25 Great Guitar Cover Songs Across 5 Styles

Do you ever sit down to watch TV at the end of the day and not know what to put on? It’s not like there’s any shortage of great shows and movies to watch, and yet, how can you be sure that the one you pick isn’t going to be a let down - or worse… a waste of your time? Choosing music to learn to play on the guitar can feel the same way at times; there’s literally an endless sea of repertoire to choose from, but how do I know that I’m choosing the right song in the right style at the right difficulty?

Well never fear, because I’ve put together 25 different great songs that span 5 different styles - ordered from beginner to advanced - that are tried-and-true winners. I’ve even included a few teaching points that each category provides really great insight into. Enjoy!


Teaching points:

  • Lead lines

  • Chords

  • Electric guitar approach/technique

  1. Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple

  2. Voodoo Child - Jimi Hendrix

  3. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

  4. Day Tripper - The Beatles

  5. Sweet Child o’ Mine - Guns n’ Roses


Teaching points:

  • Blues riffing

  • Improvising

  • Blues scale and form

  1. Mannish Boy - Muddy Waters

  2. Sweet Home Chicago - Robert Johnson

  3. Little Red Rooster - Howlin’ Wolf

  4. Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker

  5. Crossroads - John Mayer (written by Robert Johnson)


Teaching points:

  • Lead lines

  • Chords

  • Part writing

  1. Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel

  2. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

  3. Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles

  4. Hotel California - The Eagles

  5. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (written by Leonard Cohen)


Teaching points:

  • Chords

  • Lead lines

  • Part writing

  1. Jesus Paid it All - Kristian Stanfill (written by Alex Nifong)

  2. Here I Am to Worship - Tim Hughes

  3. From the Inside Out - Hillsong

  4. How He Loves Us - David Crowder

  5. Hosanna - Hillsong


Teaching points:

  • Plucking patterns

  • Arpeggios

  • Counterpoint

  1. Blackbird - The Beatles

  2. Every Breath You Take - The Police

  3. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

  4. Naked As We Came - Iron & Wine

  5. Stop This Train - John Mayer

I personally have taught every one of these songs to students in the past, and in my opinion, they have all served as great representations of the styles and approaches that we hear in their respective genres. I hope you find this list to be helpful. And if you’re still early in your guitar-playing journey, make sure that you’ve got an experienced, professional teacher who will help make sure you learn these songs the right way!

- John Gotsis, Founder/Owner and Music Instructor at Vibe Music Academy.