I used to work for a variety of music stores while also doing a little guitar teaching and repair on the side because I was living in California at the time and, as Jimmy McMillan once said, “The rent is too damn high!”
Beyond that, I’ve actually been playing guitar since I was 13, so I’ve been playing off and on for a solid 16 years now. Even though I don’t play guitar all that often anymore given what my current job is, I still remember some of the very first video game songs I learned how to cover on guitar with fondness.
I also remember some of the easier video game songs I helped teach other people on both guitar and ukulele (Legend of Zelda songs in particular sound fantastic on the ukulele).
With that knowledge relegated to floating aimlessly around my brain lately, I thought it’d be fun to share a few video game songs that beginners and intermediate players should be able to learn to cover on guitar without too much difficulty.
I’ll be using guitar tabs sourced online as opposed to sheet music (here's a great video on how to read guitar tabs). Tabs are a great way to start learning and practicing a song and getting a general feel for it, though I strongly recommend learning how to read sheet music as well.
I’ll also be including video tutorial links in this feature to make things even easier, hopefully. Note that all guitar tabs/songs below are played in Standard (EADGBE) tuning.
7 Beginner and Intermediate Video Game Songs to Cover on Guitar
1) Time’s Scar – Chrono Cross
- Guitar Tab: Toshiro (the easier rhythm guitar section found towards the bottom of the tab)
- Video Cover: Super Guitar Bros
Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross are incredible games, and I knew when I was first learning guitar that I wanted to know at least one track from each game, so I went digging.
I found that other tracks from both games were as easy to understand as Time’s Scar, but there was something a bit more special about Time’s Scar for me where I kept coming back to it. Time’s Scar clicked with me a lot faster, largely because of the rhythm guitar section.
It’s simple, and it’s not hard to make that portion of the song sound good even as a beginner. When you’re first learning finger spacing with chords, you’ll often pluck each individual string to hear if any are blocked, thereby creating a buzz or messy sounding note.
Well, you’re ultimately doing the same with the opening rhythm guitar section of Time’s Scar. You’re basically just switching between chords with your fingers and strumming through each note slowly, one string at a time.
Even as you’re adjusting and making mistakes and getting the hang of everything, it’ll still sound good.
The rest of the song is more “Intermediate” in nature to be certain, but can also be felt out fairly well by beginners as you take things slowly, one note at a time.
For the sections with hammer on and pull offs, I recommend checking out example videos on YouTube to see how they’re done (like this one for hammer on, and this one for pull off) and then taking time to practice each technique regularly.
Not just with Time’s Scar, you can even incorporate both techniques in your scales when you’re practicing and warming up.
2) Lost Woods – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda series has a wealth of fantastic songs to learn on guitar, with many of them being relatively simple for beginners.
One example of this is Lost Woods from Ocarina of Time. Looking at the tabs from TJ on Ultimate Guitar, Lost Woods feels reminiscent of guitar practice scales, as do some of the other songs on the page including Song of Storms and Epona’s Song.
All of them are fun to play and practice with, and are relatively easy to memorize in their simpler arrangements. Another great resource is the video with tabs from Koji Kondo, note that you can set the speed to 0.5 for a slower walkthrough.
Not a fan of the simplicity of the beginner tabs? For a more “Intermediate” take on Lost Woods, I recommend checking out the video and tabs from Jone Ruiz.
Their rendition of Lost Woods sounds like a dream and the tabs don’t add too much in the way of difficulty. Of course, there are some tricky parts to it which is why their accompanying video is so helpful.
As a whole as well, videos online can be a great resource when you’re learning guitar, especially for those who learn by watching someone play as opposed to reading tabs or sheet music.
3) Toss a Coin to Your Witcher – Netflix’s The Witcher
I realize this song isn’t a “video game song” so much as a song from a show that follows the book series from Andrzej Sapkowski that inspired The Witcher games from CD Projekt Red.
With that being said, the song (and the Netflix series) was incredibly popular in early 2020 and for good reason… it’s catchy and fun. You can even use the song to practice both playing the guitar and singing, because who wouldn't want to sing along?
And, as a nice little bonus, it’s also fairly simple to play on guitar given that it’s mostly chords – as seen in the Ultimate Guitar tab from CZDanol.
You can also follow along with a video tutorial on YouTube (there are several), with my personal recommendation being the one from Andy Guitar on YouTube. I really liked their approach, though you'll need to purchase a capo to mirror Andy Guitar’s tutorial to the fullest (with the capo placed on the first fret).
You can get a capo at most music stores, my suggestion is to shop at your local music shop, but if you need to you can also grab one at a place like Guitar Center.
4) Super Mario Bros. Theme
You might’ve come across a number of Super Mario Bros. Theme covers online, with these covers ranging from the simple to the impressively elaborate. With this list being for beginner and intermediate players, my recommendation is going to be for the simplest version to start.
Once you’ve mastered the Super Mario Bros. Theme in its simple form, you can start to expand out to other versions like the somewhat challenging classical guitar cover.
I feel like I’d rank the classical guitar cover as “Advanced” as opposed to “Intermediate” though given the speed of the track (it’ll give your hand a great workout that’s for sure).
If you’re curious, you can check out a fantastic example of the Super Mario Bros. Theme for classical guitar from YouTuber Bjoern Angermann alongside scrolling tabs. Just note again that this version is “Advanced” and will take you a lot longer to learn and master.
5) Korobeiniki – Tetris Theme
Who doesn’t love the iconic Tetris theme song based on the Russian folk song, Korobeiniki? It’s immediately recognizable, upbeat, and will get stuck in your head just like the game itself.
One of the first songs I myself learned to play on guitar was a simple arrangement of the Tetris Theme. I don’t see the original tab I used online anymore, but it has been 16 years so I’m not exactly surprised.
Instead, I’ll point you in the direction of the tab from triclops 200 on Ultimate Guitar. The tab looks short, but you’re basically learning the notes and then repeating.
On YouTube, there’s a video tutorial from user Tab Sheet Music for the simple version of the Tetris Theme that’ll make learning the song even easier. Speaking of which, Tab Sheet Music has a number of extremely simple guitar tutorials for other video game songs.
If this list doesn’t contain the tutorial you were hoping to find, chances are you may find it or something similar within Tab Sheet Music’s uploads. And if you’re looking for a more “Intermediate” style to learn, check out this awesome video tutorial with accompanying tabs from YouTuber Core’s Free Music.
6) Once Upon a Time – Undertale
Once Upon a Time is one of the simpler Undertale songs to play, but one that still has a lot of emotional depth and character. It may be a few notes played slowly, but they really resonate as do the rest of the songs on Undertale’s soundtrack.
The guitar tab has a few slides represented by a / which basically means you’re keeping your finger on the string and sliding it down to the next note. For example, if you see 6/9 (nice) you pluck the note at the 6th fret and then slide it down to the 9th. This video tutorial on YouTube will help you master this technique.
Speaking of videos, there’s also a great video tutorial on how to play the simple version of Once Upon a Time on YouTube from Tab Man Easy that’s worth checking out. Once you get really good at Once Upon a Time, like the other songs, there are more complex versions online for classical guitar.
A great example of this is the cover from John Oeth Guitar.
7) An End, Once and For All – Mass Effect 3
Speaking of slower, more melancholy songs, another beautiful video game track to cover on guitar is An End, Once and For All from Mass Effect 3. I’d place this one more towards “Intermediate” on the learning scale as there’s quite a lot to the tabs in comparison to tabs for things like the simple version of Once Upon a Time from Undertale.
However, structurally it is slow enough to where you shouldn’t feel too stressed trying to learn the core basics of it. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many variations of this song online when it comes to simplified versions for beginners versus more complex arrangements.
A great example of this song being played is a classical arrangement from YouTuber Isac Selah. It’s lovely to listen to, and it should help give you a point of reference for how things should sound as you’re strumming through the notes in the guitar tab.
Another version to listen to as a point of reference and example of how the song can be played is "Leaving Earth/An End Once and For All" from FamilyJules.
Other Song and Tutorial Recommendations
- 10 Classic Video Game Riffs (w/tabs)
- Dearly Beloved – Kingdom Hearts II
- Theme Song – The Last of Us
- Setting Sail, Coming Home – Bastion
- Somnus – Final Fantasy XV
- The Course of True Love – Red Dead Redemption
- Haven – Life is Strange
- Pokemon OP. 1 – Gotta Catch Em' All
- Your Reality – Doki Doki Literature Club
- Theme – Skyrim
- Ezio's Family – Assassin's Creed 2 (Simple Version | Intermediate Version)
- Six's Music Box – Little Nightmares 2
To learn additional basics and skills that can help you learn (and master) these guitar covers – and really just get a robust knowledge of guitar playing as a whole – I recommend checking out the following videos:
- Beginner Fingerpicking Lessons – How to Learn Fingerstyle Guitar for Beginners
- Fingerpicking Tips to Save Years of Guitar Practice
- The First Scale You Should Learn to Play on Guitar Plus Ten Riffs
- How to Use a Guitar Pick | Daily Picking Exercise
- 5 Things I Wish I Knew as a Beginner Guitarist
- Beginner Electric Lesson 1 – Your First Electric Guitar Lesson
- This Should Be Everyone's First Guitar Lesson