
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“Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin
It’s pretty common for guitarists to want to play a Led Zeppelin track. Unfortunately, the riff-heavy nature of most Zeppelin songs makes it nearly impossible to sing at the same time.
Tangerine, from Led Zeppelin III, is a song that anyone with an understanding of basic open chords can play. The song is more akin to a folk song, featuring a simple solo that anyone could easily master.
“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King
Playing something that’s recognizable to an audience is one of the major keys to pleasing a crowd. Ben E. King’s famous track, Stand By Me, is one that almost everybody is somewhat familiar with.
This song is based in the key of A, utilizing simple open chords along with a minor barre chord. Playing the song’s signature bass line in addition to the chords might actually make this song easier to play.
“Heart Of Gold” by Neil Young
If you want to sing and play simultaneously, it’s best to study the masters. Heart Of Gold is especially ideal for the guitarist who only has a limited working knowledge of open chords.
The song itself doesn’t have many changes and features a fairly straightforward rhythmic pattern. While it’s excellent for singing, Heart Of Gold is also a great choice for learning to play the harmonica.
“I’ve Just Seen A Face” by The Beatles
The Beatles traversed quite a vast landscape of different musical genres during their impactful career. Their song, I’ve Just Seen A Face, takes inspiration from the folk legend, Bob Dylan.
I’ve Just Seen A Face utilizes a capo on the 2nd fret while employing some fairly simple open chord shapes. Spend some time getting the song’s faster strumming pattern down to portray the song correctly.
“Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones
Punk might not be everybody’s bag when it comes to musical genre of choice. With that being said, just about everybody and their 3rd cousin is familiar with Blitzkrieg Bop.
This song is probably one of the most famous punk songs to have ever been recorded. It can also be played just by utilizing some basic power chord fingerings along with an aggressive picking attack.
“My Sharona” by The Knack
If you’re looking for something easy with a slight challenge, you might look to learn My Sharona. This song has some signature guitar parts that can be tricky to play and sing simultaneously.
However, after some steady and consistent practice, singing and playing this song becomes a breeze. This track has a nice blend of guitar riffs mixed with some normal power chords.
“Lola” by The Kinks
Looking for a song selection that might encourage an audience to start singing along with you? If so, the famous song, Lola, is likely to fit the bill in any such situation.
All you really need to play this song are some open major chords you likely already know. The real trick is to get the timing down during the song’s various sections, particularly the bridge.
“Fire On The Mountain” by Grateful Dead
It’s kind of become a joke that every band getting into improvisation learns the Grateful Dead’s Fire On The Mountain. After all, the song itself is comprised entirely of 2 chords (B and A).
As long as you can remember the words, Fire On The Mountain’s simplicity makes singing and playing relatively easy. Due to the nature of the song itself, it’s also ideal for learning how to improvise guitar solos.
“Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band
You don’t need to have a flute player on hand to pull off The Marshall Tucker Band’s Can't You See. All you really need is to know how to play the chords D, G, and C.
Yes, believe it or not, this famous song is comprised of the most basic chords that every guitarist knows. Learning this will give you a masterclass in composing effective song structures with simple elements.
“Sample In A Jar” by Phish
If you’re into improvised jams, Phish is a band that’s likely been on your radar. You might think that their songs are too difficult to play and sing, but you’d be wrong.
You’ll also learn some useful arpeggio shapes along the neck that you can incorporate into your playing elsewhere.
“Use Me” by Bill Withers
Bill Withers is often considered soul music royalty for his prowess as a singer-songwriter. Fortunately, anybody with some open chord skills can tap into the power of Bill Withers and his music.
Use Me is a very easy song based around E minor that any beginner can likely play without issues. Just be sure to keep time to capture the song’s funky feel.
“Spooky” by Classics IV
While it’s nice to play songs with open chords, Spooky presents an opportunity to break out of the box. Spooky will have you playing some chords that you might never have learned to play before.
However, fundamentally, the song is essentially based around E minor, A, B minor, and Bb diminished. Try it out and you’ll see that it’s actually much easier than it sounds.
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding
If you wish to make a career playing cover songs in front of crowds, there are songs you must learn. Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay is definitely one of these songs.
Believe me, you will likely have played this song 500 times in a year if you have a busy calendar. At least it’s an easy-going song that doesn’t seem to ever get old.
“Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Tom Petty is another one of those songwriters who employed simplicity in a masterful way. This simplicity allowed his band to add complexities while letting the vocal delivery take the front seat.
His track, Free Fallin’, is probably one of the best examples of this. Almost the entire song is based around a simple chord formation utilizing suspensions to create its signature melody.
“Our Singer” by Pavement
Pavement might be one of the last bands you would expect to find on this list due to their unpredictability. But, if you dig deep enough into their catalog, you’d find some songs that are easy to play and sing.
Our Singer, from the band’s debut album, is one song that can be reduced to some simple chords. This song truly allows the vocals to take the front seat with the guitar primarily playing accompaniment.
“Blaze On” by Phish
While Phish has ventured into dad-rock territory over the last few years, some easy songs have been the result. The song, Blaze On, is ridiculously easy and any beginner would likely fare well here.
Like most Phish songs, Blaze On seems to be simple by design. Its framework provides a fertile platform for improvised jams to take place at any moment.
“You Really Got Me” by The Kinks
The Kinks bordered on the line of punk music with their hit single, You Really Got Me. The song’s signature punchy composition remains just as iconic and recognizable today as it was back then.
As long as you have your basic power chords learned, You Really Got Me should be fairly easy. Master this and consider graduating to the Van Halen cover version for an extra challenge.
“Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton
Wonderful Tonight has been repeatedly hailed as one of the best love songs to have ever been written. The song’s simplicity combined with a signature lead melody gives insight into players like John Mayer and his approach.
To play this song, you’ll primarily be using the open chords of G, D, C, and E minor. Set the foundation on a loop pedal and you’ll be able to learn the lead lines too.
“A Horse With No Name” by America
When you’re first starting out singing and playing, it’s best to opt for something that isn’t too difficult. From the standpoint of the guitar, A Horse With No Name is ridiculously easy in its composition.
In fact, many of the chord shapes require only 1 or 2 fingers to actually play correctly. Be sure to have a couple of friends available to help you out during the harmonized vocal sections.
“Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix is often at the top of “Greatest Guitarists” lists and is revered more than almost any guitar player. Because of this, beginners often shy away from learning Hendrix material due to the raw tenacity of his style.
Believe it or not, Hey Joe is surprisingly easy to play when boiled down to its essential chord forms. Because you probably know how the song goes, singing over the changes will likely come fairly easily.
“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
The state of modern music likely wouldn’t exist without the works that Bob Dylan produced throughout his life. His songs transcend the time they were written, often being covered time and again by countless artists.
You’d have to live under a rock not to be familiar with Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. This simple strummer has been a hit song multiple times, thanks to Guns N’ Roses.
“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
There are some songs that we take for granted without ever thinking about how ridiculously simple they are. Bad Moon Rising is such a good song that nobody ever disputes the fact that it only uses 3 chords.
The key to playing this song correctly is in the rhythm of the chords and how they are being struck. For this reason, it’s probably best to utilize power chords as opposed to open chords.
“In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel might not be a name you’re familiar with unless you’re into 90s indie music. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is considered one of the greatest albums to have ever been recorded.
If you’re in need of a sentimental love song, look no further than this album’s title track. It truly is a song that can touch somebody’s heart when played at the right time.
“Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens should be considered one of the greatest modern songwriters of our time. As an artist, Sufjan has been incredibly prolific while still maintaining a degree of freshness.
Casimir Pulaski Day comes from the Illinois album and showcases the album’s general feel in a folky format. You’ll need a capo on the 1st fret while employing the chord shapes of D, C, A minor, and G.
“Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh
Joe Walsh and his guitar antics are a large reason why rock music has sounded the way it has. Rocky Mountain Way is a definite jammer that sounds more difficult than it actually is.
During the vocal parts, you’ll primarily be working with some open chord parts in a bluesy style. To dial up the challenge, be sure to learn all of the guitar solos of this epic rock song.
“Walk Away” by James Gang
Speaking of Joe Walsh, one cannot overlook the rock masterpiece that is Walk Away, by the James Gang. This song is iconic both in its guitar parts as well as its vocal melody.
To play this song, you’ll mostly be using some barre chords while employing its signature rhythm. Start out slow to maintain that bounce when you first start singing and playing.
“Patience” by Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses proved that they weren’t just a band of degenerate party people herded together under one title. Not only did they have some full-on rock tracks, but they had some heartfelt ballads, too.
Patience definitely comes from the softer side of Guns N’ Roses. It’s a song that is ripe for any singer-songwriter looking to beef up their skills.
“Rockin’ In The Free World” by Neil Young
Repetition is often one of the major factors in a song being easy to play. Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The Free World is a great example of this, particularly in its main riff.
Just about anybody can play this song as long as their palm-muting technique is down. Match the rhythm to the drums and you’ll find yourself singing along in no time at all.
“Polly” by Nirvana
Nirvana is another group that is pretty popular among beginner guitarists learning their way around the instrument. Most of the songs are relatively easy considering the band’s trio format.
While almost every Nirvana song could be featured on this list, Polly deserves its own recognition. It’s straightforward but has its own quirks to make you think outside of the box from what you already know.
“Redemption Song” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
Reggae can be a little tricky to sing while playing if you’re not accustomed to playing on the off-beat. That doesn’t mean that the entire Bob Marley catalog is off the table when learning how to sing and play.
Redemption Song is a classic Marley track that is actually written more like a folk song than a reggae track. It even has its own signature riff at the beginning that sounds far more difficult than it actually is.
“Two-Headed Boy” by Neutral Milk Hotel
Two-Headed Boy is another song from In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, and what a powerhouse track it is. If you’ve been looking for a song to provide an opportunity for belting vocals, this is it.
Part of the song’s constant intensity lies in the picking hand, utilizing a fast and articulate strumming pattern. Learn to use this to build the song’s energy underneath the vocals for added dynamism and potency.
“Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead
Radiohead has a real knack for emoting certain feelings that are difficult to describe through words alone. It’s part of the reason why the band has managed to be so incredibly successful over the years.
Fake Plastic Trees is a song that taps into the fragile feelings that Radiohead so often emotes. This is another song that will allow you to incorporate soaring vocal passages amidst some easy guitar strumming.
“Blowin’ In The Wind” by Bob Dylan
Blowin’ In The Wind is another Bob Dylan track that transcends all time and space. The song reads like a philosophical poem that anyone with some life experience can relate to.
This is undoubtedly one of the most famous folk songs to have ever been written. Because of that, its familiarity will make this a bit easier to tackle when learning to play and sing simultaneously.
“Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” by Green Day
Green Day went the route of The Who’s Tommy when they released American Idiot in the early 2000s. This surprising move actually paid off quite well for the band, giving their careers a fresh resurgence in the spotlight.
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams is a song that, upon its release, nobody within earshot of a radio could escape. It’s a predictable ballad with enough repetition that will require a minimal amount of time to master.
“Jolene” by Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is one of the most underrated songwriters of the 20th century. Her prolific career is often unfortunately and undeservedly overshadowed by public perception of women in show business.
Her track, Jolene, is an incredibly heartfelt song written about the fragility of a relationship and another woman’s attractiveness. At its core, the song is easy, unless you play it at the speed Dolly often does during live performances.
“I’m Looking Through You” by The Beatles
Another song from The Beatles catalog with a folky feel is, I’m Looking Through You. Basic chords are being employed, but you’ll be challenged on your transitions between the chords.
Some of the chords in the progression move fast, so take it slowly to start with. Let the vocal melody take the lead in determining when the chords should change.
“American Pie” by Don McLean
Don McLean’s American Pie is a sort of heirloom of American folk music of the 20th century. The song is super easy to play on the guitar, and its chorus is memorable enough for anyone to sing.
Really, the only challenge here is remembering all the words of the song’s ridiculous number of verses.
“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here has become a sort of global anthem for just about anybody that’s heard it. This easy strummer is perfect for moments when you want a sense of unity with an audience.
It also has a section that employs singing a melody and playing the same notes simultaneously in a guitar solo.
“When I Come Around” by Green Day
Green Day’s When I Come Around is a hallmark track from the glory days of 90s punk. It’s also an easy power chord song that any beginner can master and sing along with while playing.
Easy Songs To Sing And Play Guitar, Final Thoughts
Singing and playing the guitar is almost akin to being able to play the piano using both hands independently. After you’ve practiced, the entire process becomes second nature, with little thought needed during play.
The real key is to master the guitar part so that you don’t have to worry about making a mistake. This will allow you to play with confidence while freeing up your attention to devote toward vocal delivery.
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