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When we start out learning how to play guitar, we may buy guitar books and guitar DVDs, or even start guitar lessons, and all of these ways are great at advancing your guitar technique and musical understanding as a beginner guitarist. However, the very best way to learn the instrument, and to see it in action in a band situation, is to do so by learning songs- but, where do you start?

To answer this question, I have compiled a list of the top ten beginner guitar tunes that you must learn to play– whether by guitar TAB, or by musical notation– and I list several reasons explaining each choice.

Number one– 12 Bar Blues.

OK, so this isn’t really a song, but it’s so important for a modern guitarist to understand Blues music– as this is what every contemporary music genre is based on! Whether you prefer to play acoustic guitars, or like to use a high powered amplifier with tonnes of guitar pedals to achieve “that” guitar tone, this classic piece of musical literature is a must for any aspiring guitar player!

Two- Smoke on the Water.

Any wannabe guitarist, who doesn’t want to learn this brilliant piece of musical history, should probably, I don’t know, take piano lessons instead! Everyone recognises the first riff, crafted out of a mixture of aggressive power chords and sheer rock! All, of course, carved by the bare hands of Richie Blackmore. Truly a legendary guitar piece!

Three- You Really Got Me

If you learn the Kinks original, or Van Halen’s suped-up cover version, the four power chords of the main riff should be a part of your musical vocabulary almost as soon as you can hold a guitar! Keeping to the theme of crunchy powerchords, this was the first popular song to include distortion as a desired effect, and that effect can still be felt to this day!

Four- Sunshine of your love

With my earlier mention of this 12 Bar Blues, this should go without explanation. The main riff is taken from the D minor pentatonic scale, which is moved around with the root note of the chord– all following a 12 Bar Blues chord pattern.

Five- Nothing Else Matters

It’s not often that a Thrash Metal band writes such a heartfelt, emotional song– and even less often that they get away with it! Although quite long (at around 6 minutes and 28 seconds), this song is great for practising your open chords– and your picking– as each chord is arpeggiated.

Six- House of the Rising Sun

How have we got over half way, without mentioning this classic? In a similar vein to my last choice, this song is great to lean for the chords and arpeggios around them. It’s also a great track to solo over– once you’re learnt the A minor pentatonic scale of course!

Seven- Wonderwall

Although considered “overplayed” by some, this track deserves our attention because of its, surprisingly complicated, rhythm part. Many people think they can play it right, but if you can get the vigorous strumming of this one down, you’re well on your way to becoming the next Noel Gallagher.

Eight- Sweet Home Alabama

Maybe this has been played too much, maybe not, but this southern rocker cannot go without a mention somewhere in this list! It requires lots of picking control to properly execute this riff, as the rhythm is the key feature. So make sure you give it plenty of practice…

… as if you need me to tell you that?!

And Finally…

Anything written by the guitar genius Jimi Hendrix, does he need an explanation? From the rhythm playing in “Little Wing” to the backwards guitar solo in “Third Stone from the Sun”, his guitar parts are inspiring to say the least. Be inspired! By the way, this one counts for at least two choices– its that important!

So there we have it, ten songs that are not Stairway to… I mean that you must learn to play, and why!

Source by Rob J Barnes

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