What campfire is complete without someone whipping out their guitar to jam out for a sing-along session? None. Luckily, you don’t need to have professional, rockstar guitar skills to master some classic campfire hits.
Keep reading for 15 easy campfire guitar songs to learn that even beginners can overcome.
1) “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King
“Stand by Me” is a universally well-known song that’s great for singing along to, mainly when gathered around a campfire. It’s a song about togetherness and loyalty that’s easy to learn and even more fun to perform in others’ company.
Overall, the song consists of four standard chords that beginners should either learn or already have in their repertoire. From there, the song repeats the same progressions at a steady pace, except for the intro and instrumental sections, which progress slightly faster.
Since the song is widespread, the tune is more comfortable to remember. You can quickly acclimate to the song’s chord structure with the catchy tune, even if you slip up. But, if you slip up, you probably don’t have to worry because your group will cover your tracks with the vocals.
2) “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker
Another four-chord song, “Wagon Wheel,” provides a comfortable, upbeat song for your campfire needs. Plus, who doesn’t like a fun country guitar song to sing along to? “Wagon Wheel” follows a pattern on four standard chord progression throughout its entirety, including during the chores and instrumental sections. So, once you conquer the first section, you’ve mastered the whole song.
You will have to keep up with the quick-paced strumming, but even that remains consistent with the chord progression pattern. This Darius Rucker classic is also an especially well-known song with a catchy tune that can aid you during your performance.
3) “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash
A classic from one of the all-time music greats Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire” is the perfect mellow beat to entertain your campfire crowd. Not to mention, the song is literally about fire, so it’s very fitting for the occasion.
Not only are the lyrics easy to pick up so everyone can join in for the sing-along, but the chords are nearly obscenely easy to master. The song only has three chords, D, G and C. These chores are fundamental to learning the guitar, so you can learn as you play.
While the chord pattern doesn’t remain consistent, it stays easy to follow until the end from the lack of extensive progressions and the song’s generally slow pace. So, as long as you can grasp the three chords, you can flawlessly perform this song at your next bonfire.
4) “Campfire Song Song” from Spongebob Squarepants
The “Campfire Song Song,” an icon from the popular kids’ show Spongebob Squarepants, is the perfect campfire song to play on the guitar, especially if you have kids. Kids will go crazy for this hit. It’s also just a fun song to play with equally as playful lyrics.
This song only has a few chords and straightforward lyrics, making it an extremely easy guitar song to learn. You don’t have to get everything perfect either. The music speeds up as you progress in repeating the chord progressions. With each new verse, you strum a little bit faster. The speed may get difficult to follow if you’re a beginner guitarist, but it’s not about getting the song perfect; it’s about having fun.
You can play the song over and over again, trying to get faster and faster each time and to see how loud you and your campfire companions get when you sing the insanely contagious lyrics.
5) “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
At the end of the night, sometimes you want to sit around the fire and relax. Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” is just the piece to perform when you want to unwind with the company. It’s soothing, slow-paced, and ultimately a beautiful piece.
Not to mention, the song is relatively easy to learn and play. The majority of the tune relies heavily on four fundamental chords, with a few more advanced ones thrown in the mix. If you’re a novice guitar player, you can easily pick up the basic chords, and with some practice, you can get the complicated chords as well.
However, the song’s slow pace will help you, either way, to pick up all of the chords quickly. So, you can sit back, enjoy the fire’s warmth and your company, and strum along to Leonard Cohen’s soothing song.
6) “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band
A classic, steady song, Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” makes for an excellent choice to perform around the campfire. It’s also quite an easy guitar song to play, so even beginners can pull out their guitar to jam out.
The song consists of standard chords that repeat in specific sequences for the verses. The chorus uses the same chords but rearranges them in a different, faster-paced pattern. Ultimately though, once you overcome the first verse, you’ve pretty much mastered the entire song.
7) “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones
Next on our list of easy campfire guitar songs is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” This relaxed, steady slow jam, is another fantastic yet simple song to play while sitting around the campfire and a major crowd-pleaser. It’s also wildly popular, so everyone can join in to harmonize.
While it has a stricter record requiring four fingers, the song only needs five chords, four of which consist of essentials to learn the guitar. The chords also stay arranged in a consistent pattern throughout the song, making it easy to follow.
8) “Let Her Dance” by Bobby Fuller Four
If you want a song that can get everybody up to dance around the fire, you should look to learn Bobby Fuller Four’s hit song “Let Her Dance.” The song is upbeat, cheerful, and incredibly easy to understand since it only has four chords.
The song’s body primarily focuses on the repetition of two chords, with the other two coming in during the chorus. You can strum and sing if you choose, but the song based on the guitar alone is enough to get up and dance.
9) “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” is another upbeat, fast-paced song that’s guaranteed to rouse up a massive sing-along around a campfire. You can dance, sing and rejoice at your campsite while you play this easy guitar song.
The song only has five chords but has a heavy focus on two of them, making it easy to play. You will have to keep up with the fast-paced strumming, however, but after a few run-throughs, matching the strings with the chords will come easily to you.
The tune, since it’s popular, also makes it easy to remember so you can build your guitar playing abilities while having fun.
10) “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet
Your campsite may not be in the tropics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play some tropical music like Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville.” Not only is this song a significant crowd-pleaser, but it’s also catchy and fun to sing-along to and strum on the guitar.
The strumming is a bit fast-paced and involves consistent playing, but it is easy to pick up as you play because the string patterns repeat often for their corresponding verses. Once you get a handle of each verse, combining them together for your performance will go smoothly.
You don’t have to put much effort into learning this song with only three chords before you perform. And, since the music is widely known, it’s easy to remember and play from your memory.
11) “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind
Not only an excellent song to play at your next campfire, Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper” is a great song to learn to play, mostly for beginners, because it introduces you to a few advanced chords without putting heavy emphasis on them. In fact, the advanced chord progressions only occur sporadically throughout the piece.
While the sparse placement of the more complex chords may stump you as you play, it’s alright because the chances are that no one will notice, especially if you keep up with your strumming as if nothing happened. For the strumming, you can pick up the pattern easily by following the music and melody rather than having to look at directions.
This song is also quite popular; you might recognize it from the movie “Yes Man” when Jim Carrey begins learning the guitar. Because of its popularity, you may get some help playing from your memory of the melody. And, your friends and family can join in to help you if you forget some parts.
12) “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver
Quite possibly one of the most well-known songs in (at least) the United States, “Take Me Home Country Roads” makes for a great campfire song and an absolute crowd-pleaser. It’s a contagious song that will get everyone joining in before its end.
The piece is a bit more complicated than the previously mentioned tunes. It has eight chords, some of which are a bit more advanced for beginners but easy to grasp when you know they’re coming. Overall, the melody relies heavily on four of the eight chords, and they happen to be some basic chords.
The advanced chord progressions occur once or twice throughout the entire tune, so you don’t have to worry too much about them. Plus, when everyone’s singing along, and you miss one of them or don’t get it quite right, it’s most likely that no one will notice.
13) “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees
You and your friends may not notice the song at first glance, but once you hit the notes for “homecoming queen,” you’re guaranteed to get a response. This song is ideal for the campfire because you can garner an extensive sing-along session.
The song is also relatively easy to learn even though it has numerous chords, some more complicated than others. Don’t worry, though; the song eases you into the advanced finger placements so you can take your time as you advance your skills and master the song.
As for the strumming, you’ll pick it up rather quickly because it’s a memorable song with repetitive lyrics. Rather than reading directly from the tab, you can easily pick up the strings as you feel the music.
14) “American Pie” by Don McLean
“American Pie” is quite possibly an American classic. It’s also a steady, slower-paced song that’s easy to learn on the guitar despite its diverse chord range. Some of those chords are advanced, but don’t let that scare you away. The song’s soft pace, at least for the most part, will give you a steady introduction to the more complicated chord progressions.
Ultimately, the slow pace will help you conquer the advanced chord progressions with ease while simultaneously helping you learn and hone your guitar playing skills.
It may take some practice at first, but the memorable tune and popularity will aid you in your performance. And, when everyone joins in to sing, your worry about perfecting the song will melt away, and you can focus on the music.
15) “You Are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash
At the end of the night, with the embers slowly burning down, you want to wind down before going to sleep. What better way to relax than with a soothing tune from one of the most excellent musicians, Johnny Cash?
“You Are My Sunshine” only has three simple chords. Those chords combined with the mellow tune make for the perfect campfire song at the end of the night to soothe your friends to a good night’s sleep. The strumming is consistent with the chords as well. And, since the melody is simple and repetitive, it’s easy for you to grasp and remember as you play.
Johnny Cash’s song, while a lulling tune, is a perfect sing-along song too because of the memorable lyrics. As you strum and soothe the audience, they can join in to create a peaceful symphony.
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.