10 of the Best Fingerstyle Guitar Songs

Posted in: Guitar by Dawn Funk on June 8th, 2008 | 24 Comments

10 classic songs every guitarist should know!

Is fingerstyle guitar a dying art?

With new guitarists turning to simple, 3 chord songs from the likes of Green Day, My Chemical Romance, and Fallout Boy, there seems to be less interest in the cool, classy style of finger-picking emulated older artists. Not that Green Day doesn’t have skill – emo-rock (or whatever it is) definitely holds its place in the hearts of this generation. On the other hand, though, why not expand your musical savvy to these 10 playable greats that can be appreciated by most age groups?

  1. Fire and Rain – James Taylor

    Simple and sweet with smooth vocals, Fire and Rain is not difficult to play. One of the best things about this song is that there is such a blue emotion put into the very notes.

  2. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac

    Even though this song uses basic picking patterns, it sounds difficult. Don’t get stuck on the Dixie Chicks version – Fleetwood Mac pulls this off with refinery.

  3. If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot

    Here’s another beauty that’s best known for its covers by the likes of Stars on 54, Johnny Cash, and Olivia Newton-John. Yes, it sounds a little old but it’s fun to play.

  4. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

    So cliché it’s barely cool to play? Definitely. I mean, what guitarist hasn’t tried learning Stariway to Heaven? Yet it maintains rank in the best songs of all time. Listen to the version by mind-blowing duo Rodrigo y Gabriela – you’ll be inspired to take it up again.

  5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles

    Although some of the fingering may be a little difficult for beginning guitarists, this song has an easy rhythm. Across the Universe’s Hendrix-like guitarist, Jojo, brings an ultimate coolness to this tune.

  6. Classical Gas

    Despite having been written for beginners, some of the most popular guitarists of our time like Tommy Emmanuel, Eric Clapton, and Mason Williams have performed this number. If your friends aren’t familiar with it, they’ll be impressed by your playing.

  7. Dust in the Wind – Kansas

    What’s to say? Yes, it’s been overloved by our parents, but it’s still a timeless song.

  8. Time in a Bottle – Jim Croce

    Finally, a few harmonics. This piece will force you to use your pinky (if that’s something you’ve avoided) and is even more meaningful because of the tragic death of Jim Croce.

  9. Mood for a Day – Yes

    So Mood for a Day takes a little more skill and practice than some of the others on this list, but it really is worth the effort.

  10. Petite Etude – Triumph

    If you are past everything on this list of fingerstyle songs, then Petite Etude should be a breeze. This little-known gem sounds classical and is beautiful to listen to over and over again.

While there are great modern musicians who occasionally utilize the fading fingerstyle guitar (think Chili Peppers or Jack Johnson) this list suggests just a sample of older songs that are essential to a learning guitarist’s expertise.

Looking for more free, accurate tabs? Check out acousticpower.com. You’ll have to download the free software Power Tab Editor 1.7 in order to view the files, but it’s small in size and allows you to create your own tabs.

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