One of the most exciting genres in music history is Indie, without any doubt. The genre has different magic and an unmistakable charm from raw creativity that does not recognize any boundaries. The indie songs differ from overly polished, cheesy mainstream music with its profound ways of expression.
The indie songs reveal honest emotions by digging deeper into the human soul and expressing this journey without limitations to their creativity. That is why many guitarists love exploring indie guitar songs as they go out of the limits and try unorthodox ways.
Indie songs sometimes use odd chords and complex song structures, but each of the songs on this list uses familiar, easy chord progressions that beginners will not have any hard time playing. They are excellent songs to progress with your technique and music theory while having utmost fun.
Do I Wanna Know – Arctic Monkeys
Do I Wanna Know by the Indie rock band Arctic Monkeys is one of the most memorable guitar riffs of the 2010s. The tune is built around the stomping guitar riff that is easy and extremely fun to play.
As a great song to play with overdrive, the main riff is repeated many times throughout the song. It is the core of the song and features many essential techniques like slides and hammer-ons. It is a unique and fun riff to play, which is extremely easy to master.
If you want to play more easy electric guitar riffs, you should check out my list Top 45 Famous & Easy Guitar Riffs For Beginners – Tabs Included
Zombie – The Cranberries
Zombie is the worldwide hit by the Irish band The Cranberries, which was released in 1994. The tune was written as a protest against the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) attack in 1993.
With clean open chords, power chords with overdrive, easy solo partitions, and transitions, the tune has everything a beginner guitarist would crave for. It is educative as well as entertaining, a perfect song to master.
The Scientist – Coldplay
The Scientist is the hit single by the English alternative rock band Coldplay, released in 2002. The tune’s melody is actually played by a piano, but it can be easily adapted to guitar.
The Scientist is a great song to learn and master some new chords as the progression features some variations of common chords such as D6, Em7, D7, and Gmaj7. The song’s tempo is relatively low, so you will have enough time to adjust your fingers.
If you like to play slow and romantic tunes, do not forget to check out my article Top 40 Famous & Easy Slow Guitar Songs For Beginners – Tabs Included
Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
Pumped Up Kicks by the American indie-pop band Foster, The People was a huge hit back in 2010. A bouncy mid-tempo rhythm and deep vocals create a soothing tune that is catchy and entertaining to play.
The main riff is repeated throughout the song and is quite entertaining and straightforward to play. The four featured chords are also some of the most basic ones, along with a straightforward strum pattern.
Yellow – Coldplay
Yellow is another beautifully poetic song by the English alternative rock band Coldplay. The song features a mid-tempo basic yet beautiful melody with romantic lyrics.
You will need four simple open-chords to play the song, G, D, C, Em. Plus, it has a pretty easy strumming pattern with eight beats of downstrokes of each chord with accents on the 3rd and 7th strums—a great tune to learn and play to any audience, especially on romantic occasions.
If you are looking for easy and special songs to play to your loved ones, this list might just be for you Top 30 Easy Guitar Love Songs To Impress Her/Him – Tabs Included
Creep – Radiohead
One of the most famous English alternative rock giants, Radiohead, is Creep from 1992. As it is a fantastic tune with a basic structure, Creep is an excellent choice for beginner guitarists. The famous song has everything to rock the audience.
The tune features a straightforward chord progression and picking pattern. The chords are arpeggiated through the verses before power chords with overdrive come in during the chorus. You can also play it acoustically with strum and without the overdrive.
Fix You – Coldplay
Another great hit by The Coldplay from 2005, Fix You, is a highly slow-tempo romantic song, which is absolutely beginner-friendly. This one is great for absolute beginners as the tempo is extremely slow, chords are elementary, and the strum pattern is relatively straightforward.
The tune features C, Em, Am, G, F chord progression along with a basic strum pattern. It is one of the most straightforward songs to play on guitar. You can just strum the chords on the first beat and let them ring before playing the next chord.
Mr. Brightside – The Killers
Mr. Brightside is the first single released by American alternative rock band the Killers, released in 2003. The tune found itself on the top 10 lists worldwide after its second release in 2004 and became the most-listened-to track in Last.fm on that year.
You will need five chords to play the tune, including C, C/B, F, Am, and G. The strum pattern consists of steady down and upstrokes with the accent on the 3rd and 7th ones.
If you are struggling with the barre chords, you can start playing songs on this list 35 Easy Guitar Songs Without Barre Chords/Capo – Tabs Included
Wonderwall – Oasis
The most famous song of the English indie rock band Oasis is undoubtedly Wonderwall, released in 1995. With its iconic acoustic guitar melody and fantastic lyrics, it was a colossal hit topping the charts everywhere.
The five chords you need to play the tune have comfortable positions and are easy to change between. However, the challenge with this tune comes with the strum pattern, as it is pretty complicated. You can experiment with your more accessible versions if you have a hard time trying.
Turning Page – Sleeping At Last
The 2011 hit of the American musical project Sleepin At Last by Ryan O’Neal, Turning Page is an indie tune popular with the vampire movie saga, The Twilight. The song was written from the perspective of the movie’s main protagonist, Edward, and it appears many times in the first movie.
The song is played with a unique strum and picking pattern that requires you to listen to the rhythm carefully to replicate it correctly. If it gets too challenging for you, you can try to strum the chords instead.
Linger – The Cranberries
The Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries’ first major hit was Linger from 1993. The tune was loved by the fans in Ireland, England, and United States, giving the band colossal popularity.
It is one of the easiest tunes to play on this list as it features D, A, C, and G chord progression. All of the mentioned chords are extremely easy to play, and the strum pattern of the tune is quite traditional with a moderate tempo.
If you want to play more sad, melancholy pieces, check out this article Top 45 Sad Guitar Songs That You Must Learn To Play
Runaway – Aurora
One of the newer tunes on the list is Runaway by Aurora, which was released in 2015. The song exploded into the mainstream music scene even though it is an independent recording, thanks to an Instagram challenge that uses the song in the background.
The song has a lovely melody with an indie vibe along with Aurora’s nature-inspired vocal lines. Em, D, C, G, Am, and Cmaj7 are the chords you will need to play this one.
R U Mine – Arctic Monkeys
English indie rock giants Arctic Monkey’s R U Mine is an excellent tune for beginner electric guitar players to play some single-note rocking riffs along with distorted power chords. The song was released in 2012 and quickly became one of the most popular tunes of the band.
The main riff on the lower strings is repeated throughout the song. Play the riff with the correct timings with a bit of distortion to feel like a rock star.
Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
One of the most fantastic singles of the American indie rock band The Black Keys is Lonely Boy from 2011. Topping several radio charts, the tune was a worldwide success with its iconic chorus.
You can play an acoustic version of the tune with only three chords, E, A, and G. You can strum the open chords or play them as power chords with distortion.
If you want to play some more iconic rock guitar riffs with your electric guitar, this list is perfect for you 33 Famous & Easy Electric Guitar Beginners Riffs With Tabs
Ode To My Family – The Cranberries
Irish rock band The Cranberries’ second successful single was Ode To My Family, which was released in 1994. As the tune was written for people who died in the Yugoslavian war, it is a melancholy tune with a slow tempo and a sentimental melody.
You can play the song with the C, Am, Em, F chord progression. As it is a slow tempo song, the strum pattern is easy and standard. You can also try arpeggiating the chords to make it sound closer to the recording.
Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High – Arctic Monkeys
Released in 2013, Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? is another hit song of the English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys. The tune was a big hit globally and got in the Viral Hits playlist on Spotify. With a simmering melody and a distinctly danceable rhythm, it is a great tune to play for guitarists.
The main riff repeated throughout the song is relatively easy with single notes basic scale walks. You can also try to play the straightforward solo, just do not forget the add a good amount of distortion to your tone.
Cough Syrup – Young the Giant
Cough Syrup is the hit song by American indie rock band Young the Giant, released in 2011. The tune is remembered with its mellow guitar and cello contrast, along with beautiful lyrics.
C, G, F, and Am are the chords you will need to play this tune. You should be careful with the strum pattern as it changes from the traditional pattern to a more funky one in the chorus.
Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
Everybody Hurts from 1992 is one of the most famous songs of the American rock band REM. It is a great inspirational song with a soft melody and lyrics.
This is a great tune to train your fingerpicking technique as all of the chords are arpeggiated in the song. The tune uses many basic open chords, which is great because you can train them fingerpicking in the slow tempo of the tune.
The Less I Know The Better – Tame Impala
The Less I Know the Better is one of the most well-known songs released by the Australian rock band Tame Impala in 2015. The song was a big success, with over one billion streams on the internet. The tune’s video clip was also was loved by the fans.
The riffs and the chord progression of the song are straightforward to play, making this tune beginner-friendly. By the way, the original recording uses a capo on the 3rd fret.
Spirits – The Strumbellas
Released in 2015, Spirits is the most famous song by the Canadian indie-folk band The Strumbellas. The song was on top 10 lists worldwide and received gold and platinum certification in European and American countries.
It is a pretty straightforward tune with a basic downstroke dominant strum pattern and five basic open chords. The moderate tempo is excellent to get you familiar with the barre F chord if you struggle with it.
Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand
Take Me Out from 2004 is the most famous hit song by the Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand. The tune had a huge role in popular culture as it was covered by many bands, used in various events, movies, and commercials.
As an easy and entertaining tune, the rhythm guitar parts can be played with power chords and mutes in between. If you feel comfortable, you can try playing the lead guitar parts, which also are not very challenging.
Where Is My Mind – Pixies
Mainly remembered as the soundtrack of the iconic movie Fight Club, Where Is My Mind by Pixies is another excellent indie song for beginner players. Thanks to its great melody, the tune got its place in the soundtrack, making it an iconic tune after 11 years of its release.
The main riff is relatively straightforward to play, while the short solo features a lovely scale run, starting with bends and moving to the higher notes on lower strings. It is an amazing tune to train your lead guitar skills.
Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
Love Will Tear Us Apart is the hit song of the English rock band Joy Division, released in 1980. The single, which tells about the marital problems of the lead singer Ian Curtis, was released a couple of months after his suicide. Selling over 600 000 copies, it is considered one of the best-ever singles and the defining song of the era.
The song has a basic chord progression with an odd C6/9 chord, which can be challenging onAt the first try, but after your fingers get used to the shape, you will have no hard time in transitions.
This Charming Man – The Smiths
Released in 1983, This Charming Man is the second single by the English indie rock band the Smiths. The piece is remembered with Marr’s jangle pop guitar riff and Morrissey’s characteristically morose lyrics, as the typical style of The Smiths.
The song features six simple open chords along with a moderate tempo traditional strum pattern. Overall, a tremendous uncomplicated song to learn and sing along with.
The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
Released in 2010, The Suburbs is a single from Arcade Fire’s same-titled third album. It is a great song to learn for novice guitarists as it features an easy chord progression along with a basic strum pattern. You will need five basic chords C, Am, E, G, and D, all elementary chords with accessible finger positions.
A Different Age – Current Joys
A Different Age is yet another great indie tune by Current Joys, the American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and journalist Nick Rattigan.
The tune features two of the easiest chords, D and G, with a simple downstroke strum pattern throughout the song. The entire tune is built on top of this progression. You can experiment with dynamics getting softer and firmer from time to time to make it sound more interesting.
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
Considered one of the band’s most exemplary efforts, There Is a Light That Never Goes Out is a song by the English indie rock band The Smiths. It was recorded in 1958 but released in 1992 and received many praises for its elemental yet excellent composition with amazing lyrics.
You need five simple chords to play the song and a classic strum pattern that skips second and third upbeat.
New Slang – The Shins
Released as the lead single of the American indie rock band The Shins’ debut album Oh Inverted World in 2001, New Slang is a lovely ballad about James Percer, the vocalist’s past guitarist of the band. The tune features one of the most common chord progressions with its Am, C, F, G progression.
No One’s Gonna Love You – Band of Horses
No One’s Gonna Love You is the most famous song of the American indie rock group Band of Horses. Thanks to its appearances in TV shows, such as Det Nye Talk Show, Chuck, One Tree Hill, Numbers, and Zombieland, the song got its fame.
This is a great tune to learn for absolute beginners as the tune features many essential chords, which you can practice with the tune’s classic moderate tempo strum pattern.
Bags – Clairo
American singer-songwriter Clairo’s indie-pop hit, Bags, from 2019 is remembered with a set of simple guitar chords, understated drum fills, plunking keys along lovely lyrics.
The tune is played with Am, F, G chord progression and a straightforward strum pattern with downstrokes on every beat, making it an absolutely beginner-friendly tune.
Coffee – Beabadoobee
The Filipino-British singer-songwriter Beatrice Laus aka Beabadoobee, got famous with her successful hit Coffee in 2017. The indie song got immensely famous with 300 000 views on Youtube, which got the attention of many record labels.
The tune is played with A, Amaj7, D7, and Dmaj7 chords. It is an excellent tune to practice the 7th chord variations and get familiar with odd chord shapes.
Blister In The Sun – Violent Femmes
Blister in the Sun is the hit song by American rock band Violent Femmes, originally released in 1983. It got quite famous in the United Kingdom, and it was the first English song to be allowed on Irish radios in 2005.
The chord progression is quite basic, with four open chords. But the challenge comes with the strum pattern, which is quite long with the muting technique used.
Anyone Else But You – The Moldy Peaches
Got famous as the soundtrack of the 2007 movie Juno, Anyone Else But You is the indie-folk hit of the indie band, The Moldy Peaches. The tune is highly easy to play with only two chords on the sheet and a pretty standard strum pattern. It is a pretty entertaining song to play and sing along with, thanks to the iconic chorus.
Just Like Honey – Jesus And Mary Chain
Just Like Honey is the famous 1985 hit by the Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain; the tune was used in many movies, including Lost In Translation, American Horror Story, and the Volkswagen campaign, which created the fame of the tune.
It is one of the easiest songs to play on the list as it features three of the easiest chords along with a pretty basic strum pattern.
Sea Of Love – Cat Power
Sea Of Love is the indie rock hit of the American indie songwriter Chan Marshall aka Cat Power. The tune is played with G, B7, C, A7 chord progression along with a straightforward strum pattern only with downstrokes. Give your focus to the timing of the strokes as they are not evenly distributed.
Harmony Hall – Vampire Weekend
Harmony Hall is one of the most famous songs by the indie icons Vampire Weekend, released in 2019. The tune was the highest-charting singe of the band and was nominated for a Grammy.
It can be played with the chords G, D, C, and Cmaj 7 and a simple strumming pattern. The intro riff is also great practice for the fretting hand, which is played with open string to 2nd fret hammer-ons. Try to play it slower at first, building up the speed later.
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by the indie rock group Neutral Milk Hotel is an excellent tune that anyone can play with a quite easy and common chord progression of G, Em, C, and D. The sweet horn solo is excellent to have fun and play along with. The fantastic vocals of Jeff Mangum, along with the psych-rock indie-rock synthesis, offer great partitions to play and have fun.
Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens
With Grammy and Oscar nominations Sufjan Stevens is a respected name on the indie scene with his emotional, honest songwriting along with his gentle yet clever use of instruments. Casimir Pulaski Day is one of the greatest examples of this with a beautiful melody.
You will need to play the D, C, Am, and G chord progression with a slow tempo relaxed strumming pattern. It is an easy piece of cake to play this tune for any level guitarist.
True Love Will Find You In The End – Daniel Johnston
Released in 1990, True Love Will Find You In The End by Daniel Johnston is a great indie tune perfect for beginner guitar players. It has one of the easiest chord progressions featuring G, C, Em, and Am chords and steady down and upstrokes on every beat. If you are not familiar with chords and strumming, this is the song you should start with.
Gloria – Patti Smith
The songwriting icon who influenced many genres from rock to indie, from punk to pop, Patti Smith is an influential component of the New York City punk rock movement of the 70s. Her cover of Van Morrison’s Gloria was one of the big players of the era with its independent label and unique sound.
As a three-chord song – just E, Dsus2, and A/D, it is pretty easy to play. Do not let the odd names of the chords scare you, as they all have extremely easy shapes.
Let My Baby Stay – Mac DeMarco
Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco is an important name of the slacker rock and indie pop, thanks to his successful albums and singles. Let My Baby Stay is one of his laidback, trippy tunes with his iconic chilled-out vocal style.
The chords you will need on this one are Am, D7, G, and D major chords. It is a must-learn for beginner guitarists as the strum pattern is also quite slow-paced and easy.
Lua – Bright Eyes
Lua is the indie-folk single by the American indie-rock band Bright Eyes, released back in 2004. The song features various open chords, which are great for beginner guitarists to learn and master the fundamentals.
The moderate rhythm, along with the straightforward strum pattern is great to keep your focus on the fretting hand and the chord shapes.
The Boy With The Arab Strap – Belle and Sebastian
The Boy With The Arab Strap was written by Scottish indie band Belle and Sebastian in 1998. It is an upbeat piece with floaty vocals and a beautiful melody which is considered one of the best songs of the last 15 years by NME.
The entire tune can be played with G, C, and D chord progression, which repeats itself throughout the song. The strum pattern steadily alternates between up and down strokes, which is quite easy for any guitarist.
Wake Up – Arcade Fire
Canadian indie-rock band Arcade Fire’s Wake Up is considered one of the best tunes of the 2000s, and it was covered by many famous artists such as David Bowie and U2; it was used in many popular events like New York Rangers games or Premier League matches along with some appearances on TV series and movies. Used on many more occasions, it is an excellent song loved by people, as clearly seen.
With C, Am, and F chords, it is a quite simple tune to play. If you can try to play it with barre chords as shown on the tab sheet, it sounds better and closer to the recording this way.
Piazza New York Catcher – Belle and Sebastian
Another great tune by Belle And Sebastian to learn for beginner guitarists is Piazza New York Catcher. It features some of the fundamental chords that every guitar player should learn along with a basic rhythm making it an ideal indie song to learn and master.
My Favourite Fish – Gus Dapperton
Gus Dapperton’s indie hit My Favourite Fish is one of the newer tunes on the list, released in 2019. It is played with Em, D, Am, and C chord progression, which repeats itself throughout the song. An easy peasy and fun tune for beginners.
Is This It – The Strokes
Is This It is a great indie tune by the American rock band The Strokes. It features some great riffs and chord progressions that are a joy to play. You can try to play the lead guitar partitions, playing the melody, or the rhythm guitar partitions strumming the triad chords.
Willow Tree – Chad VanGaalen
The 2008 indie hit by the Canadian indie and folk artist Chad VanGaalen, Willow Tree is another ideal tune for beginners with its basic chord progression and simple rhythm. The song features G, C, and D open chords, which have pretty comfortable shapes. The song also has a straightforward easy to follow structure.
Random Rules – Silver Jews
The American indie rock band from New York City, Silver Jews’ biggest hit, Random Rules, is an excellent choice for novice guitarists with its iconic chorus and easy song structure. Along with four basic open chords, the tune features an easy strum pattern and a lovely simple solo which is of utmost entertaining to play.
Can’t Seem To Make You Mine – The Seeds
As one of the oldest indie songs on this list and in general, Can’t Seem to Make You Mine is the hit song of the American rock group the Seeds, which was released back in 1965. The tune was quite famous at the time and was covered by many famous bands, including Ramones, Alex Chilton, Johnny Thunders.
The song features five chords C, G, Am, F, and D. You can traditionally strum the chords as the original recording features a keyboard instead of a rhythm guitar.
Indie songs are great musical pieces with their wonderfully weird ways of songwriting with memorable melodies and lyrics. Exploring this genre will help you greatly not only with your guitar technique with different chords and scales but also with your songwriting, widening your horizon.
All the tunes on this list are pretty simple tunes with different playing techniques, so you can master them with short practice sessions and progress quicker. When playing a song, also try to learn and examine the ways the composers create the melody and the chord progression in order to grasp their thinking behind.
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