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Rich's 5 recommended rock songs for beginner guitar players

(Quick notes before starting this: If you're shopping for a starter guitar all-in-one pack that includes guitar, amp, cables and picks, go here. Or if you're ready to upgrade to another guitar but want to keep it cheap, go here.)

It is absolutely mandatory that you learn rhythm before lead. What this means is to completely ignore the solos in songs and concentrate on the melodies, as in "the riffs", instead. The songs below are my picks for beginner guitar players to learn. Yes, most of them are very easy and some don't even have solos in them, but that's the whole point. Remember, no guitar player is worth anything if he can't play a riff in proper time.

1. Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Originally released in 1970, this is probably the most-played rock song of all time for guitar players. Note: The tuning of this song is slightly higher than the standard E, so you will have to tune up your strings slightly.

2. The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop

Originally released in 1976, this is a classic punk song that's easy to play and has no solos whatsoever. But that doesn't matter because the song is great just the same.

3. Green Day - When I Come Around

Released in 1995, this is a simple song with a very simple solo. It also has a slower tempo that's easy for beginners to pick up.

4. The Troggs - Wild Thing

Released in 1966, this is probably the simplest song in the list. If you happen to have a band with other beginner musician's like you, this should be the first song you do because it's just that easy.

5. Blur - Song 2

Released in 1997, this is a very dirty-sounding song, but the riffs are easy to learn and the song has a good groove to it. This is another easy one for a band with beginner musicians in it.

5 songs that sound easy but actually aren't

1. Led Zeppelin - Rock And Roll

This is one of those songs where on the surface it sounds simple but in fact has several "layers" to it that give it its sound. Rock And Roll is not for beginners but rather an intermediate-level song.

2. Deep Purple - Smoke On The Water

The intro riff to this song is one that most people play incorrectly, as it's actually played by plucking fingers on higher frets. Also, the solo isn't easy and when the lyrics start, that's the part that confuses a lot of players. This, like Rock and Roll is an intermediate-level song.

3. Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven

This is absolutely not a beginner's song. It requires knowing how to fingerpick properly, an understanding of proper chord structure, knowledge of how to play an acoustic guitar properly, switching from acoustic to electric, and a whole bunch of other things. There are fortunately many YouTube tutorials on how to play this song, but for a beginner this is a very frustrating one to learn. I would consider this song advanced-level, and also know this one is very tough to perform live, so I wouldn't go near it.

4. ZZ Top - La Grange

A whole bunch of guitar players play this one wrong - even the ones that know what they're doing. There are subtleties throughout this song that require studying it closely in order to get it right. The reason it's not for beginners is because it's a swing and not a straight rock beat, which for beginners is a little too much. This is an intermediate-level song.

5. Guns 'n Roses - Sweet Child 'O Mine

There have been countless beginners who have tried this song and realized quickly that this song isn't simple, because it isn't. I place this song into the advanced-level category mainly because of the intro that requires high-fret playing, knowing how to get that sound properly and the solos involved as well. If you're a beginner guitarist, tried this song and said, "Wow, this is hard to do..", you're right. Eventually, yes you will be able to play this - but it'll take a while. Go with the simpler songs first and master those before trying to learn Sweet Child O' Mine.


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