The future of music

30 Easy Rock Guitar Songs to Learn Now

August 4, 2023
easy rock guitar songs

Given its popularity throughout the decades, it’s unsurprising that many beginner guitarists want to learn a repertoire full of rock songs.

Heck, for many guitarists it was the reason they bought the instrument in the first place!

Rock music impresses, usually, that’s down to a mind-bending solo which for a beginner is going to be a stretch.

But there are many less strenuous options to consider while you hone your skills! 

Here is our shortlist of easy rock guitar songs for beginner guitarists.

1. “Wild Thing” by The Troggs

Our first choice makes a great starter song because the strumming is all downward. 

It uses four open chords perfect for beginners and is guitar solo free, that job was left to an ocarina!

What more could you ask for?

The mid-’60s rock hit is a fun place to start; the rhythm of the strumming pattern is stable throughout.

You can easily move between the chords expected back and forth and you can rest on the section with empty “hangs”.

2. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Whether you are a fan of grunge or not, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is an idyllic beginner guitar rock song.

Truthfully it is a rite of passage for most budding guitarists as it teaches an important chord shape.

The shape doesn’t change; it merely slides up and down the neck.

Also great for teaching you to remember where your chords are. 

There isn’t much impressive about it musically if you compare the guitar-playing skills to a Van Halen track. 

3. “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes

The memorable bass line carries this one but given the duo had no bassist it was actually recorded with a guitar.

The guitar part of the track doesn’t kick for almost an entire minute but you can play alongside the bass from the get-go if you fancy it!

This one is so repetitive it doesn’t take too long to tackle as a beginner and best of all the solo isn’t particularly tough.

So, it won’t be long before you have the whole song.

4. “Highway To Hell” by AC/DC

AC/DC are famed for their catchy riffs over uncomplicated chord progressions.

They favor the same few chords too.

We could have chosen a few of their songs but we have opted for “Highway to Hell”.

It is a little more fiddly than some of their songs but so memorable and fun to play as a beginner rock guitarist you’ll feel powerful once you have the riff down.

5. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is a four-chord piece of cake. 

This emotional rock track has been covered by just about everyone in several music genres

It is easy to learn, the strumming pattern is simple and the runtime is short so you won’t get fatigued.

Once you have the chord sequence memorized you can explore other keys and rhythms and play along with everyone from Bob Marley to Guns and Roses.

6. “All Right Now” by Free

Easy-to-play rock songs often revolve around a riff that drives the majority of the song.

“All Right Now” by Free is a prime example.

As soon as you can play the riff you are almost there entirely.

Of course, this one has a solo but you can gloss over it for now and return when you’re ready for a challenge.

7. “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

You are here because you love rock ‘n’ roll so why not learn how to play it?

Jett took The Arrows song and gave it a stamp and turned it into an empowering track that was an instant hit.

The unforgettable rock anthem uses just three chords.

Simple but mighty!

The guitar riff is not a tricky run down to achieve in a short time.

The speed might be tough so slow it right down until you have it.

8. “Song 2” by Blur

Blur wrote “Song 2” in a very short space of time because there is very little to it.

It is musically repetitive making it another great choice.

The pace is going to be your biggest hurdle but once you have it up to speed you have already learned most of the song.

There is an additional chord to add to the mix on top that slightly modifies the riff.

All in all, it is a quick and easy rock song for the guitar which is exactly what you came here for-woohoo!

9. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones is another rock band that has contributed many iconic riffs to the rock pool. 

Their mid-’60s hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” features a riff that is prominent throughout most of the track. 

The pace is a little more relaxed than many rock tracks, it’s fun to play and you get to practice some bluesy strumming patterns as well.

10. “Eye Of The Tiger” by Survivor

There are two rhythm patterns to learn to get to grips with this one.

You have to work on your alternate picking at 16th note pace whilst utilizing a little bit of gentle palm mute to achieve that infamous thudding introduction.

It is a great opportunity to work on rhymic consistency while not thinking about the notes or fingering.

Plucking good practice!

The second pattern is more galloping again good practice and you’ll love the powerful power chord progression of the core riff.

The rhythm has a slight delay in the second revolution which is also good for developing as a guitarist.

It’s an iconic first guitar song to learn and rock out with.

11. “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles

Again The Beatles have so many easy-to-play rock songs to sift from that it is tricky to narrow it down to a choice.

But we think “Paperback Writer” is a great suggestion.

It will require a bit of finger dexterity to stretch that pinky for the riff.

But the entire song consists of just two chords.

So you don’t have much to remember or learn to get the entire song going pretty quickly.

The riff itself is a good one to master because the chord shapes and fingering patterns are prevalent throughout a variety of genres.

Making a great skill to acquire for the future.

12. “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” by The Clash

The signature riff of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” is one of the best-known song openings of all time.

The track is written with a steady non-challenging pace because of its punky nonchalant attitude.

We know what you are thinking though…The song soon kicks things up a notch with a high-velocity section.

But relax, the majority of the hard work rests on the shoulders of the drummer and bassist. 

We think with time you’ll get this one pretty easily.

13. “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Most budding guitarists are eager to tackle big riffs and play with their EQ and pedal push for a wailing solo. 

But much of being a good guitarist means being able to consistently keep a chord progression going throughout a full song.

“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” has a memorable progression at a steady pace with simple strumming that makes it an easy rock song for a beginner guitarist.

14. “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks

With its repetitive sliding power chords that feature the same chord shape, “You Really Got Me” is another easy rock song choice.

It is a rock staple with its gritty mid-sixties sound.

Slides are an important beginner skill, this one doesn’t let the notes of the slide ring which takes a bit of work.

Once you have the correct technique you just raise the pattern with the progression of the track and you don’t have anything else to tackle. 

15. “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton

There are likely a fair few Clapton hits that will appeal to you as a beginner guitarist.

But he isn’t heralded as one of the greats without merit.

So you are going to want to set your sights on simplifying some of his work.

First of all, forget anything with a massive solo.

“Cocaine” is less wild than many of his big hits so it might be a good place to start.

The main riff has a chilled pace, it drives the majority of the track and if you learned the track above you’ll see you have some of the technique down already!

This one is a fan favorite and great to learn so you can bust it out to impress a friend.

16. “Sunshine Of Your Love” by Cream

Sticking with Clapton for a moment whilst we present Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” as another suggestion.

Now it doesn’t sit at a total-beginner level when compared to some of the songs we have already listed, it is fair to say it might take a little more work.

But the primary riff is most of the song and with a bit of practice, you’ll have the solid foundation of this iconic track.

17. “Creep” by Radiohead

With its beautifully haunting chord progression choices, “Creep” is another song to aspire to.

The four-chord progression is unwavering so all a beginner has to do is work on their dynamics.

Between the soft arpeggiated picking and heavy breakouts it provides plenty of interest without pushing you to breaking point.

18. “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi

Put the quick fills and solo aside for this one and you are left with a well know easy rock song.

With very little sweating you can get the main chord progression under your wings and will carry you through to the end.

Another easy option that won’t fail to impress.

19. “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz

The riff for “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz might take a bit to manage at full speed but this ‘90s rock track is great to have in your arsenal.

Aside from the unmistakable riff, there isn’t too much to it.

The solo might have to wait for a while giving you something to aspire to.

20. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

The iconic lick of Sweet Home Alabama is embedded in the minds of an entire generation. 

Granted this southern blues song will take a while to play well but it’s another great riff for a beginner to attempt.

If you are intermediate then it is certainly a song you would consider easy.

If you exclude the short interlude and solo the riff is almost all you need to get from start to finish.

There are some beautiful flourishes and details to give you a challenge as you strive for perfection.

21. “A Horse With No Name” by America

Some rock songs are simply unattainable.

You have to look at the folksier side of things to find that beginner-friendly pace.

“Horse with No Name” is one of America’s most famous songs and presents us with just the ticket.

There are no complex chords, the music trudges beneath the storyline-style lyrics.

The chord progression is easy to play well because of its simplicity. 

22. “La Grange” by ZZ Top

Something that offers up more of a challenge is “La Grange”  by ZZ Top.

Some places will require some dexterity. 

It might have you feeling ready to give up before you grasp the groove but with a bit of finesse, you’ll fly through the track.

The chords are easy enough, the biggest struggle will be keeping the riff going for the duration of the track.

23. “House of The Rising Sun” by The Animals

Arpeggiated playing is recurrent regardless of the genre that you are playing. 

It is a picking pattern that you have to get to grips with as a guitarist.

“House of the Rising Sun” is the perfect track to practice with as the pace is not too strenuous.

It uses easy chords, the progression has plenty of interest and it teaches plenty of skills applicable to other songs.

For a total newbie, it will require some effort but is well worth the hard work.

24. “Californication” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers

If you want a recognizable riff that is a little more chill than the hard rock riffs we have shared, “Californication” by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers is probably going to speak to you. 

The progression is clear, the speed is comfortable.

Some flourishes are bound to test a newcomer but it remains a solid beginner’s choice. 

25. “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand

“Take Me Out” breaks into some very well-defined sections. 

The intro is different from the rest making it an interesting trach choice for something that is easy but ultimately won’t bore you.

It is on the tougher side of our song selections but offers a lot to learners.

The strumming pattern is more complex than anything we have highlighted so far but if you manage it you’ll fall in love with its funkiness.

The solo is probably not for a beginner to look at and you might be flustered by some of the fills.

But with some practice, it isn’t impossible.

26. “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin

As this is a hot list of easy rock songs you probably weren’t expecting a Led Zeppelin entry.

The two don’t generally go hand in hand but for the Led Zeppelin fans out there that have bought a guitar to emulate Jimmy Page, we suggest “Whole Lotta Love”.

It is certainly easier than the majority of the band’s repertoire.

It has a repetitive primary riff throughout and is a good opportunity to practice nailing consistency.

27. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

Similarly, Pink Floyd has a lot of appealing songs that are probably a little too complex.

But the slow and steady epic “Wish You Were Here” has a main chord progression that is easy to attain.

The verses and choruses don’t differ heavily and the solo is on the simpler side too.

28. “Rumble” by Link Wray

The slow three-strum hang pattern that makes Link Wray’s “Rumble” instantly recognizable is pretty easy to grasp.

The pentatonic run on the other hand will test you, to begin with, but give you a real sense of accomplishment when you have it down.

It is easy to break down and fun to play, you can use a lot of reverb to get that ’60s vibe.

Forget the fills and the solo and work on the main skeleton as a starting point.

29. “My Generation” by The Who

This one requires a few barre chords but inevitably you have to learn them eventually to progress as a guitarist.

“My Generation” features a familiar strumming pattern and it isn’t too fast to keep up with. 

The video demonstration gives a simplified version that centers around just one string.

The main riff isn’t going to give anyone a headache.

The chord progression changes won’t either, making it another easy rock song choice.

30. “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple

We are leaving you with an easy rock song that has plenty to push and inspire you.

The main lick of this classic is going to be a breeze, but there are a few parts that might require a little more attention.

A lot of the hard work in this Deep Purple track is left to the keys, we suggest you go for the solo as a newbie or power-on if you choose.

It’s an iconic power chord progression that just about every beginner blows through whether they are rockers or not! 

What Constitutes an Easy-to-Play Rock Song?

How easy something is to learn is down to the learner, it’s subjective, so here is some insight into the criteria that we have tried to base today’s list of easy rock songs for guitar.

  • 3 or 4 basic guitar chords (at least for the majority)
  • Slower riffs
  • Memorable iconic songs (therefore easy to remember)
  • No crazy solos
  • No demanding fretwork
  • Simple strumming patterns
  • Includes techniques that beginners should learn to progress

Easy Rock Guitar Songs – Final Thoughts

There are plenty of easy rock songs to learn on guitar.

If you want to play something that features an overly technical solo you can always learn the verse and chorus sections and skip it for now. 

Most songs can be simplified.

Don’t get bogged down with the technique to begin with.

We hope today’s list included enough variety, as rock is a bit of a catch-all term when you start looking at how many different styles and sub-genres there are within it.

Inspired? Good, now get your guitar and rock out!

You may also like: Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

blues chord progression guitar
Previous Story

10 Best Blues Chord Progressions With Examples

atlanta rappers
Next Story

30 Best Atlanta Rappers of All Time (Rappers From ATL)

Latest from Guitar

best metal guitars

10 Best Metal Guitars

Calling all wild things, our list of the best metal guitars beckons. As a metal musician, you have your own unique ethos,