14 Easiest Guitar Songs For Beginners That Don’t Require A Capo

So, you have decided that you want to join the world of guitar playing, picking and strumming your way through life. Welcome!

14 Easiest Guitar Songs For Beginners That Don’t Require A Capo

Learning to play this stringed instrument is one of the coolest skills you can learn: imagine being that one person at the party who knows how to handle an acoustic guitar when everyone is just drunk enough that they want to sing along to ‘Country Roads, Take Me Home’.

You could be that person, and everyone will be eternally grateful that you had taken the time out of your life to practice learning this musical instrument.

Whether you have already learned a couple of chords, or you are a completely brand new beginner to the trade, you may have picked up a couple of keywords while searching through tabs online or in your music book. One of these words may be ‘capo’.

“What is a capo?” you ask yourself. “And, why do I need one?”

A capo is a small clamp that can be attached to the neck of your guitar, or any stringed or fretted instrument, to raise the pitch and tuning.

You can get capos pretty cheap, and they are sold at all music stores, but as a beginner, you may not be interested in purchasing one just yet: after all, your main priority should be to master the skills that you are already currently learning.

While they are handy tools to own, a beginner guitar player does not need to own a capo at the start of their journey.

However, it can be frustrating when you are looking up the chords to a specific song, one that seems pretty easy to learn to play, and you are halted in your tracks by the words ‘capo on [insert number] fret’.

We’ve all been there, friend… but, don’t worry! There’s no need to fret (sorry, we had to do it). There are so many popular songs that do not require a capo to play in their entirety.

So, if you are already bored of playing ‘Amazing Grace’ over and over, check out our list of 14 easy songs that you won’t need a capo to play.

Let’s get into it.

Wonderwall – Oasis (1995)

First on the list, we have the vastly popular song that every musician will learn to play on acoustic guitar at some point. It is pretty much a rite of passage for guitarists.

This rock ballad was released in the mid 1990s, mainly gaining popularity in the UK, and has been played by hundreds of thousands of guitar players around the world since.

The original version requires a capo being placed on the second fret of your guitar, played in the key of F-sharp minor. Don’t allow this to put you off: you will still be able to play this song without a capo by using the simple chords G major, D major, E major, and A major.

This version won’t sound completely the same as the original, but it still works pretty well, and will allow you to pick up the strumming pattern while you practice using this chord progression.

That way, when you purchase your first capo in the future, you will already be familiar with the rhythm!

Riptide – Vance Joy (2013)

Next up, we are going to be looking at Vance Joy’s one hit wonder from the early 2010s. While it was originally played on a ukulele, this cheery tune sounds just as sweet on an acoustic guitar, and is pretty simple to learn.

If you want to play the song exactly as it sounds on the recorded track, you will need to use a capo on the first fret. However, it can still be played without one by using only four easy chords throughout the entire song: G major, F major, C major, and A minor.

It won’t sound exactly the same as Joy’s original composition, but as a beginner, it will work until you get your hands on your own capo.

Allow yourself to become familiar with the three separate strumming patterns throughout the song – the opening, the verses and the chorus – and soon enough you will have perfected this simplified version of ‘Riptide’.

Love Story – Taylor Swift (2008)

Many of us are old enough to remember the release of Taylor Swift’s first major hit, back when she mainly composed songs of the country genre.

There are so many songs from Swift’s second studio album, ‘Fearless’, that sound great played on an acoustic guitar, but today we’re going to focus on her first released single.

The chord progression is fairly straightforward to learn: the song consists of the chords D major, A major, G major, and B minor. If you haven’t already learnt how to play B minor, or any other barre chords, this easy song is a great one to practice with.

The start of the song’s strumming rhythm consists of single downstrokes, and the pattern gets a little more challenging as the melody progresses. It is a fairly easy song to play, however, and we have no doubt that you will be able to pick it up quite quickly.

Hey Soul Sister – Train (2009)

Just like ‘Riptide’, this hit single from Train’s fifth album, ‘Save Me, San Francisco’ was originally performed on a ukulele during its official recording. Due to this, it translates very easily into an acoustic guitar performance, sounding just as great on the latter instrument.

Once again, the chords required to play this fun tune are incredibly easy to play. All you need to play this song are four of the main chords that you have likely already learned: G major, D major, C major, and E major.

The strumming pattern is repeated throughout the entirety of the song, making it much easier to remember to play.

Tip: if you would like to create a fun mash up of two songs, ‘Busy’ by Olly Murs (2010) has a very similar chord progression and strumming rhythm to ‘Hey Soul Sister’. Make your own remix by playing both songs!

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)

This song is another staple for those learning how to play guitar: a true rock ‘n roll classic that has survived the decades, remaining just as relevant to this day as it was back in the seventies.

It is pretty difficult to find someone who is not familiar with this song, whether they recognize it from movies such as Forrest Gump or Con Air, or they simply grew up hearing it on the radio.

Only three chords are needed to play an acoustic cover of this classic, and those three chords are G major, D major, and C major. These are the three chords that are used in thousands of pop songs, so it will be useful to thoroughly practice and master them for future reference.

Once you feel comfortable enough playing the chords along to the simple strumming rhythm, you may want to attempt learning the main riff while fingerpicking. Go for it! There are plenty of tabs to be found online that will guide you through the process.

All of Me – John Legend (2013)

Originally written for John Legend’s girlfriend (now wife), television presenter and model Chrissy Teigen, this romantic love ballad tugs at the heartstrings of all the listeners who have experienced the emotions that Legend sings about.

How is it possible that it has almost been an entire decade since this hit was released?

For future reference, you will need to place a capo on the first fret if you would like to play the song in its original key. For those reading this article, however, you can play a fairly similar version of the song while only using the C major chord, D major, G major, and E minor.

There are two strumming patterns that are used: one used for the introduction and verses, and another in the chorus. They are both pretty simple to master.

If you are interested in serenading your own loved one with a simple love song, we recommend that you spend some time perfecting Legend’s top hit on your own acoustic guitar.

Perfect – Ed Sheeran (2017)

There are so many songs that we could pick out from Ed Sheeran’s song catalogue to be played on an acoustic guitar, seeing as that was mainly his style back in his heyday.

‘Perfect’, released a couple of years back, is a beautiful love song that sounds great on guitar, and is very easy to learn, even without a capo.

The original version is performed by using a capo on the first fret, but you can play a simpler version of the tune without even needing one.

Again, you will be using the ever so popular four chords that are used in almost every pop song created: G major, C major, D major, and E minor.

The song is mainly played through single downward strokes, although there are some minor changes throughout. Overall, this is a fairly simple song to teach yourself.

Just like ‘All of Me’, this intimate number is one you should definitely add to your list of serenades to play for your partner.

Happier – Ed Sheeran (2017)

As we said before, the majority of Sheeran’s hits are either played on an acoustic guitar, or can be converted into an acoustic cover.

This is a stunning love ballad that sounds great whether you decide to use a capo or not, just like the previously mentioned ‘Perfect’, which is also found on Sheeran’s third studio album, ‘÷’ (verbally pronounced ‘Divide’).

The entirety of the song only consists of three open chords, if played without a capo: F major, C major, and A minor. The strumming pattern remains the same throughout the song with a fairly simple, slower rhythm, making the whole piece really easy to learn and play.

This ballad is a beautifully composed love song, and sounds great on an acoustic guitar, just as the majority of Sheeran’s hits do.

Havana – Camila Cabello (2017)

As one of Camila Cabella’s biggest hits – if not her biggest hit, as of the present day – ‘Havana’ proved its popularity all around the world when it was initially released towards the end of the 2010s.

This song is incredibly easy to learn how to play on guitar, and does not require a capo to be played.

There are only three chords needed to play this sultry pop hit in its entirety: C major, E minor, and B seventh. These open chords are used throughout the song, played along to a strumming rhythm that remains consistent throughout the whole number.

Cabella’s number one hit is still extremely popular to this day, and is instantly recognizable through its guitar riff. If you want to play a tune that will get everyone at the gathering up on their feet, this is the one to go for. So, what are you waiting for? Get practicing!

Turn The Page – Bob Seger (1973)

‘Turn the Page’ is a great song for beginners to learn to play on guitar, and is one that is being learned by musicians just starting out all over the world.

Seger’s soulful rock ballad is a true classic, remaining popular on rock radio stations almost five decades following its initial release.

The original recording does require a capo being placed on the first fret of your guitar, and was initially performed alongside a Mellotron with an accompanying saxophone part.

Despite this, there is no reason you can’t play your own acoustic cover. All you need to play this song are the D major, A major, and E minor chords, played along to a simplistic strumming pattern.

If you are looking for an emotional, expressive rock hit to play on your own acoustic guitar, look no further than this classic.

Dusk Till Dawn – ZAYN ft. Sia (2017)

Next up on this list, we have an emotional pop hit dually performed by ex-One Direction member, Zayn, at the start of his solo career, alongside Australian singer-songwriter Sia.

While this hit was performed alongside a piano piece on its original track, it can easily be transformed into an acoustic piece played on guitar.

The chord progression used throughout this song is incredibly easy for beginner guitarists to learn. If you want to play this tune without the use of a capo, you can use the chords F major, C major, G major, and A minor to create a similar melody.

So many popular songs have been translated into stunning, acoustic covers, and this is your chance to do the same to Zayn’s second studio album, ‘Icarus Falls’.

Fly Me To The Moon – Bart Howard (1954)

While the most popular cover of this song was performed by the one and only Frank Sinatra back in 1964, the original version was recorded a decade before, originally titled, ‘In Other Words’.

This song has been covered more than 300 times over the years, and is still an incredibly popular number today.

While the song sounds more authentic with a capo applied to your guitar’s fretboard, it can still be convincingly played without using one. There are six chords required to play an acoustic cover of this song: C major, D minor, G major, A minor, E minor, and F major.

While there are some variations to the chords throughout the melody, they shouldn’t be too difficult to pick up, even if you are a beginner. The tune follows a simple, folk style strumming rhythm.

This is an incredibly popular song that everyone will recognize, no matter how old they are or where they are from.

A Thousand Years – Christina Perri (2011)

Initially recorded and released as a single from the soundtrack for the fourth Twilight movie, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I, this romantic ballad has become immensely popular over the years, being played at several weddings and many other intimate settings following its release.

While the hit was originally played on a piano throughout the recorded version, it sounds just as beautiful while being played on an acoustic guitar. If you are not using a capo, you will need to use the following chords: F major, C major, G major, and A minor.

The strumming pattern is fairly easy to follow, meaning that it shouldn’t take that long for you to be able to pick up the melody.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan (1973)

To wrap up this list of 14 easy guitar songs without requiring the use of a capo, we will finish with an incredibly well known song that has remained popular over the years.

Bob Dylan is one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time, and this tune is no exception when it comes to displaying his musical skills.

This incredible song does not require a capo, so you can play it easily without one. The only chords you will need to use are G major, A minor, and D major: three extremely easy chords that you should have already mastered.

If you haven’t, it won’t take very long to become used to these chords. The strumming pattern is also fairly easy to learn.

It is pretty rare that you will come across an article written about songs played on guitar that don’t include at least one Dylan classic. This is for good reason: if you can learn this song on your acoustic guitar, you are already on the right track.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can A Beginner Play Guitar Without A Capo?

Yes, a beginner can learn to play the guitar without using a capo. There are so many incredibly easy songs that can be played on a guitar without the use of a capo, and there are several to pick from in our list of handpicked classics.

What Does A Capo Do On A Guitar?

A capo is a small, usually metal clamp that can be attached to the neck of your guitar, or any stringed or fretted instrument, to raise the pitch and tuning. Capos are required to play several songs, and are a handy piece of equipment for all guitarists.

Can A Capo Be Used On An Electric Guitar?

Yes, a capo can be used on an electric guitar. A capo can be used on many stringed and/or fretted instruments, including electric and acoustic guitars.

Andrew Patterson
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