I can’t believe after having a massive writer’s block, I never thought of a Top 10 like this one. It’s not like I recently did a Top 10 about anime opening themes and talked about enjoying playing a couple of them on guitar or anything, right? So now my brain has kicked into full gear again and I came up with a great idea, to have a Top 10 songs I enjoy playing on the guitar. Next week, I’ll do one of the Top 10 songs I enjoy singing.
I’ve been a musician for 16 years as of the 26th this February, as it’s my birthday. For my 13th birthday, I got my first acoustic guitar and from there on, the journey began. I’ve gone through different musical phases, I’ve owned six different guitars in my lifetime, three amplifiers and I’ve played two professional shows and a ton of other small shows within a music studio I learned and eventually taught at.
So here’s my 10 favourite songs to play on my guitar currently. These can range from really technical songs that are hard, but fun to play, or songs that are easy and just a blast to strum away at.
#10 – “R U Mine?” by Arctic Monkeys
I have Rocksmith 2014 to thank for this one. I’ve liked the Arctic Monkeys in the past, but after songs like “Brianstorm” and “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor”, I hadn’t been listening to any of their new stuff. In the game, this song is among the list of songs that come with the game. It’s very easy and straight forward, but the main riff is really fun to play and with the accurate sound of the actual song being pumped out through the game, it just sounds fantastic. It’s one of very few songs in that game also that I’ll sing the lyrics while playing it. Because, well…it’s easy enough to play and sing at the same time. I’m not gonna be doing that while frantically playing through a Dream Theater song, that’s for sure!
#9 – “Database” by Man With A Mission ft. TAKUMA (Log Horizon)
The lone anime track on this list, I’ve always loved this song from Log Horizon, as it is just such a Japanese-style nu metal track with a badass beat and a killer guitar riff. It can be a little demanding, but there is enough of the song where you can just strum away and get lost in the music. I particularly like playing the opening lick (when I don’t mess it up), but man does that crazy little solo in the bridge kick my ass! Either way, it’s a really fun song to play, now if only I could find more anime tracks that are easy to learn and I won’t have to play by ear.
#8 – “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard
This is nowhere even near my favourite Def Leppard song, I really love “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages” and for those who don’t know the newer songs, “Long Long Way To Go”. But “Pour Some Sugar On Me” has that killer riff at the start of the song and no matter what guitar you play it on, what effects you use to alter the sound, that sequence always sounds badass. It’s a fun song to play, it doesn’t demand to much skill and has that party, rockin’ vibe that really makes it easy to get into and a song you can go back to again and again and not have to worry about it being too challenging.
#7 – “Cry Thunder” by DragonForce
Yes, I actually attempt to play DragonForce songs. Thankfully, while songs like “Through The Fire And Flames”, “Operation Ground And Pound” and other songs destroy my wrist and fingers, “Cry Thunder” on the other hand, while still an extremely difficult song has enough sections in it that for a veteran guitar player like myself, it’s approachable enough and still really fun to play. The opening solo is really fun to play, has a sort of Irish-sounding sequence to it. Naturally, the main solo of the song isn’t even remotely approachable for me, but I’m sure the sounds of missed notes won’t piss too many people off…
#6 – “Glasgow Kiss” by John Petrucci
Speaking of missed notes, there is no song that kicks my ass harder and yet I keep coming back to, than John Petrucci’s (Dream Theater) “Glasgow Kiss”, a song that I’m slowly but surely actually nailing down the main sections of the song before the solo absolutely destroys me. It’s easily one of the best sounding songs I’ve ever heard from a guitarist’s point of view, the sound is just so crisp, Petrucci hits every note like he’s running like a metronome, it’s just a perfect guitarist’s song, full of challenge, speed and precision. And it makes me so happy to nail down sections that a year ago I thought would’ve been absolutely impossible for me.
#5 – “The Thin Line Between Love And Hate” by Iron Maiden
Anyone who knows me and my musical tastes shouldn’t be surprised to see an Iron Maiden song on this list and even more so that it took until the Top 5 to start seeing them. When an Iron Maiden song gets in my head, it doesn’t just hang around, it pushes itself to the forefront. This Brave New World track has a great mixture of speed, precise sections, followed by slow, methodical and emotional sections. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a song and for a guitarist like myself (who also loves Iron Maiden as much as one person conceivably can), it’s a perfect song to get into.
#4 – “Blood Brothers” by Iron Maiden
Also on the same album, here’s a track that carries legitimate emotional value and on top of that is an extremely fun song to play. When I saw Iron Maiden play live, they dedicated this song to the late Ronnie James Dio, who had passed away if I remember correctly a couple months prior to the show. The song itself like the one above it in the #5 slot is a great song that mixes all the great elements of a song. On top of that, the solos in this song are just fantastic to play, they’re not too hard for Iron Maiden standards, so it’s easy for me to approach. Another song at times I’ll catch myself singing along with it, though only in certain sections, of course, it’s still a tough song.
#3 – “Wasteland” by EarlyRise
The song that Rocksmith 2014 really got me into playing over and over again. It’s honestly not a hard song, it’s not even remotely close to being my favourite song. But as a song to play on my guitar, for whatever reason it just resonates so well in my ears as I listen to myself play through it. The little solo you play during the chorus especially, it sounds so damn good. It’s a song I don’t have to devote too much of my attention and concentration to and thus becomes a song that I can just kick back, relax and strum away. It’s easily the song that comes with the game that I turn to the most and a song I wish I had played with my old music academy rock band, the singer would’ve been perfect for it.
#2 – “Radical Dreamers ~Without Taking The Jewel~” by Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Cross)
The only song on this list from a video game and also the only song on this list that you play with an acoustic guitar, rather than an electric guitar AND on top of that, the only song on this list you fingerpick instead of using a pick like you would with pretty much every other song. This is not about technicality, about speed and precision, about anything a guitarist would normally gush about. This song in its purest form, is one of the most beautiful songs I will ever play. It’s the song that really got me moving forward on learning how to properly fingerpick, though admittedly I still don’t do it properly, I pretty much only use my thumb and index finger to pick unless I need my middle and/or ring finger for 3+ string chords. This song is you’ve never heard it before is such a beautiful sounding song, I strongly recommend you listen to it and if you’re a guitarist, give this song a shot yourself!
#1 – “For The Greater Good Of God” by Iron Maiden
It should be no surprise that an Iron Maiden song is my #1 pick for songs to play on my guitar. But I think most people who are Maiden fans are shocked that none of the songs I even listed are the classic hits like “Number of the Beast”, “The Trooper”, “Fear of the Dark”, songs like them, instead all three songs that made the list are 2000s hits. In fact, the #11 song if I went further back would’ve been “Satellite 15…The Final Frontier”, which is from a 2010s album. The newer songs for whatever reason seem to strike me better than the old ones.
“For The Greater Good Of God”, that’s the only song I have gone out of my way to learn how to sing and play on multiple instruments. I can play this song on guitar and have adapted it to a keyboard (at a very low-level, I’m self-taught for a single year at this point). This song has everything I could ever want, heavy strumming riffs for verses and the chorus, a great opening lick to start things off and my favourite guitar solo I may ever learn to play. It’s specifically the last solo before the chorus starts up again, there is no solo I’ve played that sounds cooler, hell I downloaded the song for Rocksmith 2014 (a custom one, not directly made for the game) and I find myself putting that section on the Riff Repeater setting so I can just play it over and over again, just that part on its own. There is no song I’ve played more times in a row and more times over the course of my lifetime as a musician.
Thanks for checking out this week’s Top 10, hope you enjoyed this one, which was a little different to most of the lists I usually do. I love playing music and looking back on it now, I’m surprised I didn’t do a list like this until now. But yeah, next week will be the same, but from a vocalist’s perspective rather than a guitarist’s.
See you next week! Don’t forget to list songs you like playing yourself if you’re a musician as well, doesn’t even have to be just on guitar.