Guitar cram session
March 3, 2008 6:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some songs to play on my guitar...

I'm going on a ski trip this weekend with a bunch of friends and I'd like to bring my guitar. Problem is, I don't know a whole lot of "recognizable" songs, and I'd like to get everyone singing along. So, I'm looking for song recommendations with the following criteria:

-very well-known lyrics
-easy to moderate chord changes/strumming patterns

Genre isn't terribly important, but we're all in our mid-twenties, so I'm guessing pop, rock, or classic rock would go over better than anything else. I'd like to learn as many as possible in the next few days, or at least carry a binder chords/lyrics, so nothing too extravagant or complicated. Barre chords are ok.
posted by backseatpilot to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Go through the absolute beginner section on chordie. It has lots of recognizable and easy-to play tabs. Have fun!
posted by chrisamiller at 6:16 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

American Pie
Yellow Submarine
Creep (Radiohead)
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:17 PM on March 3, 2008

This thread has some good suggestions.
posted by danb at 6:19 PM on March 3, 2008

Buy a Fake Book. These will have chord changes and lyrics to whatever artist or genre you buy...Any music store will have them too...

Or if you have time time you could just put one together from all of the free tab and lyric sites online...
posted by unreasonable at 6:21 PM on March 3, 2008

just like heaven - cure

anything madonna (seriously)

acoustic version of "gin and juice" - there's an indie version out there somewhere's you can crib from. the kids, they love them some of that.

jaltcoh's radiohead suggestion is a good one.
posted by garfy3 at 6:28 PM on March 3, 2008

I've got a fake book I've compiled largely from Gunther Anderson's site. He's got lots of older pop songs in easy-to-read formats--great for sing-alongs. (There's some other stuff in there too; I can email you an RTF or PDF if you're interested.)
posted by uncleozzy at 6:36 PM on March 3, 2008

Great songs for people in their 20's, because they remind you of when you were a kid:

Collective Soul - Shine
Blind Melon - No Rain
Goo Goo Dolls - Slide (pretty damn easy)
posted by DrSkrud at 6:40 PM on March 3, 2008

Anything Beatles
posted by Max Power at 6:41 PM on March 3, 2008

Give my guitar book a go, about a hundred songs, give or take, mostly on the easy side of things. Some real great sing-along tunes (may be slightly biased!).

I just print it out and then sort it alphabetically when I'm hole punching it.

Hope it's of some help to you!
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:47 PM on March 3, 2008 [4 favorites]

Beatles - You've Got To Hide Your Love Away. This is always a crowd pleaser, and pretty easy.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 7:11 PM on March 3, 2008

Oasis - Wonderwall
Coldplay - Yellow
Goo Goo Dolls - Iris
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication, Under The Bridge, Scar Tissue, Road Trippin', Soul to Squeeze
Beatles - I love 'Yesterday' personally, but any Beatles will do
Three Days Grace - I Hate Everything About You
Three Doors Down - Kryptonite
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Biased by personal preferences, obviously. I've got a few more ballad-y things I'd suggest, but those aren't exactly conducive to singing along and whatnot.
posted by Phire at 7:12 PM on March 3, 2008

I don't know a lot about playing the guitar (unless you count Guitar Hero?), but being the OCD nut I am, I have a playlist of songs with really awesome guitar work... So you can be the judge of whether any of these are easy enough... My list isn't really any 'folk' songs, as much as the type of stuff you'd hear on the radio.

Tom Petty - Most anything, though I'm particularly fond of Learning to Fly... Mary Jane's Last Dance may be easier.

Sublime's Santeria rocks, although I'm having a hard time mentally removing the drum from the song and telling whether it's still any good. It's pretty well-known, but whether people actually know all the words will be a pretty amusing experiment. As much fun as it'll be to get everyone singing along to songs, I rather like the idea of people halfway through realizing that no one is quite sure how parts of it go.

Tenacious D - Tribute!

And how has no one said Hotel California?

Seconding DrSkrud's list, too!
posted by fogster at 7:20 PM on March 3, 2008

Bloodhound Gang - The Roof Is on Fire! Although it starts out very easy (and no one could possibly get the lyrics wrong), it does include more difficult parts, and I'm not sure as many people know all the lyrics as "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire..."

Green Day - Time of Your Life. Although, as with most of my suggestions, I'm not sure everyone knows it word-for-word.
posted by fogster at 7:27 PM on March 3, 2008

Counting Crows - Mr. Jones
Steve Miller Band - The Joker
Sublime - What I Got
Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun
posted by davey_darling at 7:53 PM on March 3, 2008

Depends on your crowd, I guess. I like Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice and The Times, They Are A-Changin', as well as Neil Young's Heart of Gold, but not everyone knows them anymore.

I'm also considering the idea of some time just taking a simple bluegrass tune like Cripple Creek and making up some dirtier lyrics. Then I'll tell everyone we're going around the group and when it's your turn, you have to sing a lyric you made up, with the whole group joining in again on the chorus. I think it could be fun after a few beers. If your group isn't that instantly creative, you could pass out your examples ahead of time, and tell them to be ready with a few by the weekend.
posted by ctmf at 7:56 PM on March 3, 2008

In my experience, everybody loves to sing these a bit buzzed around a fire:

Hide Your Love Away
Me & Bobby McGee
Black Water
Sweet Home Alabama
The Joker
Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard
Gloria/What I Like About You (medley, it's seamless)
posted by Miko at 9:53 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

if your friends have seen the movie Juno (or are hip on the anti-folk scene), learn a bunch of Moldy Peaches songs. Both Anyone Else But You and Jorge Regula are two chords. literally. (both G and C, actually)

AND, all of Jorge Regula is call-and-response, so you don't even need to know the words to sing along.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:31 PM on March 3, 2008

Shit, I see I'm the second person to recommend the Gourd's version of Gin and Juice -- all of two chords and yes, it does rocketh.

I started learning on Johnny Cash tunes and they're big chord simple: Busted, Sunday Morning Coming Down, I've Been Everywhere, Folsom Prison. Old C&W is all kind of like that. In that vein, you've got Patsy Cline (Walking After Midnight, Crazy) and Willie Nelson (also Crazy, Mamas Don't Let Your Babies).

Even older: Keep on The Sunny Side, Sunny Side Of The Street, Rocky Top, Big Rock Candy Mountain, You Are My Sunshine.

Tom Petty is, of course, the great equalizer: Yer So Bad, You Don't Know How It Feels, American Girl.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:37 PM on March 3, 2008

I just taught myself the acoustic version of Everlong by the Foo Fighters. It's a beautiful song and deceptively easy to play! I had it down and committed to memory in about 2 hours.

I also suggest learning the Beatles' Blackbird. Don't let those numbers all over the tab fool you! It's also a fairly easy song to master once you realize that it's just a few of the same finger configurations across different frets. People are generally impressed by it (but that's just because they don't know how to play the guitar! Joke's on them!).
posted by numinous at 11:04 PM on March 3, 2008

Obviously you want to print out the tabs to take them with you. But to help you learn the songs I'd also recommend looking through YouTube - there are a tonne of lessons on how to play specific songs. Just add 'how to play' or 'guitar lesson' to your search for the song title.

Also you could take an extra copy of the lyrics to pass around for those songs that everyone knows but may not know ALL the words.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 12:51 AM on March 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Good choices. The following songs are super easy to play, and if you are in your 20s you should know the lyrics already.

U2- One, With or Without You
Violent Femmes- American Music
Social D- Ball and Chain, Story of My Life
Elvis Costello- Alison, Peace Love and Understanding
Pearl Jam- Last Kiss
Beastie Boys- Fight for Your Right
Flaming Lips- She Don't Use Jelly
Fastball- Outta My Mind
Blues Traveler- Hook
Wallflowers- One Headlight
Weezer- Sweater Song
I Will Survive- (Cake version)
Guns N Roses- Sweet Child, Patience
Beatles- Hey Jude, Let it Be
Bob Marley- No Woman, No Cry
The Troggs- Wild Thing
Lynyrd Skynrd- Freebird
CCR-Lodi, Bad Moon Rising
Cranberries- Linger
Soul Asylum- Runaway Train
Mazzy Star- Fade into You
Hey There Delilah
Alicia Keys- No one
posted by Wayman Tisdale at 8:58 PM on March 4, 2008

I really like for finding music to play. Most of the chords used are pretty easy.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 8:38 AM on March 6, 2008

« Older Kelbaker Road Through Mojave, Okay for...   |   What does this Catholic medal signify? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.