Learning songs is incredibly important for any guitarist who desires to grow on the instrument. This teaches you techniques and musical vocabulary you likely wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
Intermediate songs are those that should employ your foundational skills to a high degree. While some may be easy, others might be a little more challenging, pushing you to advanced levels of play.
Here are some of the best intermediate acoustic and electric guitar songs that will help you excel as a guitarist.
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“Layla” by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton has certainly had his fair share of hits throughout his entire career. He’s also probably the first modern guitarist to be called “God” by mainstream society.
The 1990s saw Clapton’s career hit a new wave of popularity, no doubt aided by his iconic Unplugged performance. Layla is a true classic, which is perhaps just as popular in this rendition as the original version.
On the whole, the song is relatively easy. Common barre chords are employed throughout, which should be common knowledge at this level.
However, you might get a little tripped up if you’re used to playing strictly barre chords. The song uses some single-picked notes to help outline the song’s iconic melody.
Once you get this down, feel free to learn Clapton’s solos, which can be mentally remembered with enough listening. Of course, the song makes a perfect platform for you to create your own solos.
Don’t be shy, use a loop pedal and improvise your own solos over the progression. This can help you develop your musical identity and make the song yours.
“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd
It would probably be quite difficult to find a guitarist who hasn’t been inspired by Pink Floyd. There is no denying that, since the 1970s, they had an important role in defining the history of rock music.
David Gilmour’s influence can be heard everywhere, even if a guitarist isn’t exactly an avid listener. In a sense, his vocabulary has become a part of common nomenclature, being passed around from guitarist to guitarist.
The band has had a massive range of hits, whether it be mainstream hits or underground hits. Each song seems to pack its own unique punch, whether it be doused in psychedelia, theater, or pensiveness.
Comfortably Numb is one of the most glaring examples of Gilmour’s excellent guitar work. It is mostly focused on melody, with excess flash kept to a minimum.
While it might be fairly simple, it conveys a tone of emotion that many fail to properly emote. It’s a good part of the reason why its solo is ranked as one of the best ever recorded.
“All Along The Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix has quite a few songs he is known for. However, All Along The Watchtower is probably one of the most instantly recognizable.
From the track’s opening guitar chord stabs to the blazing solos throughout, it’s obvious that it is Hendrix. The song is so effective that Bob Dylan said that it was (from that point on) a Hendrix song.
Just having one of the greatest songwriters say that is a massive accomplishment. Especially so when it was he who wrote the song.
All Along The Watchtower will give you something to put those barre chords to use. Plus, you’ll learn some iconic solos you can likely already sing from memory.
This song has an important lesson in solo exposition. Pay attention to how Hendrix almost peaks the solo but instead opts to sing another verse.
By doing this, he adds a degree of anticipatory tension. After the verse, Hendrix peaks the song out with another solo and hits the glory note everyone was waiting for.
“Under The Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
It seemed that, in the 1990s, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were everywhere. Of course, when you release an album like Blood Sugar Sex Magik, it all starts to make sense.
The album is drenched in heavy funk with that unique Chili Peppers twist only they can seem to do. In fact, there were 5 different songs released as singles from this album, all receiving high acclaim.
One of those songs is, no doubt, Under The Bridge. Compared to the other songs on the album, this is a pretty sobering ballad.
When you realize exactly what the song’s about, it adds that much more power to the song’s potency. Feel free to look it up yourself, we’re not going to give it away (pun intended).
Under The Bridge will give you a workout in connecting chords between melodic passages. You’ll also learn some iconic Frusciante chord theory.
Plus, it’s one of the most recognizable songs to emerge from the 1990s. It helped define the darker side of the landscape that was popular music at that time.
“Every Breath You Take” by The Police
The Police probably aren’t held in such high regard as they were at the height of their career. But you can’t deny that the band possessed a skill for producing some unique hits.
Maybe it was the era that it was recorded, but Every Breath You Take is one of these songs. Sure, it might be a little cheesy by today’s standards of music, and you’d be forgiven for thinking so.
Quite honestly, many of the songs from the time period this song was released just do not hold up well. And, on some levels, this song might fit into that sort of categorization.
However, musically, it is a ballad to be reckoned with, particularly on the guitar parts. Simple listening would have you thinking that this guitar part is fairly easy.
The reality is, you need to be extremely consistent to provide the well-known tapestry for the song’s melody. This is no small feat, but it makes a perfect song for an intermediate to learn.
“Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots
The 1990s saw the Stone Temple Pilots enjoying massive success with their unique brand of rock music. When you release albums like Core, it’s easy to see why this band was so popular.
What people don’t realize is, Core was actually the band’s first full-length release. It has hits that are still enjoyed by a wide audience in today’s society.
There aren’t many bands who can say that they had a top 5 chart-ranking album as their first release. It was songs like Plush that really helped to propel the band into the mainstream.
Plush is going to make great use of your barre chord knowledge. But, don’t get it wrong, this song will teach you far more than utilizing chords.
You’ll get a taste of the different possibilities simple barre chords can be used in. Plush has a very interesting musical platform built primarily from the guitar parts.
There is also a fair bit of diversity in these guitar parts. These range from the iconic riff to complementing parts for each section of the song.
“Blackbird” by The Beatles
After you become somewhat familiar with playing simple chords on a guitar, you realize how difficult fingerpicking can be. It requires an innate and intuitive knowledge of the inner workings of different chord shapes.
Listening to fingerpicking songs can be quite dazzling as these parts essentially contain elements of a full band. Because of its highly effective nature, many guitarists are drawn to learning this technique.
One of the first songs many guitarists learn to develop fingerpicking with is Blackbird. It’s an iconic song that everybody is at least familiar with on some levels.
Because of this familiarity, it allows you to learn much faster, simply because you know how it’s supposed to sound. Actually getting that result takes much longer, but can be achieved with dedication.
Not only will Blackbird give you a fingerpicking workout, but it also throws a couple of curveballs at you. The biggest is the moving chord shapes that take place without breaking the fingerpicking pattern.
Get this song under your belt and you’ll be well on your way to learning other fingerpicking songs easier. Plus, there aren’t too many people who don’t enjoy a well-played rendition of Blackbird.
“She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes
The early-to-mid 1990s saw The Black Crowes rising to critical acclaim within the music industry. This band possessed a sound that few other bands at that time could muster.
One of the band’s most famous tracks is undoubtedly She Talks To Angels. It actually comes from the band’s debut album and remains a staple on radio stations today.
This is another one of those songs from the grunge era that deals with topics relating to heroin. Unlike other songs from this era, it is not drenched in overtly distorted guitars and attitude.
Rather, She Talks To Angels is a stripped-down song that has elements of roots music at its core. It also features some excellent acoustic guitar work suitable for any intermediate looking to add to their repertoire.
You’ll learn quite a few different musical phrases that can be easily applied to your own music. There’s perhaps nothing better than learning something you can use for yourself.
“Michelle” by The Beatles
Some people might be agonizing at the fact that The Beatles are mentioned more than once in this list. And, sure, this band often gets quite a large amount of credit for their contributions to modern music.
So, rather than repeat what’s already been stated, we’ll cut to the chase. Like so many other songs by The Beatles, Michelle is extremely famous.
In fact, if you’re somewhat familiar, you can likely recall the song's iconic intro, and maybe even the solo. This is part of the reason why this band’s songs are so great to learn.
Michelle is a favorite for any Beatles lover, but it’s difficult enough to throw you for a loop. If you’re used to playing simple open chord songs, this might pose a bit of a challenge.
But, if you like the song, you’ll stick with it because you want to play this classic song yourself. Plus, you’ll learn some interesting jazz voicings that you can apply in your own creative endeavors.
“Waiting On The World To Change” by John Mayer
For years, John Mayer was largely overlooked by the guitar community as strictly a pop artist. When he first appeared at Clapton’s Crossroads festival, the majority of people were a bit disgusted.
Mind you, this feeling was not caused by his playing, but simply by his inclusion in the festival. Fast-forward nearly 20 years later and society’s perception of Mayer has completely changed.
Now, people are starting to become aware of Mayer’s genius, both as a guitarist and as a songwriter. Sure, maybe some of his lyrics might be weak, but his musicality cannot be denied in any measure.
Just the fact that he has been a touring member with Dead and Company alone should be a tell-tale sign. It is about one of the highest honors a musician could achieve.
Waiting On The World To Change is an excellent Mayer song to add to your repertoire. It’s simple enough to show you that songs don’t need to be overly complicated to be effective.
You’re going to want to work on playing things extremely clean, with that signature light and bouncy touch.
“Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin
Young guitarists are often drawn to the instrument by direct inspiration from Jimmy Page’s playing. Once people start learning the instrument, it’s quite easy to see Page in a sort of godly light.
Let’s face it, Led Zeppelin’s music would not be the same without Page’s signature guitar riffs. He helped forge a path for rock music that would be hinged on riffs as a cornerstone of the song.
The song Black Dog is a perfect example of this and has its own signature riff played throughout. Zeppelin fans can likely recall this riff directly from memory.
As you’re probably now aware, this familiarity is a great tool to have at your disposal. It will certainly serve you well here when learning Black Dog.
Perhaps the trickiest part of the song is the timing of the open spaces between the music. These moments do not seem to fit into any sort of countable meter.
Even playing with the recording, you’ll likely be sitting in anticipation for the band to kick in after the vocals. However, if this induces anticipation from a musician, it’s clearly a result of well-crafted music.
“Fire And Rain” by James Taylor
James Taylor has an iconic sound as an artist, even when it is just him and an acoustic guitar. He is one of those examples where just himself is as powerful as a full band’s performance.
What makes artists like this stand out in such a magnificent manner? Part of it has to do with honest vulnerability mixed with excellent musical accompaniment.
You’ll find no shortage of that with James Taylor’s song Fire And Rain. Though there are moments with other musicians, it is hinged on Taylor’s guitar and voice.
This song does have some tasteful guitar parts that can prove to be the perfect challenge for intermediates. Plus, it has a timeless chorus that cuts to the bone and will forever be relatable.
If you’ve ever aspired to be a singer-songwriter, be sure to learn this one. It’s a great primer for how an excellent song can be crafted, on nearly every level.
“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd isn’t generally known for singalong ballads. However, Wish You Were Here is exactly that when played for an audience.
This song will put to use your open chord knowledge in a song you probably know quite well. Plus, it's a great entry into playing simple guitar solos while also using your voice to sing the solo.
“Sultans Of Swing” by Dire Straits
If you’re up for a challenge to up your soloing skills, it’s time to learn Sultans Of Swing. Mark Knopfler continues to dazzle with his lead work on this song.
The phrasing of his leads is incredibly inventive and will go a long way to beefing up your rhetoric. Play it in a fingerstyle manner like Knopfler and you’ll have a newfound appreciation for this radio hit.
“Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac
You might not think it, but this Fleetwood Mac song is perhaps the most difficult song on this list. It will truly test your fingerpicking skills in ways you hadn’t considered.
While the album version is the one you want to learn from, a live version has been featured here. This has been done to prove that it is, in fact, humanly possible to play and sing this song simultaneously.
Plus, the fact that this song was written to reflect Buckingham’s relationship with Stevie Nicks makes it even more powerful. To see them on stage together so many years later performing a cutting song is quite a beautiful sight.
Top Guitar Songs For Intermediates, Final Thoughts
As with learning anything, be sure to be patient and kind to yourself in the process. It might seem like a simple concept, but it’s easier said than done.
Life today has conditioned us to expect instant results in any endeavor we might undertake. Some things simply take longer than anticipated and must be given the respectful time allowance they need.
More importantly, have fun with the process. After all, having fun is likely one of the reasons you picked up the guitar in the first place.
P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!
As an intermediate guitar player, it's important to focus on technique to improve your playing. This includes developing proper hand positioning, building speed and precision, and learning different techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.What should I practice as intermediate guitar player? ›
As an intermediate guitar player, it's important to focus on technique to improve your playing. This includes developing proper hand positioning, building speed and precision, and learning different techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.How long does it take to become an intermediate guitar player? ›
To reach an intermediate level, you will probably have to play the guitar regularly for around 2 – 3 years. At this level, you will need to be practising the guitar for at least 1 hour per day. By then, you should have quite an impressive library of songs that you can play.How many guitar songs should you learn at A time? ›
So there you have it! While there's no exact number to answer the question, “How many songs should a beginner guitarist know?”, around 10-15 well-practiced songs are a solid start. Remember, the journey of a guitarist is a never-ending symphony, and every new song you learn adds a note to your musical story.What grade is intermediate guitar? ›
|Certificate level||Equivalent grade level|
- Head in the Clouds by Maria Linnemann.
- Danse rythmique by Ida Presti.
- 'Symphony of Destruction' by Megadeth.
- Folios by Tōru Takemitsu.
- 'Freebird' by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
- Gris y mar by María Luisa Anido.
- 'The Animal' by Steve Vai.
- Sonata Giocosa by Joaquín Rodrigo.
Aim to practice guitar for at least 15 minutes per day. Try to avoid long and unbroken practice sessions of longer than one hour at a time. If you want to practice for longer than 20 minutes, set short breaks to split up your practice sessions for the best results possible.Is 3 hours of guitar practice too much? ›
Deliberate practice is more difficult that auto-pilot, but it builds your skills in less time. Studies show that practicing more than four hours a day is just way too much. Additional time doesn't make any difference in your progress, even with deliberate practice. Plus, you can really harm yourself.How many hours should a guitarist practice? ›
For most people, 30–90 minutes per day seems to be a good goal. Total beginners may see good results in just 15 minutes per day.Can I master guitar in 2 years? ›
While becoming a master in just two years may be a lofty goal, it is certainly possible to make significant progress and play proficiently. By setting realistic expectations, finding a good teacher, practicing consistently, and exploring various techniques, you can embark on a fulfilling guitar journey.
And even practicing 8 hours per day (which some people believe is not possible to sustain in the long term, and is not productive even in the short term), one cannot achieve the highest level defined here in less than 13.5 years. So remember that no matter what, learning guitar takes awhile.How much should an intermediate guitar player spend on a guitar? ›
You should budget between $400 and $1000 for a guitar for an intermediate player. As a result, these guitars are mass-produced but have the same hardware and materials as beginner guitars. They are an excellent choice for experienced beginners who want to upgrade their instruments.What is the 80 20 rule for learning guitar? ›
When applied to the guitar, the 80/20 Rule suggests: 80% of your practice time leads to 20% of your total progress on the guitar. 20% of your practice time leads to 80% of your total progress on the guitar.How long does it take for the average person to learn guitar? ›
On average, it can take a dedicated student several months to a year to develop a basic proficiency on the guitar. However, some students may be able to play simple songs within a few weeks of starting lessons, while others may take several years to reach a similar level of skill.How long does it take the average person to memorize A song? ›
This depends on the length and complexity of a song, but the average time it takes to learn a song is about two weeks with consistent practice every day.What makes someone an advanced guitarist? ›
A good ear
The ability to listen to a music piece and able to identify the key, notes, chords and rhythm is a sign of an advanced level musician. Be it metal, rock, pop, funk, blues or even jazz. You have a brilliant sense of identifying music just by listening to the song.
- “Talented” is relative. ...
- What separates a good guitarist from a mediocre one?
- There isn't one thing, but here are a few things I think count:
- -Good timing.
- -Good intonation (bending in tune, hearing when you're not in tune).
- -Ability to improvise. ...
- -Overall chops: This covers a LOT of ground, but some things includes.
- 1 – Chord Extensions. ...
- 2 – Lead Guitar Improvisation. ...
- 3 – Using Pedals to Shape Your Tone. ...
- 4 – Legato. ...
- 5 – Making a Guitar not Sound Like a Guitar. ...
- 6 – Percussive Guitar and Alternate Tunings. ...
- 7 – Two Hand Tapping. ...
- 8 – Hybrid Picking – Pedal Steel Licks for Guitar.
The six-string F chord is one of the hardest standard chord shape to play on the guitar. When many people try to play the F chord on guitar (and often succeed), it's with far too much struggle and effort than is actually necessary. Even extremely influential guitarists can have a hard time with barre chords.What is the hardest guitar riff of all time? ›
- Joe Satriani – The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing. Let's start off with Joe Satriani, AKA “Satch Boogie”, AKA one of the best guitarists ever. ...
- John Petrucci – Damage Control. ...
- Steve Vai – Juice. ...
- Eddie Van Halen – Eruption. ...
- Animals as Leaders – CAFO.
In May 14, in front of a live Web-streamed audience of thousands, Austin resident and former Richmond music-scene staple David DiDonato smashed the world record for the longest continuous guitar solo by playing for 25 hours and 55 minutes.Should I practice guitar in morning or night? ›
Practice in the Morning
For those committed to improving, this is one of the best choices available. Practicing in the morning ensures that you will always spend some of your budgeted time on guitar. At any other time of the day, you may already have spent (or committed to spend) your time and energy.
You can learn the basics of guitar in 3 months as long as the length, quality, and consistency of your practice is good. You also need to be highly motivated and have the ability to take constructive criticism in a positive way.How long does it take to master a guitar? ›
It can take you a couple of months to get to know the instrument and play a few songs you love. But to really master guitar can take years of practice as any other musical instrument. It depends on the type of person you are and your practicing habits and the goals you set for yourself.What should I practice guitar every day? ›
Consistency is key – try to practice guitar for at least 15 minutes per day, five days a week, but also follow these tips: Avoid long and unbroken sessions. Don't practice for more than an hour at a time. Set short breaks if you plan on practicing for more than 20 minutes.What should I practice on guitar everyday? ›
- Practicing things such as chords, scales, and exercises can help improve technic and muscle memory for instrument use.
- Stretching before and after playing can help provide flexibility and reduce any potential strains from extended practice sessions.
Attention Span and Focus
For most individuals, this optimal duration falls within the range of 25 to 30 minutes. By keeping guitar lessons within this timeframe, instructors can ensure that students remain attentive and engaged throughout the session.
True experts on the guitar have practiced for well beyond 10,000 hours, in most cases. Don't let this discourage you! If you work hard, you will be playing tunes and accompanying songs with chords after your first year. The good news is that you can progress so much further than that - it's a long term journey.How long does it take a guitarist to learn a song? ›
An easy song may take a beginner anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to learn to play on the guitar. Intermediate and advanced guitarists can learn simple songs within days and complicated songs can take anywhere from weeks to months to learn.How many hours a day did Jimmy Page practice? ›
Page would practice six to seven hours a day, sometimes taking the guitar with him to school, where it would be confiscated until the end of the day. He played guitar on BBC1 in 1957 at age 13 with a skiffle quartet (skiffle is a genre of music that was popular in Britain at the time).
You are never too old to learn guitar. You can start learning guitar at any age. While younger people tend to learn faster, you are still capable of learning guitar as a beginner whether you are 30, 40, 60, or even 70.How long does it take to be a good guitar player? ›
Depending on your commitment to practice you can become a good hobby player in as little as 6 months or as long as 4 years.What is the fastest way to learn guitar? ›
- Start With The Basics Of Playing Guitar. ...
- Find The Best Guitar For You. ...
- Create An Ideal Learning Environment. ...
- Build Skills By Learning Songs. ...
- Pick Up Songs By Ear. ...
- Learn With Other New Players. ...
- Practice, Practice, Practice. ...
- Be Patient With Yourself.
There's no one age to learn how to play the guitar. As long as you're motivated, organized, and you take the time to practice and learn more about your new hobby, you'll be fine.What is the easiest instrument to play? ›
- HARMONICA. One of the easiest instruments you can take up, which is also very popular in a variety of styles, is the harmonica. ...
- GUITAR. ...
- UKULELE. ...
- KEYBOARD. ...
Most private teachers have a range of options for lesson times that they offer their students, the most common being 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minutes in length. There are a number of things to consider when choosing how long your guitar lessons should be.How many guitars is it reasonable to own? ›
You could say that the optimal number of guitars is 3 – an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and a classical guitar. That will cover close to everything. But as we've already been over there's lots of legitimate reasons for wanting and owning more guitars.Is it OK to buy an expensive guitar as a beginner? ›
Beginners should avoid buying an expensive guitar if it is their first or second guitar. The reason is they may not commit to learning the guitar for the long term. Secondly, they have not developed the skill or experience to make the most of the instrument. Beginners should purchase a guitar around $200 – $800.How many guitars should a normal person have? ›
Generally, one electric guitar, one acoustic guitar, and one classical guitar are enough to satisfy your needs and cover all styles of music. If you have varied interests, you may want to add new guitars to experiment with different types of pickups configurations, body shapes, and different necks.Is 16 late to start guitar? ›
It's never too late to learn guitar! While there are definite advantages to learning the guitar at an early age, all it really takes is the desire to learn and the motivation to practice.
One of the things people overlook the most when learning guitar is playing songs. Simply put, playing songs is the BEST thing you can do. Sure, you have things to learn before diving into songs. These things include basic chord shapes, how to fret notes, how to tune up the strings, and so on.Can you get better at guitar by learning songs? ›
Learning songs on guitar provides a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills beyond what's required to just “play” the song. However, it's easy to get stuck in a pattern of learning songs chord for chord and note for note without putting much thought into what you're actually playing.Is 2 years enough for guitar? ›
While two years may not be enough to become a virtuoso, it is certainly possible to make significant progress and play guitar proficiently.Is 30 too old to play guitar? ›
One of the most common questions I am asked is: am I too old to learn guitar? You are never too old to learn guitar. You can start learning guitar at any age. While younger people tend to learn faster, you are still capable of learning guitar as a beginner whether you are 30, 40, 60, or even 70.Is 23 too old to play guitar? ›
Whether you are a young child or an older adult, there are numerous benefits to picking up this popular instrument, and while some may think that starting at a young age is the best option, the truth is that it is never too late to learn the guitar.What is the fastest guitar solo ever? ›
The current Guinness World Record holder for fastest guitar playing, Dr. Hot Licks, earned his title playing Bumblebee at 620 bpm.What is the hardest guitar solo to master? ›
- Eruption by Van Halen (Guitarist - Eddie Van Halen) ...
- Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega (Guitarist - Francisco Tárrega) ...
- Billy's Bounce by Charlie Parker (Guitarist - George Benson) ...
- Electric Sunrise by Plini (Guitarist - Plini)
You can learn guitar in three months of dedicated practice – if you're able to commit hours every week to practicing and learning new techniques, you should be able to develop your skills quite significantly in just a few months. Most people will take longer– up to two years – to become proficient players.What is the best method to learn guitar songs? ›
The best way to learn a full song is to break it into small pieces. Think about assembling a stain-glassed window. Each individual part comes together to form one larger piece of art. Focus on just the intro until you get it right, then move onto another part, like memorizing the chord progression of the chorus.What is the most basic song to learn on guitar? ›
- 1. “ Paranoid” by Black Sabbath.
- 2. “ Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi.
- 3. “ Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
- 4. “ Free Fallin” by Tom Petty.
- 5. “ My Generation” by The Who.
- 6. “ House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals.
- 7. “ Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus.
- 8. “
|Level||Hours Needed||Daily Practice Investment|
- 1) Practice in the ideal learning environment. ...
- 2) Workout and train regularly. ...
- 3) Know your chronotype and practice accordingly. ...
- 4) Meditate. ...
- 5) Chew Gum. ...
- 6) Sleep.
It is important to practice the guitar regularly in order to improve your skills. One of the most common guitar practice tips is that you should practice every single day for a year to become a better guitar player.