First Song To Play On Guitar


I’ve wasted many good playing years. How I wish I knew the importance of choosing my first song to play on guitar.

The Police released Synchronicity the album with the hit song “Every Breath You Take” in 1983. Soon the MTV came out with such a huge following. When I watched that hugely successful MTV, I plead to myself,  “Andy Summer (the lead guitarist)’s riff in that song is the coolest thing I have ever heard in my life”, I have to learn to play that. And I did.

But sadly, I only learn that little riff before I got distracted by something else and moved on without learning the whole song.

Then I would attempt another new catchy song but again the cycle repeats itself. There will always be another song on the radio, in a concert or a new album I bring home. At the end, I will always have with me the chorus of a song I can wow my friends, the verse of another, the riff of yet another and a solo of another. I even tried to play some smooth jazz progressions….. in parts!.

For years. I’ve gathered so many parts but I couldn’t properly play one full song properly.

That is the sad part of my playing life.

When my ‘enlightenment’ came, (See About Me for that story) I took almost a year to learn to play what I call my  FIRST SONG again. The song was “Amazing Grace”. It was a simple song, one that connects to me and one that can be branded MY SONG. Though it was a simple song, it brought joy that I can play it well. Today I could strum it, pick it and even sing it fully. I could even play the chord melody of it. I finally could play my first song on guitar properly and with much enjoyment.

Have you ever been like me?  Know a lot but not any one song fully.

Well from my journey of fancy licks to just a solid O’song brings me to share with you 3 tips how to pick the first song you play on your guitar.

#1. Find a Song that is simple enough for you to master

Something that you know how to hold the chords to. A song with not more than 4 or 5 simple chords. You should rule out jazz songs with all those 6th, 9th and dominant chords for now.

Start with a simple song. A simple blues song maybe.

I have to admit it was Victor Wooten’s rendition of Amazing Grace on his bass guitar that sold it for me that it doesn’t need a complicated song to play good guitar.

I decided to make that song, Amazing Grace the first 3 chord song, I learn and master and have fun playing properly in its entirety.

#2. Find a Song that connects with you.

The story behind the song Amazing Grace speaks to me. It’s about the composer’s life as a minister.  He wrote it when his life was in total wreck and yet trusting God and acknowledging Him to be still his Amazing Grace. I can relate to that. In my many times of trials, this song speaks to me. Therefore it fits as the song to pick for me as the song musically and lyrically really connects with me.

Pick yours! (Don’t be in a hurry to choose) You may want to listen to a lot of songs and ask yourself which song touches you the most. Check the song not just musically but lyrically too. Sometimes it may just be a song you learn in your childhood. It maybe your wedding song or the first song you heard on your first date with your spouse. Maybe its a simple blues song by your favorite bluesman that made you cry the first time you heard it. It can be any song as long as its personal to you

#3 Find a Song that others can tell it’s your song. 

The song is part of the brand call YOU. It has to be your song and if your life has the first soundtrack, what would it be. Don’t worry, your soundtrack will change through time as you learn more songs but your first song is always going to be special.

It’ll go down in history as the story of your first song will be told over and over again in future conversations or set lists of your life.

Once you have worked out what your first song is, then go learn to play the whole song thoroughly. Seriously don’t go to search “easy songs to play on the guitar” and learn so many mediocrely but nothing really well. Learn this one song masterly.

Imagine one day when you know one song and could play just that song for others that others is going to call it your song, how worthwhile will all the effort put in feel?

So hope these 3 tips will help you choose your first song to play on your guitar.

Drop me a comment and I’m totally curious …..  so what is your first song? And how did you choose it?


14 thoughts on “First Song To Play On Guitar

  1. Jason

    Hello fellow guitar player

    Your post really speaks to me as the first song that I learned was Welcome To My World. I always liked that song since I was a little kid. It is simple, just a few chords, but it did get me strumming.

    The Police are a talented bunch with Sting at the helm. What is the chord progression on that song? Reading this really brought back the memories. Thanks

    1. ht

      Hey thanks for dropping by. Is that Jim Reeves’ welcome to my world? Great first song. I love “Put your sweet lips”.

      Yes indeed the Police was key icons of my time. Andy Summers do lots of 9th chords so the progression is basically A9, F#m9, D9, E9 and basically these chords. Well I didn’t learned the progression then. I just played the riff til its death. ;-p

  2. Hailey

    Thanks for the excellent advice on learning how to play a song. This is something that I have always struggled with. I feel like its great to start small and work your way up! I seem to be too ambitious and get frustrated easily. Thank you so much!

    1. HT Post author

      Thanks for being here and dropping a note. Enjoy the purity of the first song and fall so in love with it. It becomes great great foundation for your 2nd song and beyond. Cheers!

  3. Elias

    My first song on the guitar was actually Nothing Else Matters by Metallica, it was probably the main reason I wanted to pick up the guitar and learn on it.
    To my surprise, the song turned to be not that difficult and much sooner than later I have managed to nail the whole song including the finishing solo perfectly! It was the best time of my life 🙂

    It’s good to have a first song that is both easy and you’re passionate to learn!

    1. HT Post author

      I just checked out the song. Great song! A solid ballad with a deeper meaning when it was written. Did it bring out one for you? It has the feel of another great song ‘Temple of the King by Rainbow’.

  4. Christian

    Your story sounds much like mine, except my instrument is the piano. I head a chord progression or melody in a new song, learn it, and move on to whatever else. But I desperately need to work on creating a full song as well. My saved files within my DAW are full of 4 – 8 bar loops. No full songs. But OH MY GOD do I want to produce entire tracks.
    I have a guitar, but I have not had any lessons as of yet. I will take your advice, and practice slowly. I can do it!

    1. ht

      Thank you for dropping your comments and sharing your journey too. All the best to practice slowly and being more mindful what you play. Thank you again!

  5. Maureen

    I have always wanted to learn how to play guitar. My husband plays and has an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar so I wouldn’t even need to buy one.
    I totally get what you are saying about finding that first song. Although I do not play guitar I do play piano and I can still remember the first song I learned that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think I drove my mother nuts playing that song over and over again. It was called wigwam.
    When I got older and switch from a piano to a keyboard I found a new favourite and that was “The House of the Rising Sun” by Eric Burdon and the Animals.
    One thing about a favourite song you never get tired of it. I am over 60 now but I can still sit down and play my two favourite songs that I learned all those years ago.

    1. ht

      Thanks Maureen for sharing what is the first song you played. I checked out the song wigwam as I was not familiar (Great song) but I definitely know ‘The House of the Rising Sun’. What an anthem for our youth.

  6. Joshua

    This is a fab article… I was actually just talking about Victor Wooten’s book “The Music Lesson” during a podcast episode, so that was a coincidence seeing that video!

    I very much agree about finding a song that connects with you, I find that to be the most important part of learning music/guitar.

    Quick question… I have a new podcast I’m launching about music, guitar, songwriting, etc – would you be interested in being interviewed for it? Let me know and we’ll work something out! 🙂

    Love your site btw!


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