4 Easy Electric Guitar Songs and How to Play Them

Justin | March 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

‘Some songs only need one or two fingers to play.’

When I first started playing guitar, finding easy electric guitar songs seemed impossible. I thought all of the bands I listened to played stuff that was too hard for me to learn.

Du Hast 2010

Rammstein proves you don’t need to play complicated songs to make it big.

It took me a few months of frustration before I found any song I could play from beginning to end. My eventual breakthrough: I discovered that some songs only need one or two fingers to play.

Here are some of the best easy electric guitar songs I’ve discovered, in order of the number and difficulty of techniques you need to know to play them:

#1: Rosenrot by Rammstein

Play Metal with One Technique and Two Fingers

Rammstein Live at Madison Square Garden

Rammstein playing “Engel” at Madison Square Garden.

Possibly the easiest song I have ever encountered is Rosenrot by the German metal band Rammstein. (Warning: music video contains murder, self-flagellation, and burning at the stake.) I have taught people who have never held a guitar before to play it on their first day. And you seem like a total badass playing it—the bridge sounds like Godzilla eating a thunderstorm.

‘The bridge sounds like Godzilla eating a thunderstorm.’

The only technique you need to play it is the barred power chord. If you don’t know how to play those, go grab your guitar and read our easy power chords lesson.

How to Play Rosenrot

Keine Lust by Rammstein, London O2, 2012

Here’s an extremely simple and accurate tab of Rosenrot. As you can see there, the song only has two riffs: a chorus and a bridge.

(Psst . . . if you don’t know how to read guitar tabs, you can find out how here.)

‘Extremely simple …  the song only has two riffs’.

If you want to play along with the song, you’ll need to tune to drop C first. Read our article on dropped guitar tunings to find out how to do that.

Your strings might get floppy and buzzy if they’re thin. You should still be able to play the song—it just won’t sound live-show quality. Consider buying heavier-gauge strings if this bothers you and you want to play a lot of songs like this one.

Tips

  • Try strumming down and up rather than just down. This will make the song take half as much energy to play.
  • Practice the chord changes in the bridge on their own before trying to play them all together. The hardest part of the song is reaching from the 13th fret to the 10th fret, so practice quickly switching from playing the 13th-fret power chord with your ring finger to playing the 10th fret with your index finger.
  • Gently rest your fingers on all of the strings during the parts with no guitar. This will stop your amp from ringing.
  • Play the song slowly on your own at first. Use a metronome to stay in time, and only try playing up to speed with the song once you’re comfortable with both riffs.

#2: Monster by Skillet

Skillet Zurich Komplex

Skillet playing in Zurich.

Skillet’s “Monster” is played at a pace similar to Rosenrot and is also in drop C, so you don’t have to spend any time fiddling with your guitar. Plus it’s catchy as all get-out and should be inoffensive to any audience.

‘[Monster is] catchy as all get-out and should be inoffensive to any audience.’

The only additional technique you need to learn is how to play a full mute, a simple technique that it doesn’t need an article of its own.

How to Play a Full Mute

Full mutes look like this on a tab:

Full Mutes

All you have to do to play them is rest your fingers lightly on the strings so they can’t play any specific notes. You should use at least two fingers to do this—otherwise you might play harmonics, which is an entirely different technique. It’s also important that you don’t push down and accidentally play a fret.

With your fingers in place, strum the strings marked with Xs in the tab. This should make a light “chick” sound. Once you have it right, try strumming down and up quickly to create the classic “chicka chicka” full mute sound.

How to Play Monster

Skillet, Live!

I recommend using this excellent Monster tab. Again, if you’re in drop C already, you don’t need to change your tuning. This is awesome because it lets you easily practice both songs in one sitting.

Tips

  • Listen to the song while reading the tab at the same time to get a feeling for the timing—the tab doesn’t really tell you how long to pause or hold notes. Then try learning one riff at a time.
  • The full mute is quickly followed by an open (0) power chord. Try strumming down on the full mute and then up on the open chord if you have trouble playing it up to speed.

#3: Eiszeit by Eisbrecher

Eisbrecher - Eiszeit, Photo by Holger Fichtner

Eisbrecher. Photo by Holger Fichtner.

Well, at this point the cat’s probably out of the bag: I like German metal. Eisbrecher is like a less evil cousin of Rammstein, and nobody dies in the Eiszeit music video.

‘Eisbrecher is like a less evil cousin of Rammstein’.

Eiszeit may actually be easier to play than Rosenrot for many. The chord changes aren’t nearly as tricky. However, you will have to memorize more riffs, and learn one additional trick: palm muting.

How to Play Eiszeit

Eisbrecher makes easy electric guitar songs awesome - Photo by Holger Fichtner

Eisbrecher live. Photo by Holger Fichtner.

You can find a good Eiszeit tab here.

First, you need to tune your guitar to drop Db. That’s Db Ab Db Gb Bb Eb from thickest to thinnest. (Ignore the Drop D tuning stated at the very top of the tab.)

If you’re in drop C from playing Rosenrot and Monster, that just means tighten all of your strings so they’re a half step (one fret) higher in pitch than before. If you’re in drop D, tune everything a half-step lower.

Tip

#4: Fully Alive by Flyleaf

Flyleaf performing live SanFranOCT18

Flyleaf performing live in San Francisco.

If you enjoyed playing the bridge of Rosenrot, then Fully Alive should be exactly what you’re looking for now. It uses the same kind of switching between different power chords. It’s just a bit faster and trickier, and involves another new technique: the legato slide.

How to Play Fully Alive

Flyleaf-cropped

This song is in drop D. If you’re in standard tuning, that just means tuning the thickest string of your guitar down one whole note, from E to D. If you’re in drop Db from playing Eiszeit, tune every string up one half step.

‘If you enjoyed playing the bridge of Rosenrot, then Fully Alive should be exactly what you’re looking for now.’

Here’s the best Fully Alive tab I’m aware of. Unfortunately, none of the tabs available seem to nail the solo/bridge precisely, but this one is just about right. Note that you’re only supposed to play the first or last six bars of the solo/bridge, not all 12—this just shows the harmony.

You’ll also see these two chords:

Fully Alive Chords

You normally need three fingers to play those. However, you can sound just about as good (just losing the deepest note on the first one) by playing them this way:

Fully Alive Chords 2

They’re still the same chords—just played differently.

You will have to move further up the fretboard to play them. However, I found that way easier when I was getting started than trying to get three fingers to work together at once. You might have the same experience. Give both options a try and see which one feels better to you.

Don’t Stop the Music!

Check out 4 More Electric Guitar Songs for Beginners for additional recommendations, including songs from The Ramones, Godsmack and Nirvana. If you have any easy electric guitar songs to suggest or get stuck on any of these, just leave a comment below. We’re always happy to hear from you!

Justin GolschneiderAbout the Author

Justin Golschneider is the Guitar Coach sub-editor. Before chopping off his hair and becoming a professional editor and writer, he played bass in the hardcore band Fractures and lead guitar in the short-lived melodeath band Steel and Crow. He lives in Burlington, Vermont.

Category: Beginners, Guitar Songs

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