25 Easy Indie Guitar Songs (With Tabs + Videos)

Indie Guitar Songs

Indie songs are relatively simple to learn for newcomers to guitar. Easy indie guitar songs include The Strokes’ Last Nite and Someday as well as Coldplay’s Viva la Vida and Yellow.

Regardless of what song you choose from our list though, you’re going to have fun learning it. We’ve made sure to include songs with hookable riffs and memorable chords too. 

So, let’s pick up our strings and get to jamming with these 25 fairly easy indie guitar songs!

“Last Nite” by The Strokes (A, E, G, D)

Genre Alternative/Rock
Difficulty Beginner
ChordsA, E, G, D
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Last Nite] Tabs

You probably recognize this hit song by the Strokes if you were around in the early 2000s, but did you know that it’s among the easiest indie tracks to learn?

That’s right! For starters, Last Nite is in C Major—one of the first keys that beginner guitarists learn. The song’s chords are just as simple too (A, E, G, D).

Additionally, there are two guitar lines featured in the song, one of which is a power line and both are relatively easy to learn. The chord progression is below the average difficulty as well.

Fun fact:

The opening of the Strokes’ Last Nite is the same as Tom Petty’s American Girl.

“Someday” by The Strokes (D, G, Bm, A)

Genre Alternative/Rock
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(D, G, Bm, A)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Someday] Tabs

Someday is another great hit to try out by the Strokes. The song is just as upbeat as the previous one and just as fun to learn.

That said, Someday is a little harder for beginners than Last Nite is. The hit single was written in A major, for instance, and the chord progression can be tricky to get a hang of. 

It’ll be worth it in the end though! Someday is a favorite of mine because the tune hooks you in fast. Learn to pair it with finger tapping on an acoustic guitar for an extra kick too. 

“Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People (Em, G, D, A)

Genre Electropop
Difficulty Beginner
Chords(Em, G, D, A)
Type of GuitarAcoustic
Tabs[Pumped Up Kicks] Tabs

Not only is Pumped Up Kicks a head bop, but it’s also a great addition to your list of beginner-friendly guitar songs. The song’s notes are powerful too, because of how revengeful the lyrics are. 

You’re sure to have fun learning this one!

Pumped Up Kicks is in B minor—a key that most beginners find simple enough to master. 

Perhaps the only tricky part to this song is the transition at the end as it features a hammer-on pull off.

As for the chords, they’re made up of basic ones that every newcomer to guitar should already know. So, once you get the hang of the chord progression (which is also straightforward), Pumped Up Kicks will be your favorite song!

“Banquet” by Bloc Party (C, G, F, Am)

Genre Alternative/Pop/Rock
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(C, G, F, Am)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Banquet] Tabs

A lost gem in the Indie community, Banquet by Bloc Party was all the rage when it first came out and is considered one of the must-knows. 

That’s mainly because of the song’s sick guitar line and drumming sequence. It’s a banger to jam out in sessions, but it’s quite difficult to pin down since the chord progression is rather intricate.

So, if you think you’re up for the challenge, take on Bloc Party’s Banquet. Mastering the song’s main riff was a great pleasure of mine, so try it out yourself!

“No Surprises” by Radiohead (D, Bm, G, A)

Genre Alternative/Dream Pop
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(D, Bm, G, A)
Type of GuitarAcoustic
Tabs[No Surprises] Tabs

There are definitely some Radioheadheads in our midst, and this one’s for you folk.

Although not as upbeat as the previous four songs, No Surprises is still a popular choice with intermediate guitar players. The song’s riff is challenging enough to warrant a place on our list.

The mellow tone is why I picked it, though. The chords progress beautifully from one to the other and they’re fun to strum along during the song’s verses.

That aside, No Surprises is in F Major which is another reason why it’s tricky to learn. Plus, it has a capo on the 15th fret—a unique feature for a song to have!

“New Slang” by The Shins (C, Am, F, G)

Genre Alternative/Folk/Rock
Difficulty Advanced
Chords(C, Am, F, G)
Type of GuitarAcoustic
Tabs[New Slang] Tabs

New Slang was and still is the big talk of the Indie community. The band, The Shins, has led this genre since the 2000s and their songs are a joy to learn and strum along to.

I picked New Slang in particular because of its featured and somewhat merry guitar solo. It can be hard to learn though, what with the fast and complicated alternate strumming involved.

So, although the chords themselves are simple, their progression will take some time to fully master. Additionally, the song is in the key C Major.

“Mardy Bum” by Arctic Monkeys (G, D, A, E)

Genre Alternative/Pop/French Indie
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(G, D, A, E)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Mardy Bum] Tabs

Admittedly, one of my favorite songs to both listen to and play. Everything from the lyrics to the musical notes is perfect. This beautiful tune also features a fairly fun guitar solo that you’ll enjoy learning.

Mardy Bum is for intermediate guitarists as the chord progression and alternating can be rather difficult for beginners to get the hang of.

That said, the song is in D major, which is a fairly simple key for beginners to handle. So I’d say even if you’re a newcomer, you can still take on Mardy Bum with enough practice.

“First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes (C, E, F, G)

Genre Alternative/Rock
Difficulty Beginner
Chords(C, E, F, G)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[First Day of My Life] Tabs

Beginner guitarists can pull out this gem in weddings and other special, happy occasions. The chords create a melodic symphony that’s easy on the ears. 

Bright Eyes’ First day of My Life is a song I love because of its simplicity. All the chords are basic enough too, and the song is in E major—another beginner-friendly key to learn.

However, the song does feature extended parts that might prove difficult to some newcomers. 

Nothing a little practice won’t fix, though!

“Naive” by The Kooks (A, E, D, Bm)

Genre Alternative/Rock/Pop
Difficulty Advanced
Chords(A, E, D, Bm)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Naive] Tabs

Naive by the popular Indie band, The Kooks is a major jam to strum. It’s upbeat, powerful, and pretty dark to play, which makes it rather fun to learn.

The song’s rich sound comes at a price though. The chord progression is quite hard and the intro riff is just as tricky to fully grasp.

Aside from that, Naive is written in the G♯ Minor key. Many guitarists believe G♯ Minor is one of the most difficult keys to learn besides A♭ minor.

“Two Weeks” by Grizzly Bear (C, G, F, Am)

Genre Alternative/Folk
Difficulty Beginner
Chords(C, G, F, Am)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Two Weeks] Tabs

Two Weeks is one of Grizzly Bear’s most popular hits and is luckily one of our beginner-friendly indie songs to learn. 

For starters, the song is relatively easy because of the repetition featured in the chord progression. The strumming pattern is also simple.

As for the key, the song is written in F Major. Its chords alternate between C, G, F, Am too (all of which are basic, must-learn-first guitar chords). 

“Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes (E, G, A, B)

Genre Alternative/Garage Rock/Blues/Classic Rock
Difficulty Beginner
Chords(E, G, A, B)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Seven Nation Army] Tabs

I don’t know about you, but this banger is a rock fav of mine and I’m happy to tell you that it’s super easy to learn too.

Seven Nation Army is a classic in the rock indie genre and features an essential guitar riff that every player must know.

The chord progression isn’t hard either and repeats itself through the whole song, with little variation. 

Want to challenge yourself, though?

Try learning how to play this song with just one finger! Single note down picking takes real precision after all.

“Young Folks” by Peter, Bjorn and John (A, E, F#m, D)

Genre Pop/Dance/Electronic/Alternative
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(A, E, F#m, D)
Type of GuitarBoth
Tabs[Young Folks] Tabs

Young Folks is an often underappreciated song in the indie community. It’s happy and merry and you can whistle along as you strum for a perfect song cover. 

While the song has a simple melody, it’s more suited for intermediate guitarists. That’s because the three artists used both an acoustic and electric guitar to write the music.

The song is in C Major though, which should make it a little easier to master. It’s also a great choice in case you want to practice fingerpicking

“Float On” by Modest Mouse (G, D, C, Em)

Genre Alternative/Pop
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(G, D, C, Em)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Float On] Tabs

Modest Mouse’s Float On is an optimistic tune that we absolutely adore. It’s perhaps the most popular single the band has out there and speaks about never giving up no matter how tough life gets.

Inspirational lyrics aside though, Float On’s riff is easy enough at the start before the chord progression gets a little intricate. As such, it’s good practice for late beginners and intermediate guitarists. 

However, note that the song is in F-sharp major, which is a barre chord and is relatively hard for most guitarists—regardless of skill. 

“Tighten Up” by The Black Keys (Am, G, F, E)

Genre Alternative/Blues/Rock
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(Am, G, F, E)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Tighten Up] Tabs

This is another song written in a barre chord, specifically in F-sharp minor, which makes it a decent challenge for intermediate players. 

The Black Eyes’ Tighten Up is a funky and simple-sounding tune that’s a hoot to play at parties or indoor jamming sessions in your room.

The melody’s chords are easy enough; the trick, however, is in their progression. Although the first few notes are repeated, the hard part comes later.

I know it took me a while to get the hang of it myself!

“Maps” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (A, E, B, C#m)

Genre Alternative/Rock
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(A, E, B, C#m)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Maps] Tabs

If you’re a fan of rock-themed riffs like me, you’ll definitely want to learn this one by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

In their featured song Maps, the band starts off with fast picking a simple, one-string chord (E) before progressing on to the other chords (B, G, B, and D respectively). 

Once you get the riff down, it’s time to practice the verse and chorus, with the latter being increasingly difficult than the rest. That’s mainly because you’ll need to pick up the pace a little.

That, plus the frets used in the chorus are quite intricate to learn the order of as they’re on the lower end of your guitar. 

“Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine (G, Am, C, F)

Genre Alternative/R&B/Rap/Pop
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(G, Am, C, F)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Dog Days Are Over] Tabs

This song is one of Florence’s greatest hits yet. Dog Days Are Over is up there with the British band’s other notable achievements, like Kiss With a Fist and Cosmic Love.

Personally, I chose Dog Days Are Over not only because of its meaningful lyrics, but also because of its open and soft tune.

That aside, the song is a great fit for late beginners and intermediate players alike. Strumming it is fairly simple as the chords aren’t hard and they’re in G Major.

Additionally, all the playing is on wide frets, which makes for a smooth transition between chords. The chord placement is the one reason it’s a bit difficult for newcomers, though.

“Yellow” by Coldplay (G, D, C)

Genre Alternative/Post-Britpop
Difficulty Beginner
Chords(G, D, C)
Type of GuitarAcoustic
Tabs[Yellow] Tabs

A simple 3-chord tune, Coldplay’s Yellow is a wonderful song for beginners to start their guitar learning journey with. 

The strumming pattern is fairly easy to pin down as well. The fret transition towards the end of the intro might be a bit tricky for novice guitarists, though.

Nothing a little practice won’t fix!

On top of that, the song is written in B Major, which can also be a nice challenge. 

If you’re a newcomer, you should know that this key is featured in many songs, especially acoustic ones. As such, getting the hang of it now will help you a lot as you progress. 

“Skinny Love” by Bon Iver (Am, C, G, F)

Genre Alternative/Folk
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(Am, C, G, F)
Type of GuitarAcoustic
Tabs[Skinny Love] Tabs

You can’t be into indie music and not know of the ever-so-popular Skinny Love by the great Bon Iver folk band.

Their music is known for its deep yet rich melodies and Skinny Love just happens to embody the band’s spirit perfectly. You’ll have fun with this one for sure! 

For starters, the chords are pretty basic. Their progression will take some time but they repeat themselves for the most part so it won’t take long for an intermediate player to learn.

There are a few intro riffs to challenge you as well. Luckily, the song is in Em—one of the top easiest keys to learn.

“Wake Up” by Arcade Fire (A, G, D, Bm)

Genre Alternative/French Indie
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(A, G, D, Bm)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Wake Up] Tabs

Wake Up is a jam, no doubt about it. The notes resonate through your body as you play because of how deep their sound is. For lovers of an echoing, strong melody, this is for you.

The song’s riffs are exceptionally great to strum since they’re satisfyingly difficult. The chorus part in particular is my favorite tab to play—it’s also the band’s guitarist’s!

As for the key, Wake Up is in C Major so it’s spread over three frets but won’t be hard for intermediate players. It’s all in the progression and strumming pattern from there. 

“Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service (C, G, Am, F)

Genre Alternative/Folk/Rock
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(C, G, Am, F)
Type of GuitarBoth
Tabs[Such Great Heights] Tabs

Such Great Heights is a happy melody that intermediate guitar players will certainly enjoy. I’d recommend it to late beginners too though.

Just keep in mind two things: 

The fast chord progression and the strumming pattern. 

Both elements take some time getting used to and novice players should practice with simpler tunes first.

Another tricky part is that the song is in F Major—which we’ve established before is a barre chord and quite hard to master. 

Nevertheless, the song had to be on the list because it’s fun to clap along to and strum!

“Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” by Arcade Fire (A, E, F#m, D)

Genre French Indie
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(A, E, F#m, D)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)] Tabs

This is another Arcade Fire favorite of mine. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) is a haunting, sad melody, fitting of the band, yet still has an upbeat energy to it. 

As such, the song is a balanced mix for experimental intermediate players looking to try their hand at a unique tune. The main riff and chorus might drive you crazy while learning them, but it’s so worth it!

Lucky for us, the song is in C Major, so as an intermediate or advanced guitarist, you should perfect the song’s two guitar lines soon.

“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers (C, F, Am, G)

Genre Pop
Difficulty Beginner
Chords(C, F, Am, G)
Type of GuitarAcoustic
Tabs[Ho Hey] Tabs

Another great C-Major tune is The Lumineers’ Ho Hey. I particularly love it for beginners because of the ‘Ho Hey’ parts during the song’s intro—which are a joy to sing aloud!

There’s another fun element to this tune which is the Csus4 chord. It’s a small variation of the C chord really, and amplifies the melody’s tension. 

In other words, this song is a neat way to introduce suspended chords to novice players. It’s also good practice for simple strumming patterns.

“1901” by Phoenix (C, G, Am, F)

Genre Alternative/Rock/French Indie
Difficulty Intermediate/Advanced
Chords(C, G, Am, F)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[1901] Tabs

Beside Young Folks, 1901 is another excellent song choice for practicing fingerpicking. If you’re a fan of rock melodies as opposed to Young Folks’ cherry one, then this song’s for you.

The intro starts off with a pretty strong and powerful main riff. It’s sure to get you pumped up in no time!  

After the intro comes nailing down the chord progression during the verse and chorus parts. Those can be a tad difficult, but since this song is in C Major too, you’ll get there.

“Viva la Vida” by Coldplay (C, D, G, Em)

Genre R&B/Pop
Difficulty Beginner
Chords(C, D, G, Em)
Type of GuitarAcoustic
Tabs[Viva la Vida] Tabs

We love this Coldplay song for beginners because of how simple the chords are and the fact that the song is in A-flat Major.

Additionally, the strumming pattern is fairly basic, with only the chord transition being a small challenge to tackle.

The song made the cut though since its sound is rather open and mellow, making it even easier for novice players to master. 

“Youth” by Daughter (C, Em, Am, F)

Genre Alternative
Difficulty Intermediate
Chords(C, Em, Am, F)
Type of GuitarElectric
Tabs[Youth] Tabs

Our final song features two guitar lines yet again. Youth by Daughter is mainly a melancholic melody, accompanied with soft vocals. 

This may sound odd considering that the song is in C Major key, which is arguably one of the happiest sounding ones

However, the chord progression intensifies as the tune progresses, turning into a more upbeat one as we approach the chorus part.   

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