It’s time to pick up that dusty guitar your parents bought you last year and pluck away at those strings. Don’t know where to start? No worries. We’ve put together a list of the top 21 easy guitar solos for beginners to learn. Focus on these, and you’ll be showing off your skills in no time. Learning guitar isn’t always easy, but practicing these solos can help you level up way better than nursery rhyme tunes ever will.
1. While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles
Everyone knows and loves The Beatles, and what better song to start learning with than the ultimate ode to guitars? This George Harrison tune wails out a powerful solo that builds emotion almost like it’s telling a story. It’s excellent songwriting on every level, and the solo is not incredibly difficult to learn. That’s part of the beauty of it.
One of the best tracks on their 1968 double album often known as the “White Album,” this recording also features an originally uncredited performance by the great Eric Clapton.
2. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Here’s another hit from the 60s. Fun fact: that was an epic decade for guitar solos. Be sure to search there when you are ready to level up your skills later down the road. This song by the singer from Northern Ireland became his signature tune. Van Morrison recorded “Brown Eyed Girl” in 1967 and saw it stay on the Billboard top 100 chart for a total of 16 weeks. That’s some staying power.
Today, it’s instantly recognizable and one of the best sing-along songs for parties. Eric Gale played lead guitar on the solo, which is surprisingly newbie friendly.
3. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
In 1991, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves hit movie theaters, and it was a moderate success. Even more successful was the film’s song, performed by Bryan Adams. This power ballad went on to become one of the best-selling singles of all time, frequently included on lists of the greatest love songs ever written. It’s been covered by just about everybody, and it was easily Adams’ most successful release.
Keith Scott is on lead guitar. Like any good power ballad, there’s a memorable solo partway through the song. This one is slow, emotional, and easy to pick up for guitar newbies. If you’re hoping to impress somebody special, this is where you should focus your efforts.
4. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
Kurt Cobain became the voice of Gen X with this release in 1991, as the Seattle grunge movement got underway. His guitar solo isn’t complicated, but it uses an excellent blend of blues bends and rock riffs that will knock everyone’s socks off.
Since its release, several critics have dubbed this hit one of the greatest songs of all time, and it’s included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. You might think something this influential would be impossible to learn, but it’s actually a pretty beginner-friendly solo for those who are willing to give it a few practice tries.
5. Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
Let’s take it way back to 1955 now, to the Man in Black himself, Johnny Cash. This song became such a hit that it became one of his many signature songs. In the late 60s, he made headlines when he eventually performed for the inmates at the real Folsom Prison. The guitar solo is welcoming for beginners, as the real magic is in the lyrics and the swagger of the performer.
Work on expressing your personality with your guitar playing as you learn this one. That’s a major part of successful guitar players. They know how to develop a sound with a story. If you have the chops to pull this one off, expect to win everybody over by the time you’re done.
6. Take It Easy – Eagles
How about some country rock by one of the greatest American bands of all time, the Eagles? “Take It Easy” is a promising title for beginner guitar players, and the song delivers. It has an easy-going pace, which makes the chords simpler to pick up with the music. This one is also great to sing along to, so it’s a perfect one to pull out at parties.
Released in 1972, this is another hit that made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. The message is clear: take it easy and don’t stress too hard while you’re learning guitar. You’ll play your best when you’re feeling good.
7. Nothing Else Matters – Metallica
Sometimes you don’t feel good, and you still want to play music. That’s where Metallica steps in with this ode to sadness. James Hetfield actually stepped in to play the guitar solo on this track, and the result was timeless. It appeared on Metallica’s “Black Album,” one of their most popular releases ever.
A classic rock song from its era, this song’s solo is a moody, melodic riff that sums up the overall message of the song perfectly. Slow, sad, and stunningly haunting, this guitar solo became famous the world over for its emotional punch. Though it came out back in 1992, it’s still one of the most watched music videos on YouTube today, proving its staying power in rock and roll.
8. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
In 2003, the world heard “Seven Nation Army,” and we have never been the same. The familiar guitar riff is easy to play but still powerful and exciting, and people love to hear it. They play this track at parties, at clubs, at sports games; everywhere you go, people are bopping to The White Stripes.
It has an addictive feeling of power and electric energy behind it that makes it perfect for nearly any high-energy situation. Is it any surprise this song won Best Rock Song at the Grammy Awards? New guitar players can pick this one up and quickly earn some valuable rock and roll cred.
9. Icarus’ Dream Suite Opus 4 – Yngwie Malmsteen
You may be thinking Yngwie Malmsteen is too hard to tackle for a beginner, and you are right—partly. The intro for “Icarus’ Dream Suite Opus 4” is slow, soulful, and an excellent choice if you want to practice playing emotion in your melodies. This amazing piece of musical art has even been performed by symphonies. It’s that good.
The classical influences are obvious, which is another great reason to pick it up if you’re just getting started with guitar. Basically, this song is a master class in all the foundations of rocking out on guitar. It’s required practice for the discerning beginner.
10. American Idiot – Green Day
Green Day showed amazing staying power, releasing successful hits for different generations. In 2004, they released the album with the same name and told the world it was a “punk rock opera.” That makes this a great narrative piece that uses the music as well as the lyrics to tell a story.
When you play this one, you’re taking the listener on the journey of Green Day’s version of an opera, and that’s no small feat. Luckily, the solo is something you can master right off the bat. The titular song features a high-energy, fun, and easy-to-learn guitar solo. It’s definitely worth your time to learn the music of these popular artists.
11. Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
Played in G major, this classic love song has a famous opening guitar solo that gets repeated throughout. It’s a slow ballad with plenty of emotional power, which makes it both easy to pick up and fun to learn. And once you have it under your belt, you’ll be able to win everyone over with your smooth melodies.
Eric Clapton famously wrote this about his then-wife, Pattie Boyd. She also inspired several other of his best songs, which you can check out once you’ve mastered the solo in “Wonderful Tonight.”
12. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
This song is about a guy who can’t do much—but he is a qualified shredder when it comes to guitar. That does mean this guitar solo can be a little more challenging than some of the others, but you should still give it a try. It’s not out of your reach as a beginner.
Take it slowly at first. You don’t have to play this one to tempo the first time through. It’s better to hear the individual threads and see how they’re connected, so you can put them together later when you’re comfortable with the solo. Though this one came out in 1958, it had a resurgence of popularity when it featured prominently in the blockbuster film Back To The Future.
13. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
Brian May famously built his own guitar, which gave it an iconic sound that might be hard to replicate. Other than that, though, this guitar solo is perfect for beginners who really want to dive into fine rock and roll.
Queen is the gold standard for much of music, from instrumentation to vocals, and any guitar player starting out should pay close attention to their work. You’ll want to take it slowly at first with this one, so you can really break down how May pulled through the melodies. Then slowly build up to where you can work the chords with feelings for an epic solo.
14. We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
We have three words for you: 80s hair bands. Twisted Sister was probably the band that took hard rock glam the furthest, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t serious about their music. The solo for this song is newbie friendly because it moves along with the lead melody and adds a little extra with a whammy bar. This is a great opportunity to try out some frills as you learn to rock, 80s style.
Twisted Sister was known for being theatrical, and that went for everything from their music videos to their guitar solos. When you play this one, let it really shine. Maybe put on a pink leotard and tease your hair, too.
15. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns n’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses is one of those bands that everybody knows and loves, but it didn’t get the critical acclaim it deserved at the time. Released in 1988, this song was, surprisingly, the band’s only US number-one single. Slash’s opening riff is melodic, beautiful, and relatively easy to learn.
Yes, there are some more complicated sections later in the song, but if you can focus on the opening—which literally everyone recognizes—you will be well on your way to learning the basics of great guitar solo form. Here’s an interesting fact: Slash actually came up with this when he was playing around with “circus” themed riffs. That may be useful to keep in mind as you work with the rhythms and sounds of this solo.
16. Live Forever – Oasis
Oasis is another band that became the iconic voice of its generation. They had a unique sound all their own, both in their melodies and their vocals. This fantastic song from 1994 was inspired by another classic rock band, the Rolling Stones. The lead singer of Oasis later stated that “Live Forever” was his favorite song from their entire collection. It came out amidst the grunge era and went on to be certified double Platinum.
The guitar solo features a change in chords, which makes it stand out, almost as a new verse of its own. Don’t worry, though. It’s not too hard for beginners to learn. Give this one a try to practice guitar solos that like to speak for themselves.
17. Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Simplicity is the name of the game on this one. Well-written, down-to-earth, and just plain fun, this song doesn’t try to get too complicated with its instrumentation. Let the notes speak for themselves, and you’ll do just fine. This is a perfect choice for guitar beginners who still want to rock.
Released in 2000 on the album of the same name, “Californication” remains one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ most requested songs. The guitar solo is a huge part of that popularity. It has riffs that are familiar to anyone who’s been to a bar or listened to a radio in the past couple of decades, and it brings a smile to everyone’s face. That’s how you know it’s a great song to add to your repertoire.
18. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
If anyone knew how to make a guitar talk to the audience, it was Jimi Hendrix. This man was a master of expressing his personality through music. He told stories with every strum of the strings. You might be surprised to read this, but many of his guitar solos are newbie friendly. His intro for “Purple Haze” is a great place for beginners to start practicing with instantly recognizable melodies and special riffs that don’t require much skill to master.
Yes, he has other solos that are much harder to learn, and those can come later when you are more comfortable with the instrument. Hendrix was a master of the guitar, no question, but he knew the power of a simple solo once in a while. Let the master teach you his ways with the opening to “Purple Haze.”
19. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Hippies of all generations love Pink Floyd, and for good reason. This band mastered the introspective sound of psychedelic rock, and they elevated it to art. A nice, slow-opening guitar solo on this one leads into what Rolling Stone magazine listed as one of the Greatest Songs of All Time. You’ll have several playing styles to practice in this song alone, which makes it a great place to get started with your guitar learning.
It was originally recorded on a twelve-string guitar with a processed sound, so be aware of that when you’re trying to recreate exactly what you hear on the track. You don’t have to match the sound exactly to learn what the song has to offer.
20. High and Dry – Radiohead
Radiohead knew what they were doing with this guitar solo. It adds a lot to the melody, supporting it and elevating the song into a work of art. All that said, it’s still a simple solo to learn, and it’s a must-have on any new guitar player’s list of songs to practice.
Released in 1995, this song had evidently been in development since the previous decade and first came out on a demo in 1993. Surprisingly, the band themselves worried this was a bad song. When you sit down to learn the chords and instrumentation, you’ll realize they were probably just being humble. This is a great piece of music.
21. Black Magic Woman – Santana
We end our list with a classic from the man himself. Santana is known for his beautiful and artistic melodies on guitar. Studying what he does is a critical move for any guitar player. “Black Magic Woman” is firmly rooted in the sound of the late 60s and early 70s, when it was released. It is still a favorite song today, often covered and requested.
Set in common time, it takes place mostly in D minor, which gives it that mysterious feel. Songs that are in minor keys often sound either sad or mysterious, and Santana knew how to use this bit of music theory to great effect. The guitar solo itself is slow and sensual, giving you the chance to practice really expressing feelings in your guitar work.
Picking up the guitar can be overwhelming at times. You don’t know where to begin, and when you touch the strings, it sounds like a sick animal whining, not the epic rock and roll you were imagining. Learning the guitar takes time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shred some awesome solos pretty soon.
You won’t be able to do it the first time you pick up that guitar, but give these songs a few tries. Pretty quickly, you’ll be surprised by what you can do.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other 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.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.