Newcomers aiming to learn, practice, and eventually master the G, D, and A chords are in luck—there are many songs tailor-made for your circumstances.
While we praise worldwide hits that showcase complex compositions and avant-garde techniques, the truth is that just as many songs have become classics through easy-to-follow chord progressions and simple sounds.
Take a look at the set of popular and underrated songs that feature GDA chords and I believe are easy to learn and master by newcomers to the world of guitars.
One final note before we get started: don’t forget to tune your guitar! These songs won’t sound right if your guitar is out of tune… If you need a great tuner, here’s my favorite clip-on guitar tuner (on Amazon).
Here are 15 Easy Guitar Songs with G, D, and A Chords:
Franklin’s Tower – The Grateful Dead.
Regardless of whether or not you’re a devout fan of The Grateful Dead’s repertoire, Franklin’s Tower stands out as a perfect song to learn how to play first. Not only is it terrific and fun to play, but it is also a straightforward song with no further complications or tricky segments.
An alternative rock track with overt jazz energies, Franklin’s Tower has an almost hypnotic characteristic to it, not in small part thanks to its straightforward A-G-D-G chord progression over a tempo of 99 bpm.
Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Being considered one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time is no small achievement, yet Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival managed to snatch the 364th spot according to Rolling Stone.
The song is striking but as dissonant as they come—it features an overly cheery and happy tune accompanied by an outright apocalyptic set of lyrics that foresee impending doom and danger.
Bad Moon Rising has a tempo of 179 bpm, and its main chord progression is D-A-G-D, although you have to look out for the chorus and the solo.
Twist and Shout – the Beatles.
Written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns, Twist And Shout was first recorded by The Top Notes in 1961 and the Isley Brothers in 1962. While the first was somewhat unsuccessful, the latter quickly reached the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
It was precisely that version the one that caught the eye of The Beatles, leading to the release of their take of the song in 1964, to humungous success in the United States.
Twist And Shout has a D-G-A chord progression that remains easy to follow throughout most of the song, featuring a tempo of 125 bpm.
Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan.
There are many theories about who exactly is Mr. Tambourine Man or what the lyrics are trying to convey—no one exactly has reached an agreement to this day. But in my opinion, that is okay. Mr. Tambourine Man is a song to be enjoyed as one does abstract art.
Perhaps as a counterpoint to the decidedly perplexing lyrics, Dylan decided to go easy with the music. It is written in the key of D and has quite simple and easy-to-understand chord progressions and strumming patterns.
Dead Flowers – Rolling Stones.
The Rolling Stones occasionally flirted with the country rock music genre, resulting in masterpieces such as Dead Flowers—a haunting track with a simple sound and ghastly yet magnetic lyrics.
Penned by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Dead Flowers tells the tale of a collapsing relationship between a seemingly uptown, thriving woman and a depressed man who spirals downwards and finds solace in substance abuse.
The somber lyrics contrast with the chipper, vibrant country sound performed with a DAGD chord progression—perfect for beginners, despite the subject matter.
The Middle – Jimmy Eat World.
A staple of alt-rock, pop punk, and a pioneer of what would eventually be known as emo pop, The Middle is Jimmy Eat World’s breakout hit. It is truly the tale of the underdog, as the band had resorted to self-finance the album’s release after being dropped by their previous studio.
In the words of Jim Adkins, the band decided that for their new album, “rather than challenging ourselves by getting real experimental, we kind of went in the other direction, challenging ourselves by getting very simple.”
This is notorious in their composition—a 162 bpm tempo with a forthright strumming pattern and a clear DAGD chord progression.
Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett.
Few songs can brag about being the origin of a resort chain, musical, and assorted commercial products—Margaritaville is one of such.
But before being a franchise in its own right, Margaritaville is a song—and a pretty good one at that. Inspired by the margarita cocktail and with an ambiance that is equal parts country and “island escapism,” the song features verses in the D-A-A-D-D chord progression, while the chorus relies on the G-A-D-D one.
Simple, easy, and fun.
Closer To The Heart – Rush.
Closer To The Heart is nothing short of a classic and remains to this day one of Rush’s most beloved and popular songs, to the point where the band got allegedly “sick of it.”
Released in 1977, the song speaks about societal change and every individual’s role in creating a new reality. The chords take it easy, featuring only the expected A, G, and D chords except for the guitar solo, where the song follows a D-G-C-A chord progression.
Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman.
Tracy Chapman’s distinctive sounds shine through her biggest hit, Give Me One Reason. Her folk style with shades of Americana meets traditional blues rock, creating the perfect storm—one that granted her a Grammy.
The song requires a capo in the 2nd fret, but beyond that, the chord progression does not have any stand-out feature or complication for beginners, making it an exceptional piece to add to your repertoire.
Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam.
Initially released as the B-side track of the vastly popular Jeremy, Yellow Ledbetter found success of its own by reaching the Billboard Rock Tracks charts without being released as a single.
Quickly regarded as one of Pearl Jam’s best songs, a significant part of its popularity comes from its freeform nature. Eddie Vedder often changes the lyrics when performed live, while Mike McCready also modifies how he plays the riff, making it an exciting part of every concert.
As a general rule, the song remains an easy-to-follow track with just three chords and a straightforward strumming pattern.
Helpless – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Despite being credited to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Helpless feels distinctively like a Neil Young song. I believe this must be because he wrote the song before he even considered performing it with them.
Regardless, the song in its Déjà Vu album version is an excellent addition to the repertoire of any newcomer guitar player seeking to master the GDA chords—it only repeats one melody throughout with a descending D-A-G chord progression.
This Land Is Your Land – Woody Guthrie.
Saying that This Land Is Your Land is one of the world’s most famous songs would be an understatement. This 1945 track is nothing short of legendary, and it has been covered across countries to refer to each land’s unique characteristics.
Perhaps part of its universal charm lies in its simple and instantly recognizable composition. It features A, D, G, D7, and A7 chords, but you can always simplify it and play it as a standard GDA track if you’re an absolute beginner trying to find your footing.
Get Back – The Beatles with Billy Preston.
Get Back is one of the songs we know the most about—from conception to writing, development, and eventual production. Likewise, it is a song with many versions, covers, and interpretations.
Regardless, the original studio version stands out. Written in the key of A, Get Back mostly plays an A-D chord progression with the occasional appearance of the G during the chorus.
Beyond its subtle nuances and strumming details, the song remains a fan favorite for beginners trying to learn The Beatles’ discography.
It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) – AC/DC.
The signature song of AC/DC’s Bon Scott era, Brian Johnson refrains from performing it as a symbol of respect towards his predecessor’s untimely departure. It is understandable, as Bon Scott is responsible for some of the most emblematic aspects of the song, such as the incorporation of bagpipes.
It’s A Long Way To The Top features a capo on the 1st fret and has a main riff with a beat of 136 bps. The chord progression is a simple and straightforward A-G-D-A throughout the chorus and a basic A chord on each verse and the outro.
As you can see, it is a surprisingly simple composition apt for total beginners.
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan. (Note: Drop D tuning)
Released in 1963, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’s album version plays in the E key and features a dropped D tuning and a capo on the 2nd fret.
It is not the most accessible song on the list, but it is still a frankly approachable song that remains appealing to newcomers and intermediate guitar players. But despite this, it often sounds far more complicated than it actually is.
The chords are D, G/D, A, A/D, and G.