Acoustic guitar music can be an enjoyable way to both relax and unwind, bringing family together or providing an entertaining evening out with friends.
There are various styles of acoustic guitar music, ranging from folk to country and beyond. If you’re new to playing or simply looking to expand your repertoire, here are some excellent songs and pieces that could serve as great starting points.
Neil Young is a Canadian rock musician renowned for writing emotive yet accessible songs that span multiple genres such as folk, rock, punk, country blues and grunge. His music has inspired other artists like Pearl Jam and Lucinda Williams.
“Heart of Gold” was one of his best-known songs and was chosen as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Songs Ever by readers. Recorded during sessions for Harvest album in 1971 with James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt providing backup vocals, it has since been recognized as an All Time Great by Rolling Stone magazine and achieved US number-one single status.
Young wrote this song following an accident which caused back injuries, making playing his electric guitar impossible for long stretches, so instead turned to using an acoustic one instead; additionally he sang lead vocals while simultaneously performing three instrumental parts with harmonica playing as accompaniment.
1972 saw another massive hit for Billy Joel with “Wouldn’t it Be Nice”. This single reached number seventeen on Billboard’s chart and is seen by some as being pivotal in his career, allowing him to be more creative while finding commercial success simultaneously.
Young’s 1975 hit was “Lonesome Town,” although it achieved mainstream praise, it never truly fit him personally. In his liner notes for Decade compilation record released later that same year, Young stated that it took him somewhere he soon stopped visiting.
Later on he explained how the success of the song caused him to feel restricted creatively and eventually gave it up. Rust Never Sleeps would eventually signal his move from rock into punk and grunge territory.
Demme released his concert film Heart of Gold featuring Young performing songs from Prairie Wind as well as some older material at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium over two nights; it was later made available for theatrical viewing, receiving critical acclaim.
“Pinball Wizard,” one of the Who’s signature tracks from their classic rock period, showcases Pete Townshend’s ability to write nuanced guitar pieces without resorting to flash or histrionics for dramatic effect; instead they focus more on storytelling rather than mere flashiness or display.
Townshend was inspired to compose “Pinball Wizard” by his deep spiritual connections to Indian spiritualist Meher Baba’s teachings of awakening to higher dimensions; yet this never got in the way of him producing music with pop appeal.
Townshend was widely recognized for his ability to balance these elements, making him one of the most prominent and acclaimed guitarists ever. He excelled at keeping his playing down to power chords and simple melodic solos while avoiding flashy, flashy soloing while maintaining his characteristic humor and quippy dialogue.
“Pinball Wizard”‘s opening chords provide an incredible example. Boasting an operatic-esque sequence of suspended chords that add drama and anticipation before finally collapsing into an incredible B power chord, its start is truly unforgettable.
Townshend opts for simplicity by switching between suspended and full major chords to achieve this effect, creating a piece that anyone with basic knowledge of playing guitar will easily remember and one which will remain lodged in their memory long after picking it up again.
“Pinball Wizard,” though relatively obscure from The Who’s 1969 rock opera Tommy, remains one of their most memorable songs. A popular live performance choice since their debut concert, almost every Who concert since 1969 featured “Pinball Wizard”.
When The Who performed this song live, they never deviated from its arrangement on album. This may explain its popularity among acoustic guitarists.
Although this song has fallen into disuse over time, it remains an integral part of The Who’s repertoire and makes an excellent introduction for beginning guitarists to learn to play the instrument. Though its initial complexity may prove challenging to navigate through, once mastered you will be playing this song with both confidence and pleasure!
The White Stripes have become widely recognized for their rock and pop music, yet also boast some beautiful ballads like “One of Our Most Popular Singles.”
This song explores a couple’s relationship that may be on the brink of ending. Its optimistic yet romantic theme has made appearances on several films and TV programs, while being featured as an uplifting momentous tune.
If you’re looking for an engaging song to learn, look no further! With its straightforward lyrics and straightforward chords and rhythm, this is an excellent selection.
As you play this song, you will use arpeggiated chords and some strummed chords as well as interesting counter-melodies to keep things interesting as the song progresses. This song is simple to learn and play – a great way to gain experience on the acoustic guitar while developing your repertoire of songs!
“Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” another classic from The White Stripes and one of their most successful hits ever, can also be played acoustically on an acoustic guitar. Released in 1995, it became their best selling single ever!
This song is ideal for beginners learning the acoustic guitar as its chords only span one or two strings – making it very accessible. Additionally, its strumming pattern offers unique challenges that will help develop both technique and musicianship.
This song also includes an incredible piano melody that you can mimic on an acoustic guitar to produce some truly remarkable results!
It’s also an ideal song for playing in a group setting with other musicians, and can bring joyous mood-lifting sounds to any party or gathering! Additionally, its easy learning makes this an excellent song to bring with you on any road trip – perfect for practicing on an acoustic guitar as its chord progression uses common triads found within its structure.
The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” is one of the most iconic songs in rock history. The song’s memorable riff has been covered by numerous artists such as Paul McCartney and Justin Timberlake – making it an easy one to learn on acoustic guitar!
It was initially released as the lead single from The White Stripes’ fourth studio album Elephant in 2003 and quickly became a worldwide hit, helping pave the way for garage rock revival in the 2000s. Critics ranked it one of the best songs of its decade while its video directed by Alex and Martin won Best Editing in a Video at 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
This riff has been adopted by numerous musicians, making it an excellent option to learn on an acoustic guitar. Beginning players should start by learning its power chord version; once comfortable with this approach, switch over to barre chord versions later.
Once you know the fundamental acoustic guitar chords, practicing the Seven Nation Army riff is an ideal way to refine your skills and prepare yourself for future songs in your quest to becoming a guitarist.
Once you’ve practiced your guitar riff, use it as a reference point for learning other chords that might need to be learned – in this instance E, A, and D chords will need to be familiarized before moving onto learning more of the song’s details.
As a beginner, it is also essential that you play at an appropriate volume level. This will enable you to hear the acoustic guitar melody more clearly while developing an understanding of what its sounds like.
Once you have mastered the fundamentals, it’s time to explore more advanced techniques and styles. There are plenty of outstanding acoustic guitar lessons out there; make sure you take advantage of them!