The Beatles were an international sensation when they hit the music scene in the 1960s. Today, they are arguably the most influential band in all of the popular music, and plenty of guitarists enjoy learning their songs. Luckily, a decent portion of the band's songs are surprisingly easy to learn, so even if you're a newer guitarist, you can play Beatles songs right away. Here are our top 12 picks for easy Beatles songs to learn.
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Top 12 Easy Beatles Songs to Learn on Guitar
1. Yellow Submarine
This catchy, whimsical song is a great choice to learn to play. And though new guitarists might be intimidated by the fact that the guitar needs to be tuned down a half-step to play it, the song uses some of the first chords you usually learn as a guitarist. You'll need to tune it to E flat/A flat/D flat/G flat/B flat/E flat (instead of E/A/D/G/B/E). Once you've gotten this alternate tuning down, you might be relieved to hear that you only need the chord shapes for G, D, C, Em, and Am. Of all the Beatles songs on guitar on our least, this is one of the more straightforward ones.
The rhythm pattern for the song is an interesting one -- it doesn't require you to strum particularly vigorously, but you do need to switch between guitar chords fairly quickly. This video (below left) gives you an idea of what the song's pattern sounds like. Since "Yellow Submarine" doesn't contain any barre chords, the entire song makes a fun exercise for switching chords quickly.
If you aren't familiar with "Yellow Submarine" (or even if you are), you might enjoy this entertaining music video (above right). Plenty of listeners have tried to read into the lyrics of the song, but Paul McCartney famously said that the band intended to write a children's song and that "Yellow Submarine" wasn't written with any hidden meaning in mind.
2. Let It Be
This easy Beatles song is easily one of the band's most popular songs. It was written by Paul McCartney and is the title track of the band's last album together. Notably, most people think the reference to "mother Mary" is talking about the biblical Mary, but Paul McCartney wrote the song about his mother, Mary, who passed away when he was 14. He said that he drew inspiration from a dream he had during a difficult time. He saw his mother, who spoke reassuringly to him.
The whole song only contains four chords -- three major chord shapes and one minor chord. You'll just need to play C, G, Am, and F. If you're a very new guitarist, you may not have learned the F chord yet. You can play it as a barre chord, but most beginners learn it as an open chord. You do use your index finger to bar the B and high E strings on the first fret. Most beginner guitarists will likely find it a little tough to switch between F and other open chords at first, but with practice, those transitions should become easier.
This video takes you through the basic strumming pattern, and it also explains the "walkdown," a brief riff that sounds a little like a bassline.
This is one of those Beatles songs on guitar that many new players learn early on. The chord progression is easy to follow, and you can have fun singing along as you play.
3. A Hard Day's Night
This is one of the more famous songs in the Beatles catalog. It shares a name with a film made about the band. A Hard Day's Night chronicles 36 hours in the band's life. However, it isn't really your typical documentary. The movie was scripted and is likely best described as a "musical comedy." Most of the songs in the movie were written by both John Lennon and Paul McCartney, although you can hear part of a song written by George Harrison, too.
If you want to play the song itself, you may need to learn a few new chords. This Beatles song includes G, Cadd9, F, Bm, Em, C7, Dm7, D7, and Dm11. To play a simplified version, you can always play the D chords as just Dm and play both C7 and Cadd9 as C. If you haven't learned 7th chords yet, they're well worth taking the time to practice. These chords have a somewhat bluesy sound, and if you're interested in writing an original song or two, they're a great way to add a little sonic flavor.
You may not want to make this one of the very first Beatles songs on guitar that you learn. This video will take you through the strumming pattern and the chords you'll need. It may take some extra time to learn, but "A Hard Day's Night" is an especially fun song to be able to play.
4. Come Together
This is another of the best Beatles songs out there. This unusual and eye-catching animated video (below left) will give you a great introduction if you haven't heard this one yet. The song revolves around an especially catchy guitar riff that's great to learn if you're ready to start working on your lead guitar skills. And as is the case with many Beatles songs on guitar, there are several versions of "Come Together" you can learn how to play.
This video lesson (above center) will take you through how to play the riff. And if you want to learn how to strum it, this helpful tutorial will give you a walkthrough. In terms of the strumming pattern, "Come Together" is a lot like many guitar songs -- you just use alternate strumming (video above right) in a down/down/up/up/down/up pattern.
Chord-wise, you'll need Dm, A, Bm, and a G chord. By adding a series of hammer-ons and pull-offs into the chord progression, you'll be able to approximate the main riff. If that's too complex for now, don't worry -- it's still a lovely song if you just strum the main chord progression. And if you want to practice playing guitar and singing at the same time, this is a great song to try it with. Don't forget that part of the fun of playing Beatles songs on guitar is making them your own, whether vocally or instrumentally.
5. Get Back
"Get Back" is one of the band's hit songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It's also made up of only three chords. You only need a D major chord, a G major, and an A major. Compared to some of the other songs on the list, it's a relatively simple song. This tutorial will show you how to play it in 10 minutes.
Since it's made up of easy chords, "Get Back" is also a good song to create your own version of. As you're sure to discover along your guitar journey, you don't always need to stick to the exact rhythm pattern for a given song as it's written. You can even try out percussive strumming and palm muting techniques to add even more variety to the Beatles version.
Interestingly enough, "Get Back" features prominently in the Let It Be documentary film about the Beatles. The film features footage of the Beatles illegally playing the song from a record company's rooftop. The band was able to get three takes of the song before the police shut the performance down. Some recorded versions of "Get Back" include clips from the performance.
6. Norwegian Wood
"Norwegian Wood" might not be one of the most recognizable Beatles songs on guitar, but it's notably the first very popular song to feature a sitar (video below left). It may come as a surprise that a rock band would consider using a sitar on a song, but the Beatles' chance meeting with a sitar arguably changed music history.
While filming the movie Help!, George Harrison picked up a sitar that had been placed as a decoration. He was fascinated by it, and he later asked Ravi Shankar, one of the world's best sitarists, to mentor him. The Beatles' use of the instrument helped popularize it and set the stage for what we now call "world music."
This is a great Beatles song (video above center) to learn if you want to start incorporating little riffs into your playing. This tutorial (above right) shows you a simplified version that also includes the song's short riff. You'll need to use E, D, A, Em, F#m, B. As you'll see in this and other video lessons, you can experiment with hammer-ons and pull-offs to enrich the song.
You may also notice that compared to other Beatles songs on guitar, "Norwegian Wood" has less straightforward lyrics. Later on, in the band's career, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and the rest of the band became more creative and experimental, leading to the creation of many more unusual and memorable songs.
7. All You Need Is Love
Few songs capture the 60s better than "All You Need Is Love." The song isn't quite like typical love songs, though -- its lyrics reflect a sunny optimism that can serve as a pick-me-up for music lovers anywhere. This song is popular enough that you can find seemingly endless versions of the chord progression. This easy tutorial (below left) only requires G, D, C, Em, B7, and A.
The rhythm on the chorus chord progression can be a little challenging to get right. But by watching the video and listening to the song (above right), you'll be able to fine-tune your sense of rhythm and develop as a guitarist.
"All You Need Is Love" is, collectively speaking, one of the world's favorite Beatles songs. In fact, it was featured on "Our World," the first worldwide TV special. The special aired in 1967 and included music from six different continents.
8. Here Comes The Sun
If you're looking for Beatles songs on guitar that inspire a sense of hope, "Here Comes the Sun" is a clear choice. George Harrison wrote the song on a spring morning while relaxing in Eric Clapton's garden. He'd felt like the winters in England went on forever, and the song was primarily written about his relief that the winter was over. Notably, on the recording of the actual song, John Lennon did not play at all. At the time, there was a considerable rift between Lennon and Harrison.
You may have seen tutorials for "Here Comes the Sun" that include all the chord embellishments that you hear on the recording. However, if you'd prefer a simplified version with only three chords through most of the song, this tutorial is a great way to get started. You'll need a capo at the 7th fret, and most of the song is the D major chord, G major, and A7.
You'll sometimes need to add in an E7. This is one of those Beatles songs on the guitar you can revisit as you get better -- start with the beginner version, and you can always add the embellishments as you learn. The embellishments are a little more challenging than chords but easier than a guitar solo, so they can be useful stepping stones in your guitar journey.
9. Paperback Writer
The Beatles wrote "Paperback Writer" largely because Paul McCartney's aunt asked him to write about "something interesting" instead of about love. Paul decided on the topic after reading about a struggling author in the Daily Mail. John Lennon contributed somewhat to the lyrics, but this is one of the many Beatles songs written almost entirely by Paul. You can check out the song in this music video (below left).
Though this son's distinctive riff is a lot of fun to play, the rhythm might make it the easiest Beatles song to play. This beginner-friendly tutorial (above center) shows you how to play it using only two chords. With a capo on the third fret, you only need an E major and an A major.
If you don't have a capo, this tutorial (above right) will show you how to play it using only G major and C major. You can also learn the riff if you'd like. If you've just started on guitar and are in search of some simple songs, this is definitely one of the first Beatles songs on the guitar you should look at.
10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
This is one of the relatively few Beatles songs written by George Harrison. Its melancholy chord progression is catchy nonetheless (video below left). Of the Beatles songs on guitar on the list, this is one of the more challenging ones. In terms of chords, you will need Am, Am/G, D#/F#, F, G, D, E, C, A, C#m, F#m, and Bm.
However, if you'd like a slightly simplified version, this video lesson (above right) takes you through a rhythm guitar lesson that shows you the chords you'll need along with a recommended rhythm pattern. You'll need to play Am, Am/G, D/F#, F, C#m, F#m, and Bm. As you may already know, most of these are barre chords, which can be a bit much if you're just starting out. But once you get familiar with most basic chords, understanding how barre chords work will make many guitar songs easier to play.
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is featured on the Beatles' White Album, although the White Album version is a long way from where the song started. When George Harrison first wrote it, it was a gentle and understated acoustic song -- George was on vocals and playing an acoustic guitar while Paul McCartney was on background vocals. As the group worked to develop the powerful rock version that would be on the album, Ringo Starr returned to the band and George Harrison invited Eric Clapton to collaborate.
11. Across The Universe
"Across the Universe" is probably one of the most familiar Beatles songs on guitar. This tutorial shows you how to play it with only four chords -- you need C, Em, Dm, G, and Fm. The Fm is one you'll likely need to play as a barre chord, but it's fairly simple to do.
If you aren't ready to play a fully-barred version, this article shows you an easier way to play it. If you're looking for a first song to try adding a barre chord onto, "Across the Universe" is a good one to choose.
You might be surprised to hear that despite its serene sound, "Across the Universe" was first inspired by an argument that John Lennon had with his wife. He was irritated at the time but had an idea for the song, and he wrote it right away. The song was also first used on a charity album made in support of the World Wildlife Fund.
12. Twist And Shout
If you're looking for Beatles songs on guitar that you can have fun playing, look no further than "Twist and Shout." Check out this rousing live version (video below left) of the Beatles playing it on the Ed Sullivan show -- you'll notice the screams of excited fans! It's up-tempo and cheerful, and you can play it with just three chords -- D, G, and A.
This tutorial (above center) shows you how. Since it's a fast-moving song, it's a good one to choose to work on changing chords smoothly (video above right). And once you get good at chord changes on a three-chord song, you can move on to practice on songs with more chords.
Though the Beatles certainly popularized "Twist and Shout," they didn't actually write this song. It was written by Bert Berns and first recorded by The Top Notes in 1962. The song enjoyed another surge in popularity when it was used in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Want to Get Started?
Learning and being able to play iconic songs is one of the perks of being able to play guitar. And if you want to be able to play more difficult Beatles songs on guitar, taking an online guitar course can offer you a step-by-step guide through each portion of a song.
Most courses also include a variety of genres, so you can choose one to specialize in or try out a variety of them. But the best part of taking an online guitar course is having a structured learning plan to follow. In many cases, guitarists don't progress because they aren't sure what to learn and when. A good guitar course will take your goals and preferences into account while helping you grow as a guitarist.
If you're a Beatles fan who's relatively new at guitar, you might be happy to see that plenty of Beatles songs on a guitar actually aren't hard to play at all. What do you think? Are you learning an easy Beatles song that we should have included on the list? Please let us know in the comments, and don't forget to like and share if you found it helpful!