We’re not sure where you might be but there is an ominous cloud hanging overhead here. So, for that very reason we’ve been inspired to keep our Hump Day article bright and breezy. In keeping with the whole ‘New Year, New You’ vibe, we’re putting across some of our favourite songs to play, which we feel might inspire some of you new players.
Admittedly, there are some low-key, slow-numbers on here but they are classics so hopefully you’ll allow us.
1. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan
Originally written for the soundtrack of the 1973 film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”, Dylan released the single and it has become part of song writing history. Though many have covered the track, most notably Guns N’ Roses, Dylan’s acoustic rendition is by far our favourite, a masterpiece is restraint and gloriously simplistic in its execution, it’s one of those songs that gets into your bones.
2. Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Though the lead guitar takes a walk throughout the track with subtle hammer-ons and pull-offs aplenty, the chord changes and plodding tempo make Ring of Fire an excellent song for beginners. Stick with the rhythm guitar and you’ll be away.
3. 505 by Arctic Monkeys
Though this might seem like a bit of an odd one to pick considering Alex Turner switches guitar for organ on this track, it easily the least taxing when it comes to chord changes. All you have to do is switch between D minor and E minor. However, the beauty here is that it opens up the ability for you to switch between open chords or build up your dexterity with barre chords. The easier the track, the more you can throw in little flourishes here and there as your confidence kicks in. Alternatively, once you have the chord pattern down you can begin to bring in the vocals and next thing you know you’ll be headlining the mainstage at Glastonbury too. One day!
4. Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
What a Wicked tune, eh? Thankfully it’s delightfully easy to play. Written in the key of Bm, it leans on a backbone of Bm, A and E throughout the entire song. One thing to note though, there is a way to cheat the Bm chord but if you can stick it out and barre it, then your dexterity, grip strength, and later ability to expand beyond standard chord shapes will thank you.
5. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
Swift herself admits to not attempting this next one on acoustic, but we think she pulls it off well here. You will see tabs all over the internet claiming that you need capos here and there, but as you can see, Swift manages just fine with the ever-present trio of G, C, and Am (which you will see a lot as you delve into analysing tracks).
6. Zombie by The Cranberries
Another song that is subtle in its delivery, lending itself as a melancholy backdrop to the visceral lyrical content. However, its simplicity is its genius, as this is another that will leave its trace long after you’ve heard it.
7. Dyer Wanna Be A Spaceman by Oasis
We thought it only fair to bring the mood up again, and what better way than with this up-tempo B-side gem from the man who knows how to write a catchy tune, Noel Gallagher. Though it may seem like there is far more going on in this song that in the others, Gallagher is a master of utilising ever so subtle chord changes. Once you get into this, you’ll find the you don’t wander above the third fret, it’s mostly open chords, and you’ll develop a jaunty little swagger by the end of it.
8. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
The seemingly quicker pace of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) is in part due to Billie Joe Armstrong’s picking style, deftly picking out the higher notes in amongst a sauntering low-end rhythm. This is a great song for homing in on right-hand picking accuracy and is also a firm favourite of buskers and open mic crowds, so expect a sing-along if you crack this one out at a party.
9. With or Without You by U2
Though many note the protracted delays and textured soundscapes The Edge creates on this epic, many a heart has been won over by a lone troubadour singing this to their loved one. Trust us.
10. Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
Ending on a high with this stone-cold classic. If we said that Good Riddance was a crowd pleaser, wait until you see what happens when you bust this one out at a family party/Irish wedding/open mic/street corner/over the neighbour’s garden fence at 3am on a Sunday morning (don’t do that last one).
Hopefully, we’ve given you an idea of what you can turn your hand to. For those who are just looking and need some inspiration in buying their first instrument, then check out our handy guide on the Dawsons’ Blog.
If you need any further info, then our Customer Service team will be happy to answer your questions over the phone on 01925 582420. Alternatively, pop into your local Dawsons’ store for a chat with one of our in-store specialists.
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.