Getting Started with the Best 3-Chord Guitar Songs


By Lisa Cyr,

Have you always dreamed of learning the guitar? Or do you have a guitar tucked away somewhere at home, gathering dust, and begging to be given a new lease of life?

Despite its intimidating appearance, the guitar is one of the easiest musical instruments to get started playing right away. It’s also very low-maintenance – after some quick training on changing and tuning the strings you’ll be set up to look after your guitar for a lifetime.

Concerned about the size of the guitar? There’s no need to worry, 3/4 and 1/2 sized guitars are a popular choice for more comfortable maneuverability around your new instrument.

Smaller hands might also enjoy the ukulele – a similar instrument with four strings rather than the guitar’s six. The baritone ukulele is an especially great choice as it shares the same tuning as a guitar (minus the lowest two strings). Compared to the more well-known ukulele types, a baritone has a bigger body and thicker strings making it a great stepping stone towards the guitar.

Our guitar teacher, Scott Gilmore, has picked out some top choices for newbie guitar players. Each of these songs has just 3 chords (or fewer) throughout, meaning once you’ve mastered the 3 chords you’ll be ready to perform!

Getting Started

Riptide – Vance Joy

First off, we’re heading down under with ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy. This song was the second-longest charting single in the 2015 US Billboard Hot 100, appearing on the charts for an impressive 43 weeks. It also earned its spot at number 94 on Triple M’s ‘Ozzest 100 – most Australian songs of all time’ list, though it’s certainly no rival to Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’.  This song originally features the tenor ukulele, though it can just as easily be translated over to the guitar.

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

A classic country rock anthem to express Southern pride, this song has a simple yet irresistibly catchy chord progression and is an excellent introduction to the picking technique after you’re ready to progress from strumming. The lyrics mention ‘Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers’. This is in reference to the town of Muscle Shoals, a quiet town tucked away in a corner of Alabama while doubling as an immensely popular place for recording. The ‘Swampers’ was a nickname for Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, a group of session musicians with an incredible sound combining elements of R&B, soul, and country music. As well as Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Swampers also worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

A Horse With No Name – America

This song, originally named ‘Desert Song’, was the most popular single from folk-rock band America. It follows a character’s journey through the desert with his horse while finding comfort and tranquility in the barren landscape. It’s easy to feel the hot, dry, and oddly peaceful desert atmosphere as the acoustic guitar marches between just two different chords. It’s an excellent choice for beginners as you’ll only need two fingers to play the chords.

Ready to take your first step towards mastering the guitar? Give our studio a call at 850.231.3199 to arrange a visit. Get your instrument and get started!  For more details, check out our website at  Located in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

SWal Life
Author: SWal Life