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I know how difficult it is to find good songs to practice with, so that’s why I prepared a list of 25 easy indie songs to play on guitar! I’m sure that if you decide to sit down and train your ears and fingers to play at least a few of these songs, you will learn a lot about indie rock in general. Since some of these songs follow the same patterns, you’ll see that your learning process won’t take that long.
The list below consists of 25 easy and a bit more advanced indie rock songs that you should learn to play on your guitar. I’m sure that you all know the majority of these tunes! I included some of the most popular indie rock anthems by such bands as Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes and many more other talented artists.
If some of these tunes turn out to be too difficult, don’t stress too much about it. Try to come back to these songs in a few weeks – I’m sure that in time you’ll be able to play all of these songs without any problems! It doesn’t matter whether you’re using an electric or acoustic guitar. You can play all of these riffs on all kinds of guitars.
Feel free to check out the list below and see the tabs in the right column. Good luck and enjoy your practice!
Easy Indie Songs To Play On Guitar + Tabs
|Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know
|Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine
|Sticky Fingers – Cyclone
|Vampire Wekeend – A-Punk
|Mac DeMarco – Baby Wearing Blue Jeans
|The Black Keys – Lonely Boy
|Current Joys – Blondie
|The Kills – Doing It To Death
|The Strokes – Why Are Sundays So Depressing
|The Strokes – Bad Decisions
|KALEO – I Can’t Go On Without You
|The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
|The Last Shadow Puppets – Aviation
|Mitski – Townie
|Cage The Elephant – Portuguese Knife Fight
|Declan McKenna – British Bombs
|Kings Of Leon – The Bandit
|The Killers – Read My Mind
|Miles Kane – Inhaler
|The Kooks – Naive
|Arctic Monkeys – Love Is A Laserquest
|Surf Curse – Forever Dumb
|Pixies – Break My Body
|Kasabian – Days Are Forgotten
|Miles Kane – Come Closer
Easy Indie Songs To Play On Guitar – Five Video Lessons
Learning new songs on your own can be really challenging (and discouraging at times). So as an addition, I gathered five video lessons that you can check out in order to speed up your learning process. If you don’t want like the self-taught approach, feel free to check out the videos below. I’m sure that you will learn a lot!
1. Sticky Fingers – Cyclone
A really simple and fun to play indie songs. If you’re a beginner who knows how to play basic chords, you should be definitely able to learn it really quickly. For those who don’t know Sticky Fingers, check out their other songs – it’s really good!
2. The Black Keys – Lonely Boy
I’m sure that we all heard this song in the past. Such a great riff! And in fact, it’s really simple. Grab your electric guitar, plug it in and try to play it on your own. This lesson by Marty Music will definitely speed up that whole learning process.
3. Kaleo – I Can’t Go On Without You
Something for lovers of acoustic guitars. This chilled and simple tune will definitely improve your skills! The song requires using a capo, but don’t worry if you don’t have it. You can still practice these melodies even without using a capo!I highly recommend checking this lesson out, especially if you like KALEO.
4. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know
One of the most iconic riffs that became extremely popular in the recent few years. Since A LOT of beginner guitarists are playing it, some people claim that it should be banned from guitar stores (just like Smoke On The Water or Stairway To Heaven). Whether you agree with that statement or not, the truth is that it’s a really cool sounding and easy to learn indie rock riff. I think that you’ll be able to learn it in a matter of minutes! Here’s a video lesson for everyone who likes Alex Turner and his crew.
5. The Killers – Read My Mind
Do we have any fans of The Killers in here? This is one of their most popular songs. Although it’s not the easiest song on today’s list, it’s definitely really rewarding. If you decide to learn that one, you’ll learn a bit more about triads (especially in the chorus). Since indie rock uses triads very often, learning that song will be extremely useful for your overall guitar skillset. I highly recommend checking it out if you want to pursue your musical journey with indie rock in the future.
How do you get indie rock tones?
Since indie rock is a really broad genre, there are a lot of different guitar tones that you can aim for. For those who don’t know, indie bands most often use a lot of reverb, delay, chorus, vibrato and overdrive. Of course, it all depends on what kind of sound you’re looking for. Some indie bands don’t use overdrive and distortion at all! The reverb seems to play a vital role when it comes to indie music. But again, it’s debatable.
As an example, if you want to sound like Arctic Monkeys, you should definitely find a good overdrive and chorus pedal. But if you want to sound like Vampire Weekend or Mac DeMarco, you should probably find a good reverb and vibrato pedal. There are a lot of bands and musicians who use completely different effects chains, so describing a perfect indie solution is not possible.
In my opinion, indie rock music is about experimenting with sound. There is no magic formula to sound indie – you can just do what you want and that independence will give you your own “indie tone”.
What guitar is best for indie rock?
When it comes to indie rock, there are no limits. You can be a successful indie rock guitarist with all kinds of guitars, such as Stratocasters, Telecasters or Les Pauls. Still, it is worth mentioning that indie musicians particularly love offset guitars. That includes all the Jaguars, Jazzmasters and Mustangs. The popularity of these “hipster” guitars grows every year and it already became a standard in the indie rock music scene.
For those who don’t know, offset guitars have a really asymmetrical shape and they’re often equipped with tremolo tailpieces. This kind of gear usually gives that cool, surfy and indie tone. Nevertheless, indie rock music also involves the use of a wide range of guitar pedals that significantly change the sound of guitars.
If you’re looking for specific models suitable for indie rock, check out my guide on the best guitars for indie rock.
What chords are used in indie music?
Indie music most often used major and minor triads. In addition, most of indie rock songs are in the keys of C Major, A Major, G Major or E minor. The use of chords is often really similar to the ones used in pop music – for example C, G, Am, F (optimistic) or Am, F, C, G (pessimistic).
Still, the use of effects pedals significantly changes the final outcome of indie songs. Although the chords are often basic, the songs tend to sound completely different. If you checked out my list of easy indie songs to play on guitar, you probably noticed that you didn’t have to learn any new chords – it’s all really basic!
As you can see, there are a lot of cool and easy indie songs that you can play on your electric and acoustic guitar. I hope that the list above will motivate you to practice more frequently to become a great indie rock guitarist! Feel free to come back to these tabs and keep on learning in your own pace. The success won’t come overnight, but you’ll see that a lot of these songs follow the same patterns. Good luck!
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