Learning a few easy guitar licks is a great way to get started playing the guitar! Guitar teacher Matthew K. shares 5 fun options and explains how…
Anyone can learn the guitar, but it can pose a challenge to learn any new skill. And sore fingers and cramping hands can deter anyone from getting their first song down. This is why I compiled a list of five of my favorite guitar licks for beginners that sound great and are fun to play.
If you haven’t learned how to read guitar tabs yet, take a moment to familiarize yourself (check out this article!) before coming back to this list of songs! I’ll also share a video of other solo guitar licks if you prefer to watch.
What Are Some Easy Guitar Licks?
Some of my favorite licks for beginners come from these songs:
- “Smoke on the Water” – Deep Purple
- “Seven Nation Army” – The White Stripes
- “Beat It” – Michael Jackson
- “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
- “Day Tripper” – The Beatles
A couple of these are only on one string (like “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes). Starting with a really easy one like this one will help your dexterity and fuel your confidence to learn more.
Remember, always start slow, and if you cannot get it at first, break it down into sections. Get the first half down, then the second half, and when you are ready, put it together.
Let’s start with the easiest one first. This is an old stand-by, and the very first song I learned on guitar.
1. “Smoke on the Water” – Deep Purple
You can start by only using one finger on one string. But when you get that, try it with your index, ring, and pinky fingers. Use your index finger on the 3, your ring finger on the 5, and pinky on the 6. Doing so will make the rest of the guitar licks easier.
2. “Seven Nation Army” – The White Stripes
Now let’s check out a more modern classic riff. It can be played on only one string. Just make sure to use your pinky finger to hit the 10th fret. Then, you can slide your index finger down the neck to play the rest.
Now let’s involve the other strings. Take your time with the next three songs. They are broken into sections, so if you have trouble, you can take it one section at a time.
You might also be interested in: 50 Little Things You Can Do To Get More From Your Guitar Practice Time
3. “Beat It” – Michael Jackson
4. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Sweet Home Alabama” looks tricky, but there is a simple way to play it. First, make the D chord shape. But instead of putting your middle finger on the 2 of the high E string, keep it open like this:
Use that middle finger for the A and low E notes.
In the fourth section of the lick, you will want to use your index finger to hammer on for every 2nd fret.
5. “Day Tripper” – The Beatles
“Day Tripper” seems like one of the more tricky guitar licks, but it’s pretty easy to catch on to! For the notes on the second fret, make sure to bar your index finger over the A and D strings. Also, use a hammer on for the last note. When you get that, move the same pattern up to the A string.
Want to learn others and follow along with a video? Check out more here:
Enjoy Learning These Easy Guitar Licks for Beginners!
The best way to master guitar licks is to practice daily! If you want extra help, consider working with a professional guitar teacher.
Matthew K. teaches guitar, piano, and music theory lessons in Brooklyn, NY. He studied music composition at Mercyhurst University, and he has been teaching lessons for four years. Matthew is available to teach in-person lessons as well as online via Skype. Learn more about Matthew here!
Photo by Stuart Dallas