Acoustic guitars are one of the most popular instruments in the world. From folk songs to rock and roll, you can find acoustic guitars in any genre. If you’re an aspiring acoustic guitarist who wants to learn how to play more tunes, we’ve compiled a list of the best acoustic songs to cover.
The best acoustic song to cover is Extreme’s “More Than Words.” It is not too complicated to learn, it is a timeless song that is appropriate for a wide variety of settings and events, and will still be impressive to those who are hearing it.
Practicing different songs is one of the quickest ways to improve your skills. Therefore, having a huge catalog of songs is always a plus!
So here are the 49 best acoustic guitar songs of all time for beginner and intermediate players to learn, in no particular order.
1. More Than Words by Extreme
The song is about a man who doesn’t know what to say, but he knows that his feelings are strong.
This soft rock tune is an acoustic ballad that can make any woman’s heart melt, especially in live acoustic performances.
This song’s genre isn’t their signature style, but it turned out to be their most classic song. This is due to its catchy chorus and guitar riffs that beginners can easily pick up.
If you want to learn some cool chords, this is also the perfect pick for you!
2. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
The song is a moving tribute to former Floyd frontman Syd Barett, who had to leave the band in 1968 due to mental illness tied with addiction issues.
The lyrics are about how Syd has left his friends and family behind and asks if they will ever be reunited again.
The guitar part is enchanting, but it can be tricky to play without breaking strings—it’s best played on a 12-string acoustic guitar, but a 6-string should work just fine too.
This song will definitely bring out some emotions as you play through it, especially if you’re familiar with Floyd’s history.
3. She Talks to Angels by Black Crowes
“She Talks to Angels”, is a song that everyone is familiar with. The Black Crowes first released this song in 1990 on their debut album.
This iconic acoustic ballad was one of the turning points for the Robinson brothers’ career, as it helped them gain recognition from music critics everywhere.
The main reason why this tune is so popular is because of its unique guitar ensemble owing to its alternate open E tuning. Therefore, re-tuning your guitar is a must for this one.
Don’t worry though, re-tuning your guitar isn’t too difficult once you get used to it!
4. Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty
“Free Fallin'” is one of the top songs by Tom Petty, released in 1989. It’s a timeless song with many artists covering it.
The main riff is played on a 12-string acoustic guitar, which adds extra depth and warmth to the track.
As with most good songs, multiple versions are available—simplified ones for beginners and advanced ones such as John Mayer’s version.
The latter has more difficult chord progressions that involve moving up and down across strings instead of playing only one note at a time.
5. Riptide by Vance Joy
This song is a classic, and you’re sure to have heard the original version of it. It’s about having a crush on someone but feeling too shy to confess your feelings.
It’s an incredibly catchy tune that is easy to learn on guitar with only four chords and a simple strumming pattern.
The chord sequence goes Am – G – C – Fmaj7, which is easy enough for even beginner players to pick up quickly!
The lyrics are also quite straightforward so they won’t be much of a challenge either.
6. Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
“Sweet Caroline” might be one of the most iconic songs in American music history.
After all, this song has been covered by everyone from professional musicians to Mom’s garage band and even your kindergarten class. So it’s safe to say that this song has withstood the test of time.
The original version was recorded in 1969 by Neil Diamond, but there were many other re-recordings after that.
The simple yet catchy riff makes it easy for any guitarist to pick up and play along with their friends. After all, who doesn’t love singing “ba ba ba ba”?
7. Save Tonight by Eagle-Eye Cherry
This song is by Eagle-Eye Cherry, who released it in 1997.
It’s an easy song to play on guitar and has a lovely melody. The strumming pattern is quite simple, with only four chords: Am, F, C, and G.
If you’re having trouble with the rhythm of this song, it may be because of its fast pace; however, after some practice, you’ll be able to manage it with no problem!
8. The Shape of You by Ed Sheeran
If you’re looking for a pop love song with an irresistible tune, this is it.
Ed Sheeran’s The Shape of You was released in January 2017 and immediately shot to the top of the charts around the world.
If cover versions of this tune don’t convince you how easy it is to play along, well, then I don’t know what will! All you need to cover this great tune is a capo and knowledge of Bm, Em, G, and A chords.
I also wrote about a famous singer-songwriter who happened to be Sheeran’s best friend. If you want to know more about this artist, check out this recent article I made.
9. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
I don’t know what it is about this song, but audiences love it. I’ve never seen so many people singing along to live performances of any other song.
The song garnered incredible success by charting in 19 countries worldwide and winning “Record of the Year” at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
It also sounds great in either electric or acoustic guitar versions with 4/4 time signatures.
The song is perfect for any kind of performance and will have your audience singing along in no time. In fact, even Justin Bieber covered this song in a carpool karaoke.
10. Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Eva Cassidy
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is a beautiful and iconic song that everyone knows.
It’s a ballad that got everyone’s hearts melting when it was released back in 1939. And even today, it continues to be one of the most played songs at wedding ceremonies.
Playing this on guitar may be tricky at first, but it’s worth the time and effort!
If you’re looking for something with an acoustic vibe that can get people singing along with you, this is your jam!
11. Let Her Go by Passenger
“Let Her Go” is a wonderful fingerstyle guitar song by Mike Rosenberg, also known as Passenger.
The song was released in 2012 and has been covered by many artists since then.
Not only does this song have two versions (fingerpicking and strumming), but both also have tutorials showing you exactly how they’re played!
The strummed version plays around the G, F, Am, C, and Em chords with a capo on the 7th fret. There’s even an additional barre chord thrown into this mix, making things even more interesting!
12. Layla by Eric Clapton
This is one of the most famous and recognizable guitar songs in history.
It’s a classic soulful song that was released by Eric Clapton in 1970. The song got girls falling in love with him, as well as countless other rock fans.
The song ranked number 7 on Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and also won a Grammy for Best Rock Song when it was re-released acoustically 20 years later.
13. Bad Liar by Imagine Dragons
This 2018 release is a breakup anthem, so it’s not exactly a lighthearted pick.
But Anna Hamilton’s acoustic cover makes the song all the more captivating, which comes in a slow yet relaxing tempo.
I would recommend learning this song because it showcases how to play fingerpicking techniques and incorporates them into several different progressions.
If you’re looking for an acoustic guitar song to learn, definitely check out Bad Liar by Imagine Dragons!
14. Despacito by Luis Fonsi
Despacito, by Luis Fonsi, has been an international hit ever since its release in 2017.
The song’s captivating rhythm, which uses a very basic chord progression, will make you want to dance and sing along with it.
Learning how to play Despacito on your acoustic guitar is not as easy as you might think (and there are multiple versions of this song).
However, once you’ve learned the first part of this song’s chorus and verse portions, they’ll become easy to play over again!
15. Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers
This song has been covered by multiple musicians, but it was the original version by Bill Withers that got the ball rolling.
It’s become a popular cover for acoustic guitarists, who use both strummed and fingerpicked versions of this iconic tune.
It’s an easy song to learn, even if you’ve never played an acoustic before. The chords are fairly simple, and there aren’t any tricky fingerpicking patterns to worry about!
16. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
Chasing Cars is a rock ballad from Snow Patrol’s 2006 album Eyes Open.
This song triggers instant nostalgia, thanks to its powerful lyrics that tell a story of love at first sight.
It’s no wonder why it has remained one of the most popular acoustic songs over time; every guitar player wants to know how to play it perfectly!
Boyce Avenue released an acoustic rendition of this track which captures all the beauty of this classic piece while keeping its original ambiance intact.
17. New Rules by Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa is an English singer-songwriter who’s reached international stardom with her unique R&B and pop sound.
Released in 2017, “New Rules” was a massive hit for the young singer-songwriter, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart and becoming one of her signature songs.
Because of this, it became one of the most requested songs in acoustic bars all over the world. In fact, even Dua Lipa has her own acoustic rendition of this track.
18. Wonderwall by Oasis
“Wonderwall” was released as a single in 1995 and remained to be the band’s most commercially successful song ever.
It reached number 1 in the UK and number 2 on the US chart, where it was certified platinum by the RIAA. The song is about how a girl is the only thing that makes his life worth living.
It’s an acoustic song every guitar enthusiast should know how to play, and it requires easy Em, G Major, D Major, and A7sus4 chords to strum away.
19. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
Released in 1997, this acoustic rock track will catch everyone’s hearts with its soft tone.
The song was inspired by Billie Joe Armstrong’s breakup with his girlfriend of 10 years.
It just needs four easy chords to strum the song away with simple chord transitions for intermediate guitarists. For advanced guitarists, a finger-picking intro is a delight to play and sounds even greater!
20. Yellow by Coldplay
This song was written by Chris Martin and released in 2000 with Christ Martin’s incredible vocals and irresistible guitar strums.
It’s a song about unrequited love, but it’s so beautiful that you’ll want to play it over and over again.
Although the original is not completely acoustic, it can be converted to one for that nostalgic feel. You will have people singing along with this beautiful track!
This song is also a great song to cover on bass. A recent article I wrote breaks down the main differences between playing a bass vs. a guitar.
21. Photograph by Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran has mastered the art of writing songs that are easy to love but difficult to play.
The “Photograph” is no exception. It’s a passionate acoustic song that will swoon every woman’s heart and make every man take notice.
The riff is simple enough, and the chord progression straightforward, but if you want to play it the way Sheeran does, you’ll need a lot more practice.
The easiest way to learn how to play Photograph on guitar is with a capo on the 2nd fret and D, Bm, A, and G chords.
22. Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan
This song can get everybody listening with its playful yet captivating melody.
Released in 1965, “Mr. Tambourine Man” turned out to be one of Bob Dylan’s best tunes.
In fact, a lot of artists keep covering this song until today.
The original song is a mix of acoustic and electric, but you can definitely leave out the electric and play it purely acoustic!
23. Blackbird by The Beatles
Blackbird is a classic Beatles song that was released in 1968. It’s another one of those songs you should learn if you’re an acoustic guitar lover.
The song is quite easy to play, though it may be challenging for beginners due to its fingerpicking nature.
It’s also played in a one-chord-per-word manner if you want to play the song the way Paul McCartney does. And did you know that he’s a lefty? If you’re wondering whether a lefty can play a right-handed guitar, you better check this recent article out.
24. Stop This Train by John Mayer
One would be hard-pressed to make a list of the best acoustic cover songs without including John Mayer.
In fact, it would be nearly impossible because this guy is a legend! He’s accomplished so much with his playing that it’s no surprise people want to know how to play his music.
This song is one of Mayer’s most popular acoustic guitar tracks, and it also happens to be one of my personal favorite songs to play as well.
I would love to see everyone learn this tune because there are so many things you can do with your skills after mastering it!
25. Jolene by Dolly Parton
When it comes to acoustic classics, never forget the country legend, Dolly Parton.
She’s one of the best-selling female artists of all time and has written dozens of hit songs over her 50-year career.
One of her most recognizable tracks is “Jolene”, which was released in 1973.
This simple fingerpicking song has also been covered by numerous artists all over the world.
26. Fell in Love with a Girl by White Stripes
Fell in Love with a Girl is one of the best acoustic songs to cover.
This song was released as the lead single from White Blood Cells, White Stripes’ third studio album. It also later ranked #497 on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
It’s easy to play, it sounds good when you sing it, and people will love it.
27. Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
In 1970, Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” was released as a single and had since been covered by numerous artists.
The song is an acoustic hit that incorporates folk and jazz elements into its lighthearted tune.
The song was inspired by the artist’s visit to Hawaii, where she saw much of the island being urbanized.
If you want to play this song, there are hundreds of acoustic covers you can choose to learn from!
28. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
“Landslide” is a song by Fleetwood Mac that can be played using fingerpicking.
This is great for beginners as it’s not too difficult to learn, even if you’re only familiar with basic full chords.
The song also has some challenging parts, so I recommend you start slow before increasing the tempo.
29. Senorita by Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello
Senorita is one of the most well-known songs released in 2019.
The song quickly became one of the most celebrated songs that year, charting no. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.
If you’re looking for an acoustic best-seller, Senorita should be at the top of your list!
The original chords will be easy for advanced guitarists to play. However, newer ones might have to substitute some chords until they get more comfortable with their fingers and strumming technique.
30. Circles by Post Malone
If you’re looking for a song that combines modern pop with acoustic instrumentals, look no further.
“Circles” was released in 2019 from Post Malone’s third album, Hollywood’s Bleedin’. The song is a genius mix of a groovy melody with catchy and heartfelt lyrics.
To play this song, you’ll need the Amaj7, Fmaj7, Fm, C, F, C/B, and Cmaj7/B chords at a minimum in order to play through most of it.
If that’s too hard for you (or if you’re only interested in learning some acoustic covers), there are various simpler acoustic covers on YouTube that may be worth checking out!
31. If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys
“If I Ain’t Got You” is a song written and performed by Alicia Keys. She is a famous American singer-songwriter and pianist.
She wrote this song in honor of the death of her friend Aaliyah.
The song revolves around 7th chords in the key of C, producing a very rich musicality. It’s a bit complex, but you should get the hang of it with substantial practice.
32. Skinny Love by Bon Iver
“Skinny Love” is a song by American indie folk band Bon Iver and is one of the most popular acoustic songs to cover.
It is the lead single from their debut album in 2007, entitled For Emma, Forever Ago.
This song has been covered by many artists. Birdy released a rendition of this song in 2011, and it became a huge hit.
We recommend playing this song acoustically, and you might just see tears streaming down your listener’s face!
33. She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5
This song has become one of Maroon 5’s most famous hits, and it’s easy to see why.
The melody is catchy, the lyrics are relatable, and it sounds great on acoustic guitar.
Plus, this song only requires Am and G chords for the verse and C, G, Am, and F for the chorus. As far as learning acoustic songs go, this one is pretty simple.
34. Hotel California by The Eagles
Another song that can get the crowd singing their hearts out is The Eagles’ “Hotel California.”
Since its release, many artists have covered this track.
Once you hear the first few notes, you’d know instantly what song it is—thanks to its incredible chord progression. It also has a classic guitar solo performance that will impress any listener out there.
35. Hurt by Johnny Cash
With the heavily-acclaimed Johnny Cash being mostly known for this beautiful song, it is iconic in every sense of the word.
And the amazing thing about “Hurt” is that it’s not that hard to cover. Although it might be impossible to mimic Cash’s thick-toned voice, at least the song only requires three simple chords for you to learn.
It’s a fantastic song for beginners, and it will help you get started on your path to becoming a better guitar player.
36. Redemption Song by Bob Marley
Whenever a performer feels the audience’s energy dying down, they know it’s the perfect time to play some Bob Marley.
This song specifically can lighten up the mood and heighten the crowd’s spirits again with its upbeat tempo and rhythm.
The first part of the song is relatively easy to play, but it gets a bit challenging as it reaches the main chord progression. Nevertheless, the time it will take to practice this acoustic is definitely worth it.
37. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
“Fast Car” is an undeniably famous song that charted number 1 in multiple countries, including the United States and Australia.
It has a rather simple melody, yet it has captured the hearts of many.
To play this on your guitar, you’ll need a capo on the second fret, and you can choose to play it with either fingerpicking or strumming the chords.
38. The Needle and The Damage Done by Neil Young
“The Needle and The Damage Done” is a legendary song from the legendary folk icon Neil Young.
This song requires nine chords to play without any finger of yours getting a break.
Although the technique may be hard to master, the chords are pretty simple. You mostly just need the F, Gm, and Bb chords. It was later covered by Pearl Jam (and Eddie Vedder has said that this is his favorite Neil Young song).
It is one of the best acoustic songs of all time and an absolute must-learn for any beginner guitarist looking to learn some acoustic guitar songs with easy chords in them!
39. You Got The Silver by The Rolling Stones
“You Got the Silver” is a perfect song for jamming with friends.
The Rolling Stones is one of the most iconic bands in history, and this tune is one of their most popular.
This song has become so iconic that even if you don’t play guitar or know anything about music, you’ve probably heard it before.
The main riff is pretty much just C major pentatonic played over and over again. However, there’s enough rhythmic variation to keep things interesting while still being easy enough to learn quickly.
40. Everlong by Foo Fighters
This song is a classic written by Dave Grohl and released in 1997.
It’s one of the Foo Fighters’ most recognizable songs, and it’s easy to see why.
It has everything you need for a great acoustic guitar song—a catchy riff, an engaging tempo, and lyrics that will resonate with anyone who’s ever been in love.
Take note: to play this one on your own, you’ll need to re-tune your guitar from standard tuning to drop D.
41. Half the World Away by Oasis
Another influential song from the band Oasis is “Half the World Away”.
It was featured in the BBC sitcom The Royle Family and plays around with chords in the key of C major.
Even if you’re not a fan of Oasis, this is a great song to master because it’s one that can be played by anyone who has an acoustic guitar and knows how to play some basic chords.
42. May You Never by John Martyn
This song by John Martyn is incredibly beautiful, and it only has three main chords, D, G/B, and A.
It also requires some re-tuning to Drop D and capo the 2nd fret.
Although it takes an advanced guitarist to perfectly mimic Martyn, don’t be discouraged! Instead, be inspired by his greatness as you work your way to improving your skills.
43. Teardrop by Newton Faulkner
This one is for all you beginners out there. It’s a simple song, and the melody and rhythm are easy to remember, with you only needing chords D, C, and G.
If you’re looking for something to get started on, then this is the perfect choice.
Faulkner brought back the percussive tap’n’slap style, but he made it his own by adding some neat effects and vocalizations that make the performance even more enjoyable.
44. Not Too Late by Lindsey Buckingham
If you’re looking for a great fingerstyle song with an easy-to-follow melody, “Not Too Late” is worth looking into.
With Lindsey Buckingham’s impeccable fingerstyle skills, this song may sound intimidating at first. But its repetitive nature will have you learning this faster than you think.
Other than the finger-picking (which can be tedious), it’s a pretty straightforward tune to play!
45. American Pie by Don McLean
“American Pie” is a popular 1971 single by Don Mclean.
The lyrics are about the death of Buddy Holly, and it instantly became a massive hit all over the world. It’s a fun song that does not require a full band to cover.
There are multiple acoustic versions you can practice on, and you can check this video lesson to start.
46. Pink Moon by Nick Drake
“Pink Moon” is a song from Nick Drake’s third and final studio version album. It was released in 1972 and remained to be popular in the following years.
If you want to take your cover a notch higher, you should re-tune your guitar to CGCFCE the same way Nick Drake does.
But if you want to keep things simple, you can definitely play this song in standard tuning.
This is an acoustic classic that can help you unplug more of your guitar skills.
47. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams
This song was released in 1991 by Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams, and it’s a soulful ballad that became an international hit.
It has since been covered by hundreds of artists around the world. In fact, you can hear it on wedding days all over the world.
It’s fairly easy to learn on guitar because there aren’t any difficult guitar parts in this song—it’s mostly just chords, strums, and fingerpicking patterns.
48. Life by the Drop by Stevie Ray Vaughan
If you love the blues, here’s another acoustic song you will definitely enjoy.
This is best played with 12 strings, but playing it with a six-string should not be an issue. It takes A, E, F#m, and D to play the verses, while the chorus requires F#m, D, and E to be played.
The song is mostly played in a major key and has a lovely tempo that allows you to play it with ease.
49. America by Simon and Garfunkel
Paul Simon and Arthur Garfunkel’s “America” is a beautiful song to cover.
It was initially a B-side song, but it eventually achieved A-side status four years later.
The best renditions out there are by the band Yes and by David Bowie. The melody of this song is pretty simple, which means you can easily play it on your acoustic guitar without much practice or experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most impressive song to play on guitar?
If you want to play to impress, The Beatles’ “Blackbird” is definitely a song that can get anyone smiling if you manage to pull it off. It’s also one of the best songs of all time.
It’s a timeless classic that gives off a nostalgic feel to anyone listening.
Be careful though, playing this song the way The Beatles do can make your strings squeak if you do not have enough practice.
Nevertheless, this song is a beautifully-crafted song that sounds majestic on acoustic.
What is the easiest pop song to play on guitar?
John Legend’s “All Of Me” is one of the easiest pop song to learn and play on guitar.
The tune is famous for being such a powerful and emotional track every listener would adore to hear. I personally think that the acoustic version of the song unleashes more emotions.
It’s a great pop song for every beginner since the intro and verse comes in open position of E minor, C, G, and D. It is not at all complicated, but the music it produces is outstanding.
How many songs do you need for an acoustic gig?
Depending on the type of band and the duration of the gig, the number of songs needed in an acoustic set list may vary.
But as a general rule, you will usually need 12 songs per hour.
Original bands typically play from about 45 minutes to more than an hour, while cover bands tend to play for 2 to 4 hours.
This is by no means a complete list of songs to play on acoustic guitar, but it’s definitely a great place to start as you learn the instrument.
Songs from bands and artists such as The Beatles, Neil Young, Extreme, and The Rolling Stones are always great options to choose from.
Hopefully, you will be able to unleash more of your guitar skills as you try out the songs on this list.
The beauty of playing music is there’s always so much to learn!
If you have any questions about these songs or other topics related to music and instruments, feel free to leave us a comment below!