Needing a new acoustic guitar tune to learn? Or are you just trying to find the right song to listen to on your way to work in the morning?
This is a list of what I consider to be the best acoustic guitar songs.
There is a lot of diversity in the list and a must-listen to for all the acoustic guitarists out there. Whether you are wanting to pick up the acoustic guitar and learn something new, or you just need a new tune in your life, this list is sure to bring you something fresh in your music playlist.
And, if the top 10 doesn’t tickle your fancy, then perhaps you will prefer the slightly more subversive 30 songs that follow it!
Table of Contents
- My Top 10 Acoustic Guitar Songs
- Acoustic Guitar Song #10: Your Body Is A Wonderland- John Mayer
- Acoustic Guitar Song #9: Collide- Howie Day
- Acoustic Guitar Song #8: Fast Car- Tracy Chapman
- Acoustic Guitar Song #7: Better Together- Jack Johnson
- Acoustic Guitar Song #6: Layla- Eric Clapton
- Acoustic Guitar Song #5: Ain’t No Sunshine- Bill Withers
- Acoustic Guitar Song #4: Traveller- Chris Stapleton
- Acoustic Guitar Song #3: Perfect- Ed Sheeran
- Acoustic Guitar Song #2: Grave- Thomas Rhett
- Acoustic Guitar Song #1: Dead Sea- The Lumineers
- The Rest…
- 11. ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ by The Smiths
- 12. ‘Coconut’ by Harry Nilsson
- 13. ‘Strawberry Farms’ by Tom T. Hall
- 14. ‘Fleur Tropicale’ by Francis Bebey
- 15. ‘Sky Man and the Moon’ by David Campbell
- 16. ‘Smokies’ by Barefoot Jerry
- 17. ‘Epitaph’ by King Crimson
- 18. ‘Blood on the Saddle’ by Tex Ritter
- 19. ‘Tecumseh Valley’ by Townes Van Zandt
- 20. ‘Nevada Smith’ by Merle Kilgore
- 21. ‘Guinnevere’ by Crosby, Stills & Nash
- 22. ‘Play With Fire’ by the Rolling Stones
- 23. ‘Harvest for the World’ by the Isley Brothers
- 24. ‘Part of the Problem’ by R. Stevie Moore
- 25. ‘Rowboat’ by Beck
- 26. ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ by Johnny Cash
- 27. ‘The EFT’ by Samandtheplants
- 28. ‘Johnny Remember Me’ by John Leyton
- 29. ‘The Sing’ by Bill Callahan
- 30. ‘Man and Dog’ by Loudon Wainwright III
- 31. ‘Dolphin’ by Linda Perhacs
- 32. ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’ by Adriano Celentano
- 33. ‘Company’s Comin’ by Porter Wagoner
- 34. ‘Mã’ by Tom Zé
- 35. ‘The Herald’ by Comus
- 36. ‘Northern Sky’ by Nick Drake
- 37. ‘Fit and Working Again’ by The Fall
- 38. ‘Shadows’ by Yo La Tengo
- 39. ‘You Did It Yourself’ by Arthur Russell
- 40. ‘It’s Raining Today’ by Scott Walker
- Final Thoughts
- FAQs Acoustic Guitar Songs
My Top 10 Acoustic Guitar Songs
It goes without saying that everyone’s top 10 will be different, but this is my top 10 and hopefully it gives you some ideas.
Acoustic Guitar Song #10: Your Body Is A Wonderland- John Mayer
This is a great song to learn on acoustic guitar for anyone wanting an easy-going sound for their drive to work. It’s a light tune about falling in love with a girl. I enjoy listening to this song when I just need some light-hearted music in my life.
Acoustic Guitar Song #9: Collide- Howie Day
This is another favorite light-hearted tune of mine. A love song that is smooth, catchy, and easy to figure out when learning to play on the acoustic guitar. It is an older song, but always a good one to listen to.
Acoustic Guitar Song #8: Fast Car- Tracy Chapman
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman is a classic, and must know for any acoustic guitarist! If you love acoustic guitar music, then you probably already know this one. A song about the struggles of life and trying to run away with your partner. A slower tune that is great for chill drives to work in the morning or just hanging around the house with a group of friends.
Acoustic Guitar Song #7: Better Together- Jack Johnson
Better Together is definitely going to brighten the day of any acoustic guitar player or listener. Another tune that you may already know on acoustic guitar, and if you don’t, definitely be sure to check it out.
If you enjoy a catchy, bright tune then this is your song to learn. Better Together is a romantic song about people basically being better together and worse when they are away from each other. A great choice to play on guitar for your partner.
Acoustic Guitar Song #6: Layla- Eric Clapton
Have all my acoustic guitarists out there ever heard of Eric Clapton? Of course, you have! Layla by Eric Clapton is a go-to tune for all my car travels. Appreciate the acoustic guitar in this version of the song.
Acoustic Guitar Song #5: Ain’t No Sunshine- Bill Withers
This classic song is bound to make any acoustic lover sway. This may be one of my favorite tunes to listen to when I just need time to relax. You probably already know this one but check it out again anyways.
Bill Withers will always brighten your day with any song of his. Honestly, any of his songs are great played on acoustic guitar. This song is about a girl who constantly says goodbye, and takes the sunshine with her.
Acoustic Guitar Song #4: Traveller- Chris Stapleton
Obviously, any Chris Stapleton song is perfect to learn on acoustic guitar. Traveler is a song all about explaining his heart. He doesn’t know where he needs to be, or where he needs to go, but he needs to get somewhere. Get lost in this easygoing tune when playing it on guitar.
Acoustic Guitar Song #3: Perfect- Ed Sheeran
Looking for the perfect love song to play for that special someone? This is a great song for any acoustic guitarist to learn. Especially if you are trying to play for one that holds your heart. Perfect by Ed Sheehan is all about how much he loves this girl, and how perfect she looks tonight. It also talks about the future they hope to share together.
Acoustic Guitar Song #2: Grave- Thomas Rhett
This is a new song from Thomas Rhett’s most recently released album. Another love song, but a little more pop to give it a sunnier vibe. The grave is about how he is going to love her until the day he dies. This would be a great tune to learn on acoustic guitar, or just enjoy as you ride in the car with that special someone. Grave would also be a cool song to play with a group of other guitarists.
Acoustic Guitar Song #1: Dead Sea- The Lumineers
I enjoy this tune regularly late at night when driving. The perfect song for any acoustic guitarist to learn and enjoy. Dead Sea is about how a girl told a guy that he always lifts her up by being like the Dead Sea. This tune is a little slower and more relaxing than some of the other ones.
Now you’ve heard the best acoustic guitar songs, perhaps it’s time to hear the rest…
11. ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ by The Smiths
This jaunty folk-style whirlwind is quite the redemption song, among the best acoustic songs for baptism by fire.
12. ‘Coconut’ by Harry Nilsson
Finding a delightful embrace in the arms of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs‘ credits, this song has since become a popular-cultural gem, not least for its loping and interweaving acoustic guitar arpeggios.
13. ‘Strawberry Farms’ by Tom T. Hall
This resplendent ballad is among the most beautiful acoustic guitar songs ever, again featuring a sumptuous and chiming series of guitar arpeggios interlaced with some tender string sections throughout.
14. ‘Fleur Tropicale’ by Francis Bebey
This is an incredibly inventive song by the Cameroonian electronic music pioneer that seems to blend so many different styles into one unique fusion that, at the end of the day, is all his own.
15. ‘Sky Man and the Moon’ by David Campbell
America is an awfully big place, so it is quite the undertaking that the compilation from which this choice cut is selected attempts to bring together so many of its folk and aboriginal song forms. Still, with songs like this, it does a damn good job.
16. ‘Smokies’ by Barefoot Jerry
Far from being an open advocation of smoking and its ills, this is instead an ode to the smoky mountains, an acoustic version of their grandeur as rendered by the country rock outfit Barefoot Jerry. All in all, a great acoustic guitar song, with many spare features to latch on to.
17. ‘Epitaph’ by King Crimson
The raucous and wild King Crimson combine their established high-drama progressive rock with their gentler and more pastoral side to bring you perhaps the most epic anti-war anthem ever conceived.
18. ‘Blood on the Saddle’ by Tex Ritter
Does anyone fancy drowning their sorrows in a pint of blood as spilled from the gullet of a cowboy? Then, you’re in luck, for Tex Ritter’s got you covered, so strum along and be healed.
19. ‘Tecumseh Valley’ by Townes Van Zandt
Virtuoso songsmith Townes Van Zandt has always been adept at writing such painterly portrayals of rural American life and this is no exception. In fact, this is one of his first records, so it just goes to show that he really can do anything, or at least could have done had he not succumbed to the bottle.
20. ‘Nevada Smith’ by Merle Kilgore
This song is a perfect artistic expression of toxic masculinity wherein the protagonist’s gun becomes a symbol of the part of his machismo that is bound to bring about early death, all through the means of acoustic guitars, utilizing basic guitar chords to devastating effect.
21. ‘Guinnevere’ by Crosby, Stills & Nash
This is a real classic, a tune that many might even declare their favorite acoustic song ever. There is an air of mystery and intrigue that breathes throughout, like the sloping hips of a panther through the undergrowth.
22. ‘Play With Fire’ by the Rolling Stones
One of the 60s’ most prolific rock bands takes a softer turn here, exhibiting their clear ability to write a catchy pop song with a tender side. This is an incredibly easy acoustic guitar song to get you started.
23. ‘Harvest for the World’ by the Isley Brothers
Though not the most prevalent instrument on this classic track, the acoustic guitar is certainly the instrument that keeps the momentum of the song so consistent.
24. ‘Part of the Problem’ by R. Stevie Moore
Outside artist extraordinaire R. Stevie Moore made a name for himself throughout the 80s and 90s self-releasing his music through mail-order rackets, planting a flag in the soil for all independent artists forevermore.
25. ‘Rowboat’ by Beck
Beck sure can write an acoustic ballad, eh? His uncanny ability to metamorphose into just about any style of music is almost unmatched, to the point where Johnny Cash even had something to say about it.
26. ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ by Johnny Cash
Speaking of which, what would such a list be without an appearance from the man in black himself? This is among the best acoustic covers ever!
27. ‘The EFT’ by Samandtheplants
Stunning timbral feasts beckon you to play…
28. ‘Johnny Remember Me’ by John Leyton
Startling and haunting don’t even begin to describe this gem of a tune. This was the first number 1 single for legendary cult producer Joe Meek and the beginning of his downfall in a way.
29. ‘The Sing’ by Bill Callahan
Bearing the lineage of so many amazing songwriters from past decades, Bill Callahan particularly wears the mantle of a Loudon Wainwright III, fusing comedy with sincerity to bring forth a perfect blend of perception.
30. ‘Man and Dog’ by Loudon Wainwright III
Speaking of which, let’s have a song from the man himself!
31. ‘Dolphin’ by Linda Perhacs
Thankfully, this forgotten songwriter from years of yore is finally receiving her dues as an innovative artist who took folk into then-unknown places.
32. ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’ by Adriano Celentano
This nonsense song certainly isn’t nonsensical when you consider how much of a toe-tapper it is!
33. ‘Company’s Comin’ by Porter Wagoner
An exemplary exhibition of the spirit of the American South and South-West, this tune is sure to set your stomach rumbling.
34. ‘Mã’ by Tom Zé
Those in any way fond of Brazilian music who have not yet heard of Tom Zé ought to rectify that right now by listening to and playing along to this gem, part of his dissection of the Samba genre.
35. ‘The Herald’ by Comus
Surely one of England’s greatest exports comes in the form of their incredible progressive rock scene, Comus being one of the more neglected acts to emerge from it. Here, they embark on a track through the mystical and pastoral.
36. ‘Northern Sky’ by Nick Drake
Any list of the best acoustic guitar songs would be utterly remiss to neglect Nick Drake. He has so many beautiful songs, though this is a personal favorite of my own.
37. ‘Fit and Working Again’ by The Fall
Perhaps one of the greatest odes to returning to work after some time off?
38. ‘Shadows’ by Yo La Tengo
These sonic seamstresses are equally at home in these more tender moments as they are in utter cacophony, though we are thankful for each side of their style. These more somber moments are always so ethereal, led by the haunting voice of Georgia Hubley and backed by sparse and almost ambient instrumentation.
39. ‘You Did It Yourself’ by Arthur Russell
Late and great outsider artist Arthur Russell takes us on a trip down a passage of teenage angst that we have not yet had the privilege to embark upon. Taken from us all too soon, Arthur Russell left behind an immense body of work under various umbrellas of style that is still being explored and re-released to this day.
40. ‘It’s Raining Today’ by Scott Walker
Kicking off Scott Walker’s seminal third album – the aptly titled Scott 3 – this is a song that attempts to make use of all of its compositional to really sell the story. The use of tense strings and chimes in certain places of the song lends this an incredibly cinematic air where one can imagine, for instance, being blinded poetically by the light of curtains torn asunder by a lover cutting to the lonesome train journey that the song begins with.
So that’s the 40 that I consider the best acoustic guitar songs.
I’m sure there are others that I like that I’ve forgotten about. some reminders would be nice. Just leave a comment in the comments section below with any songs that you think should make this list. And if there’s anything that you’re horrified to see on this list, let it be known!
Related: Top 10 Blues Songs on Acoustic Guitar (Nate)
Related: Top 10 Rock Songs on Acoustic Guitar (Nate)
Related: Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Covers (Nate)
FAQs Acoustic Guitar Songs
You can play any song you like on acoustic guitar. In fact, even if a song does not necessarily feature an acoustic guitar, you can still play it on an acoustic guitar because, truth be told, you can do just about anything you put your mind to if you really believe in it. There are so many barriers put up in the face of progress and innovation that ought not to exist at all. So, whether or not the song you want to learn features an acoustic guitar, you should go ahead and learn it and play it on an acoustic guitar if, of course, that is what you desire.
This will vary from person to person, for what is easy for one guitarist might not be so easy for another guitarist. There are a number of songs that are called upon by guitar tutors to help those just beginning to learn guitar and offer them a way to learn a song relatively easily.
There is no single song that is the easiest to learn on guitar. Rather, the easiest song will vary depending on who the question is being asked of. Of course, there are plenty of songs that are called upon early in a guitarist’s development to help them along their way and to learn actual songs and feel like they are making real progress. However, relying on these for an answer doesn’t really count, as this is a rite of passage for any guitarist starting to learn their craft. As we say, the answer to this question really should vary from person to person. After all, you are an individual, aren’t you?