If you’re like me when you started learning guitar, you started off very excited and then realized it was taking more time and effort than usual. Or maybe you attempted to play guitar in the past but lost interest and now you just want to give it another shot.
Learning songs can be a great and motivating way to learn guitar, but it can be tough for beginner guitar players. If you’re a beginner, start with simple songs because these will motivate you as you can play them. That’s why we are talking 1 string guitar songs today.
So, here’s a list of the best 1 string songs to play on guitar:
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
The White Stripes song Seven Nation Army is one of the most famous and probably the easiest one-string guitar song. If any one of you is a sports fan, it is most likely for you to be familiar with this tune.
The bass guitar is in the intro of the song, it is the foundation and basis that makes up the structure of the entire song. This is a 1 string song so you only need to use one finger. Below is the link for YouTube video for the original song. Once you start to play this song make sure you take your time to accurately hit some of those notes as there are some gaps between each note so don’t hurry.
Perfect – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is most known for his beautiful ballads. Many of these ballads use easy one-string guitar riffs. One of his most famous songs is Perfect. You’ll be playing the chorus.
The original recording was in A flat but in general, it isn’t a great key for guitar songs. You are going to need a Capo if you want to play and make it sound like the recording, place it onto the first fret and use the G string on the guitar. This song is beautiful yet simple to play like many other songs on this list.
Running Down a Dream – Tom Petty
Tom Petty’s Runnin Down a Dream was released in 1993 and this classic guitar riff is perfect for our list of one-string guitar songs. It’s a pretty quick one and with enough practice, you’ll get on top of it and play it perfectly so you really have to get those fingers moving
The riff not only happens at the beginning of the song but also features throughout the song. It’s faster than the Seven Nation Army by the white stripes. You should take your time and start slowly until you get used to the notes and hit them perfectly. You can gradually increase your tempo once you’ve got a hang of the notes. With practice, you will eventually be able to play at the same speed as the song.
Iron Man – Black Sabbath
Iron Man was released in 1970 and is one of the most famous songs of Black Sabbath and it was also included in his album Paranoid. Compared to Seven Nation Army, the technique used on Iron Man by Black Sabbath is not that different. In this case similar to Seven Nation Army, you’ll be playing the fifth string, which is also the second thickest.
Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
Sunshine of Your Love by Cream is a must-include in our list of the best one-string guitar songs. The epic riff is played on the D string which is best for beginners who are new to reading a guitar tab.
This song is perfect for beginners because you just have to use one string and one finger the entire time. The riff is actually epic and it only uses the D string and anyone who is familiar with the blues scale will recognize this immediately. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with this.
One of the main things about this song is the timing because it’s a little bit tricky. If you are a beginner at playing guitar, you need to be really careful when playing this song for the first time. Once you have got the hang of playing the piece perfectly at a slow tempo you can gradually try to speed it up.
Smoke on The Water – Deep Purple
This song is one of the most infamous one-string guitar songs for the ages. This song’s riff is iconic yet effortlessly simple to play and for many years guitarists have had this song on their list of the best 1 string guitar songs.
Generations of guitar players have learned the main intro riff of this song and that’s why it’s made it onto our list of one-string guitar songs. If you are up for a challenge, you can then go on and learn the riff using both the G and D strings like the original version. Even though it’s a bit tricky, if you practice enough, you’ll be able to perfect it.
ThunderStruck – AC/DC
If you’re up for a challenge and want to learn long one string songs, Thunderstruck is the best choice for you. Even though there are two parts to the riff, to get started you should just focus on the first part.
The AC/DC guitarist Angus Young reality played this song without using a pick. However, because you’re just starting out, it is suggested to use alternate picking which is where you play the string in an up and down motion. After you have perfected the first part or have gotten a hang of it, you can move on to the next one.
The Office US – Theme Song
The original version of ‘The Office’ had Handbags and Gladrags as its theme song, but when it was adapted for US television, a new theme song was written by former Spirit and “Thunder Island” composer Jay Ferguson. Even though it’s a catchy melody as the theme moves around in G string a lot, it makes it a little more challenging than the rest of the songs.
Mamma Mia – ABBA
Riffs are small parts of entire songs so with Mamma Mia by ABBA you will be able to play the entire melody that is used in the chorus. This track was originally released as part of the bands’ 1975 album and was later turned into a hit movie in 2008, with a sequel ten years later. This song has a lot going on for it. Learning one-string guitar songs can actually show you how the pitch works on the guitar. This song is one of the best and easiest one-string songs.
Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
The main riff of the song Satisfaction by Rolling Stones is very simple and it all happens on the fifth string. Not only is this a powerful riff, but it’s also a great exercise to warm up your fingers and once you perfect it, you’ll be ready to roll. You can also consider playing the riff on all the strings, still as an exercise but make sure to do so, playing on a metronome’s beat, as usual.
And that’s it for songs that you can play on a single guitar string. Start learning these songs to improve your guitar playing!
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Josh is the founder and main author of Songwriter Nation. He has played music for over twenty years and even studied music at university earning a minor in music.