Acoustic guitar songs are among the most pleasurable songs to listen to. With its rich and harmonic notes, an acoustic guitar creates the ideal melody for a variety of genres. Whether it’s a love song, a pop chart-topper, or a melancholic tune, an acoustic guitar will surely deliver.
Because of its musical versatility, it has helped produce some of the most beautiful acoustic guitar songs ever composed. And if you’re curious about which best songs made it to our list of cool guitar songs to learn, continue reading to find out some of the acoustic guitar classics everyone should know.
1. Hotel California – Eagles
Needless to say, the song Hotel California by the Eagles is one of the most iconic tunes and nice-sounding guitar songs in the slow rock category. And, that’s a lot to say given the portfolio of this legendary band with songs like Love Will Keep Us Alive and Desperado.
The foreboding intro of Hotel California is very memorable and the story it tells commenced with the scintillating and equally iconic solo at the end with a bassline that encapsulates the song as all part of a masterpiece. This song contains one of the best acoustic intros of all time.
Not even the song’s meaning which is a metaphor for cocaine addiction hampers its legendary status amongst the best of the best rock songs ever written.
2. Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones
You’d be surprised that one of the most beautiful songs to play on cute acoustic guitar comes from the biggest rock legends to have ever walked the earth. We’re talking about Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones.
The song was initially released in the band’s Sticky Fingers album in 1971 and was written by the band’s lead singer, Mick Jagger, and guitarist, Keith Richards.
With Jagger’s voice breathing life into the song, and Richards doing his magic with the acoustic guitar melodies, you can feel all the emotions they have poured into the song.
3. Layla (Acoustic Version) – Eric Clapton
Mr. Clapton has been known worldwide as a slow rock icon but before that, he was a guitar virtuoso and so it’s only appropriate that we name his song Layla one of the great acoustic songs of all time.
Well, it’s not an acoustic song originally but it’s got an acoustic version. It’s an upbeat song originally recorded by Derek and the Dominos and all about Clapton’s feelings for Pattie Boyd. But did you know that the inspiration for the song goes way back to the 7th century?
Yep, an Arabian story inspired the then 12th-century story which in turn, inspired this hit by Clapton.
4. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
A relatively new track compared to the rest on our list is an emotional piece from Plain White T’s with Hey There Delilah. It’s a song all about the singer and composer’s encounter and long-distance relationship with yes, a girl named Delilah.
This one is pretty easy to play on your acoustic guitar too and could be a practice piece for you. It goes by the key of D with F#m, Bm, G, and A comprising the rest of it.
It’s a good song to woo your special someone with and has a touch of the new millennium to it.
5. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Look this song up on YouTube and it’s got over 200 million views as of writing. For the newer generation, Pink Floyd, and no, it’s not a person’s name but a band is one of the biggest acts ever.
This song, Wish You Were Here has a sad meaning behind it as it is about the decline of Syd Barrett’s mental state for a lot of devastating reasons. It was part of their ninth album and became a massive hit.
6. Redemption Song – Bob Marley
The next song is believed to be Bob Marley’s anthem of anthems – the Redemption Song. He started writing it in 1979 when he had been diagnosed with cancer and began to have a deeper understanding of his mortality.
Looking into the lyrics, we see that it’s about breaking free from the shackles of mental slavery. Bob Marley understands that there is a need to free our minds to truly live our lives. And he has written that message so perfectly in this song.
While it has an acoustic tone, you can still hear Bob Marley’s reggae influences which makes it even more appealing. That’s why we believe that the Redemption Song is one of the most beautiful-sounding songs on guitar.
7. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
We continue with our rundown of the best songs played on an acoustic guitar and the next is Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by legendary artist Bob Dylan.
The tone of the song is evident enough that it’s written from the heart with passion. No wonder why it was covered by another epic band in Guns N Roses for another generation yet equally compelling version of this masterpiece.
It’s also easy enough to play with just the basic major chords. Not only the chords but also the structure and words of the song are simple enough yet provocative and went on to be a worldwide hit.
8. American Pie – Don Mclean
Another iconic song from an iconic American artist Don Mclean is American Pie. You may have heard about the movies but we’re sure that you like this 8-minute magnum opus of a song more.
Perhaps what’s really most interesting about this song is its cryptic lyrics. The song tells a story but on first listen you can’t really tell what it is all about. Recently, a 16-page explanation of some sort behind the creative process of the song was sold by Mclean for $1.2 million.
Related Article: If you enjoyed these beautiful acoustic guitar songs, be sure to check out our article on the best female acoustic guitar songs for some more incredible music!
9. Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Tears in Heaven is probably one of the saddest yet sweetest acoustic songs you will ever hear.
The song is about the loss of a loved one, inspired by the death of Clapton’s 4-year-old son who met his tragic demise after an accident in New York. The accident happened in 1991, but Clapton wasn’t ready to open up about it until a few months later. And in 1992, Tears in Heaven was released.
Aside from Clapton’s clear vocals, his acoustic guitar playing perfectly echoed what he was trying to convey. You can feel the love a father has for his son, as well as the pain he felt because of his loss.
10. Yesterday – The Beatles / Paul McCartney
The Beatles definitely need no introduction. The band’s influence is undeniable and this song has a place in the hearts of many. Yesterday is all about someone lamenting an end to a relationship.
It’s also an ode to Paul McCartney, the writer of the song’s life. The things he’s had to deal with recently or in the past and things lost. In an interview, the prolific songwriter also accepted the thought that the early loss of his mother could be a possible inspiration behind some of the lyrics of this song.
Truly one of the most beautiful guitar songs in the history of music.
I don’t know which entity is more iconic, Dave Grohl, the band Foo Fighters itself, or this legendary rock song with grunge sensibilities. Everlong is as iconic as they come and it’s had several renditions throughout the years.
What’s beautiful about this song is its simplicity, it’s a bit offbeat but it’s easy enough to play for anyone including newbies. The heart-pounding power chords used for this song created an impact in its era and until today.
12. The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
Another hauntingly beautiful acoustic guitar song is The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.
The song is written by Paul Simon about the failure of human beings to express their true emotions. While we can communicate, there are times that we cannot truly express what we want to say – and the song has echoed that message through its verses.
Consisting of chords such as A-minor, G, F, and C, it’s believed to be one of the most beautiful beginner songs for acoustic guitar. It’s also the subject of various renditions, which reflects the staying power of such a classic hit.
13. Fire and Rain – James Taylor
If you’re looking to listen to a classic then try this mellow hit by James Taylor with Fire and Rain.
The song is divided into 3 parts, one is about Taylor’s friend who committed suicide, one is about his cocaine addiction, and the other is about a mental hospital as well as about a band he formed called the Flying Machine.
It’s a song with clear and simple words but is multi-dimensional which makes it great. That’s why it stands out and stays relevant until this day and age.
14. Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You – Led Zeppelin
When it comes to beautiful acoustic fingerstyle songs, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is one of the masterpieces that many people admire.
Anne Bredon wrote the song in 1960 and gained widespread popularity over the decades. Several artists performed their own versions of the song, among them the British rock band Led Zeppelin included the song in its 1969 self-titled debut album.
Being one of today’s recognized guitar greats, it’s easy to see why Jimmy Page‘s rendition became a big hit.
The lyrics allow you to feel the heartache of leaving someone you love because of your career, while the beautiful fingerstyle playing seems to emphasize all these emotions. And that’s why it remains to be one of the most beautiful acoustic songs to date.
15. Going to California – Led Zeppelin
The rock band that has earned a reputation for its powerful and iconic songs, with thrilling beats, riffs, solos, vocals and keyboard skills, is none other than Led Zeppelin. The four members, John Bonham, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, are known for their mastery of complex and challenging pieces.
However, they also have some acoustic gems in their repertoire, such as Going to California. This song is a great choice for anyone who wants to practice some beautiful plucking techniques.
It’s a great acoustic piece from the band other than Stairway to Heaven.
16. Classical Gas – Mason Williams
We can agree that good acoustic ballads do not have to have lyrics on them. The rhythmic guitar strumming is enough to keep us enthralled and lost in its harmony. And that’s exactly the case for Classical Gas by Mason Williams.
This instrumental piece is composed and recorded by famed guitarist, Mason Williams, in 1968. By 1969, it won three Grammy Awards, which is a testament to how well-written it is.
Also, the song has been the subject of multiple cover versions, which also reflects its versatility well into contemporary times.
17. Free Fallin’ – John Mayer (Cover)
Album: Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live In Los Angeles (2008) | Music Video | Chords | Guitar Tab | Video Lesson
John Mayer just makes some of the best acoustic guitar songs and covers of all time, right? No one can deny the genius of this guy and here he is again with an acoustic cover of a song originally popularized by Tom Petty with Free Fallin’.
You can even say that John Mayer is much like Eric Clapton with the sensibilities of their songs plus they are both guitar virtuosos. John Mayer covers many songs and he says that it’s some sort of tribute to the artists that influenced him the most.
The guy has got good taste.
18. Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova is one of the most beautiful contemporary and easy songs on acoustic guitar.
Originally released in 2006, this indie single is part of the romance film, Once. With that said, it is often regarded as a love song between two people who had once fallen apart and are looking to rekindle their romance.
However, the writers have clarified that it comes from a perspective of hope – that our dreams may be distant, but it is achievable if we don’t give up.
19. Dust In The Wind – Kansas
Another classic and pretty acoustic song is Dust in the Wind by yet another rock band, Kansas. The song is about how all of us return to dust eventually – allowing listeners to reflect on man’s mortality. And it can help you re-assess how you live your life.
Surprisingly, the song finds inspiration from the Bible. Specifically, the verse from Ecclesiastes 3:20, reminds us that we all return to dust. It also finds roots in The Tale of the Heike, a Japanese epic, and in Native American Poetry.
All of these references remind us that we are not immortal, and this song sends that message.
20. Ocean – John Butler
Nothing embodies the sentence “the most beautiful song on acoustic guitar” unlike the track Ocean by John Butler. If you’re looking for an artist that treats an instrument like an extension of their mind and body then it’s John Butler.
If you’re looking for a song that likes a flurry of emotions and musical genius into one then you have Ocean. If you’re looking for a challenging piece to practice then try this one too.
If you are not familiar with this artist then we recommend that you promptly check him out.
21. Guaranteed – Eddie Vedder
Guaranteed by Eddie Vedder is another contemporary acoustic song that made it into this list. Eddie Vedder wrote and performed this beautiful piece, also known as the vocalist behind the rock band Pearl Jam.
The lyrics to this song are deep, which reflects the poetic genius of Vedder himself. And once we factor in the acoustics he played, it tells us the story of our struggles with how we live our lives.
Particularly, with how we always seem to live day-to-day routines that are seemingly meaningless. It’s a nod to living a simple life, although it can be hard for all of us to do so.
22. Hole Hearted – Extreme
This band is aptly named for they take their guitar skills to the Extreme. Have you heard about More than Words? One of the most iconic songs on acoustic guitar not only because of its melody but also because of its musicality.
This one is the band’s lesser-known yet still popular hit. I guess we can all agree that Nuno Bettencourt is a songwriting genius.
Also Check: Best 90s Guitar Songs
23. Big Love – Lindsey Buckingham
Album: Elizabethtown – Music From The Motion Picture – Vol. 2 (2006) | Chords | Big Love Guitar Tab | Video Lesson
Lindsey Buckingham rose to fame as a member of one of the bestselling rock bands of all time, Fleetwood Mac. He’s a great guitar player and this song, Big Love, proves it.
The guitar playing on this track is mind-blowing and the song is full of passion. If you’re looking for a piece to challenge your acoustic guitar playing then this is it. The riffs, the solos, and the fire of this song are unparalleled that have always got audiences screaming.
24. Troubles Will Be Gone – The Tallest Man On Earth
This one is a favorite acoustic guitar song of ours and it’s just so so beautiful. The tallest man on earth is a Swedish native named Kristian Matsson. We pride ourselves on researching far and wide to give you this list and this should be part of your playlist right now.
His handle on the acoustic guitar is beyond godlike and that’s pretty indicative of the themes of his songs that relate to a deity or higher power, especially this one.
25. Rainy Window – Masaaki Kishibe
Another instrumental piece that finds its way into this list is Rainy Window by Masaaki Kishibe.
With its relaxing harmony and slow-paced tempo, this musical piece delivers an easy-listening sound for when we simply want to unwind. It’s not too upbeat to cause any anxiety, and the soft guitar fingerstyle creates textures that are soothing and easy on the ears.
While it seems a little too complicated to play, we believe it’s one of the most beautiful acoustic songs for fingerpicking patterns. And it seems like guitar players from all over the world agree – since you can find multiple covers of this song performed from all over the world.
26. Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran
“Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran is a popular and catchy song that can be easily played on the guitar. It features a simple yet infectious guitar melody that is perfect for beginners.
The song has a unique and upbeat strumming pattern that is easy to learn and play. The riff is simple yet memorable, making it a great addition to any acoustic guitar player’s repertoire.
27. Blackbird – The Beatles
Released in 1968, Blackbird is one of the most beautiful songs of the legendary English rock band The Beatles. The song was written by Paul McCartney and performed as a solo piece by McCartney with his acoustic guitar and a metronome-like tapping sound.
The guitar accompaniment for this song was influenced by Bach’s Bourrée in E minor for lute which McCartney and George Harrison had tried to learn as teenagers.
28. Heart Of Gold – Neil Young
One of the most beloved acoustic guitar songs of all time, Heart of Gold by Neil Young is a masterpiece of folk rock music that resonates with many listeners. It features a simple and elegant guitar riff that accompanies Young’s distinctive vocals and harmonica solos.
The song uses only four easy chords, Em, C, D, and G, that form a smooth and catchy chord progression. The lyrics reflect Young’s search for love and purpose in a world that seems to be fading away.
29. Pink Moon – Nick Drake
Pink Moon is a masterpiece of acoustic guitar music by the legendary Nick Drake. The song has a haunting and melancholic vibe, with minimal lyrics and a sparse arrangement.
The song uses an alternate tuning of CGCFCE (low to high) and a capo on the 2nd fret. The chords are mostly single-finger or two-finger shapes, with one open chord at the end. The strumming is syncopated and varied, creating a dynamic and expressive feel.
Pink Moon is a great song to learn for guitar lovers who want to explore Nick Drake’s unique style and musical vision.
30. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
Landslide is a beautiful acoustic guitar song by Fleetwood Mac, written and sung by Stevie Nicks. The song is about the changes and challenges of life, and it has a deep emotional resonance for many listeners.
The guitar playing on this track is delicate and intricate, using Travis picking technique to create a gentle rhythm. The strum pattern and the guitar beat are simple but effective, making this song a great choice for learning songs and guitar lessons.
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About the Author
Thomas M., the founder of Guitar Top Review, boasts 15+ years of guitar experience and was a church band member in L.A. Transitioning from piano to acoustic guitar, his first love remains his Taylor GS Mini. Alongside like-minded hobbyist friends, he launched the site, driven by a deep love for music that transcends professional boundaries.