Learning an instrument can be frustrating, let alone when all you think you can play is beginner guitarist staples like Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” or Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life).”
You might think you aren’t ready to learn to shred on some of your favourite tracks, but the truth is, there are tons of awesome alt-rock anthems for guitar players of all skill levels. Give these tunes a couple of run-throughs and you’ll be playing tracks from the likes of Radiohead, The White Stripes, and Arcade Fire in no time.
Here is a list of 10 songs to learn for the beginner guitarist.
The XX – Intro
“Intro” by The XX has a steady humming guitar, with a guitar line that is essentially playing the same note 12 times before moving onto the next one followed by a brief hook. This easily recognizable track is sure to impress your indie rock pals.
Death Cab for Cutie – Soul Meets Body
This lovable Death Cab track is really only three chords with a quick two string riff, making it perfect for a beginner who is comfortable with chords but wants to learn a little bit of finger picking. Give this haunting, slow tune a go and you’ll be impressed with how quickly you pick it up.
Bright Eyes – At The Bottom of Everything
With a little palm muting and a simply yet catchy chord progression, grab some pals and sing along to this easy to learn tune. You can even give the opening story a whirl or perform it to someone on their birthday so you can say “Happy Birthday darling, we love you very very very very very very very much.”
Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees
If you’re getting pretty good at the typical guitar chords, give this song a go. It’s a pretty simple seven chord song, but features several chord variations for you to get used to like A/F# and Dsus2. It’s worth giving this grand ballad a whirl to impress the Radiohead fans in your life.
The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl
What’s a list of guitar songs to learn without some sort of Jack White tune? The White Strips’ “Fell In Love With A Girl” is a great head banging rock tune that’s perfect for a beginner to shred in their garage as loud as they can.
Bon Iver – Skinny Love
Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” off of For Emma, Forever Ago is probably the album’s rawest cut, but also the easiest to pick up. The track has simple chords all the way through, which is perfect for an early guitar lesson.
Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly
The Foo Fighters’ hit track, “Learn To Fly,” is a great soft rock tune for a beginner guitarist to jam out to. The simple chord progression allows for a lot of freedom if you’re feeling comfortable enough to try and add in a couple of your own licks in between chords.
Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me
The surf rock band, Alvvays, has a couple of wonderfully simple songs with some rocking guitar leads and easy chord progressions. “Archie, Marry Me” is a chill guitar player’s anthem, so grab your electric and give it a go.
Arcade Fire – Wake Up
Arcade Fire is a great band for making a musically simple song still feel deep and profound. They have tons of perfect songs for beginner guitarists, so it seems natural to start with their sing-along anthem and three chord tune, “Wake Up.”
Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
Punk rock fanatics should start their guitar education with the “Blitzkrieg Bop.” This bouncy tune is great for early electric guitar players with simple riffs that justify cranking the amp all the way up after a few tries.
Honourable Mentions: Weezer – Say It Ain’t So, Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun, Sufjan Stevens – Casmir Pulaski Day, Radiohead – Creep, Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over The Sea
Photo courtesy of pxhere