Just strum it. The following songs represent some of the most popular songs in folk music that can be played fairly easily on guitar. Throughout the genre’s history, indie guitarists have favored lots of different models. If you’re brand new into guitar playing, you’ve probably started with an acoustic guitar. Rather than the power chord, featuring just the root and fifth notes on the bass strings, indie players make greater use of the top strings, especially for playing inversions of various chords in positions higher up the neck. Not that everything was great, but at least it was guitar music … Because of these multiple jobs, indie songs often feature riffs based heavily around chords and break up the chords themselves into more melodic voicings. If you … Like most songs from Neutral Milk Hotel, this is full of all manners of weird and wonderful sounds, psychedelic textures that only Jeff Magnum and co. could produce. Not only can you strum the verse and choruses, but you can play that nifty little intro riff as well. Though indie bands still became widely popular — and many “sold out” at the same rate as their mainstream counterparts, altering their sound to produce more commercially viable records — the anti-guitar hero ethos continues to influence indie players today. Indie guitarists love to use effects pedals to change their basic guitar sound. Santiago’s trademark stripped-back chord structures and lean solo lines would later inspire genres like grunge, particularly through his influence on Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Learning how to play indie guitar may look different based on your personal taste within the style, but the traditional indie mindset and approach to the instrument remain applicable no matter your preferences. With players like Johnny Marr and Peter Buck of R.E.M., Rickenbackers quickly rose in popularity, leading up-and-coming indie guitarists to look for their own sound in different models. Indie guitar solos are a hotly debated topic, and different players hold vastly different opinions on both their validity and suitability for the indie genre. The choice of songs was meant to challenge—there are some songs included which may require fingerpicking and other techniques you're unfamiliar with. Indie guitar often incorporates multiple chords and melodies tracked over each other. For an example of a classic melodic indie rhythm part, check out the video above of The Smiths’ debut single, “Hand in Glove.” Widely considered to be one of the first true indie songs, “Hand in Glove” is as notable for its interwoven guitar rhythm and melody as it is for Morrissey’s provocative lyrics. So without further ado, I wanted to present our list of beginner songs below (scroll down for the list). One guitar played a simple bass line, the other the reggae-style chords, and the other the melody (which falls nicely into the minor pentatonic box). In reaction, many indie guitar players deliberately adopted a mindset counter to the rapid-fire, solo-centric approach to the guitar flooding the airwaves at the time. Economic playing is a much more important trait in indie music than in formats like jazz and blues-based rock. There were so many alternative rock bands back then you got lost in the woods, but that didn’t bother most of us. Indie guitar chords tend to revolve around the guitar’s upper strings — when power chords and full barre chords are used, they tend to be palm-muted and quick. Nowadays, many of those “rules” have loosened — no surprise, considering indie music was originally a genre about breaking the conventional rules of rock when it was invented. Speaking of endlessly repeating four chord songs, why not give “Casmir Pulaski Day” a whirl? While their use of so many indecipherable tunings and custom-prepared instruments may be nearly impossible to replicate, their sound remains a major influence throughout indie music today. Rickenbacker guitars, especially 12-string models like this one, are popular among indie players. Johnny Marr is a master of this technique as well, with stand out examples on Smiths tracks like “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” “Nowhere Fast,” and “How Soon is Now.”. Some of these links are affiliate links meaning we may earn commissions on purchases. I'll be putting tabs and/or chord charts for some of these up on my Patreon page. While guitar solos have historically been uncommon in indie rock — and the solos that did exist were designed to echo the song’s melody rather than set the stage for individual improvisation — modern artists have re-imagined and popularized the concept of solos in the indie field. Capoes are a common tool in indie rhythm guitar to change the key of a song. “Island in the Sun”), but few are as fun to play this Blue Album smash. Some common indie voicings for major and minor triads. Unlike other banjo songs that will require specific fingerstyle and clawhammer … For the most part, there are no blast beats or burning fast passages to be found. Vintage Fender units of amps like this Princeton are some of the most prized models for playing indie guitar. Their twin guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore, pioneered the use of alternative tunings in indie rock and became famous for their habit of playing the guitar with random objects from drumsticks and violin bows to screwdrivers. Johnny Marr often tuned his guitar strings up a full step, but it’s easier to simply place a capo on the second fret if you want to avoid the hassle. Below are 10 songs for the beginner guitarist that you’ll actually want to play. Indie guitar, on the other hand, fuses those two identities into one player. Bigstock photoIf you are a beginner guitar player or you just need some inspiration for easy guitar songs you’ve come to the right place. When most folks start playing guitar they get the standard 'easy' songs: "Smoke on the Water", "Good Riddance" etc But there are so many great indie bands out there that I'm sure we can make an updated list of great indie songs that are easy for beginners (3 to 5 chords max… Many indie songs employ a simple overall chord structure with lots of subtle changes throughout to keep listeners on their toes. Indie-Pop songs are the underdogs of Bollywood. Extended chords on the upper strings also allow for more richly colored chord structures without contorting your fingers into twister-style positions. After joining Modest Mouse in the mid-2000s, indie originator Johnny Marr began collecting vintage Jaguars. ... Get started playing guitar with these 40 easy songs, great for beginners! And while indie music continues to adapt, Marr is largely responsible for creating indie’s signature guitar sound and will always belong at the top of any list of famous indie guitar players. As one of the easiest acoustic guitar songs for beginners, it’s always a good idea to learn a few Dylan songs. These groups of three notes (hence the name) contain the root, third, and fifth of each chord without repeating any one — technically, chords like Am, C, G, and Dm are all basic triads. Marr plays the solo at a fast clip on the record — listen carefully to pick up the rhythm and the minor variations! The Jaguar, along with its offset brother the Jazzmaster, dominated the sound of many indie bands in the 1990s and beyond. Modern indie guitar headliners like St. Vincent routinely play complex improvised solos drenched in waves of fuzz, and the arpeggiated, flowing style of pioneers like Marr has been tempered by the hard-driving influence of the alternative rock scene. Indie music arose during the 1980s, a decade when guitar music was dominated by hair metal bands and extreme shredders in the mold of Yngwie Malmsteen. But if there’s one critical thing to keep in mind about playing indie guitar beyond the technique, it’s the mindset: innovation, and commitment to the new and artistic over the commercial and popular. Learning how to play the guitar is a wild journey that can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. In many ways, his intensely melodic style has shaped the evolution of the genre. Speaking of colour-themed love ballads for beginners, “Yellow” (or I guess you could go with “Green Eyes” if you feel so inclined) is an excellent first song for fans of the sap-rock kings. Artists like St. Vincent have integrated a fuzz guitar sound into electronic-based pop arrangements, while Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker has meshed indie guitar sounds with psychedelic vocals and effects. It may be awhile before you’re playing that solo, and the rhythm parts will most likely need to be modified, but with enough practice you’ll get it. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “learning an instrument is hard. Solos in indie guitar heavily incorporate arpeggios and chord shapes. However, plenty of triads exist further up the neck, and without any open strings to fill out the sound. I used this song for a guitar ensemble for beginners. Indie guitarists must develop a broad skill set to play effectively. “Indie music” may be a misnomer: while the term is labeled as one genre, the name encompasses an incredibly wide array of different artists, all with their own unique sound and playing style. As a guitar player, that style makes it much easier to lock into the groove, but also puts more onus on the guitar to create an interesting groove. Three simple chords is all it takes to play “Wake Up”, a rollicking, sing-along anthem off of the band’s 2004’s debut, Funeral. The Boss CE-2 is the prime indie chorus effect, though the Roland JC120 amplifier was another source for guitarists to get their chorus sound. Learning to play indie guitar will expose you to more new sounds and techniques than nearly any other genre around. Just starting out on guitar can honestly suck … All it takes is grit, determination, and the tiniest bit of guidance and you’ll playing along to tracks by artists like Arcade Fire, Weezer, and Neutral Milk Hotel in no time. Syncopation and proper use of space are critical skills for any indie guitarist to learn. It’ll be months before I can play any songs I like, let alone rip a mean behind the head solo. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular updates. Compression is another tool many indie players use to focus their signal and introduce a touch of dirt without the coloration of a fuzz or distortion pedal. While “Hand in Glove” was recorded in the key of G (using a capo on the third fret), The Smiths often played it live in the key of F#, as it’s tabbed out here. Overall, this is a fun and easy fingerpicking songs for beginners that almost anyone into music … While the St. Vincent song “Los Ageless” contains a dizzying array of different chords at first glance, nearly all are formed by simply adding or removing one finger to move between the changes. Simply keep your hand in an Am chord position and use your pinky to hit the fretted notes outside of the chord shape. Ripping off a pentatonic or modal improvised solo would simply sound out of place over an indie rock track. Playing around with these minor changes will increase your familiarity with different chord roots and extensions and can give you ideas for potential solos. Eight Beginner Guitar Songs You Might Actually Like. Hushed and introspective, it’s a great track to perform for your special somebody under the summer stars (or in my case, in my parent’s basement during another ‘no-plans’ Friday night in 2004). While he took and built upon Marr’s use of melody and arpeggios, Pixies music displays a much harder, more aggressive side of the indie genre, more in line with hard-nosed punk and hard rock than with Marr’s shimmering, ethereal chord structures. Beyond the music, many indie guitarists (and bands as a whole) deliberately eschewed the spotlight in favor of retaining some measure of artistic integrity. Thankfully, indie songs tend to not be too fast. To complete the list of the best beginner acoustic guitar songs, Audioslave must be entered. These are all easy songs to play on guitar, and the ones that are a little more difficult are marked. It should come as little surprise then that they have so many excellent songs for beginner guitarists in their catalogue. Their influence extended beyond just indie, with grunge players like Kurt Cobain and shoegazers like My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields picking up offset models as well. Below are 10 songs for the beginner guitarist that you’ll actually want to play. To achieve that prized treble tone, many indie guitarists set the EQ of their amps to favor the treble and cut out midrange and bass frequencies. Johnny Marr was also a big fan of the classic I-vi-IV-V progression, using it in both “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” and “Vicar in a Tutu.”. In the same way as major triads, many minor triads beyond the open position are simply chunks of three notes taken from minor chord barre shapes. Major and minor triads are by far the most common triads you’ll find in indie music. There are a lot of intermediate guitar songs that you can learn. And the hallmarks of the genre — like broken, melodic chords, arpeggios, and chord-centered solos — can translate to a wide variety of different styles you may play. The track is so simple—so encouraging of sloppy playing—that it shouldn’t take more than a few times through to have it down pat. Coming onto the scene slightly after Marr’s tenure in the Smiths ended, guitarist Joey Santiago moved the indie genre forward with his work in the Pixies. But, if you’re maybe not convinced which tunes you should start with, these ten acoustic guitar songs are the perfect spot to start.. Get started playing guitar with these 40 easy songs, great for beginners! As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Given that it only has three notes, it’s a great way to stretch your playing beyond simple chords to the arena of ‘lead guitar’. 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