25 Intermediate Guitar Songs (With Tabs + Videos)

Intermediate Guitar Songs

I’m guessing you’re here because you’ve already mastered four-chord tunes and basic strumming patterns. Now you’re ready to tackle intermediate guitar songs to take your musical chops to new heights!

I’ve rounded up 25 of the most epic tracks in rock and roll history to introduce you to some next-level techniques. So, grab your guitar, and let’s get down to it!

“Blackbird” by The Beatles

It was at the height of the Civil Rights Movement when Paul McCartney wrote “Blackbird” as a tribute to the campaign. The song symbolizes a black woman, but its message of hope and perseverance has resonated with many people facing difficult times.

McCartney found inspiration for the song’s melody in Bach’s Bourree in E Minor, an excellent piece for fingerstyle guitarists.

“Blackbird” may sound like an easy tune, but it requires a good handle on chording techniques to pull it off. You’ll also learn McCartney’s finger-picking style, which involves a combination of plucking and flicking.

ChordsG, Am7, G/B, C, A7, D, B7, Em, Eb, Cm
Genre Folk
Type of GuitarBoth
TabsBlackbird Tabs

“Hotel California” by Eagles

Many guitar geeks have brushed up on their version of the rock anthem once they move past the beginner stage. The iconic track features various techniques to dip your fingers into, like slides, bends, and hammer-ons.

It’s not the most difficult song to play, but it requires tons of practice to ace the timing, chord sequence, and solos.

The chord progression is more complex than your average rock song. You can easily navigate it if you can play barre chords on the lower frets. There’s a little fancy-sounding turnaround lick on the D, but it’s actually pretty easy.

You can play the arpeggios throughout the verses with a pick or fingerstyle, but the pattern can be tricky. You’ll get close if you can play a basic up-and-down arpeggio and focus on hitting each chord’s root note.

ChordsAm, E7, G, D, F, C, Dm, E
Genre Rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsHotel California Tabs

“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

“Stairway to Heaven” is a musical journey that starts with a gentle acoustic guitar riff and takes you by the hand.

Then the electric guitar kicks in, building momentum before lifting you to rock and roll heaven.

This classic rock song is an ideal practice piece when you’re just getting the hang of barre chords.

It’s perfect for working on your finger-picking skills and getting comfortable with chord shapes in A minor.

ChordsAm, E+, C, D, F, G, Em, Dsus4, Dsus2, Cadd9 
Genre Hard rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsStairway to Heaven Tabs

“Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Under the Bridge” became the cornerstone of alternative rock in the 90s and catapulted the rock band into mainstream stardom.

The intro has challenging chords, but nothing you can’t conquer with dedicated practice. You might find that your pinkie and ring fingers get a good workout.

The rest of the song is rich with embellishments, which can be a total pain if you tackle them all. Instead, you can stick to the basic chords and get your strumming pattern right to make it sound smooth.

Or, you can break the song into sections that require specific techniques and practice each as an etude.

ChordsD, F#, E, B, C#, G#m, A, Am, G6, Fmaj7
Genre Alternative rock
Type of GuitarBoth
TabsUnder the Bridge Tabs

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

The title track of Pink Floyd’s 1975 album is a sad tribute to former bandmate Syd Barrett, who was struggling with addiction.

The Pink Floyd hit is a great tune for practicing your lead guitar skills and using scales to play melodies. It’s an exercise in the pentatonic scale pattern, with extra chord tones thrown in the mix.

The song has a relaxed tempo, making the hammer-ons a breeze. You only need a finger or two, and there’s no need for alternate picking.

ChordsEm7, G, A7sus4, C, D/F#, Am/E, Am 
Genre Rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsWish You Were Here Tabs

“Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult

Buck Dharma wrote the song for the Agents of Fortune album while contemplating what would happen if he died young. The lyrics are about eternal love rather than suicide, contrary to what many fans believed.

“Don’t Fear the Reaper” is Blue Öyster Cult’s first-ever hit and trademark song. The song reached pop-culture status, thanks to the SNL “more cowbell” skit with Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell.

It’s most recognizable for its Am-G-F chord progression, played in an arpeggio on the four lower strings. You can recreate the cross-picked riff motif throughout the track by playing the open G on the upstroke.

ChordsAm, G, F, E, Fm, G7
Genre Hard rock
Type of GuitarBoth
TabsDon’t Fear the Reaper Tabs

“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton

“Tears in Heaven” is a heart-breaking tribute Eric Clapton wrote in memory of his son, Conor, who tragically died at age four.

The song is a complex and deeply textured musical masterpiece. You can break down the main parts into nugget-sized pieces and learn them bit by bit. 

Clapton used several musical devices, such as chord inversions and modulation, to create a haunting sound.

The arpeggio isn’t that complicated, but you’ll want to focus on nailing the slides and bends.

ChordsA, E/G#, F#m, A/E, D/F#, E7sus4, E7, E, C#/E#, Bm7, Em
Genre Soft rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsTears in Heaven Tabs

“More Than Words” by Extreme

“More Than Words” was a clear detour from the rock band’s funk metal origins. Yet, the acoustic ballad quickly rose to the top of the charts and became Extreme’s biggest hit.

The song is a mid-range finger-picking song with a consistent pattern. It requires finger coordination and can take some time to master. The chords are easy enough, but you’ll learn a few picking techniques to add to your inventory.

For example, you’ll do a percussive slap by tapping your thumb on the base note for every second and fourth beat. A metronome can help you nail your timing.

ChordsG, Cadd9, Am7, C, D, Em, D/F#, D7
Genre Acoustic rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsMore Tan WordsTabs

“Karma Police” by Radiohead

An inside joke inspired the track’s title, but the song’s meaning is no laughing matter. “Karma Police” explores themes of insanity and being stuck in the corporate rat race.

The song has tons of chord changes and a few barre chord shapes that’ll stretch your fingers.

The good thing is that the song has a basic strumming pattern that repeats throughout. You can focus more on getting those chord transitions spot on.

ChordsAm, D/F#, Em, G, F, D, C, Bm, G, F#, E7
Genre Alternative rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsKarma Police Tabs

“Layla” (Unplugged Version) by Eric Clapton

“Layla Unplugged” features a mix of rock and blues elements and Eric Clapton’s signature guitar-playing style.

The unplugged arrangement is slower and more mellow than the original rock version.

The song has a legendary guitar riff with plenty of pull-offs and hammer-ons. There are also a few solos to get your fingers limbered up.

Plus, you’ll learn some fantastic licks for your next solo improvisation!

ChordsDm, Bb, C, A, C#m7, G#7, D, E, B, A7sus4, Dm9
Genre Acoustic blues
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsLayla Tabs

“Classical Gas” by Mason Williams

Mason Williams originally named the instrumental opus “Classical Gasoline,” which a musical copyist later abbreviated to its current title.

The guitarist wrote it as “fuel,” or a standby piece, for when people asked him to play classical guitar for them.

The song features various techniques, like sweep and alternate picking. There are multiple segments with different time signatures and tempos.

The original recording is an intricate composition with an accompanying orchestra. Still, it’s as beautiful as an acoustic version, with an uplifting melody and bass sections.

ChordsAm, G, Em, C, F, D7, E, Bb
Genre Instrumental
Type of GuitarElectric/Acoustic/Both
TabsClassical Gas Tabs

“The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix

“The Wind Cries Mary” is a groovy ballad by Jimi Hendrix, one of the most influential guitarists in music history. It’s a lyrical masterpiece that conveys the emotional depth of his songwriting.

The track has an expressive bluesy tune with many bends, slides, and hammer-ons. The intro requires precise timing and finger coordination.

Meanwhile, the solo has fast runs and intricate licks that can take some time and patience to conquer.

ChordsEb, E, F, Eb/G, E/G#, F/A, C, B, Bb, G, Ab, Db
Genre Blues rock
Type of GuitarElectric
TabsThe Wind Cries Mary Tabs

“Drive” by Incubus

“Drive” is the breakthrough single of the American rock band Incubus. It discusses how fear is a powerful force that drives people, while imagining a life free from its grip.

The track has unique chord shapes and occasional palm-muted strumming. It’s an intermediate-level song for guitar players looking to expand their skills and repertoire.

The solo, which features single-note lines and some bends, is totally doable for beginners.

ChordsEm, Em9, Cmaj7, A7
Genre Alternative rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsDrive Tabs

“Everlong” (Acoustic version) by Foo Fighters

You’re missing out on serious fun if you haven’t tried Drop D tuning yet!

Foo Fighters’ acoustic track is the perfect tune to learn power chords with just one finger. You can also experiment with some power chord-based voicings in Drop D.

You’ll get to play around with a few chord shapes that are real ear candies.

I won’t lie; the strumming pattern for this song is a bit of a challenge. Spend time practicing, and trust me, it’ll be worth it.

ChordsDmaj7, Bsus2, Gsus2, D, A, B5 G5, D5, A5
Genre Alternative rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsEverlong Tabs

“Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin

“Over the Hills and Far Away” has gained greater acclaim over time after initially receiving mixed reviews.

The song opens with a slow-paced riff and then explodes into a full-fledged rock melody.

The Led Zeppelin classic offers plenty of elements for intermediate guitarists to experiment with. You’ll learn a few acoustic tricks, like pull-offs, hammer-ons, and transitioning between strumming and picking.

It’ll take some dedication to make everything flow smoothly, but the payoff will all be worth it.

ChordsG, D, Cadd9, G/B, Bb6, C, Dsus2, G5, A5
Genre Folk rock
Type of GuitarElectric/Acoustic/Both
TabsOver the Hills and Far Away Tabs

“Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce

“Time in a Bottle” soared to the top of the charts after Jim Croce’s untimely passing. His death might have brought additional publicity to the song, but the beauty of the track speaks for itself.

The melancholy melody and songwriting delve into loneliness and lost opportunities.

The song has two guitar parts that blend perfectly together. You can learn a version that mixes both elements and retains the original’s emotional pull.

The chorus changes keys, lifting the mood, and you might find it easier to play than the verses.

ChordsA, A/G#, Am, Am/G, Am9/E, A/C#, Bm, D, Dm7, E, F
Genre Acoustic rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsTime in a Bottle Tabs

“Samba Pa Ti” by Santana

Santana revealed that “Sama Pa Ti” was a personal recording carrying his unique artistic fingerprint. Despite its name, the song follows a Latin rock style, not a traditional samba rhythm.

You’ll develop different skills while learning this song, including hammer-ons, pull-offs, unison bends, and string bending.

The song is an impeccable intermediate piece with numerous lead guitar techniques. You’ll play it in the key of G major, so brushing up on your scales and theoretical knowledge is a good idea.

ChordsG, Bm, Em, A7, D, Am
Genre Instrumental rock
Type of GuitarElectric
TabsSamba Pa Ti Tabs

“Europa” by Santana

Santana shifted towards jazz and fusion after his initial success with Latin pop rock. He found a collaborator in Tom Coster, who influenced his music toward jazz-related genres.

“Europa” is an instrumental piece of jazz and fusion with complex harmony, making it more demanding than his other hits. The song has a sustain-rich solo template to incorporate into your guitar-playing arsenal.

You won’t have to worry about playing at lightning-fast speeds. “Europa” is all about creating a groove and making it sound good.

ChordsBb7sus4, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Abmaj7, G7sus4, G7, Cm, Cmaj7, Fm7, Cm7, Fm9/Bb
Genre Instrumental rock
Type of GuitarElectric
TabsEuropa Tabs

“The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel

“The Boxer” is an aching tale of a man battling loneliness and poverty. It ends with an encouraging message of strength over life’s harsh realities. 

Playing the song has its fair share of challenges, but it’s not too hard for an intermediate player. There aren’t any crazy chords or finger gymnastics involved.

Yet, getting the intro nice and smooth and nailing the picking pattern may take hours of practice. Once you get those down, the rest of the song should come together easily.

Fun fact: The “lie-la-lie” refrain was originally a placeholder but later became part of the song.

ChordsC, Am, G, F
Genre Folk rock
Type of GuitarElectric/Acoustic/Both
TabsThe Boxer Tabs

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was a tribute to Elvis Presley, who passed away two years before its release.

Freddie Mercury played rhythm guitar on the song and even did a solo on the original recording, despite his limited guitar skills. He sings in a low voice instead of his usual high notes, showing his versatility.

The song is a blast to play and has a beginner-friendly rhythm section. You only need to focus on keeping a relaxed strumming pattern to fit the tune’s easygoing vibe.

The guitar solo is a treat for those looking to take it up a notch. The tricky licks are sure to put your skills to the test!

ChordsD, Dsus4, G, C, Bb, E, A
Genre Rock
Type of GuitarBoth
TabsCrazy Little Thing Called Love Tabs

“Gravity” by John Mayer

“Gravity” is a gorgeous mix of rock and blues and a wonderful piece for enhancing your melodic phrases.

The song starts off easy with only two chords in the key of D. However, the chorus gets more complex with a minor chord that adds a dynamic sound.

You’ll find that getting the full-tone bend in the first lick is all about timing and vibrato.

Mayer takes a page from Hendrix when doing the solo, moving horizontally instead of up and down the pentatonic patterns. You can try to emulate his legato or add your own flavor to the solo.

ChordsG, C, Am7, D7, Gm/Bb, Ebmaj7
Genre Blues rock
Type of GuitarBoth
TabsGravity Tabs

“Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson

“Banana Pancakes” is a cheerful tune to hum along to on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I must warn you, though, the song is all barre chords, which can be tough on your fretting hand. You won’t recreate Jack Johnson’s jazzy rhythm and chord voicings without them.

That said, it’s great for practicing your barre chord placements and changes.

ChordsG7, D7, Am7, C7, D, Bm, Em, G, D9, Em/D#, C
Genre Folk rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic 
TabsBanana Pancakes Tabs

“Stop This Train” by John Mayer

“Stop This Train” is a killer tune off John Mayer’s super successful album Continuum. It hits us right in the feels because, let’s be real, we’re all scared of getting old at one point.

The song is of mid-level difficulty and requires finger drills on your right-hand technique. You need to get comfortable plucking and percussive-slapping at the same time.

The verse might be a stretch for those with smaller hands, but you can opt for a G chord to simplify. The chorus has lots of nuances to it, but don’t stress about playing it like Mayer does. Everyone has a different take on it, so just focus on your picking pattern.

ChordsD, Bm7, Dmj7, G, Gm, E7, Gsus2, A7, Am7, A, Em, Am
Genre Pop rock
Type of GuitarAcoustic
TabsStop This Train Tabs

“Neon” by John Mayer

“Neon” is another testament to John Mayer’s brilliance and mile-long thumb. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but you’ll learn a bunch of techniques from it.

One unique thing about this song is that you’ll play most of it between your thumb and first finger. It’s pretty strange if you haven’t tried it before. There are a few subtleties to JM’s style you’ll want to check out before you give the song a go. 

You’ll notice from his live performances that he’s constantly slapping on the base string and doesn’t cross over to other notes in the chords. He also plays the rhythm between the thumb, palm-mutes, and the index finger’s picked notes.

Remember, JM likes to mix things up when he plays, so don’t worry too much about playing everything note-for-note.

ChordsCsus4, Ebsus2, Ebsus4/F, Ebsus4/Ab, Csus2/Bb, Fsus4/Ab
Genre Soft rock
Type of GuitarBoth
TabsNeon Tabs

“Dee” by Randy Rhoads

“Dee” is a solo acoustic piece written by Randy Rhoades, the guitar virtuoso best known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne.

The song is slow and melodic, played entirely in fingerstyle. It uses a combination of arpeggios and chords, which require unconventional picking.

You need a certain level of control and dexterity since you’ll pluck the strings with your thumb and fingers.

As such, “Dee” is an intermediate tune for guitarists to develop their finger-picking skills and precision.

ChordsG, D6, Bm, G/B, A/C#, Gmaj7, D/F#, A7/E, D, G6, A, Em, E7
Genre Instrumental
Type of GuitarElectric/Acoustic/Both
TabsDee Tabs

Similar Posts