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First Beginner Rock Songs or Riffs to Learn on Guitar

Updated on October 1, 2014

When you are just starting to learn to play guitar it can be difficult to find music to play, a lot of the songs you want to play may seem daunting and you might not know where to start. In reality there are lots of famous songs and riffs that are perfect for beginners. Many famous bands have parts of their most well known songs that are easy to learn and play. In this guide I will help you learn a few of those riffs that will allow you to impress friends by playing songs that they can recognize and sound impressive.

Satisfaction! by the Rolling Stones

One of the most well known rock songs of all time. This 60's anthem is also very very simple to play the main riff on guitar. There are only 3 notes and they are all on the same string!! When you play it turn up the distortion on your amp and if you have a fuzz effect then turn that on as well to gain a real authentic Rolling Stones sound. Bellow is a video tutorial that teaches the riff very well.

Comes as you are By Nirvana Intro

This is the first guitar riff that I ever learnt to play, the intro is almost instantly recognizable and really fun. The riff is only played on the first two frets of the top two strings so you don't need to reach far along the fretboard however for this song you will need to work on your picking technique to be able to hit both strings accurately.

When I Come Around, Green day

In general Green Day songs are good beginner songs due to their power chord heavy nature. This means that your fingers will only have to stay in the same shape but will just be moved around the fretboard. "When I Come Around" was released as a single from Green Days 1994 album Dookie and is one of the slower songs from the album, this is another thing that makes this song good for beginners. To be able to get a similar sound as the record then I would advise using the pickup furthest back towards the bridge and a medium amount of gain/distortion.

Bellow is a video tutorial for the song, and here is the tab LINK (If you don't know what that is then look on my guide HERE)

Teenage Kicks, Undertones

This song is another classic that is surprisingly easy to play. The main guitar part for this song is simply power chords, and all of them on the same base string (You only have to move up and down the neck, not across strings.) thus making the song suitable for even the most inexperienced guitarist. The settings for this song are similar to Green Days song above however with slightly higher gain/distortion.

Here is a video tutorial for this song, where he says to do barre chords ignore that and just do power chords, the sound difference is negligible but barre chords are significantly harder.


I hope you have enjoyed this compilation of easy to learn guitar songs and riffs. You may not be able to play these perfectly straight away however practice makes perfect and within a little time you will be jamming along happily. Learning guitar is not easy at first however I hope that at least knowing a few awesome tunes to play will make it easier to get off the blocks.


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