There isn’t a sweeter sound in the history of the universe than some beautiful fingerpicking songs played well. Audiences, no matter how small or large love to hear a simple piece of music played on a lovely sounding acoustic guitar.
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If you are a man, I have been told in good faith that women absolutely love to hear a pretty fingerpicking piece and if you are a woman, then, believe me, it is a very attractive sight, watching a woman play one of the following pieces.
These songs (or instrumental pieces in case of two of Spanish Romance and Andantino) are in my teaching experience the best to learn if you want to mesmerize and stun your audience while still being relatively simple to play.
Fingerpicking for guitar
Yes, I know, I know, not all of them are easy to learn guitar songs so remember, nothing really is easy with guitar playing, BUT these sound so good they are worth persevering with.
If you are an experienced fingerpicker, these ten fingerpicking songs won’t pose too many problems for you but if you like myself come from an electric rock background, you will need to start off slowly and work your way up (especially if you’re chord changes are a little slower than you would like).
There aren’t really any easy songs on guitar but this list is as good as it gets especially when you’re looking for good acoustic guitar songs.
When you do you learn these you will be irresistible to the opposite sex, a better guitarist for it, and have some of the most beautiful songs and pieces of music in your repertoire to call upon at any time.
As a bonus, these pieces of music are some of the most popular to be played at weddings, so once you master them; you may even find work as a live wedding guitarist or you can just romance your other half!
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Learning songs without frustration and fuss – why fingerpicking rules!
Before we tackle the list of songs, it is worth pointing out, especially for beginners, that most guitar teachers get it wrong with teaching songs.
They often prioritise strumming songs over fingerpicking songs but, in my vast experience, as explained in my free podcast, this is wrong.
- The reason why is, strumming is very hard for beginners, it requires a lot of skill, coordination, timing, fast and clear chord changes and most.
- Fingerpicking songs, on the other hand, are usually (but not always) slower, and most importantly, you don’t always pluck all the notes in the chord. This allows you to play partial chords and stagger your chord changes a little, meaning there is less emphasis on being so good with your chord changes.
- Fingerpicking songs also sound prettier and more sophisticated compared to strumming songs as strumming songs require a lot of good technique with the strumming hand.
The 11 best, simple yet beautiful fingerpicking songs every guitarist should know!
When you are learning fingerpicking on guitar, you should have a list to refer to. I hope this is that list. Here we go. Enjoy!
1) Simon and Garfunkel – April Come She Will
This is definitely one of the best songs for beginner guitar out there. It has a beautiful intro and very slick and stylish sound throughout. It is also short and doesn’t feature huge sections.
That being said, you have to break up the verse into smaller chunks or it can get a bit overwhelming. In terms of difficulty, it is not too hard though.
Learn it below and enjoy. If you enjoy it, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for lots more cool videos and tutorials like this. You’ll make a happy boy too.
2) Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
This is a classic fingerpicking song and is usually the one I start all of my students off with when we fingerpick.
It ticks a lot of boxes as it is simple, melodic, fun and repetitive. I mean that in a good way. The last thing you want when starting out with fingerpicking is a crazy James Taylor style song where there’s a lot going on without much repetition.
This one sounds amazing and is a great one to start with.
3) Coldplay – Clocks
- This is one of my favourite rhythm songs ever. I love the groove.
- It is one I call the Alternative groove and you will hear it in modern music by artists such as Ed Sheeran and Foo Fighters as well as in “Clocks”. It is also a gem of a song in the key of A minor.
4) The Calling – Wherever You Will Go
- If you want to learn some easy love songs on guitar this tune from the early noughties is a great place to start.
- I used to think it was cheesy, in fact, I still do, but it is a great song and I love the singers deep, powerful voice. Great guitar work too!
5) Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine
If you are looking for easy songs to learn on the guitar this one is a great choice. It features just a couple of chords and for the E minor, you don’t even need to fret the chord shape.
One of the great things about fingerstyle is that you don’t always have to fully “fret” a chord, as a lot of the time you aren’t picking all the strings in the chord.
This is a great example of that!
6) The Beatles – Blackbird
7) Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová – Falling Slowly (from the huge film ‘Once’)
When you want to learn easy guitar songs you need to be careful that the song doesn’t use any mega awkward chord shapes as these often trip a lot of students up.
This could be one of those songs but I taught it in a unique way where we tune up the E string, all the way up to F.
This makes a lot of the work we do on the dreaded F chord easier.
8) Nino Rota – The Godfather Theme
One of the best guitar fingerstyle songs from one of the best films ever. This is a stunning piece of guitar music and one that is memorable for anyone who has seen the film.
Did you know the word “mafia” was never used once in the film the Godfather? Nice bit of pub quiz trivia for you there.
9) Ferdinando Carulli – Andantino
This is a stunning fingerpicking song and one of those magical pieces that will make a sophisticated addition to your repertoire.
It will also charm the life out of anyway lucky lady or lad in your life!
10) Ed Sheeran – Tenerife Sea
I have a love-hate relationship with Ed. Not sure he cares much though. The thing is he seems like a great bloke, he can play the guitar well, sing well, and write songs well. The problem is, he doesn’t blow me away in any of those aspects. He’s just solid, and a nice chap.
Also, it doesn’t help that when he first came about I must have taught his song, the A-team, about 5,000 times. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but only a little. Anyway, I’m sure Ed is crying into his millions of £20 banknotes right now while making snow angels but here is one of the best Ed Sheeran songs on guitar.
It is also a bit of a hidden gem of a song. Learn it, as it is one of the best modern acoustic guitar songs around too.
11) J.S. Bach – Toccata and Fugue
This is one of the scary but funny guitar songs that most of you will recognise the sound of but not necessarily the name.
It is the haunted house/vampire/creepy cartoon music that is recognisable and makes for an easy kids guitar songs but if you’re like me you’ll love it as an adult too.
It’s a brilliant piece to play, especially if you like playing higher up the neck and getting a very melodic sound.
Three other must learn fingerpicking songs
Although I have taught these songs, they are part of my Fingerpicking Classics Collection along with about 30 more.
These are three I highly recommend you learn once you have the tackled the above list.
- James Taylor – Fire and Rain – Definitely one of best fingerpicking guitarists of all time
- Kansas – Dust In The Wind – One of the best guitar rock songs and one of those Travis picking songs that everybody associates with the style
- Anonymous – Jeux interdits (Spanish Romance) This is one of the best Spanish guitar songs ever and definitely one of the most well known. It is based around a simple E minor chord and scale and uses a lot of open strings along with a triplet pattern picked in 3/4 time. If that sounds complex, ignore me, it isn’t. It’s actually a simple, but stunning piece of music!
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How to play easy guitar songs with good technique
To avoid confusion when fingerpicking you need to ensure you are plucking the correct strings with the correct fingers.
The ‘rule’ of fingerpicking
Generally, when fingerpicking, your picking hand will pluck the following:
- Thumb plays the bass strings (low E, A and D)
- Index finger plays the G string
- Middle finger plays the B string
- Ring finger plays the high E string
A lot of guitarists get this wrong so follow this rule as much as possible. As always there are exceptions to the rules but whenever there is I mention them in the videos above.
How to play songs on guitar – the most efficient way!
This is my advice on how to play the guitar songs that are easy, or those are so-called “easy”.
- Only be learning two songs at a time. You can have more than two that you are trying to improve upon and play better, but in terms of learning the chords, notes, patterns, etc, and processing the details, don’t learn any more than two a time.
- Make sure one is fairly simple for you to play and the other is a little more challenging, using harder chords, patterns or a faster tempo. Doing one easier and one harder will give you the best of both worlds – variety, fun with the easier one, and improvements with the harder one. It doesn’t get much better than that! Keep this in mind when looking for easy to learn guitar songs.
- Go slowly, and adhere to the five times rule for better guitar practice when learning anything – this is especially important when fingerpicking!
- Be as fluent as possible with your chord changes. Fast and clear chord changes are an integral part of playing any hard or easy pop songs on guitar.
- Likewise, get your strumming patterns tidy. “What! Strumming patterns, I’m here for fingerpicking!” – I hear you say. I know, but a LOT of pop, folk and easy country songs on guitar require you to be able to strum various sections such as the chorus.
- Practice some daily fingerpicking exercises – if you do, you will get a better tone and play the songs with more fluency rather than playing them in a disjointed way, like a bad Ed Sheeran rap.
- You can also check out this expert post where 15 of the best guitar teachers around the world share their advice on learning faster.
What to do if you find this list of best beginner guitar songs harder than you expect
Use the tips above when learning songs and you’ll improve upon the songs faster than ever but if you find you really struggle, ignore the advice of most guitar teachers where they tell you to learn more songs.
Instead learn simpler, easier pieces of music, and in fact, searching for easy kids guitar songs is a good way to go.
Many of my readers have young children and many more have young grandchildren. Share the love of guitar playing and learning faster by learning really simple music, kids nursery rhymes can be a good place to start if you struggle.
Post a comment and let me know your favourite easy songs to learn on the guitar – especially fingerpicking ones!
Write a comment below with any songs you would most like me to teach you, and let me know what is your favourite fingerpicking song and I will create a video for the one with the most votes. Have fun with these tunes.
They are epic and awesome!
If you want to learn a lot more classic songs then join the course ‘Fingerpicking Classics: Learn The Most Stunning Songs On Fingerstyle Guitar’ to learn more classic songs.