14 Cool Two String Guitar Songs

 

 
Title image for two string guitar songs

Sometimes all you need to make rock and roll history is just two guitar strings...

Which is great for us, because it makes it easier to figure out and play said history. Here's a list of 14 two string guitar songs. It's slightly more difficult to figure them out and play them than the one string guitar songs, which make them the perfect next step!

Title image for two string guitar songs

As with the one string guitar songs, I've put these songs roughly in order from the easiest song to more complex riffs, so you might want to work your way down the list. To make things easier I've also provided:

1. Which string the song is (best) started on
2. What the starting fret is
3. What the other string is
3. A link to a correct tab if you want to check your answer

I've hidden all these hints by default to avoid spoilers, but you can click to get some more help whenever you need it!

Lastly, here's a step-by-step guide on how to learn songs by ear.

Update:
I've just finished a course to help you learn songs by ear called
Make Your Ears Awesome.
You'll learn 51 songs by ear using interactive tab:

Want try it? I’ve created a mini-course for you to check out. It has four songs (including 7 Nation Army by the White Stripes and Otherside by the Red Hot Chili Peppers).

Check out 'Make Your Ears Awesome'!

 

14 Two String Guitar Songs

1. The Strokes - Barely Legal

The Strokes - Barely Legal [Lyrics]

A simple riff that employs a smart trick. The riff stays exactly the same, but it sounds different because the underlying chord changes! A simple technique you might want to try yourself. Oh, and bonus points for the solo that starts at 0:37 (and is also played on just two strings).

 

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Otherside

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Otherside [Official Music Video]

A simple, clean melody that interlocks nicely with the bass.

 

3. Led Zeppelin - Misty Mountain Hop

Led Zeppelin - Misty Mountain Hop (Live in New York 1973)
After a few seconds of electric piano, Jimmy Page's guitar comes in. The title is a reference to Lord of the Rings by the way, Robert Plant is a huge Tolkien fan!

 

4. Smashing Pumpkins - Today

The Smashing Pumpkins - Today

The sweet, simple melody at the start of the song... Don't turn your volume up too high though, because after a few seconds the band comes in.

 

5. Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

IRON BUTTERFLY - IN A GADDA DA VIDA - 1968 (ORIGINAL FULL VERSION) CD SOUND & 3D VIDEO

Remember the time when you could make a 17 minute hit song? No, I don't, but somehow, I miss it. Fun fact: the title was supposed to be 'In the Garden of Eden', but the singer slurred his words when he told the rest of the band about it. So, In-a-gadda-da-vida it is!

 

6. The Cure - A Forest

The Cure - A Forest

Starting from this song, you'll come across songs that use two strings at the same time!

 

7. Ten Years After - 50.000 Miles Beneath My Brain

Ten Years After - 50,000 Miles Beneath my Brain

Another song that smartly uses two strings!

 

8. Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water

Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water

Classic riff. Chances are you already know it. But I couldn't leave it out.

 

9. The Cure - Boys Don't Cry

The Cure - Boys Don't Cry

Back to the eighties for this classic song.

 

10. Judas Priest - Breaking the Law

Judas Priest - Breaking The Law

Let's throw some British heavy metal into the mix...

 

11. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Stop

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Stop

A great, fuzzy bass line!

 

12. The Cribs - Men's Needs

The Cribs - Men's Needs [Non-PA] (Video)

A slightly faster riff, which I know stresses some people out. Just keep calm and listen to the first note, then the second etc...

 

13. Muse - Time is Running Out (Bass Line)

Muse - Time Is Running Out (video)

You might almost not recognise it, but that sound of the opening riff is a bass guitar. The sound makes it difficult to hear how often a certain note is picked, so don't worry about that. Just get the notes right and you can play it how you think it sounds best!

 

14. Wolfmother - Joker and the Thief

Wolfmother - Joker and the Thief

This might sound a bit fast or complex at first, but once you get this riff, you'll see how simple it really is...

 

 

Learning by ear

That's it! Hope this helps you out in getting started with transcribing music by ear or just having a good time playing cool riffs. If you want to learn them by ear, be sure to check out the step-by-step guide over here.

Also, feel free to check out the ear training course for the course I've just finished:

You can enroll in the sample course by clicking here.

If you need any help with these songs, feel free to leave a comment or email me at Just [at] Stringkick.com!

 

  • Pete Cav says:

    Helter Skelter by the Beatles has a great 2 string riff.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p9UficlHnQ

  • Just says:

    Thanks Pete!