playing jazz guitar

10 Beginner Jazz Guitar Songs You Should Know

Are you a recent jazz guitar convert, or maybe you had tried before but gave up on your dreams of learning to play? Perhaps you need a quick refresher before going back to a whole new level. Maybe you want to try to learn a few new chords and jazz guitar songs to round out your collection. Either way, this list will prove to be helpful. I compiled this list primarily for the beginner, but it is not an exhaustive list.

These are all good songs to learn on guitar beginner level.

The songs on this list are my personal favorites for learning the basic chords and song structures.

Jazz Songs to Learn for Beginner Guitar

Autumn Leaves – Joseph Kosma

This is one of the most classic jazz guitar songs to learn. It is easy to learn because of the simple structure and repeating bass lines. The chord progression is simple, but there is some syncopation. Some unique voicings add a nice touch to the chords. Have fun with this one!

Summertime Blues – Miles Davis

This is one of the more popular jazz guitar songs that will have you playing by the third chorus. Many great melodies within the chords make this song easy to play even though you have to think about it. The chords are relatively simple, but there is some syncopation with the chord structure. If you are new to jazz and don’t have experience with syncopation, this song is a great one to start with.

Watching You – Thelonious Monk

This is another exciting song because it is reflected in the chords. The chords are relatively simple, but they take some getting used to. The melody of the tune is fun to play with a jazz guitar. It’s fun to play with a jazz guitar.

Summertime – George Gershwin

This tune is another good one to play with jazz guitar since the melody is fun and easy to play with. It is just catchy and fun to play with a jazz guitar. One thing is for sure after you learn to play these songs with your jazz guitar, then you will have endless possibilities for the music you want to play.

Minor Swing – Django Reinhardt

Minor Swing is a beautiful tune to play. The melody is easy for both advanced and beginner jazz guitar players. It’s hard to go wrong when playing this tune. You will be an expert at playing Minor Swing after a few practices, no matter the chord progression.

Work Song – Nat Adderley

The first song you should play on your jazz guitar is Work Song. It is easy yet amazing to play. Even though it is in the minor key, it still sounds nice. The chords are so sweet. The melody flows effortlessly from beginning to end. The triplet feel is fun and rewarding to play.

So What – Miles Davis

The solo to So What by Miles Davis is straightforward to play. The first chord is not very difficult, nor is it that challenging. Some parts may seem complicated, but those parts can be solved by listening to the headphones and repeating them repeatedly.

Cold Duck Time – Eddie Harris

Cold Duck Time is a relatively laid-back song. The chords are simple, nothing too intense, and soothing the melody. The solo is short and sweet, yet it is rewarding to play. The solo is a two-measure phrase. All you have to do is play the E minor pentatonic scale.

MR P.C. – John Coltrane

MR P.C. is a modal jazz piece for solo guitar. The chords are pretty simple, and the pattern is simply melody over chord changes. The melody itself is very easy to play. You need the ability to play chords, double-stops, and arpeggios.

Tenor Madness – Sonny Rollins

Many people say that tenor guitar is a hard thing to play. That is not true. It’s much easier than playing many other styles of guitar. Tenor guitar is a casual style of playing that is also pretty tricky. The chord structure is also very different from other styles of guitar playing, but that’s also what makes it so unique. So the bottom line to learning tenor guitar is to listen to sound recordings, play along with them, and listen carefully to the notes.


Final Words

As a beginning jazz guitarist, don’t spend too much time worrying about chord forms and tons of notes. Work on playing scales and chords right away. Play a melody and then experiment with the bass line. Expand your repertoire to include chord forms and melodies as you become better.

Once you got these down, take a look at these one chord guitar songs for beginners too!