The Sound of Silence beginner guitar lesson fingerstyle- EASIEST

Table of Contents

One of the most beautiful fingerstyle songs of all time is Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” which features a memorable guitar fingerpicking melody into. But is it a song that a beginner can play- it sounds so intricate?
In this “The Sound of silence beginner guitar lesson fingerstyle” we are not only going to learn the easiest way to play that famous intro, but I will also show you all the melodic substitute chords for the body of the song that are much easier for a beginner guitarist.
With some practice and repetitions this lesson is far and away the easiest Sound of Silence guitar lesson on the internet.

What you need in order to play The Sound of Silence fingerstyle

  1. you need a guitar (I’m not budging on this one)
  2. you need to know how to tune your guitar.
  3. you need a capo if you want to play this in Paul Simon’s original key, Disturbed’s key or your own key (more on that in a little bit).
  4. You need to know how to read tab and/or be able to pick things up by watching the video here.
  5. You need to learn the chords to this song (don’t worry, we go over all that in the video)

Sound of Silence fingerstyle guitar tab pdf

The first thing that I would like you to do is download the free Sound of Silence fingerstyle tab PDF and tux guitar files (more on the Tux guitar files down below). This also includes the Sound of Silence intro guitar tab.
Directly below is a sign up sheet to get the free Sound of Silence material. If you are having any troubles downloading anything, you can also email me at and I will be happy to send it all to you (just mention you want the Sound of Silence material).

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Sound of Silence guitar melody

The famous Intro Melody that Paul plays on the guitar sounds so complex, but there is a very easy way to do it.
I’ve seen other lessons on YouTube that taught the right hand picking differently than what I’m showing here. To be honest, the picking used is not easy to gain any speed with.
The basic goal I have here is not only to simplfy the playing part for you, but also give a true representation on the song itself. To get into some brief technical issues here, a fluitic motion on the right hand is always better than a break in the pattern.
As an example, instead of assigning fingers to individual strings such as
thumb plays strings 6, 5, (those are the bottom 2 bass strings (thickest strings)
Index Finger for strings 4 and 3
Middle finger for strings 2 and 1 (thiniest strings)
WHICH IS WRONG (in my opinion!)
We are only going to use the Thumb and Index finger to play this whole song! This is also called “economy of motion” which is a big key to playing guitar as the less you have to move, the more effective your guitar playing will become.

How do you pick with just the Thumb and Index Finger?

It’s so easy… simply watch the video or if that’s too difficult, use the Sound of Silence fingerstyle guitar tab pdf that you hopefully have downloaded. And if you are asking yourself “is it correct to pick with only Thumb and Index finger?” That’s a big YES! In fact that’s how the father of Travis Picking (Merle Travis) did it (just thumb and index finger).

How do you play the sound of silence on guitar for beginners?

In order to play Sound of Silence on guitar, there are some basics on the guitar such as knowing some chords that are helpful (in other words- experience). And since this song is primarily fingerstyle guitar picking, it does of course help if you had some fingerstyle training. However, even if you don’t know how to play the guitar, you can still learn this version of the Sound of Silence just by watching this video and following along.
Now if you can’t pick things up by ear and/or by watching the video, you will have to know how to read tab. Don’t know how to read tab? Here’s a link to a video that will get you going with fingerstyle tab for beginners.

Sound of Silence chords Easy

Even if you don’t know any chords, this lesson will show you how to play some melodic alternatives to the standard chords that are used for this song. Here’s what we’ll be doing to make your guitar life easier:
Am (1 fingered)
G (1 fingered)
C (2 fingered)
F (2 fingered)
These chords here although a lot easier than the standard chord position counterparts, are perhaps even more melodic sounding for this song. Now one thing to undestand.. In fingerpicking, we don’t have to play the full chords… simply because we are only choosing and picking the individual notes that fit. We are basically avoiding the notes that don’t fit (hey, we just won’t pluck those notes!).
So in a large way, fingerpicking is in many regards an easier way to get going on the guitar- simply because we don’t need to do as much left hand work to get started. The left hand by the way is the beginner’s main difficulty.

What is F Major on guitar?

I know a lot of you are asking that question. Here’s a chart of the F major chord.

The F Major Chord is difficult for beginners! You have to press down on two strings (string 1&2) with your index finger. Then press with your middle finger 2 frets up on string three. Finally press 3 frets up on string four with your ring finger.

You can use it of course in this song but it’s not necessary. This chord can be strummed but so can the easy Fmaj7 chord I’m using as a substitute. And with both forms of F, just avoid plucking or strumming strings 6 and 5 (two bass thickest strings). You can see in the above chord chart the X X over strings 6 and 5. Just avoid strumming those strings when playing either F chord.

Check out this guitar- it has “Torrefied Wood”

Sound of Silence no capo

Let me first go over what the capo is actually for. It’s an easy way to change keys without having to relearn a song with new chords.
So as example, let’s say you learned a 3 chord song (not the Sound of Silence) in the key of G and used the chords G, C and D..
But after so much work learning how to play it, you found out that when you went to sing the song, it was just too low.
If you want to raise this song to the key up higher so you can sing it in your range without a capo, you will have to first learn how to “transpose” the song from the key of G to the key of A.
But instead of getting too technical here, I will just tell you that the new chords in a higher key of A would be the chords A, D and E.
And if that’s still not high enough, the Key of B would be B, E and F# which are difficult chords to play on the guitar (certainly not beginner friendly).
To the rescue comes the capo! So instead having to learn new chords and transposing (hey, don’t you be doing any of that transposing here) just grab the capo and put it up 2 or 4 frets and play the same chords you already learned (G, C and D)… Here’s just some of what the capo can do..
Key of G (no capo) chord positions G, C and D)
Key of A (capo 2nd fret) chord positions G, C and D)
Key of B (capo 4th fret) chord positions G, C and D)
Important: you want to place the capo just to the left of the fret, not on top of the fret or too far to the left (this is assuming you are a right handed guitarist.
So I think you get the picture. Now for this song of Sound of Silence,
we will go over playing this song at different capo positions and of course in the key of Am without a capo… But we are only going to use the same chord positions as Paul Simon used. Simon and Garfukel capoed 6 frets up to the key of Ebm. Starting chord is the Am position.
If you don’t have a capo, here’s a link to my all time favorite capo that I use live on stage and my lesson videos (yes, it held up under very heavy use). Just click on the photo of the capo below and it takes you to Guitar Center where I buy most of my gear…

My favorite capo!

There are others available (cheaper) as well when you visit the link here as well.
(as an aside, I am a Guitar Center affiliate and I do get a small commission for sales through my link) Hey, I can buy a coffee- thank you!

Downloading and using the Animated Tux Guitar Sheet music

In the video at 9:05 I go over downloading and instructions on using the Tux Guitar files which are also included with your free download. Basically Tux Guitar (the files labeled ” .tg ” example ( will only work on your computer if you have the Tux Guitar Program installed.
In the downloads that I give you, make sure you read the “read me first” to install and use my .tg files.
Once you have installed the correct version of Tux guitar to your computer, simply click on any of my Tux guitar files (you must download my files as well to your computer to use). The file will (should) open up.
Once you have my file open and it comes up on your computer, just press the “play button” or your “space bar” on your keyboard. You will not only see the cursor moving along with the sheet music, but you will also see the notes and tab “light up” when it passes.
And of course the big advantage Tux has over regular sheet music is you can HEAR IT TOO (in order to hear the audio, you have to have your computer speakers engaged and on.
Yes, the sounds are a little goofy but once you get used to navigating around in it, you not only can change the sounds but you can also slow or speed up the tempo, loop sections, even transpose keys (did I say that awful word- transpose again!)
Actually for the Sound of Silence I have already transposed everything for you. Just pick the Tux (.tg) file that best suits your voice). I also have one with “no capo” in the key of Am.

BIG beginner issue… and the solution!

One of the BIG issues that beginners face is not playing in time and not using a metronome. Tux is a metronome… but it’s musical too.
After working with Tux your timing WILL IMPROVE. Timing is the #1 most important part of music and guitar. In fact, you can be making mistakes but if you can play “in the groove,” the mistakes magically somehow get covered up. Bad timing in my opinion is the ultimate mistake.
My best advice is to never practice anything without a metronome or Tux guitar (or Guitar Pro, which is a paid version (actually much better than Tux Guitar, and my Tux files will import into it).

How to play Sound of Silence on guitar easy

I’ve done a lot of research and by far and away, this “The Sound of Silence beginner guitar lesson fingerstyle- EASIEST” is indeed the easiest lesson online to date. But let me give you some helpful hints to make this all come together quicker for you..

  1. Practice small sections
  2. Don’t move ahead until you master each little part
  3. Practice in 15 -20 minute intervals, then go back after a break or:
  4. Try to play at least once a day.
  5. Use a metronome, Tux Guitar or Guitar Pro

Getting Extra Help with this song (and beginner fingerpicking)

I have something new that I am offering… 1 on 1 Zoom lessons. If you need some personal help with this song or anything else guitar related, please email me at . Would be happy to help you!

Finally.. in the comments area, I want to hear how you did with this song…!!!
Please leave a comment below- I’d love to hear how you are doing with it!



  1. Bob Shampo (PuppyDoc)

    Sound of Silence is one of my all time favorites! Several years ago the song took on new meaning for me when the cover by Disturbed was used in a video made for grieving parents ( Ever since first seeing the video, I’ve wanted to learn the song. Obviously, the Disturbed cover has a different energy but the lyrics and original are still my favorite and still powerful. Thanks for sending out this lesson!!!

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Bob, I just now saw your comment here and I’m glad I picked out a good song (for once!). Actually this is my attempt at getting to the requests over at youtube- I did a few so far but I guess
      you can’t loose with Sound of Silence. I’ve heard the Disturbed version and it’s done very well and yes indeed- a different energy. Seems that with Paul’s version I can envision the streets of New York whereas
      Disturbed’s version sounds so personal and more emotional. Both great of course.. Happy pickin’ and thanks again! I will endeavor to remember your name Bob (gee that sounds mighty familiar) on YouTube next time
      you comment.

  2. Emma Muzzy

    Bob, I LOVE you!! I’ve learned so much from you, and you have explained things that I ‘ve been curious about for years! You are quite an effective teacher. I’m so excited to be learning “Sound if Silence”. Thank you. Is there anyone who doesn’t love Paul Simon?

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Emma, I love you too! Thank you for working on the material- really that’s all I ask for! Sound of Silence is a good one and that hard sounding into is a is easy as 1 2 3!
      Paul Simon is a genius songwriter- you just gotta love him!
      Happy pickin’ !!!

  3. Ron Obrien

    Thank for your dedication 1

  4. Loved your version. Going to be looking at it a lot.

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Chuck, glad you are going to learn this song!!! Wishing you good luck with it and if you need any help,
      please let me know! Wishing you a great guitar week!!

  5. Michael Lambert

    This is absolutely fantastic, definitely the best lesson that I have ever had!, thanks so much for creating this.

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Michael, wow… ! Thank you for the kind words and it’s so nice to hear! I’m taking an educated guess that it means you are able to pick some or all of this song. That’s the goal for sure!
      Wishing you a great holiday season and good pickin’.. If you ever need any guitar help just let me know.

  6. Robert Taylor

    amazing Thanks.

  7. Eddie towne

    I’m itching to start sound of silence … but still working on easy fingerstyle songs for beginners!
    Thanks Bob for all the help I’m doing good 😊 Eddie

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Eddie, I know it’s hard to resist moving ahead when you see a song that you like but working on something else.
      I don’t think there’s any harm to keep going with what you are doing now and take some extra time to investigate… just sayin’… !!
      Have a great guitar week and thank you again for taking the lessons!

  8. Chadwick Clark

    Hi Bob. I’m 50 years old (still surprises me to say that – ugh!) After years of loving music and wanting to play, I just finally bought a used guitar from a music shop and have been playing about 2 months. So I’m still a SUPER BEGINNER! Out of 6-7 apps on my phone and the countless videos on YouTube, this single video has helped my picking, understanding, chord changing, tempo, fretting, etc. etc. more than the others combined……and I just watched the video twice (so far). I can’t thank you enough for posting this video and having this website. The fact that you’re not charging high prices for your extreme expert advice is more of what the world needs (in more ways than just guitar lessons). So, Thanks Again. I’m blessed to have found you. Please keep posting new content and you’ll soon become the hottest thing on YouTube in the “learning guitar world”. God Bless!

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Clark, great to hear from you and thank you for the uplifting comment here.
      I’m so glad that the lessons are helping you… I try!
      It’s been a while since I posted a new video but hope to get back when I get home (currently traveling on the road with the music). I’m also trying to get a new
      website up with the lessons all in one place but it’s taking a long time. Just let me know if you hit a snag or need help. I have much easier courses here in this site as well. God Bless you too and happy pickin’ !!

  9. Chris Robinson

    Hi Bob I am a 55 year old Canadian Veteran with a shoulder injury and I am not able to strum very much any more. I have starting looking at Fingerstyle patterns like Travis picking however I find my arm gets very sore and tired and sore with all the movement. When I saw you video pop up today I was so impressed I am playing again. Thank you. Question for you the purpose of not forming the full chord is that because most of the string you would be using your not picking so keeping. Them open does not matter?

    • Robert Harris

      Hi Chris, great to hear from you and thank you for taking the lessons here with me. First and foremost, I am sorry to hear about your shoulder injury. Playing guitar and injuries are generally not a good combo- but there are some posture work arounds that I know about. I have been a long time sufferer with left hand problems.. the pain in my case was shooting up to the shoulder. We can certainly discuss more…
      As far as the fingering- this particular lesson (and a lot of my beginner lessons) will feature easier chords. Since we are picking individual notes and not strumming through all 6 strings, we don’t have to fret with the left hand the notes we are not picking . Then with a good arrangement (or my best attempt), hopefully it still sounds like the original. To be honest, this song was very easy to modify as it still sounds exactly like the song. Anyway, I hope this answers your question.
      Just a quick FYI, I have a new site called that I just started. All of my sheet music and courses are being moved there. Long story, but lots of people were having download problems with the courses and sheet music- new site solves this problem. You are welcome to join!
      Many thanks again Chris, and wishing you all the best on your guitar!!

  10. Kostas Kipouros

    Hi Bob, greetings from Greece!
    I love music, and now that I have time (retired…), I decided to really test myself learning the guitar!
    Looking around ways to play the Sound of Silence of Simon and Paul, I was impressed by the simplicity of your finger style video lesson! Congrats and thank you! I already took a great lesson!
    However, for whatever reason, I am not able download the “Sound of Silence fingerstyle tab PDF and tux guitar files” from your web site, if they are still available!
    Can you email me these files, or send me a link to do so?
    Thanks a lot!
    Kostas from Greece

    • Robert Harris

      Hi Kostas, I just emailed you the Sound of Silence sheet music (please check your email). Wishing you all the best!!

  11. Thanks for a easy look at playing this

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Randy, great to hear from you and thank you for taking the lesson with me! Glad it helped!!! Wishing you good pickin’ moving forward!!

  12. Miguel Borges

    Hi Robert, I’m amazed by the online lesson, it was so clear and simple, I was able to quickly memorize all the chords you demonstrated, congratulations, I’ll start following you. Thank you, Miguel Borges.

    • Robert Harris

      Hi Miguel, great to hear from you and thank you for taking the lesson with me.. Really happy it was easy for you!!!
      Wishing you all the best on your guitar and if you didn’t get the sheet music/tab… etc., just let me know- can e mail it to you!
      Happy pickin’ !! bob

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