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.

People love to hear a pretty fingerpicking piece and believe me, it is a very cool sight, watching someone play one of the following pieces.

These songs (or instrumental pieces in the case of “Spanish Romance” and “Andantino”) are, in my teaching experience, the best to learn if you want to mesmerise and stun your audience while the songs are still 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 some of them and come from an electric rock background, you will need to start off slowly and work your way up (especially if your 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.

If you enjoy this post, then you can check out my two free and exclusive mini eBooks that will teach you to play some stunning songs and play all the songs you already know to a much higher standard…. starting today.

When you do learn these songs, you will be irresistible to your partner, 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!

 

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.

Why?

They often prioritise strumming songs over fingerpicking songs but, in my vast experience, this is wrong.

  • Tough Strumming! For beginners strumming is hard. It requires a lot of skill, coordination, timing, fast and clear chord changes, and more.
  • Fingerpicking Songs Rule! On the other hand, fingerpicking songs 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.
  • A Prettier Style! 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 10 best, simple yet beautiful fingerpicking songs every guitarist should know!

When you are learning fingerpicking on the 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 a 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.

Learn it below and enjoy.

 

2) Can’t Help Falling In Love  – Elvis Presley

Click HERE to learn Can’t Help Falling In Love

What a beautiful song this is. Here, you will learn it as a solo fingerstyle arrangement. This is where we combine the melody, chords, and bass to create something very cool and stylish!

This tutorial is fun, simple, and very doable for beginners. As long as you can play a tricky B7 chord, you will be well on your way with this one, and if not, I will show you! So put on your blue suede shoes and get to learning some Elvis today!

 

3) Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

Click HERE to learn 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.

 

4) Coldplay – Clocks

Free lesson – Click HERE to learn 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.

 

5) The Calling – Wherever You Will Go

Click HERE to learn 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 with.

I used to think it was cheesy, in fact, I still do, but it is a great song and I love the singer’s deep, powerful voice. Great guitar work too!

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 show you how to make the dreaded F chord easier.

 

6) The Beatles – Blackbird

Free lesson – Click HERE to learn Blackbird

An all-time classic and a stunner of a fingerpicking song. Don’t think I need to say any more on this one!

 

7) Nino Rota – The Godfather Theme

Click HERE to learn 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.

 

8) Ferdinando Carulli – Andantino

Click HERE to learn 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 any lucky lady or lad in your life!

 

9) Ed Sheeran – Tenerife Sea

Click HERE to learn 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 5000 times. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but only a little. Anyway, I’m sure Ed is crying into his millions of £20 banknotes right now, 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.

10) J.S. Bach – Toccata and Fugue

Click here to learn 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 song, 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

These are three I highly recommend you learn once you have tackled the above list.

 

  • James Taylor – Mexico – Definitely one of the 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!

 


 

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 an exception, 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 easy guitar songs or those so-called “easy” ones.

  1. Only learn two songs at a time. You can have more than two that you are trying to improve and play better, but in terms of learning the chords, notes, patterns, etc., and processing the details, don’t learn more than two a time.
  2. 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 song will give you the best of both worlds – variety and 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.
  3. Go slowly, and adhere to the five times rule for better guitar practice when learning anything – this is especially important when fingerpicking!
  4. 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 song on guitar.
  5. Likewise, get your strumming patterns tidy. “What! Strumming patterns, I’m here for fingerpicking!” – I hear you say. I know, but some pop, folk, and easy country fingerpicking songs on guitar require you to be able to strum various sections, e.g. the chorus.
  6. Practise 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.
  7. You can also check out this expert post I made 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 with 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 by learning really simple music such as kids’ nursery rhymes, which can be a good place to start if you struggle.

Another thing you can do is check out my Fingerstyle 101 book and course. It contains all of the essentials of fingerpicking that most people miss. Check it out HERE.

Post a comment and let me know your favourite easy songs to learn on the guitar – especially fingerpicking ones!

Write a comment below with the songs you would like me to teach you the most, 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!

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Comments

rishi
December 2, 2014 Reply

Hurt by johny cash

Danny
August 3, 2015 Reply

Hey Rishi, great choice. That`s one I hadn`t thought of… and I love that song!

Silas
February 19, 2015 Reply

Bloom is a pretty awesome fingerpicking song (The Paper Kites)

Danny
February 19, 2015 Reply

Hey Silas, Thanks for your comment. Beautiful song. That`s one I will definitely consider creating a tutorial for. 🙂

Jaime
May 20, 2015 Reply

I definitely second that request for Bloom

Zack Aris
March 8, 2021 Reply

thanks for saying that silas i have a new fav song

Robert
February 20, 2015 Reply

I’d just like to add, you play blackbird a way that I have yet to see. I’ve seen it a few different ways and I play it myself a different way. Thanks for the list! Tears in heaven would be a nice addition to the list!

Danny
February 23, 2015 Reply

Hi Robert, thanks for your comment. Yeah, the beauty of the guitar and fingerpicking songs in particular is that you can play songs in many different ways. This is the way I have found to be easiest and most efficient for myself and my students. Don`t worry, the video lesson for `Tears In Heaven` will be coming soon. Cheers!

tony
April 1, 2015 Reply

Looking forward to the Let Her Go tutorial. Another one to consider is Older Chests by Damien Rice

Danny
April 8, 2015 Reply

Hey Tony, thanks for the comment. Yeah, will be getting on this soon. Good suggestion – I love a bit of Damien Rice. I`ll add it to the list of songs to do. 🙂

Nicole
May 12, 2015 Reply

I like Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

Danny
August 3, 2015 Reply

Great tune. Will be teaching this one at some point in the future for sure!

Drew
June 20, 2015 Reply

Let her go – Passenger isn’t an easy song to learn. Though, I can play it, its only after 10 years of learning that I can.

Danny
August 3, 2015 Reply

Hey Drew, agreed. It is tough. It`s on this list as I have a slightly simpler version that sounds almost as good (about 95%) as the full version.

I will be uploading both versions soon.

aaron
July 26, 2015 Reply

listen to burning house by cam beautiful song

Danny
August 3, 2015 Reply

Yeah, that really is a lovely song. Thanks for introducing me to it!

Hyzzer7777
September 29, 2015 Reply

guys i wanna sauugest River flows in you:) and Canon in C 🙂

pinkituscaderro
October 23, 2015 Reply

I REALLY REALLY want to learn how to play Bonnie Raitt’s version of “That Song About the Midway” I have tried to figure it out by ear to no avail.

ON FINGERPICKING: The very first song I ever learned to play was Neil Young’s “The Needle and The Damage Done” At the time, I did not even know a single chord. I just liked the song so much that I locked myself in my bedroom with my boom box, a cassette tape of Neil’s “Harvest” and did not come out until I could play the song. Its still one of my favorite’s to play on the acoustic to this day.

Danny
December 20, 2015 Reply

I love Neil Young and `The needle and the damage done` is a super tune! Great determination and well done learning it by ear. I`ll check out the Bonnie Raitt version of “That Song About the Midway” . Not come across it yet. Thanks for the comment!

M
November 29, 2015 Reply

Dust in the wind by kansas and More than words by Extreme 🙂

Danny
December 20, 2015 Reply

Both superb tunes!

mugulo Michael
January 6, 2016 Reply

hi Danny.thanks for the products.I’m actually just learning and I’m really serious with your book strumming with passion.please direct me on how to find your videos for strumming such that I can grow beautifully.I have subscribed for the 2 Free e-books and hope to learn more because I’m in love with your teachings.thanks a lot.question.how can your students contact you because some times we have questions which our teacher has answers for?

Danny
January 9, 2016 Reply

Thanks for the kind words. If you ever want to get in touch, hit reply to any of the emails or drop me a tweet or Facebook message. Good luck!

Charles
February 2, 2016 Reply

Check out “Impressions Of Susan” by John Fahey. Pretty much anything by John Fahey is remarkable. Also check out “From The Morning” by Nick Drake.

Dan
February 2, 2016 Reply

Thanks for the suggestions, Charles. I`ll check them out. Nick Drake was a fantastic musician and “From the Morning” is a classic

Fred
February 2, 2016 Reply

I know a couple that are really good:

Pay Day – Mississippi John hurt

embryonic journey – jefferson airplane

No expectations – the Rolling Stones

Lotus Feet – John McLaughlin

Guitar rag – sylvester Weaver

Dan
February 2, 2016 Reply

Awesome contribution, Fred. Great list of tunes to add. Thanks

Gene
February 7, 2016 Reply

Jimmy Page made some nice fingerstyle contributions when Led Zeppelin went through that whole acoustic phase. Check out “Bron-y-aur fingerstyle intrumental. Its very much exemplifies Zep’s ability to cross into different genres

Dan
February 7, 2016 Reply

Great suggestion. I love Jimmy Pages`s fingerstyle stuff – from the stunning “Babe, I`m gonna leave you” to the brilliant “Black Mountain Side”. Thanks for the comment. Zep were indeed masters at genre-hopping.

Bob
April 26, 2016 Reply

Georgia by Vance Joy is a good one.

ranjan
August 25, 2016 Reply

Going to california and babe im gonna leave you are two of my bests of zeppelin.

Dan
August 25, 2016 Reply

Both great songs! Thanks for the comment

Ed Eichler
September 9, 2016 Reply

I started finger picking tunes in the early ’60s. Strongly recommend classics from Tom Paxton such as Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound, Ramblin’ Boy, Last Thing On My Mind, many others.

Gordon Lightfoot is my favorite artist. Many of his tunes are finger pickers such as Don Quixote, If You Could Read MY Mind, Miguel (fantastic Spanish sounding song), many ballads.
Vincent, by Don McLean…..great finger style song

Dan
September 11, 2016 Reply

Great suggestions, Ed. `Vincent` is a classic and one I always forget to film. Not anymore!

Marcos Paul Real
July 11, 2018 Reply

I might be a bit late, but I wanted to bring up ‘Never Going Back Again’ and ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac. They are wonderful and I consider them to be some of the best fingerstyle songs of all time

Dan Thorpe
July 16, 2018 Reply

Not at all, Marcos. This list is done but I am constantly adding new songs to the Inner Circle where there are almost 30 fingerpicking songs (one of which is Landslide). Many thanks for the comment!

Spencer VanDenEykel
May 11, 2021 Reply

i really really enjoy tears in heaven by eric clapton. super good time

Alan Johnson P.J
March 2, 2022 Reply

HAI I am 21 years old guitarist i am learning guitar for 5 years but i only learn sight reading some compositions and some scales and chords. Now i want to master in guiter i want to find my own voice,improvise,slearn finger style and other songs can you give me advice.

Brian
March 18, 2022 Reply

Donovan , catch the wind .

Is this a joke?
September 16, 2022 Reply

Where’s Dire Straits??? Mark Knopfler is the fingerpicking GOD

Alica Kil
September 27, 2023 Reply

The way you integrated various components into one cohesive story was impressive.

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