The guitar is a universal instrument that can be played across many genres. Rock in particular has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to creating new and exciting sounds with the guitar. So much so that learning how to play rock songs on guitar can be difficult. For starters, there are so many different sub-genres of rock music that finding something you like isn’t easy. Then there’s the fact that some of these songs are notoriously difficult from a technical standpoint. Choosing the right song to learn will give you the best chance of success as well as inspire you to keep pushing your skills forward. But with so many great rock songs out there, where do you start? Let this list serve as an introduction to some of the best beginner-friendly rock songs on guitar that you can jam along to and learn today!
Introduction to Rock Music
Rock music has a history that is often misunderstood. Many people think that rock music is a recent invention, when in fact it’s a genre that dates back to the mid-1940s. For much of its existence, rock music was seen as a form of rebellion. It was the sound of subcultures like the beatniks and punks who existed on the fringes of society. But even with the genre’s long history, music experts and historians can’t agree on a single definition of what constitutes “rock” music. This is because rock music is a genre of many subgenres. From psychedelic to heavy metal, each subgenre within rock music has its own unique sound and style.
Rock Songs to Learn on Guitar
Led Zeppelin - Good Times, Bad Times
One of the best rock songs for beginner guitarists is “Good Times, Bad Times.” This song is a great example of what made the British rock bands of the 1960s so special. Unlike some other subgenres of rock music, the British bands from this era were not concerned with technicality. They simply wanted to write good songs that were fun to play. “Good Times, Bad Times” is a great place to start if you want to learn the basics of playing electric guitar. The song’s chord progression is based around three different chords (G, C, and D), which are among the most common in rock music. If you know these three chords, you can play an impressive number of different songs. What’s more, “Good Times, Bad Times” is an easy song to sing as well. So even if you’re more of a singer than a guitarist, this song is a great choice.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - By the Way
If you’re looking to learn a more challenging rock song, look no further than “By the Way.” This is a great example of the more technical subgenres of rock music, like funk rock and psychedelic rock. In fact, “By the Way” is a great example of how a pop song can be made more complex by adding various guitar solos and twists. If you’re looking for a song that really pushes you to become a better guitarist, “By the Way” is a great choice. The song features complex rhythms that are not for the faint-hearted. You’ll want to spend a good amount of time mastering this song before you play it in front of an audience. But once you do, you’ll be amazed at how much progress you’ve made as a guitarist!
Green Day - Basket Case
If you’re looking for a song that bridges the gap between the more pop-oriented styles of rock music and the more traditional subgenres, try out “Basket Case.” The song plays with the pop and rock genres, taking the musical elements of each and folding them into a hybrid that is distinctly Green Day. This is a great example of how pop and rock can work together to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. While “Basket Case” is certainly a more challenging song to learn, it is a great place to start if you’re interested in the more technical subgenres of rock music. “Basket Case” features complex chords and rhythms. You’ll want to spend some time with a metronome to get the song’s rhythm nailed down before you try to play it.
Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall
If you’re looking for a song that really shows off your technical skills, look no further than “Another Brick in the Wall.” This is a challenging song that features everything from quick-paced solos to extremely slow rhythms. “Another Brick in the Wall” is a song that you’ll want to spend a considerable amount of time with before playing it in front of an audience. If you commit yourself to this song and learn it inside and out, you can use it as a barometer of your abilities as a guitarist. It is the perfect song to measure your progress against as you work on becoming a better guitarist.
Sum 41 - In Too Deep
If you’re looking for a more modern rock song to learn on guitar, “In Too Deep” is a great pick. The song combines classic rock with elements of pop and punk to create something truly memorable. This is a song that can be appreciated by guitarists and non-guitarists alike. In fact, “In Too Deep” makes a great party song. It is a tune that has a rhythm that is easy to dance to. What’s more, this song is relatively easy to learn. While it is difficult to master, it is not impossible for the average person to learn how to play. If you’re looking for a song that will challenge you but won’t break your spirit, “In Too Deep” is a solid choice.
Metallica - One
If you’re looking for a challenge that will push you to your musical limits, look no further than “One.” This song is as close to a musical masterpiece as you can find in the rock music world. “One” is a challenging song that will test even the most advanced guitarists. If you manage to learn how to play this song, you can consider yourself a master of rock music. “One” is a song for the ages. You’ll want to practice for many hours each day to make any real progress towards mastering this song. But if you can find the time and perseverance to learn this song, you’ll have a piece of music in your back pocket that you can play for the rest of your life.
Choosing the right song to learn will give you the best chance of success as well as inspire you to keep pushing your skills forward. But with so many great rock songs out there, where do you start? Let this list serve as an introduction to some of the best beginner-friendly rock songs on guitar that you can jam along to and learn today!