Put On Your Ugly Christmas Sweater and Break out a Holiday Tune!
It’s that time of year, and many new guitar students out there want to show off their stuff for the holiday season. We want to help you out by giving you a selection of easy holiday songs to play on the guitar, and by also demonstrating what makes a song good for beginner guitar players. That way, you can start with the songs we’ve suggested and then find more selections on your own.
So what makes one song easier to play than another? It’s all about the basics: how much does a song focus on basic guitar skills? What key a song is in and the amount of chords a song requires are the first basic skills that come to mind. In other words, if a song is in C Major or G Major (the first two keys most beginner guitar students learn), it will theoretically be an easier song to play, especially if it sticks to the common chords within those keys.
Then, you’ll want to look at how fast the song is, or at least, how fast the chords change. Going back and forth between the C chord and the G chord is tricker than holding a C chord for a long time and then switching to G later on. Longer songs will also be trickier than shorter songs. Similarly, if you’re working on tabs or learning to play melodies, look for some with shorter ranges, standard fingerings, and simple chord progressions.
Holiday songs tend to meet a lot of this criteria. Many of them are also familiar to the average beginner guitar player, and when a tune is more familiar to us, it’s easier to learn. Furthermore, a number of the songs listed below are in the public domain, meaning it’s relatively easy to find sheet music, tabs, or chords for them. Now, without further ado, here are some easy holiday songs to play on the guitar!
- Joy to the World
This version is in G major and requires just three chords. It’ll be easy to focus on the singing with this one if you’d like to mix your musical skills.
- Silent Night
With a slow and simple melody and limited chord changes, this Christmas classic is easy to play whether you’re focusing on chords or on playing the melody. You can find the chords and the tab for the melody here.
- 12 Days of Christmas
Although this is a long song, the melody repeats over and over, making it relatively easy to play on the guitar. A minor chord is thrown in, so this one can also stretch your skills slightly.
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Songs for kids tend to be on the easier side, and this holiday favorite is a good example of that. You can find the chords here.
- Jingle Bells
An example of a faster song with limited chord changes, this song is also a great choice for those learning to read sheet music. You can find the chords and the sheet music here.
- Auld Lang Syne
For your New Year’s party, prepare to have another minor chord thrown in. You can find the chords here. Or, if you’re feeling a little more advanced, you can try to play the melody by using the sheet music or tab here.
In the end, the easiest holiday songs to play on the guitar will be the ones you like the most. People practice an instrument more if they like the song they’re playing, so if you want to try a song that’s not on this list, go for it! If you’re not quite there yet though, these songs are a great way to build your skill while also getting into the holiday spirit.