View Full Version : Song recommendations

08-13-2003, 11:07 AM
Hi guys.

I feel like a bit of a goon asking this, but I'm having difficulty selecting tunes to learn. You would think that the usual answer of "play stuff that you like" would be enough, but when I do that I am ending up with stuff that's either too simple or too hard.

I've been playing for 6 months or so and have just invested in an electric axe (and a distortion pedal - what awesome fun they are), and I can play all the basic open chords quite well, and also play the major shaped barre chords and power chords fairly well. This allows me to play a lot of songs that just require chords, and that's great.

But I've also started doing a few scales and exercises and things, and now that I have an electric I want to start playing more melodic type stuff - riffs, licks etc. So the kind of songs I want are some which feature distinctive riffs, preferably with a few hammers, slides etc, and also with a few chords (or double stops, power chords, whatever) mixed in. The overall effect I'm looking for is something that sounds melodic, full, and let's be honest, rocks!

I like most rock music, the harder the better. Some of the stuff I've been trying: Guns & Roses, Chilli Peppers, Metallica, Nirvana (probably the only stuff that I can play well), System of a Down.

I've just been finding that either some of the single string stuff gets too tricky, or that it is too basic. It could be the case that I'm just giving up too quickly, but I'm sure there must be some tunes out there that are a real joy to learn and play.

Oh, and I like to sing a bit too, kind of like Scott Stapp of Creed(I wish!), so anything that fits in nicely with those kind of vocals would be great.

Many thanks for any suggestions/advice.

08-13-2003, 08:29 PM
Hmmm, well dunno if u have learnt it already but 'Californication' by the chili peppers would be a good song to learn. It has that great riff and also contains chords in the bridge/chorus which are not too hard yet they're great for working on your rhythm. Also it has a great solo which still is fairly simple and easy to play - great song to learn all round really!

i'll post more if i can think of any further suggestions.

Bongo Boy
08-15-2003, 04:40 AM
I can't help you, but I sure identify with what you're asking for. I tend to go for what I call 'pop punk' because I define that to mean stuff that has a nice beat, a nice fun melody, but has an extreme edge to it. That's stuff that may be Green Day for some, but I like a little more edge--Pennywise, Drop Kick Murphys, Screeching Weasel, NOFX--and older school crap like Angry Samoans and so on.

Anyway, my point is...I have an awful time finding stuff that fits into the the 'fun' but 'not too hard' category. I haven't found anyting that's too easy yet--'cause unlike you, I can't deal with any chords at all to speak of, even after a year or more of practice.

Basically, I'm still at a total loss as to how a guitar player, on his own, can 'play a song' on the guitar. After all this time, I have no place to start with this--I just don't get it. What on earth is a guy going to do hour after hour, alone with his axe and amp?

Backing tracks seems to hold the answer. I dunno--I'm not a smart guy.

The Bash
08-15-2003, 10:27 AM
U can shoot me if ya want but,
Knocking on Heaven's Door a great little tune to learn if your just learning to play tunes. Not to Hard to play or sing, plus everyone (unless they live under a rock) will know it in one of it's 1000000 versions. They proably won't know who wrote it, but they'll know the tune.

Anyway, to truely be helpful I gotta kinna know where your at
are u playing mainly open chords or u know the Bar Chords (not just the 2 finger power chords). What have u been doing exactly scalewise. Why can't u play the other bands u mentioned as well as u'd like. Or what exactly about some of those tunes gives u trouble. It's that question right there that'll give u the answer. Cause if you answer that for yourself you'll the know what u need to work on.

08-15-2003, 10:59 AM
Thanks for the replies fellas. I have printed out the tab for Californication and will give it a go - thanks Shaman_Santana for that.

Bongo Boy - thanks for the thoughts.

The Bash - thanks for your advice. I'm okay at playing A-shaped, E shaped and C-shaped barre chords, both major and minor (except C - I don't know the minor for that), so that gives me a pretty good chord vocab to start with.

I'll give Knockin' on Heaven's Door a go. Think I'll attempt the GnR version!

Or what exactly about some of those tunes gives u trouble. It's that question right there that'll give u the answer. Cause if you answer that for yourself you'll the know what u need to work on.

Well, I think you've hit the nail on the head with that. I guess that when it comes down to it I am quitting when the going gets tough. Something that has really intrigued me since I started learning to play is how the body finds a way to do stuff that the mind is convinced is not possible, if only you stick at it.

I frequently find myself thinking that "I can't do that bit any better than the lame attempt I have just made. It's simply not possible for me". But then you stick at it and your fingers somehow find a way.

So it looks like I kind of knew the answer all along, and am just in denial about it. Maybe I should go to a psychiatry forum instead...

08-15-2003, 01:21 PM
When I was playing for the same amount of time Guitar World and other guitar magazines like Guitar Player and Guitar One were of great help in my search for songs to play. They always had a few easy ones like Nirvana or Korn and a few harder ones like Satriani or Hendrix. I suggest picking a few of them up if you can and checking them out. They also have a lot of informative articles about learning licks, styles, and technique that come in really handy a few years down the line. There have been many times that I have gone back to an old issue and lifted some blues licks or jazz runs.

In the meantime I guess you could check out:

The Eagles - Lots of strumming songs that you would be able to sing along to, plus great songwriting and leads.

The Ramones - Everybody loves the Ramones and they are fun to play with the guitar bouncing off of your knees. :)

Bush - If you remember that band. Haven't really done anything in a while. Easy songs with catchy hooks.

Black Sabbath - Learn some of these songs and everyone will be singing the chorus by the time that you get to it. Great riffs that are fun to play.

The smashing pumpkins - Great band with a lot of individuality that wrote some really memorable songs. Also easy to rock out on.

Other than that......Have your friends teach you stuff. I'm sure if they are cool people they would love to help you out.

08-15-2003, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by The Bash
U can shoot me if ya want but,
Knocking on Heaven's Door a great little tune to learn if your just learning to play tunes. They proably won't know who wrote it, but they'll know the tune.

Gosh, thatīs easy. Guns NīRoses wrote it, right ? http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/eric/heeeheee.gif

The Bash
08-15-2003, 11:54 PM
Yea right after they wrote All Along the Watchtower and I got u Babe :)

The Bash
08-16-2003, 12:21 AM
As far as learning tunes, it also depends on what your aimimg for.
If your goals to play in a band then your focus may be a bit diffrent that simply playing for yourself, or working on stuff that improves your abilites.

Back when I first started playing out there were a certain tunes that were consider standards. That is songs every band knew or played or could toss into a list in a sit in situation. Was easy for us guys playing 5 times a week or so to sit in with a band when they needed a hand (sickness, injury, falling out etc.) cause we all knew at lease 50% or more of everyones list or could at least toss in stuff so the subbing musician was only winging it half the time. Plus was easy getting gigs with bands cause many times it was simply a phone call saying such n such quit or was fired or whatever, wanna gig. BTw were playing tommorow :)
Plus back in those days when the scene was more active I'd make it a point to kinna note what everyone else was playing and kinna learn there list. For two reasons, both of them self centered :) 1) If the somg went over well, and it wasn't one my band was doing I'd steal it :) 2) I was a lot more prepared to fill in and make a buck or two. And the sad but true 3rd option. I was a lot more prepared to jump ship if a better offer came along. I was a lot more deticated to my last band cause well cause it felt like my band so number 3 wasn't really an option, but you never know :)

Anyway, If your just starting out I'd pick say 3 or 4 tunes to focus on. That way you don't get overwhelmed or bored. Make one or two of just about right for your level of playing. Make one pretty easy (that way you can better practice the performance aspect. Make one a tad too hard (this one may take quite sometime to just learn some basic technquies let alone play. Use it at first as an exercise.)
As u get tunes down to performance level put em in the dun pile and set aside a few hour every week to merly play through and review them. So one you don't forget em and 2 you actually practice playing and not just merly practice practiing. Then merely slip new tunes into the vacted spots. After a year you'll have quite the little list.
As I said If you wanna play out then consider what tunes are considred must knows or what local bands are playing and use those tunes as suggestins as what to learn.

I've gotta fillin gig at the end of the month so I've got bout 50 plus tunes to learn by practice weds. Lucky I've over played 50% at somepoint in my life so it merly a matter or listening and reviewing form and catching there arrangment etc. Plus there's enuff of those classis: Tush, Paranoid, Sweet Emotion, Born to be Wold, Rock N Roll etc. to toss in to fill any voids.
So again what you should learn depends u want in the long run.
I mean your proably make more money knowing Mony Mony and Old Time Rock N Roll that you'll every make knowing The Roundabout :)
Well I did anyways :)
Course I actually listen to the rounabout, those other two are pure agony to listen to let alone play. Just grin and bear it and remember your actually are getting paid to do it.

08-20-2003, 09:33 AM
Thanks Bash

Some useful advice there. I'm not necessarily looking to perform in a band - I'm just doing it as a hobby and for the love of music at the moment. But who knows, as I start to improve I guess anything's possible, so will bear in mind your words.


08-29-2003, 07:03 PM
This may help.....