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50+ Easy Fingerpicking Songs For Guitarists

Are you (or do you know of) an aspiring guitarist looking for the perfect set of songs to learn how to fingerpick? Well…look no further!

As we’re sure you’ll agree:

Learning how to fingerpick is no easy task. Instead of strumming away with an all-too-forgiving pick, you’ll have to carefully coordinate your fingers to maintain different rhythms and picking patterns simultaneously.

Therefore, it’s super important to make sure you’re starting off with the right sort of tracks; songs that are not only fun to play, but that’ll also develop your technique in the right way.

In this article, our awesome gang of writers-slash-fingerstyle-guitarists have compiled this all-encompassing list of the top 50+ easy fingerpicking songs, packed with free video fingerpicking lessons as well as an overview of why each track is a good choice for beginner fingerpickers.

Let’s get started!

The Songs

1. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Anne Bredon)

This is a song that was made famous by artists like Joan Baez and Led Zeppelin, but it was originally written by the artist Anne Bredon. This is a simple folk song to learn, and a great introduction to fingerstyle guitar. 

2. House of the Rising Sun (Traditional)

This is one of the most famous American folk songs, and the original writer (or writers) has long since been lost to history. The most famous version of the song was recorded by The Animals in the 1960s, but there are countless interpretations of this song available online.

3. Blackbird (The Beatles)

“Blackbird” is another fantastic song for beginner fingerstyle guitar players to learn. This is one of the most popular songs by The Beatles, and it’s a great song to learn to build your confidence in fingerpicking.

4. Scarborough Fair (Traditional)

“Scarborough Fair” is a traditional English folk ballad, which is in turn based on the traditional Scottish folk ballad “The Elfin Knight”. Many artists have covered this song, but two of the most famous are Simon & Garfunkel, as well as The Fairport Convention.

5. Crimson and Clover (Tommy James and the Shondells)

“Crimson and Clover” is one of the prettiest songs from the psychedelic pop era. The song was originally written by Tommy James and The Shondells, but it has also been interpreted by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. It’s a great choice to get to grips with fingerpicking while not being overly-complicated

6. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)

This is another iconic song with a bit of a grim backstory. Otis Redding recorded this song a few times, including just a couple of days before he died in a plane crash. Legend has it that James Brown warned Redding not to fly in the plane.

7. Spanish Romance (Traditional)

“Spanish Romance”, also known as “La Romanza” among other names, is a piece of classical folk music. The authorship is unknown, but this piece of solo fingerstyle guitar music has been performed by countless musicians for generations. 

8. I’m Not the Only One (Sam Smith)

“I’m Not the Only One” is a relatively recent gospel song by Sam Smith. The song deals with themes of adultery, and is one of Sam Smith’s most popular songs to date. 

9. City of Stars (La La Land)

This song was actually written by a composer named Justin Hurwitz, and it was performed by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in the 2016 film La La Land. The music was written by Hurwitz and the lyrics were composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

10. Come Sunday (Duke Ellington)

“Come Sunday” is a jazz standard that was originally written and performed by Duke Ellington. The song evolved over the years, and Ellington recorded a couple of different versions of it. It was originally written as part of his Black, Brown, and Beige suite, and later Ellington added new lyrics to it.

11. Let Her Go (Passenger)

Let her go is a folk-style song by the singer-songwriter Michael David Rosenberg, who goes by the stage name Passenger. This song was released in 2011 and slowly became one of the most popular songs of the 2010s. It’s based around a pretty simple chord progression, with straightforward fingerstyle technique that’s great to get to grips with. 

12. Let it Be (The Beatles)

“Let it Be” is one of the most famous songs The Beatles ever recorded, and it was one of the last songs that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote together. This sad song is an elegy for Paul McCartney’s mother, who died when McCartney was a teenager.

13. Iris (Goo Goo Dolls)

Iris is a song that the Goo Goo Dolls wrote for the film City of Angels. After it was included in the soundtrack to the movie, the band also released it on their album Dizzy Up the Girl.

14. I’m Yours (Jason Mraz)

“I’m Yours” is a reggae-esque song by the singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. The song was released in 2008 and is one of Mraz’s most popular songs. The song is accompanied by a famous music video with scenes shot in and around the Hawaiian islands. It’s a great one for learning how to incorporate percussive elements with your thumb while using the rest of your fingers to carry the tune. 

15. Imagine (John Lennon)

“Imagine” is one of the most popular and famous songs in the entire history of music. The song is beloved for its beautiful, serene melodies that are accompanied by lyrics of John Lennon’s vision of utopia. It’s primarily based around just two chords with a pretty repetitive melody, making it an easy one to fingerpick. 

16. Everybody Hurts (R.E.M.)

This song comes from one of R.E.M.’s most successful albums, Automatic For the People. The song was an international hit and Blender named “Everybody Hurts” as “The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born”.

17. Lean on Me (Bill Withers)

“Lean On Me” is a soul song by Bill Withers, from 1972’s Still Bill. The song was a top ten hit for Bill Withers and it inspired several cover versions. It’s actually one of the few songs that has ever topped record charts with versions by different artists

18. Creep (Radiohead)

“Creep” is one of alt-rock royalty Radiohead’s most popular songs, from their first album Pablo Honey from 1993. The song isn’t typical of most of Radiohead’s music, because they actively tried to explore different styles of music after releasing this song.

It mixes fingerstyle with more traditional strumming, making it a great choice if you’re just starting to incorporate fingerpicking into your overall guitar technique. 

19. Fur Elise (Ludwig Van Beethoven)

Nearly everyone knows this one. “Fur Elise” is one of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s most popular and enduring compositions. It was originally written as a solo piano piece, but it has been re-arranged for guitar countless times. You can find easy-fingerstyle sheet music and fingerstyle guitar tabs all over the internet for this song.

20. You’ve Got a Friend In Me (Randy Newman)

“You’ve Got a Friend In Me” by Randy Newman is a song that was originally written for the soundtrack to Disney’s Toy Story. It’s become an iconic song since then and has been covered by dozens of artists. You should learn it and add it to your repertoire.

21. Open Arms (Journey)

“Open Arms” is a Journey song that appears on the soundtrack to Heavy Metal and the band’s 1981 album Escape. A lot of people think of this power ballad as one of the greatest love songs ever written.

22. Stop This Train (John Mayer)

“Stop This Train” is a John Mayer song from his 2006 hit album Continuum. This song marked a part of Mayer’s transition from pop music into sounds that were influenced by blues and soul music. 

This tune is particularly useful for learning how to incorporate percussive elements into your fingerstyle technique.

23. Dust in the Wind (Kansas)

“Dust in the Wind” is one of the most iconic songs by soft rock band Kansas. Do you remember that scene in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where they persuade Socrates to join them on their excellent adventure?

24. Wonderwall (Oasis)

Playing this song as parties and open mic nights has become something of a meme. But there’s a reason the song is so popular to begin with. This is one of the simplest and best songs that you can learn to play on your guitar in fingerpicking style. 

There are countless fingerstyle versions of this track online, incorporating percussive elements as well as a variety of different easy fingerpicking patterns.

25. Yesterday (The Beatles)

“Yesterday” is a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for Help! This song features Paul McCartney singing and playing his acoustic guitar, backed by a string quartet. This is one of the most popular and melancholy songs that The Beatles wrote.

Although it’s fingerstyle, it heavily relies on gentle strumming with the fingers along with the occasional bit of fingerpicking, making for a super-easy fingerstyle song.

26. When I Was Your Man (Bruno Mars)

“When I Was Your Man” is a pop song that Bruno Mars wrote back in 2012. This is a soft piano ballad was accompanied by an equally popular music video featuring Mars playing his piano in a lonely apartment.

This track is particularly useful for learning to play chords with the fingerstyle technique; particularly inverted chords.

27. She’s Got a Way (Billy Joel)

“She’s Got a Way” is a ballad by Billy Joel about a woman he loves. The only problem is that he doesn’t understand why he loves her. This pop song is about him figuring out why he loves her.

28. Skyfall (Adele)

“Skyfall” is a song that Adele was hired to write for the soundtrack to the James Bond film Skyfall. The movie was outrageously popular, thanks in no small part to the stellar theme song Adele wrote.

The minor tonality of this track makes for a great fingerstyle song, while the slow tempo makes it an easy one to fingerpick.

29. Some Nights (Fun)

“Some Nights” is a song by the band Fun. from their 2012 album Some Nights. This song slowly rose to the top of the record sales charts, becoming a “sleeper hit” for the band. 

30. The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)

“The Sound of Silence” is one of the most famous songs written in the 20th Century. Inspired by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, “The Sound of Silence” is probably one of the most frequently covered songs ever (not to mention a super-easy fingerstyle track). 

The slow tempo and emphasis on strumming make it pretty easy to pick up, meaning you’ll be fingerpicking along in no time at all.

31. Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver)

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” is one of John Denver’s signature songs. This song is enormously popular and is one of the four official state songs of West Virginia. 

32. Tears in the Rain (Joe Satriani)

“Tears in the Rain” by Joe Satriani is a beautiful instrumental piece that showcases Satriani’s instrumental prowess. There’s a reason he has a reputation as one of the greatest guitar virtuosos ever.

There are plenty of easy fingerstyle versions of this track online, with it being a particularly-good choice for learning how to carry a melody with your index, middle and ring fingers.

33. We Are the Champions (Queen)

“We Are the Champions” (often paired with their equally popular mega-hit “We Will Rock You”) is one of the greatest songs from Queen’s arena rock era. The slower tempo and emphasis on chords make this anthem an easy one to fingerpick. 

34. Wagon Wheel (Darius Rucker)

“Wagon Wheel” has been a staple of open mic nights for years and if you’re going to be playing fingerstyle guitar, you should learn this song. Learning this simple song will allow you to jam with countless other people, as well as significantly improving your fingerpicking technique.

35. Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper)

“Time After Time” is a classic new wave song by Cyndy Lauper, often regarded as one of the best love songs of all time. It’s great for learning how to carry a melody with your fingers while relying on the thumb to hold down the root notes. 

36. Three Little Birds (Bob Marley)

“Three Little Birds” was one of the last songs that Bob Marley released as a single before he died. This is an example of a song whose name isn’t prominently used in the lyrics, and a lot of people think the song is called “Don’t Worry About a Thing”. It’s great for practicing your rhythm as a fingerstyle guitarist, while still being a super easy song to play. 

37. Shape Of My Heart (Sting)

“Shape Of My Heart” is one of the most popular songs that Sting wrote and recorded in his professional career, for the album Ten Summoner’s Tales. The song was also used in the soundtrack for the movie Leon.

Although the hammer-ons make it sound complex, it’s actually pretty simple from a fingerpicking perspective.

38. Shape Of You (Ed Sheeran)

“Shape Of You” is a dancehall style song by Ed Sheeran that was released in 2017 and ended up becoming the most frequently streamed song of the 2010s. It’s a super percussive and chord-based song, which makes it an easy one to fingerpick.

39. Ribbon in the Sky (Stevie Wonder)

“Ribbon in the Sky” is a 1981 soul ballad by Stevie Wonder. This song ended up getting included on Wonder’s 1982 album Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium I.

40. The Pink Panther (Henry Mancini)

“The Pink Panther” is the instrumental theme song to The Pink Panther, written by Henry Mancini back in 1963. This has become an iconic piece of film music and is often parodied. It largely relies on the index and middle fingers to carry the melody, making it a pretty simple one to fingerpick. 

41. Say You, Say Me (Lionel Richie)

“Say You, Say Me” is a song by Lionel Richie for the musical drama White Nights. It was also released as a single, along with the B-Side “Can’t Slow Down”.

42. One More Night (Phil Collins)

“One More Night” is one of Phil Collins’ most popular sentimental ballads. This song, along with others on the album No Jacket Required helped further establish Collins as a solo artist.

Like a lot of the other tracks on this list, it’s easy to hold down the bass with your thumb while maintaining a pretty straightforward melody with the rest of your fingers.

43. Octopus’s Garden (The Beatles)

“Octopus’s Garden” stands out as being one of the few songs that Ringo Starr wrote for The Beatles. This is a fun dream-like pop song that’ll make a great (and most importantly, easy) addition to your fingerpicking repertoire.

44. You Are Not Alone (Michael Jackson)

Jackson recorded this song amid struggles in his personal life and the music video features Jackson alongside Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of Elvis Presley. Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were married at the time.

45. I’ll Be There (Jackson 5)

“I’ll Be There” is one of the hit songs from the Jackson 5, the first band that Michael Jackson performed in, alongside his brothers. This song was released by MoTown Records on The Third Album by the Jackson 5.

The diatonic melody is remains within a 1 octave range, making it nice and easy to play fingerstyle. The slow tempo is also pretty forgiving, giving you plenty of time to get your fingers into the right position.

46. Africa (Toto)

“Africa” is Toto’s signature song, and it had a revival in popularity a few years ago. This song is about the wonder and fascination of wanting to travel to a distant land.

Not only is this an easy one to fingerpick, but it’s also a great crowd pleaser (particularly at open mics).

47. Chances Are (Johnny Mathis)

“Chances Are” was originally written and performed by Robert Allen and Al Stilman but was popularly covered by Johnny Mathis as a duet with Liza Minnelli. 

48. I Will Always Love You (Dolly Parton)

“I Will Always Love You” is one of Dolly Parton’s signature songs, alongside “Jolene”. Both of these songs beautifully showcase Parton’s beautiful singing and fingerpicking style of guitar music.

The arpeggiated melody makes it an easy one to play, while also being a great one for practicing dynamics within your fingerstyle technique.

49. Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? (Bryan Adams)

“Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” is a song that Bryan Adams performed as part of his contribution for the soundtrack to the movie Don Juan DeMarco. Learning this song is a great way to start learning Latin styles of rock music.

50. Angel (Sarah McLachlan)

You know that song from all of those ASPCA commercials that makes you feel really sad? That’s this one. Learning this song will definitely make you a better fingerstyle player; instilling proper technique while still remaining nice and easy to play. 

Closing Thoughts

We hope this list has spoiled you for choice when it comes to picking the perfect tracklist of beginner fingerpicking songs! If you enjoyed this article, why not check out our ultimate list of beginner drum songs next?

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I'm George; the founder of Indie Panda. I'm passionate about helping independent musicians realize the full potential of their talents and abilities through a strong work ethic, coherent project identity and a strong logistical foundation.