It can be challenging to learn how to play the guitar, especially when you want to play your favorite songs, but then learn that they require a capo. Naturally, strengthening your playing and learning to use capos is the most efficient way to overcome this hurdle in the long term.
However, there are also plenty of amazing songs to learn on guitar that don’t require a capo. To make things easy for you, I’ve put together a list of these songs below, and also included chords and tabs for each one. So if you’re searching for a list of songs to play on guitar without a capo… look no further.
Here are the 15 best guitar songs without a capo:
Amie – Pure Prairie League
From their humble beginnings as a circle of friends attempting to play cover songs in Southern Ohio in the mid-1960s to the present-day unit, Pure Prairie League, has spent over 50 years inspiring Country-influenced Rock music lovers.
“Amie” is undoubtedly one of their best; this song, in my opinion, pretty well explains itself. The slow pace of the guitar and its simple chord progression can easily be played without a capo.
Upside Down – Jack Johnson
Upside Down was co-produced and played by Jack Johnson for the animated kid’s film Curious George. However, music fans of all ages have been capable of finding their own purpose in the song since its release over fifteen years ago.
This track finds a way to relate to staying hopeful, uncovering new possibilities, or reliving old ideas. This explains why it peaked at #38 on the Hot 100 billboard in 2006.
The song is still famous and well-known today for empowering listeners to come up with new ideas and not to give up when others don’t believe in them.
Bertha – Grateful Dead
The lyrics for Bertha were written by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, as is the case for the majority of Dead songs, and the music was composed by Jerry Garcia. I adore the folk/bluegrass lyrics and jam band style combined.
The song features truly impeccable guitar playing, and makes heavy use of Open C and G chords which can be incorporated easily without a capo.
Sweet Baby James – James Taylor
James Taylor composed this song in 1969 while driving to Virginia, Richmond, to visit his older brother, Alex Taylor.
This melody is a soft lullaby that explains the tale of a young cowboy who spends his lonely nights inside the canyons, and nothing to keep him company but his cattle and his horse – he dedicates his long lonely hours of darkness to singing himself to bed.
James Taylor’s vocal cord structures are extraordinary, and his voice still sounds as good as it did when he first entered the music world. A true musical genius.
Cinnamon Girl – Neil Young
Neil Young recorded and composed “Cinnamon Girl” with his backing group Crazy Horse.
Young describes the music as a “daydream for a city girl on chipping pavement heading at me from Phil Ochs’ eyes playing finger cymbals” when he was sick with the flu and fever. This song had one of the most incredible guitar riffs in history and can be replicated without a capo.
If you want to hear an incredible interpretation of this song, make sure to also check out Type O Negative’s version of Cinnamon Girl.
Ripple – Grateful Dead
Among all the beautiful songs written by the Grateful Dead, “Ripple” contains a unique kind of magic. “Ripple,” with its deep, contemplating lyrics written by Robert Hunter with the serene acoustic configuration by Jerry Garcia, is a song whose meaning basically comes down to the Grateful Dead’s pure essence.
Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter wrote this song, which has been noted for its country-folk style. Hunter did not perform with the band, but he wrote most of their song lyrics. Hunter’s phrases were frequently poetic and open to interpretation. In this music, he starts writing about the delight of hearing music in the atmosphere and how each of us should forge our own journey.
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
Numerous artists, including Eric Clapton, GN’R, Roger Waters, and many contemporary works, have covered this iconic song.
Dylan composed it for the 1973 Hollywood movie Pat, Garrett And Billy The Kid, in which Sheriff Colin Baker is bleeding to death from gunshot injuries. Dylan appears in the film as one of the characters, Alias.
The soundtrack was recorded in Burbank Studios, California, in February of 1973. This music is flawless. Others have sung it, but they can’t even come close to matching or outdoing this rendition, in my opinion. My hair almost stands on end because it is ambient and spooky. It sounds like a dying man.
Old Man – Neil Young
Young wrote this song about a caretaker of his ranch that he purchased in 1970. The song contrasts the lives of a young fellow and an old man, demonstrating that the old man used to be like this young fellow. It was the very first song written for the Harvest album.
This song sounds incredible for just one person playing an acoustic guitar on stage. It’s undoubtedly one of the best-sounding solo acoustic guitar performances I’ve ever heard. Neil is a sincere musician that grabs you by the heartstrings with his guitar strumming and plays your soul into excruciatingly honest ecstasy, allowing you to release your suffering.
High and Dry – Radiohead
The song was written 2 years before The Bends while they were trying to record Pablo Honey.
This song is another incredible timeless classic masterpiece by one of the greatest bands ever created. It makes the difference between other bands and keeps people coming back to watch and listen to it repeatedly without getting tired. It’s incredible how well it has aged over the years, and is a testament for this work of art that is flawlessly performed.
Jumper – Third Eye Blind
“Jumper” by Third Eye Blind combines a phenomenally catchy, uplifting musical configuration with lyrics that have a much darker interpretation than the sound suggests. You may not even notice at first that “Jumper” is a piece of music concerning suicide or, at the very least, feeling like you’re on the ledge.
“I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend,” the opening lyrics have run out across sound systems and car stereos everywhere. Never again will there be a post-grunge, hip-pop-infused, guitar-riffed, explosive sound like 3EB.
Millions thank Stephen, Kevin, and the boys for providing the music for their 1990s. The soundtrack to your youth is made up of a few songs. For most, this is one of them.
The Weight – The Band
“The Weight” is presumably The Band’s best song, and it’s undoubtedly the most fondly remembered track from their best album, Music from Big Pink.
Several other leading rock bands have covered the song. The original version of this famous song was written and composed in 1968, and the lyrics, compiled in the first person, describe a traveler’s arrival, visit, and departure from Nazareth.
The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
The song was written after the band left their major record label Capitol Record, through which they would have released their prior studio album Clarity in 1999 because sales figures were too low due to insufficient exposure. The whole ordeal that the band went through inspired the song.
It discusses how the group was under a great deal of pressure due to being ignored by the audience and not selling records, but they didn’t give up. The Middle was an immediate success upon its release and was the leading cause of the band breaking into the spotlight.
Closer to the Sun – Slightly Stoopid
Closer to the Sun is a song by Slightly Stoopid about a guy and his quest to find the right girl. This song is about how he got caught up with the wrong girl and couldn’t seem to get let go of her.
Slightly Stoopid’s fourth studio album, Closer to the Sun, was released in 2005. It made its debut at position #121 on the Billboard 200.
There is no question about the incredible guitar playing on this piece and how efficiently it can be done without a capo.
Peace Train – Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens’ song “Peace Train” appears to hold a special place in the hearts of many of us who grew up listening to music in the early 1970s.
Stevens wrote and sang “Peace Train” in 1971 for his album Teaser and the Firecat, and then that became his first US top 10 hit.
Cat Stevens’ magnificent voice is still present and undiminished. This song inspires optimism and happiness with its variety of vocal styles and messages of love!
April Come She Will – Simon and Garfunkel
“April Comes She Will” is similar to Led Zeppelin’s The Rain Song in that Paul Simon expresses the longevity of a relationship based on seasons—specifically, the months of the year.
Simon observes how his lover’s moods appear to change month by month, inevitably leading to the end of the relationship.
The lyrics are straightforward and impactful, and the melody is so soft and lovely that it hits you hard, and then the song is over, and you’re taken away.