The Best Rolling Stones Songs to Learn on Acoustic Guitar (With Tabs)

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Best Rolling Stones songs on acoustic guitar

The Rolling Stones are best known for their rock ‘n’ roll sound with most of their biggest hits including Honky Tonk Women, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, Beast of Burden, and Gimme Shelter typically featuring a fuzzed or distorted electric guitar tone. On electric Keith Richards often turned to Open G tuning to create many of these iconic tracks, and this is considered by many to be the Stones’ signature sound.

Despite being best remembered as a rock band (and rightly so), the Rolling Stones were far more than this. Throughout their long-spanning career they’ve created music encompassing every genre from country to blues to disco. In this article we’ll take a look at the quieter side of the Stones’ setlist and catalog their best acoustic songs.

Most of these tracks aren’t terribly complicated so you can learn them on acoustic or electric guitar with relative ease. Learning songs is one of the best ways to learn how to play the guitar so don’t worry if you find some of these difficult at first. Continue to practice and you’ll get better and better.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

The closing track on the Stones’ 1969 album Let It Bleed, You Can’t Always Get What You Want features Keith Richards on an Open E (EBEG#BE) tuned acoustic guitar. It’s a beautiful track but luckily it’s not too difficult to learn.

Angie

Angie is one of the Rolling Stones’ best-charting acoustic hits; it peaked at #1in the United States and #5 in the U.K after its August 1973 release as a single. The guitar portion is a rather traditional standard-tuned melody in A Minor.

Sweet Virginia

Sweet Virginia could nearly be classified as a country song with its catchy intro that pairs Mick Jagger’s harmonica with the acoustic guitars of Mick Taylor and Keith Richards. When playing Sweet Virginia there’s no need to switch tunings; it’s played in standard with a second-fret capo, putting it in the key of A Major. This is an excellent song for beginners to learn since it uses only open chords, namely G, D, C, and A.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

At first listen you might not even realize Jumpin’ Jack Flash‘s main riff is played on acoustic guitar, as the tone sounds distinctly electric. Be that as it may, the song was actually recorded on acoustic and is thus eligible for this list. Per Keith Richards Jumpin’ Jack Flash was recorded on a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar in Open D tuning. It was released as a single with great success, charting #1 in the U.K. and #3 in the U.S.

Let It Bleed

The titular track of the Let It Bleed album, this song features a standard-tuned acoustic guitar accompanied by an electric slide in Open D, both courtesy of Keith Richards. Let It Bleed is another beginner-friendly song, as the acoustic section revolves around open chords and a simple strumming pattern.

Ruby Tuesday

One of the Rolling Stones’ earlier hits, Ruby Tuesday was first heard by the masses in early 1967. While guitar isn’t the featured instrument on Ruby Tuesday (piano dominates this track) it plays an important role as accompaniment. If you know a pianist it makes for a great duet, but if you don’t the guitar portion stands well enough alone.

Country Honk

The precursor to the much better-known and heavier-hitting Honky Tonk Women, Country Honk represents the Rolling Stones at their most country (as the title would suggest). While the lyrics are much the same, the instrumentals couldn’t be farther apart. Rather than an Open G-tuned electric guitar, Keith Richards opts for a standard-tuned acoustic with an accompanying fiddle. The result is phenomenal, and it makes for a great acoustic song that’s instrumentally simple enough even for guitar novices.

Wild Horses

Wild Horses is the third track off of 1971’s Sticky Fingers and, aside from Brown Sugar it’s the album’s best-known song. It’s another standard-tuned piece that shouldn’t be too challenging, although it does feature a B Minor barre chord that can be a bit tricky if you aren’t comfortable with the technique.

Love in Vain

Let It Bleed is absolutely chock-full of top-tier acoustic songs, and Love in Vain is further proof of this. The lyrics are adapted from Robert Johnson’s 1937 Love in Vain Blues and, like Sweet Virginia and Country Honk, this track features a distinctly country feel with acoustic and slide guitar. Love in Vain is not just one of the best acoustic songs created by the Rolling Stones, it’s one of their best overall.