Beginners often choose exactly this guitar type for their first guitar. Many songs are easy to play and, at the same time, sound good on classical guitar. The beauty of this guitar is in the fact that many genres can sound authentic while playing on it – classical music, flamenco, folk, and so on.
A classical guitar has softer nylon strings when compared to steel acoustic or electric guitar strings, making it easier for their fingertips. Also, this guitar type has a wider neck, which helps the player to put fingers in the right position.
Therefore, players can play and enjoy a variety of music even if they are beginners because many songs don’t require a lot of skills and tricky chords. Also, what makes the playing easier are beginner-friendly classical guitar properties.
Für Elise – Ludwig Van Beethoven
Für Elise is one of the most popular compositions in the classical music world. This piece is also called Bagatelle No. 25. Ludwig Van Beethoven wrote it, and the piece hasn’t been published during his lifetime but 40 years after he died. There is much evidence that Elise was Beethoven’s close friend and one of the most important people in his life.
It was written for the solo piano, but it also sounds blissful on the guitar. It is played a bit higher on the fretboard, from the 8th to the 14th fret. Fit your playing into the 4/4 time signature, and a variation in tempo needs to be maintained from fast to slow.
In The Hall Of The Mountain King – Edward Grieg
In The Hall Of The Mountain King is a piece composed by Edward Grieg in 1875. It’s written as incidental music for the sixth scene of Henrik Ibsen’s play called Peer Gynt. Also, it has been arranged by many artists. A British rock band, The Who, recorded a cover version of this piece in 1967, and it appeared on their CD as a bonus track.
The piece has a simple theme that begins slowly, and then the tempo gradually speeds up. It doesn’t require many movements on the fretboard, so beginners won’t struggle while practicing and playing.
If you love folk music and wish to play more tunes on your guitar, check out my other list
Malagueña – Traditional
Malagueña is a traditional folk piece and dance from the southern Spanish seaport called Malaga. It dates back to the 1800s. There are various versions of this song, as every guitarist left his stamp on it.
Chords are strummed from bass string to treble and from treble to bass with a strong and steady beat at a moderate tempo. There are a lot of repetitive sequences while playing, so the guitarists can memorize the song easily and play with no struggle.
La Campanella – Niccolo Paganini
La Campanella is a final movement of the Violin Concerto No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 7, by a well-known composer Niccolo Paganini. The title means The Little Bell, which explains some bell-like sounds in the piece. It’s a crowd-pleaser so Paganini often performed it.
It’s set in ¾ time signature, includes a flashy finger work and numerous double-stops, but still, it’s an excellent choice for a beginner, his practicing and repertoire. Once you learn this piece, you will gain more skills and be closer to the next playing level.
Ode To Joy – Ludwig Van Beethoven
The piece was originally written in 1785 by Friedrich Schiller and was used in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Beethoven’s version introduces a few new sections. It has remained a protest anthem and a celebration of music.
This masterpiece requires easy chords and two-note playing. It’s great for beginners as it doesn’t require any experience, a lot of skills, or hard fingers positions. Play the whole song on the first three frets and in andante.
If you want to practice some the fingerstyle technique some more, you can check out my other articleTop 50 Easy, Intermediate, Advanced Fingerpicking Songs – Tabs Included
Cello Suite No. 1 – Johann Sebastian Bach
Cello Suite No. 1 is one of the most frequently performed solo compositions for cello. It was composed between 1717 and 1723 by Johann Sebastian Bach. Besides it, Johann Sebastian Bach also wrote five more suites. People can often hear the piece on the TV or in movies.
The piece is in the key of G major and set in common time. It’s originally written for cellos, and therefore it’s put an octave up. Practice a little bit, and you’ll soon play it perfectly.
Boléro – Maurice Ravel
Boléro is an orchestral piece composed by Maurice Ravel, published in 1929. It was originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Ida Rubinstein and was first performed in 1928. It is written for a large orchestra containing strings, celesta and harp, brass, strings, and woodwinds.
It’s set in ¾ time signature, and it’s in the key of C major. The composition’s tempo is called Tempo Di Boléro, Moderato Assai, or more understandable Tempo Of A Bolero, Very Moderate. Every guitarist can play it without problems as it includes easy movements on the fretboard, and some parts are played on one string only.
Lullaby – Johannes Brahms
1868. It’s one of the most popular and also one of the simplest pieces by Johannes Brahms. The lyrics are from the German folk poems collection. Brahms’ biographical movie was released in 1936 under the title Guten Abend, Gute Nacht, which is also the opening song line.
Overall, the piece is one of the easiest songs you can play on a classical guitar. It’s excellent for novice players. It’s written in a ¾ time signature and a slow tempo.
If you are looking to play more songs in the 3/4 time signature, check my other article
Swan Lake – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Swan Lake was composed in 1875 or 1876 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as a ballet. The piece wasn’t popular at first, but soon it became one of the most successful pieces of this compositor. It tells the story of a princess Odette, who turned into a swan by an evil curse. Swan Lake appeared in many movies, such as Funny Girl, The Courier, and The Phantom Of The Opera.
The song excludes double stops and challenging movements. The tempo varies from slow to fast. Slow down first, and don’t worry if you can’t catch up with the fast parts immediately – with a little bit of practice, you’ll soon be able to.
Spanish Romance – Traditional
The piece is also known as Anonymous Romance and Study in E by Rubira. The origins are unknown, but some experts think it’s from the 19th century. The earliest recording of this traditional song was on a phonograph cylinder. Many movies used the track, and many artists recorded their cover versions.
The first and the third part is in the minor key, while the second part is in the major key. Use strums and slide-ups, and downs while playing to accomplish a better sound.
The Pink Panther Theme – Henry Mancini
It’s a well-known instrumental composition written for the movie called The Pink Panther (1963). It won three Grammy Awards and was in the Top 10 of the Billboard chart. There are many cover versions, and they appeared in many movies, series, and video games.
This jazz piece is composed in the key of E minor. It’s one of the easiest instrumental compositions to play on guitar. Play some slides, vibratos, and pull-offs for a more accurate sound.
If you want more fun songs to play, check out my other article
Lágrima – Francisco Tárrega
This romantic prelude, composed by Francisco Tarrega, is one of the most popular pieces for solo guitar. He composed it in 1891 in London while he was thinking about his country, Spain. Maybe that is the reason why the piece is called Lágrima – Teardrop.
It takes around two minutes to perform, and it’s pretty simple and has a melancholic dash. The piece has an A-B-A structure, where section A is in E major and section B in E minor. This piece requires double stops that are easy to learn for a beginner.
Op. 60, Study No. 7 – Matteo Carcassi
It’s one of the easiest compositions by Marco Carcassi, but to the audience, it looks like it’s complex. This piece is often thought of as a tremolo piece. With some adjustments, it can be a workout for some left- and right-hand techniques.
It needs to be played at a moderately fast tempo. It has a lot of repetitive sequences and a lot of one-note playing. Therefore, it’s excellent for a beginner’s repertoire.
Allegro – Mauro Giuliani
Allegro, a classical composition, is from Giuliani’s Opus 50 No. 13 from the famous book called Le Papillon. That book is a collection of easy compositions, great for beginners and a classical guitar.
It’s set in 4/4 time signature, requires basic chords, and easy finger-picking. Both left and right-hand positions are fairly simple and great for every newbie in the world of guitar.
If you are looking to play more songs in the 4/4 time signature, check my other article
Españoleta – Gaspar Sanz
It’s from 1674 and belongs to the baroque period. Therefore it’s full of ornaments which makes the whole piece more special. Españoleta is published in the book called Instrucción de Música.
It’s set in ¾ time signature and has a moderate tempo. If you have just started learning classical guitar, this piece is great for your journey beginning.
Waltz In E Minor – Traditional
Waltz In E Minor is a classical guitar piece, and it’s popular worldwide because of its beauty and because many people play it and use it for practicing finger-picking.
It uses an arpeggio picking using the middle finger, index, and thumb. The shapes are easy, and at the same time, they sound more advanced. Like a waltz, it’s in the ¾ time signature, but the ⅜ time signature is also commonly used.
Etude In E Minor – Francisco Tarrega
Etude In E Minor is an example of the beauty in simplicity, and it’s an absolute crowd-pleaser. It’s not weird at all because Francisco Tarrega, the composer of the piece, is more known under the pseudonym ‘the father of classical guitar’. He’s also known for his invention – the default Nokia ringtone.
It’s set in ¾ time signature and has a moderate tempo. It has a typical binary form, triplet arpeggio patterns, and rest strokes included.
Even though it’s not for a very beginner, you can try it if you have just started learning how to play. Try to cut it into pieces and learn step by step.
If you wish to play more beginner-friendly songs, check out my other article
Country Dance – Ferdinando Carulli
Country Dance is a piece composed by Ferdinando Carulli, a highly respected guitarist and teacher known worldwide. This piece is great to listen to, but at the same time, it’s great for practicing on a classical guitar – it’s like Carulli wanted a piece for his students.
So, if you’re a beginner, this piece is excellent for you. It’s in the key of G major and set in 2/4 time signature.
Op. 60, No. 1 – Fernando Sor
Fernando Sor’s Op.60 is one of the most famous of all etude classical guitar collections. It helps you to learn more skills and be able to play more complex compositions.
It’s in the key of C major, and it’s really simple to perform. It includes a lot of repetitive sequences, so the guitarist will soon memorize the whole piece. It doesn’t include barre chords at all. Study 1 from the Op. 60 is in a moderate tempo and in common time.
Study In A Minor – Dionisio Aguado
Study In A Minor is a piece from Dionisio Aguado’s method book Nuevo Método Para Guitarra, published in 1843. He was known for his speed and technique, especially with scale runs.
The piece provides an excellent intro to arpeggios. Play the bass melody with your thumb while maintaining a steady accompaniment with the index and middle finger. It needs to be played quite fast, but if you can’t catch up with it, go slower until you get the speed in your hands, which comes with the practice.
Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee
Despacito is a song from Luis Fonsi’s 2019 studio album called Vida and was released as a single in 2017. It was written by Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Erika Ender. The song was on the top of the charts of 47 countries. In the US, Despacito is the first song in Spanish that reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart since 1996 and De Rio’s Macarena. It’s now the second most-viewed video on YouTube.
The song style is reggaeton and Latin pop. Its sound on a classical guitar is amazing. It’s set in common time and written in the key of B minor. Despacito requires four basic open chords that every guitarist knows – Em, C, G, and D.
Hello – Adele
Hello is a song recorded by Adele, an English singer, and songwriter. It was released in 2015 as a track of her third studio album called 25. It reached global success and the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Hello won three Grammy Awards, the Brit Award for British Single, and an APRA Award. The song was written by Adele and Greg Kurstin in London. At her residency show in Las Vegas, Celine Dion performed Adele’s Hello.
It’s a soul piano ballad that sounds really good on a classical guitar. The song is about nostalgia and regrets, it’s set in common time, and it requires the down-down-down-down-up strumming pattern. Use a capo on the first fret for a more original sound.
Havana – Camila Cabello
A Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello released the song Havana in 2017, featuring guest vocals from Young Thug. Havana later became the track of Camila’s album called Camila. In 2018, Camila released the live version of the song and won a Grammy Award for the best pop solo performance.
It has a salsa-like sound and R&B elements, which demonstrates Cuban culture. That makes the song suitable for classical guitar, too. There are some Latin riffs and rhythms, and it’s one of the easiest songs to play.
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Stand By Me was released in 1961 and reached #1 in the UK charts. A song cover is recorded by many popular singers, including John Lennon and Tracy Chapman. In 1986, the movie called Stand By Me was released, and the song appeared in it.
The song’s bass line became so popular, and the song’s chord progression is sometimes called the ‘Stand By Me changes’. Even beginners can enjoy this masterpiece as it’s so easy to perform.
Stand By Me Guitar Chords
Alejandro – Lady Gaga
Alejandro is a song released as the third single of Lady Gaga’s third studio album called The Fame Monster. It reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Alejandro was inspired by Gaga’s ‘fear of men monster’ and was written and produced by Nadir Khayat and her. The song has some ABBA and Ace Of Base elements in vocals and the melody. The song opens with the melody of Vittorio Monti’s classical masterpiece called Csárdás.
It’s a synth-pop song set in common time. The song is in a moderate tempo and has an easy chord progression. Put a capo on the 2nd fret and enjoy.
Take Me Home Country Roads – John Denver
Take Me Home Country Roads, also known as Country Roads, is a song by John Denver released in 1971. It peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and soon became popular worldwide. The song is a symbol of West Virginia, and it became one of the four official state anthems of West Virginia. Olivia Newton-John released her cover version in 1973, and it became popular, especially in Japan and the UK.
This song is a country song, and it’s set in common time. It requires A, F#m, E, D, G, and E7, along with an easy strumming pattern. If you’re an absolute beginner, put a capo on the 2nd fret and transcribe -2.
Hey Soul Sister – Train
Hey, Soul Sister is a song recorded by a rock band called Train. It was released as the single of their fifth studio album called Save Me, San Francisco. It’s the Train’s most commercially successful single because it counts over 6 million sales.
It’s a pop-rock song that sounds really good on a classical guitar, too. It’s in the key of F major, requires an easy down-down-up-down-up-down-up strumming pattern and four easy chords – C, G, Am, and F.
With Or Without You – U2
It’s an Irish-rock band song released in 1987. It was the band’s most successful song at the time and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is often performed at their concerts and was included in the band’s compilation albums and concert movies. A lead vocalist called Bono wrote the song.
It is written in 4/4 time signature, and it’s played with downstrokes along with four basic open chords – G, D, Em, C. Put a capo on your classical guitar’s 7th fret and enjoy this masterpiece.
Fragile – Sting
Fragile is a song recorded by a musician called Sting and was included on his studio album called …Nothing Like The Sun. It was also written and produced by him. The song appears in the documentary movie The Living Sea from 1995. That movie was Oscar-nominated and made the song more popular.
The song sounds great on a classical guitar and doesn’t require any advanced skills to play it. It includes four chords – Em, Am7, B, and Am. Don’t be scared of these seventh chords – it’s really easy to play it.
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Brown Eyed Girl is a song released by Van Morrison in 1967. It reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was originally titled as Brown-Skinned Girl, but Morrison changed it. Brown Eyed Girl has been featured in some movies, such as The Big Chill, Born On The Fourth Of July, and Sleeping With The Enemy.
This pop-rock song is excellent for absolute beginners as it includes an easy chord progression – G, C, D, and Em. It is great for playing at a party or for practicing transitions between chords.
Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
It’s a song released in 1971 as part of Bill Withers’ studio album Just As I Am. It reached number six on the US R&B Chart and number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Withers was inspired to write the song after watching the movie called Days Of Wine And Roses.
The song has some R&B, soul, and blues elements. It’s suitable for absolute beginners because it includes only basic chords – Am, Em, G, and Dm. Transitions between chords are easy, so you’ll learn the song in a minute.
Jolene – Dolly Parton
Jolene is a popular song written and recorded by an American country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton. It was released in 1973 in Nashville, Tennessee. It reached number 217 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. Parton was inspired to write the song thanks to a red-headed bank clerk who was flirting with her husband.
This country song has catchy lyrics, and it’s a favorite one among Parton’s audience. It’s set in 2/4 time signature and requires Am, C, G, and Em played along with the down-down-down-up-down-up strumming pattern.
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Home Alabama was released in 1974 as part of the Second Helping studio album. Ed King, Ronnie Van Zant, and Gary Rossington wrote Sweet Home Alabama, but none of them were from Alabama. Country Music Television ranked the song number one on the 20 Greatest Southern Rock Songs list.
The song is set in common time and the I-IV-V chord progression makes it easy to play. A moderately slow tempo gives the song a special dash.
Sweet Home Alabama Guitar Chords
Shape Of My Heart – Sting
Shape Of My Heart is a popular song recorded by Sting in 1993. It was co-written by Dominic Miller. Sting once said he wanted to tell a story about a card player, a gambler who gambles not to win but to try to figure out some of the mystical logic. Shape Of My Heart was also used for the end credits of the movies Leon and Three Of Hearts.
It has a slow tempo, and magical Sting’s vocal, along with the harmonica section, makes your heart sparkle. Basic open chords and one barre chord make the song easy and suitable for every guitarist.
Seven Days – Craig David
A British singer, called Craig David, released the song called Seven Days in 2000 as the second track of his debut studio album Born To Do It. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for the best male pop vocal performance. It also reached the top of the UK Singles Chart and was in the top ten of the charts worldwide.
It’s an R&B song with an amazing beat that makes you dance immediately. Play Dm, Gm, Am, and A7, with a capo on the 2nd fret.
Silent Night – Christmas Song
Silent Night is a Christmas song composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber, and the text was written by Joseph Mohr. It was first performed on Christmas Eve at St. Nicholas church in Austria. The original manuscript is gone, and therefore, many people think Silent Night was composed by Mozart or Beethoven.
The song is originally set in 6/8 time signature, but there is an arrangement suitable for beginners set in ¾ time signature. It’s easy and worth learning so you can make the next Christmas Eve more special.
Keep Your Head Up – Ben Howard
Keep Your Head Up is a song recorded and written by Ben Howard. It was included in his debut studio album called Every Kingdom. Sandra Van Nieuwland covered this song on The Voice Of Holland and released it as a single in 2012. A post-hardcore band from the UK called Enter Shikari also covered the song as part of their BBC Radio 1 live performance.
This indie-folk song sounds so good on a classical guitar. It’s excellent for a beginner’s repertoire as it includes only four chords – C, Em7, G, and D.
Classical Gas – Mason Williams
Classical Gas is an instrumental piece written by Mason Williams, a guitarist from the US. The song was released in 1968 on the album The Mason Williams Photograph Record and won three Grammys and a special Citation Of Achievement from Broadcast Music Incorporated.
The song was originally named Classical Gasoline, and the tune was meant to be fuel for the classical guitar repertoire. It’s set in common time and requires easy chords.
Greensleeves – Traditional
Greensleeves is a traditional folk song that was first registered at the London Stationer’s Company in 1580 by Richard Jones. There is a belief that the song was composed by Henry VII for his lover and future queen consort, Anne Boleyn. The background story is not that appropriate, but it’s used as a Christmas and New Year song with different lyrics.
It’s composed of a sequence containing easy cords and a simple, repeating bass. Play six chords and enjoy the song.
La Cucaracha – Traditional
It’s a Mexican folk song about an animal called a cockroach who isn’t able to walk. The author is unknown, but it dates back to the 1910s and the Mexican Revolution. There are many song versions with different lyrics. Many musicians, such as Louis Armstrong, Lila Downs, Nathalia Ramos, and Cuco Sanchez, recorded their cover versions.
The melody is catchy, and everyone loves it, especially kids. It’s one of the easiest songs to perform as it includes only three basic chords – G, C, and D.
A classical guitar is often the first-bought guitar among beginners. It makes the playing easier and helps beginners enrich their knowledge and master some skills.
People who love classical music love playing classical guitar the most as it produces an excellent and accurate sound. But, this guitar type doesn’t only support classical music – it supports almost every music genre!
You can learn a lot of songs on your classical guitar and enrich your classical guitar repertoire even with being an entry-level guitarist.
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