The future of music

How Many Songs Should a Beginner Guitarist Know?

November 18, 2023
How Many Songs Should a Beginner Guitarist Know?

Today, we delve into a question that often plagues those who are just beginning their journey with the guitar: “How many songs should a beginner guitarist know?”

Is there a magic number that signifies you’ve crossed over from a novice to an intermediate player?

Do you need a repertoire of 10, 20, or even 50 songs to consider yourself a “real” guitarist?

We’ll unpack this multi-layered question, considering factors like skill development, genre diversity, and the goals that you, the aspiring guitarist, might have.

Whether you’re strumming along for the sheer joy of it or aiming for a stage, this blog post is your go-to guide for understanding just how many songs you should aim to master.

Tune your strings and get ready to strike the right chord!

How Many Songs Should a Beginner Guitarist Know?

A beginner guitarist should aim to know 10-15 songs to build a foundational repertoire. This range provides enough variety to practice different chords, techniques, and styles while also allowing the player to gain confidence. Mastering 10-15 songs offers a good balance between skill development and maintaining interest in learning.

How to Choose Which Songs to Learn for Beginners?

Choosing which songs to learn as a beginner guitarist involves a blend of factors tailored to individual preferences and developmental needs.

Here are some guidelines to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Musical Interest: Start with songs that you genuinely enjoy and are motivated to learn. This will keep your interest piqued during the learning process.
  2. Skill Level: Opt for songs that match your current skill level. Songs with simpler chord progressions and strumming patterns are generally easier to learn. See also: Easy Guitar Songs
  3. Variety of Techniques: Choose songs that offer a mix of techniques like strumming, fingerpicking, and simple lead parts to make your practice more holistic.
  4. Chord Diversity: Make sure your song choices include a variety of basic guitar chords so that you can get comfortable moving your fingers around the fretboard.
  5. Song Structure: Understanding song structure is crucial for any musician. Choose songs with clear verses, choruses, and perhaps even a bridge to help you grasp the fundamentals of song construction.
  6. Pacing: Slow-tempo songs can be easier to pick up initially, allowing you to focus on chord changes and strumming techniques without feeling rushed.
  7. Genre: Experiment with different genres to diversify your skills and discover what you enjoy playing the most.
  8. Popular Choices: Songs that are popular or classics within their genre can be motivating to learn and are often well-received when you play for others.
  9. Online Resources: Utilize tutorials, tabs, and videos available online to guide your learning process. Make sure the resources are from reliable sources to ensure you’re learning correctly.
  10. Personal Goals: Whether you aim to perform in front of an audience or simply play for your own enjoyment, keep your personal goals in mind when selecting songs.

By carefully selecting your initial 10-15 songs based on these criteria, you’ll set a strong foundation for both technical skills and a lifelong love of playing guitar.

How Long Does It Take a Beginner to Learn a Song on Guitar?

The time it takes for a beginner to learn a song on the guitar can vary widely based on several factors, including the complexity of the song, the learner’s prior musical experience, and the amount of practice time dedicated.

Generally speaking, a simple song with basic chords and a straightforward strumming pattern might take a beginner anywhere from a few hours to a week to learn well enough to play along.

More complex songs with intricate fingerpicking, multiple chord changes, or faster tempos could take several weeks to a few months to master.

It’s important to note that “learning a song” can mean different things to different people.

Some may be content with strumming the chords and singing along, while others may aim to master every nuance, including solos and riffs.

Patience and consistent practice are key, regardless of the song or your skill level.

Final Thoughts

The journey of learning guitar is a personalized experience, but aiming to master 10-15 songs offers a balanced approach for most beginners.

The songs you choose should not only be ones that you enjoy but also those that help you build a foundational skill set, encompassing different chords, strumming patterns, and techniques.

Remember, the ultimate goal is not just the number of songs you know, but the quality of your understanding and execution.

So, tune-up, pick wisely, and most importantly, enjoy the process of making music.


How many songs should I learn at once on guitar?

It’s generally advisable to focus on learning one to three songs at a time when you’re starting out on the guitar. This allows you to dedicate sufficient time to each song for mastering its chords and techniques, without feeling overwhelmed. Spreading your attention too thin over multiple songs can slow down the learning process and affect retention.

How do guitarists remember so many songs?

Guitarists often remember many songs through consistent practice and repetition, which helps to commit the chords, melodies, and structures to muscle memory. Additionally, understanding music theory and song structures allows them to recognize patterns and make educated guesses during performances. Over time, the act of playing and performing helps to reinforce memory, making it easier to recall a large repertoire of songs.

What types of songs should a beginner guitarist learn?

A beginner guitarist should focus on learning songs that feature basic chords and simple strumming or picking patterns to build foundational skills. It’s beneficial to choose songs from a variety of genres to gain a well-rounded skill set and to keep practice engaging. Opt for tunes that you enjoy and that align with your personal musical goals to stay motivated.

You may also like: Best Online Guitar Lessons & How to Play Guitar.

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

best intermediate electric guitars
Previous Story

10 Best Intermediate Electric Guitars

10 Reasons to Practice Guitar Daily
Next Story

10 Reasons to Practice Guitar Daily

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,