Suggest me some simple guitar + voice songs.
July 13, 2014 5:15 PM   Subscribe

My wife is learning guitar and would like to have a repertoire of songs to practice which have simple guitar plus female voice.

She's been playing Waltz for a night so something like that would be perfect.
She's also quite fond of folky type things.

Things with Tabs or How To videos available would be very welcome.
posted by Just this guy, y'know to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Tracy Chapman has some simple 12-bar blues stuff. Pretty much all of Joni Mitchell's stuff would work as well, presumably?
posted by elizardbits at 5:25 PM on July 13, 2014

I would suggest just making a list of (simple) songs she LIKES to sing, and looking up chords/tabs on Ultimate Guitar and Chordify. Learning to play is way more fun if you can play things you like.
posted by monospace at 5:33 PM on July 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

A friend of mine plays guitar and she's had great success with The Show, by Lenka - here's a tutorial for the chords which makes it look pretty simple.
posted by kbar1 at 5:45 PM on July 13, 2014

Don't limit yourself to "female voice." There are so many songs that were originally sung by men that are going to be easier for a woman to sing, since it's the norm for men to sing in a high range. For instance, REM — Everybody Hurts. But here are some suggestions for female singers:

Regina Spektor — Better (video lesson)

St. Vincent — Marry Me

The Shirelles — Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Mazzy Star — Fade Into You

Norah Jones — Feelin' the Same Way

Jewel — Save Your Soul

Fleetwood Mac — Landslide
posted by John Cohen at 6:22 PM on July 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Leaving On A Jet Plane immediately came to mind.

There are all sorts of How To videos for this song on YouTube. Here is one.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:46 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think Taylor Swift is great for this, even though I know her style isn't everyone's cup of tea. Also, learning songs by a female voice is actually a great idea because it can be a good way to get yourself into the character of a song - when I learned guitar all the songs we learned were written and sung by men and made me feel like I was having a secondary experience as a learner.
posted by sweetkid at 7:03 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yellow submarine was originally sung with a male voice but is, nonetheless, a great song to learn on (it uses nearly all of the major chords) and is really fun (and easy) to sing while playing.
posted by VTX at 7:15 PM on July 13, 2014

Ben Harper has a few very simple but rewarding acoustic songs on his first album. I think the pitch will work out ok, but a capo is good to have regardless.
Waiting on an angel
Female voiced cover
Walk away
Walk away tutorial
posted by Jack Karaoke at 7:41 PM on July 13, 2014

Here are a few more songs for female vocalists with the guitar tutorials.
Paramore's The Only Exception
Corinne Bailey Rae's Girl Put Your Records On
Anna Kendrick's Cups (You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone)
posted by kbar1 at 8:12 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bobby McGee
posted by colin_l at 8:52 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Sweet Surrender" by Sarah Mclachlan.

In addition to using the Ultimate Guitar website and app, my long-time recommended method is to spend the money on a physical big fake book, like The Ultimate Pop/Rock Fake Book or The Ultimate Fake Book, or perhaps a smaller, more focused book like Folk/Rock Favorites: Strum & Sing Series for an absolute beginner.

It's all too easy to fall into browsing around a site like Ultimate Guitar looking for a song instead of practicing. With a fake book, even a huge one with 1200 songs, you pick a starting place, open it up, and play what you feel like as you go until you've practiced for 45 minutes or an hour. Not only do you learn a helluva lot about how songs work in general, you broaden your horizons musically. I might never have learned "Crazy" by Patsy Cline if it weren't in the fake book.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:41 PM on July 13, 2014

Leaving On A Jet Plane immediately came to mind.

That is one of the ones I used when I got started playing ukulele (and still like it) I use a site called Chordie which allows you to make playlists of songs you like. I chose a lot of folk songs that are fun to sing along to when I was really just learning how to switch chords. Here is the list that I used but you can search the other lists and look for "Simple guitar songs" or "female". On that list the one that fits your criteria is Jolene by Dolly Parton.
posted by jessamyn at 6:40 AM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Taylor swift songs are generally pretty easy
posted by peach23 at 7:07 AM on July 14, 2014

Lisa Loeb - Stay
Kathy Mattea - 18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses
Most Beatles songs are pretty simple strumming-wise (get her a Beatles fake book) and translate well to typical female vocal ranges. "Dear Prudence" would sound particularly stunning.
posted by jbickers at 7:21 AM on July 14, 2014

Robyn Leah Case.
posted by DisreputableDog at 7:56 AM on July 14, 2014

Perhaps Neil Young's Heart of Gold. This was covered by Tori Amos, Kike Dee, and others if you are looking for female voice. See the Wikipedia entry for more covers.

You may also consider The Beatles' Let it Be which I'm sure has been covered by female vocalists.
posted by Ralph at 10:36 AM on July 14, 2014

Pretty much all of Joni Mitchell's stuff would work as well, presumably?

Not quite... Joni Mitchell is a very innovative guitarist/songwriter, who uses lots of alternate tunings and complex, jazzy chord progressions. But if you want to do one of her songs, here's a lesson on how to play Both Sides Now.
posted by John Cohen at 1:31 PM on July 14, 2014

I recommend Mazzy Star's Halah. It's a beautiful song composed principally of three basic chords (C, G, F) and one extra for the change (Fm).
posted by lillian.elmtree at 3:06 PM on July 14, 2014

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