It will be no surprise to guitarists to learn that there are certain perennial favorites that seem to last through successive generations of players. However, despite our suspicions, it’s always been difficult to determine the most popular choices for learners.
Now new research claims to have done just that. The data, put together by UkuleleWorld.com (in no way affiliated with Guitar World), gathered average monthly searches for lessons on 1,000 popular tracks across piano, ukulele, guitar and violin to identify the top choices for American players.
Narrowing the supplied data down to just the guitar category shows that the most popular choice for guitarists alone is Oasis’ ballad Wonderwall, which receives a reported 15,620 average monthly searches.
This is closely followed by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, on an average of 14,705 searches per month. Neither of these two tracks is a particularly surprising inclusion.
A big caveat comes in that the data has some sizeable gaps once you narrow it down to a per instrument basis. The final list is drawn from the cumulative totals across all the surveyed instruments, which creates a very different top 25 than you would expect from a list based on a single instrument.
For instance, Vance Joy’s Riptide is the third most popular guitar track featured on the final 25, with 11,519 searches – a pretty surprising ranking. However, the reason it is in the 25 initially is likely due to the heavy weighting of ukulele searches it receives – a monthly average of 32,085.
Given that in 2021 there were about twice as many guitars sold as ukuleles (3.4 million, compared to 1.7 million, according to Statista) it seems odd that the top guitar tutorial searches should perform comparatively poorly in this list. All of which is to say, we’d recommend you take any guitar-specific information here with a heavy pinch of salt.
Regardless, Wonderwall continues to be an enduring success when it comes to the repertoires of both guitarists and ukulele players. You can check out Total Guitar’s 2013 Wonderwall video lesson in the clips below.
If you’re looking for some more challenging playing inspiration, however – why not tackle the best guitar solo of the 21st century?