5 Basic Guitar Chords for 10 Easy Songs

Songs with C major, G major, F major, A minor, and E minor

Now so far we have learned some easy songs to play on the guitar using the . While there are many songs that are simply four chords, once we add more in, it allows us to enhance our playing. So along with C major, G major, F major, and A minor; the next chord to add in is the iii chord, E minor. A very simple chord to play on the guitar making this new addition very easy. Of course there are a plenty of easy guitar songs that have these chords so we pick the best to play on our guitars.

Chords you need to know:

guitar chords for beginners songs

Barrè tip:If you find difficult playing the F major chord with full barrè (133211) you can always play it like this: XX3211

Transposing the songs to the key of C

Not all the songs listed below have been originally composed in the key of C. As we are building our repertoire of easy guitar songs sticking to the key of C, if we encounter a song that is not in the key of C we have to transpose the chord from its original key. Here below you find a table that helps you in the transposing process (you find a comprehensive chords in keys table here)

chords songs transposing table

Example: suppose we encounter a song in the key of G, that has the following chords: G - D - Em - C - Bm. At the second row of the table, we can see the degrees of the scale of those chords: I - V - VI - IV - III. The chords corresponding to the same degrees, in the key of C (first row), are: C - G - Am - F - Em

When I Come Around

This song by Green Day is usually played with power chords on the guitar. Power chords are not complete chords, the are only the root and fifth and are common in punk, grunge, and 90's music. However, it is still a fine song to play with regular chords
Song Chords

I’d Love to See You Tonight

This was a hit song by England Dan Seals and John Ford Coley, Seals being the younger brother of the musician from Seals and Crofts. Even though this song is only five chords it will take a little time to practice, getting the chord changes just right isn’t easy, but worth it as it is a great song!
Song Chords

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Love him or hate him, John Denver wrote many songs and many hits. However, this particular tune was made famous by Peter, Paul, and Mary. In fact it was their final and biggest hit, back in 1966. This is a great song when you begin playing these five chords, slow and easy changing between each chord.
Song Chords

Hey There Delilah

This song was the first hit by the band The Plain White T's, Time magazine even put it on there list of best songs of 2007. They make great use of these five chords and are a great song to have in your repertoire.
Song Chords


The Red Hot Chili Peppers are great at writing songs for people learning to play the guitar! This song was released in 2000 and as usual is about their struggles with addiction, and they always knew how to make great music from serious issues. This song has the five necessary chords we are using however it starts on an A minor, giving it that solemn and serious feel.
Song Chords

Runaway Train

Soul Asylum released this power ballad about depression back in 1992, a heavily rotated radio play and video at the time. If you notice so far many of the songs on this list have a much more serious and sometimes sad feeling, that is because the E minor and A minor. Upbeat songs are often always in major keys, as soon as we add minors it can give it a more downcast attitude. This song also has a slash chord (Em/B) where it uses the B in the bass instead of E, however it is fine to play the regular Em if you are more comfortable with that.
Song Chords

Ziggy Stardust

It is a true shame David Bowie is no longer around, truly a genius songwriter and musician. Ziggy Stardust is apart of his 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. We could write an entire article about this album alone as it easily ranks on many lists of the best albums of all time. In the meantime, we can play this tune on either an acoustic or electric guitar, it will always sound great!
Song Chords

Fun Fun Fun

Brian Wilson and Mike Love of the Beach Boys wrote this song back in 1964, it embodies the California sound and myth. In this fun and simple song there isn’t five chords, only the E minor, the A minor is left out. It also makes use of a G7, but by now that chord shouldn't be too hard!
Song Chords

Who'll Stop the Rain

This is another solemn minor tune and written by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It has a folk rock feel and was essentially a protest song against the Vietnam War. The long fadeout of this song is supposed to represent the rain that will not stop, so when playing this always leave a long outro. It uses the minor chords sparingly, but still has that desolate feel.
Song Chords

Under the Bridge

As always the Red Hot Chili Peppers make great songs to play on guitar. This song was on their hit album Blood Sugar Sex Magik and pushed them into the mainstream. This song also has a slash chord (C/G) which means the G note is played in the bass of the C chord instead of the C note. However, you can always just play the C chord until you get the hang of slash chords. As you start playing it you will know all the chords necessary, however once you get to the chorus you will find a little surprise... a D minor chord. Once you learn it now you can move onto six chord songs!
Song Chords

Resources useful to master guitar chords for popular songs

Hope you've liked this list of easy songs to play on guitar. Practice them until your master chords and strumming. Little by little you are building your popular songs repertoire that will be useful in front of the audience. Here below you find more resources that will help you in your "chords for songs" practice:

In the next article we're going to add the D minor chords and learn

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