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Essential Guitar Tabs For Beginner Guitarists

Young Musician Playing Guitar At Home

When we wonder what guitar tab we need to get to begin to make up our repertoire, we usually think only about songs we like. We know that our choice in music does not suck in the slightest, but if we are going to be playing our guitar and singing for audiences, we need to get used to the idea that our taste in music will not match our listeners want to hear. We may even take a look at popular choices in songs and get the uncomfortable feeling that we might have to play songs that we do not like. One thing guitar players are famous for is standing on their principles and not compromising what they are going to play. The other thing they are famous for is giving the audience what they want. A mixture of these two attitudes will probably form in your psyche as you peruse your list of guitar tabs on the internet. While we are on the subject of lists of guitar tabs, remember to pay a visit to your local music store or online merchant for ready-made collections of easy guitar tabs. You can find titles like “Popular Songs for Acoustic Guitar” or “CMT’s 100 Greatest Songs of Country Music”.

One fact that has emerged from field tests conducted by buskers, nightclub performers, and covers bands is that you should look for your repertoire in the songs of years gone by. Oldies are goodies. Another thing you should think about is whether or not you are an audience participation kind of performer. If you are still wondering about it one second after the thought enters your head, then you probably aren’t. So stay away from songs that require you to yell, “Everybody now!!” or “Just the girls this time!”. Likewise, if you play solo acoustic guitar and have a voice like Johnny Cash, you might want to stay away from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” But do not walk away from songs you enjoy just because they might not seem immediately doable. Remember Jose Feliciano’s “Light My Fire” and Eric Clapton’s unplugged “Layla.”

Of course, what songs you choose will not matter much if you ignore how you sing and play the guitar. People pay to see performers who are better at something than they are, which is where playing material that you like comes in. If you are playing a song that you consider to be a crowd-pleaser, but you personally think is a load of stomach chunks, you give attention to the part the audience likes. You already know what that is. That is why you do not bellow, “Hello darkness, my old friend,” or shirk on the enthusiasm when you sing the line, “Welcome to the Hotel California.”

Okay, so what we get out of all this is first, there are songs that crowds of people like, and second, you can sing and play these songs in a way that highlights your particular talents. Now for a basic list of songs that have been known to please a crowd or two over a period of years:

  • Wild World by Cat Stevens
  • Imagine – by John Lennon
  • Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin
  • Catch the Wind by Donovan
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
  • Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks
  • Angie by the Rolling Stones
  • Everybody Hurts by REM
  • 50 ways to leave your lover by Paul Simon
  • The 59th Street Bridge Song by Simon And Garfunkel
  • American Pie by Don Maclean
  • Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell
  • California Dreamin’ by The Mamas and Papas
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan
  • Mrs. Robinson by Simon And Garfunkel
  • You’re so vain by Carly Simon
  • Blowin’ In The Wind by Bob Dylan
  • Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
  • I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash
  • Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton
  • Gloria by Van Morrison (or Them)
  • Hotel California by The Eagles
  • Behind Blue Eyes by The Who
  • White Room by Cream
  • Sex And Candy by Marcy Playground
  • Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • What Its Like by Everlast
  • Alison by Elvis Costello
  • Life By The Drop by Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Melissa by Allman Brothers
  • Dead Flowers by The Rolling Stones
  • Seagull by Bad Company
  • Mediterranean Sundance by Al DiMeola and Paco De Lucia
  • Classical Gas by Mason Williams

This list could be much longer, but you probably already see songs here that you would never play in a million years, so all I can say now is I hope this guide to the essential guitar tab has been helpful.

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