An Information and Resource site Dedicared to Guitars and Guiter Playing

Guitar Alternative Songs




Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

If you’re tired of the same old songs on the radio and looking for a fresh musical experience, look no further than “Guitar Alternative Songs.” This collection of guitar-driven tracks is a refreshing departure from the mainstream, offering a unique blend of alternative rock, indie, and folk genres. With captivating melodies and thought-provoking lyrics, these songs will transport you to a world of sonic exploration. So grab your headphones, sit back, and let the powerful strums of these alternative guitarists transport you to a whole new musical dimension.

Guitar Alternative Songs

Table of Contents

History of Alternative Music

Origins of Alternative Music

Alternative music emerged as a response to the mainstream music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was born out of a desire to explore unconventional sounds and push the boundaries of traditional music genres. Artists who felt restricted by the commercialization of popular music sought to create a different kind of sound that was raw, authentic, and outside the mainstream.

Growth and Popularity

As the alternative music scene grew in popularity, so did the demand for guitar alternatives. Musicians began experimenting with new instruments and techniques to create fresh and unique sounds. This led to the development of a wide range of guitar alternatives that expanded the sonic landscape of alternative music.

Influence on Guitar Alternatives

Alternative music played a significant role in the evolution of guitar alternatives. The genre’s emphasis on innovation and experimentation pushed musicians to explore beyond the traditional boundaries of guitar playing. This resulted in the emergence of new instruments, shifting guitar techniques, and the creation of diverse soundscapes and tonalities.

Characteristics of Alternative Music

Non-conventional Song Structures

One of the key characteristics of alternative music is its non-conventional song structures. Unlike mainstream music, alternative songs often deviate from the standard verse-chorus-bridge formula, opting for more complex and unpredictable arrangements. This allows for greater creative freedom and allows artists to explore different musical ideas.

Emphasis on Lyrics and Themes

Alternative music places a strong emphasis on lyrics and themes. Many alternative songs tackle social, political, and personal issues, providing a raw and honest commentary on the world. The lyrics often delve into introspective and emotive territories, giving listeners a deeper connection to the music.

Strong Melodic and Harmonic Elements

While alternative music may be known for its distinct sound and unconventional approaches, it also places great importance on strong melodic and harmonic elements. Catchy melodies and harmonies are often present, providing a sense of familiarity amidst the experimental nature of the genre.

Experimentation and Innovation

Perhaps the most defining characteristic of alternative music is its commitment to experimentation and innovation. Artists in this genre constantly push the boundaries of what is considered traditional, exploring new sounds, instruments, and techniques. This fearless experimentation has resulted in unique and groundbreaking music that continues to inspire and influence.

Guitar Alternative Songs

Evolution of Guitar Alternatives

Introduction of New Instruments

The evolution of guitar alternatives can be traced back to the introduction of new instruments. In the alternative music scene, musicians began incorporating instruments such as the keytar, synthesizer, mellotron, guitar synthesizer, sitar, theremin, dobro, slide guitar, banjo, and ukulele. These instruments added new textures and tones to the music, allowing for a greater range of expression and creativity.

Shifting Guitar Techniques

Alongside the introduction of new instruments, alternative music also saw a shift in guitar techniques. Musicians experimented with unconventional playing styles, incorporating techniques such as tapping, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides. This gave the guitar a fresh and dynamic sound, expanding its sonic possibilities.

Diverse Soundscapes and Tonalities

The use of guitar alternatives in alternative music resulted in the creation of diverse soundscapes and tonalities. Artists explored different effects and pedal combinations to manipulate the sound of their instruments, pushing the boundaries of what the guitar could sound like. This resulted in the development of unique and recognizable sounds that became synonymous with alternative music.

Notable Guitar Alternatives


The keytar, a portable keyboard that is worn like a guitar, gained popularity in the 1980s in alternative music. Its unique design allowed musicians to bring the sound of a keyboard on stage and showcase their versatility in playing both guitar and keyboard parts.


The synthesizer, an electronic instrument that produces a wide range of sounds, played a crucial role in alternative music. Its ability to create unique and otherworldly tones added a new dimension to the genre, allowing musicians to experiment with different soundscapes and textures.


The mellotron, an early keyboard instrument that used tape loops to reproduce different instrument sounds, was popularized by alternative bands in the 1960s and 1970s. Its haunting and ethereal sound became a trademark of the genre, adding a touch of nostalgia and melancholy to the music.

Guitar Synthesizer

The guitar synthesizer, a device that allows guitarists to control synthesizer sounds using their guitar, revolutionized the alternative music scene. This instrument became a staple in many alternative bands, bridging the gap between the guitar and synthesizer worlds.


The sitar, a stringed instrument from India, gained popularity in alternative music during the 1960s. Bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones incorporated the sitar into their songs, adding an exotic and mystical flavor to their sound.


The theremin, one of the earliest electronic instruments, creates sounds without being touched. Its eerie and ethereal tones became a prominent feature in alternative music, infusing songs with an otherworldly and atmospheric quality.


The dobro, a resonator guitar with a metal resonating cone, added a unique twang to alternative music. Its distinctive sound became synonymous with Americana and folk-inspired alternative music.

Slide Guitar

The slide guitar, played by sliding a metal or glass tube along the strings, created a smooth and soulful sound. It found its place in alternative music, adding a touch of blues and vintage charm to the genre.


The banjo, a four or five-stringed instrument typically associated with folk music, found its way into alternative music. Its bright and percussive sound added a lively and energetic element to the genre.


The ukulele, a small stringed instrument from Hawaii, gained popularity in alternative music. Its cheerful and light-hearted sound was often used to create catchy melodies and add a sense of positivity to the music.

Guitar Alternative Songs

Iconic Alternative Songs with Guitar Alternatives

Song 1 with Keytar

One iconic alternative song that features the keytar is “Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode. The catchy synth-pop track is elevated by the keytar, which adds a playful and infectious energy to the song.

Song 2 with Synthesizer

Another notable alternative song with a synthesizer is “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode. The haunting synth lines provide a dreamlike atmosphere, complementing the introspective lyrics and captivating listeners with its melancholic beauty.

Song 3 with Mellotron

“A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum showcases the mellotron’s haunting sound. The melancholic melody and introspective lyrics combined with the ethereal tones of the mellotron create a timeless and captivating listening experience.

Song 4 with Guitar Synthesizer

The song “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie features the guitar synthesizer prominently. Bowie’s innovative use of the instrument adds a futuristic and otherworldly quality to the song, solidifying its place as a classic in alternative music.

Song 5 with Sitar

The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” features the sitar, adding a touch of Indian influence to the alternative music scene. The sitar’s unique sound sets the song apart, creating a lush and exotic atmosphere.

Song 6 with Theremin

The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” incorporates the theremin, enhancing the song’s psychedelic and ethereal qualities. The eerie and mysterious sound of the theremin perfectly complements the song’s beachy vibes, making it a standout in alternative music.

Song 7 with Dobro

“Magnet and Steel” by Walter Egan features the unmistakable sound of the dobro. The dobro’s twangy and resonant tone adds a sense of nostalgia and longing to the song, making it a beloved classic in the alternative music genre.

Song 8 with Slide Guitar

“Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd showcases the emotive and soulful sound of the slide guitar. The wailing and expressive slides create a powerful and heartfelt listening experience, solidifying the song’s status as an iconic alternative anthem.

Song 9 with Banjo

Mumford & Sons’ “Little Lion Man” incorporates the banjo, blending folk-inspired sounds with alternative rock. The banjo’s bright and percussive sound adds a lively and energetic element to the song, making it a fan favorite in the alternative music community.

Song 10 with Ukulele

“Riptide” by Vance Joy features the ukulele, creating a cheerful and infectious sound. The ukulele’s light-hearted and breezy tones perfectly complement the song’s catchy melody and uplifting lyrics, making it a staple in alternative music playlists.

Influential Alternative Bands and Artists

Band 1

One influential alternative band is Radiohead. Known for their experimental sound and thought-provoking lyrics, Radiohead pushed the boundaries of alternative music and inspired countless musicians with their innovative approach.

Band 2

Nirvana, led by the late Kurt Cobain, made a profound impact on the alternative music scene. Their raw and visceral sound, coupled with Cobain’s emotive songwriting, helped popularize alternative music in the mainstream and paved the way for future artists.

Band 3

The Pixies, a Boston-based band, brought a unique blend of punk, surf rock, and alternative sound to the forefront of the music scene. Their distinctive dynamics, catchy melodies, and unconventional song structures inspired a generation of alternative musicians.

Band 4

R.E.M., an American rock band, played a crucial role in shaping alternative music. Their jangly guitar sounds, introspective lyrics, and distinctive vocal style established them as one of the pioneers of the genre.

Band 5

The Smiths, fronted by Morrissey, brought a mix of indie rock and alternative sound to the forefront of the music scene. Known for their poetic and introspective lyrics, The Smiths’ music continues to resonate with listeners today.

Band 6

Sonic Youth, an experimental alternative rock band, challenged traditional song structures and embraced dissonance and noise as a form of musical expression. Their unconventional approach to music continues to influence alternative bands to this day.

Band 7

The Cure, led by Robert Smith, crafted a unique blend of alternative rock and new wave music. Their iconic sound, characterized by atmospheric guitars and haunting melodies, helped define the alternative music scene of the 1980s and beyond.

Band 8

Arcade Fire, a Canadian indie rock band, brought a fresh and vibrant sound to the alternative music landscape. Their anthemic songwriting and orchestral arrangements captivated audiences and solidified their status as an influential force in alternative music.

Band 9

The White Stripes, a two-piece band consisting of Jack and Meg White, revitalized the garage rock sound and brought it into the alternative music realm. Their raw and minimalist approach to music inspired a resurgence of guitar-driven alternative rock.

Band 10

Beck, known for his genre-bending sound and eclectic musical style, has been a driving force in alternative music. With his innovative use of sampling, lo-fi aesthetics, and experimental arrangements, Beck continues to push the boundaries of what alternative music can be.

Guitar Alternative Songs

Impact of Guitar Alternatives on Alternative Music

Expanding Sonic Possibilities

The introduction of guitar alternatives expanded the sonic possibilities of alternative music. Artists had a wider range of sounds and textures to choose from, allowing for greater creative expression and experimentation.

Genre Fusion and Experimentation

Guitar alternatives facilitated genre fusion and experimentation within alternative music. Musicians were able to blend different styles and influences, creating unique and innovative sounds that defied traditional genre boundaries.

Breakdown of Traditional Genre Boundaries

The use of guitar alternatives in alternative music helped break down traditional genre boundaries. Artists were no longer confined to a specific genre or sound, allowing for a more diverse and inclusive music landscape.

Inspiring New Generations of Musicians

The incorporation of guitar alternatives in alternative music inspired countless musicians to explore new instruments and techniques. It opened up new possibilities and encouraged artists to push the boundaries of what is considered traditional, leading to the continued evolution and growth of the genre.

Alternative Music Festivals and Guitar Alternatives

Festival 1

Lollapalooza, one of the most iconic alternative music festivals, has showcased many guitar alternatives throughout its history. The festival has provided a platform for artists to experiment with different instruments and push the boundaries of alternative music.

Festival 2

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has also played a significant role in highlighting guitar alternatives. Artists who have performed at Coachella have utilized a wide range of instruments, showcasing the versatility and creativity of alternative music.

Festival 3

Glastonbury Festival, known for its diverse lineup, has featured various guitar alternatives over the years. The festival’s commitment to showcasing innovative and cutting-edge music has made it a breeding ground for alternative artists and their unique instruments.

Festival 4

SXSW (South by Southwest), an annual festival held in Austin, Texas, has become a hub for alternative music and guitar alternatives. The festival’s focus on emerging artists and experimental sounds has allowed for the exploration of new instruments and techniques.

Festival 5

Primavera Sound, a Barcelona-based festival, has been at the forefront of showcasing guitar alternatives in alternative music. The festival embraces innovation and pushes the boundaries of what is considered traditional, inviting artists who utilize guitar alternatives to perform.

Festival 6

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, held in Tennessee, has featured a wide array of guitar alternatives in its lineup. The festival’s diverse and eclectic programming encourages artists to push the boundaries of their sound, resulting in unique performances and musical experiences.

Festival 7

Reading and Leeds Festivals, taking place simultaneously in England, have long been associated with alternative music and guitar alternatives. The festivals have provided a platform for artists to experiment with different instruments and showcase their creativity.

Festival 8

Splendour in the Grass, held in Australia, has featured numerous guitar alternatives in its lineup. The festival’s commitment to highlighting alternative music and pushing the boundaries of sound has made it a hotspot for artists utilizing unique instruments.

Festival 9

Pitchfork Music Festival, organized by the popular music publication, is known for showcasing cutting-edge and alternative music. The festival has featured many guitar alternatives, allowing artists to showcase their unique sounds and instruments.

Festival 10

Sónar Festival, held in Barcelona, Spain, focuses on electronic and experimental music. The festival has embraced guitar alternatives, showcasing artists who fuse electronic and alternative sounds, resulting in innovative and genre-defying performances.

Guitar Alternative Songs

Current Trends in Guitar Alternative Songs

Integration of Digital Effects and Pedals

In recent years, there has been an increasing trend in the integration of digital effects and pedals in guitar alternative songs. Musicians are exploring new ways to manipulate their sound, experimenting with different effects to create unique textures and tones.

Incorporation of World Music Elements

Many guitar alternative songs are incorporating world music elements, drawing inspiration from various cultures and musical traditions. Artists are exploring different instruments and rhythmic patterns, creating a fusion of sounds that adds depth and richness to their music.

Blurring the Lines Between Rock and Electronic Music

With the advancement of technology, there has been a blurring of the lines between rock and electronic music in guitar alternative songs. Artists are incorporating electronic elements and production techniques, creating a hybrid sound that combines the best of both genres.

Rediscovery of Vintage Instruments

There has been a resurgence in the use of vintage instruments in guitar alternative songs. Artists are rediscovering and reviving instruments from the past, bringing them into modern music with a fresh perspective. This adds a nostalgic and distinctive quality to their sound.

Exploring Guitar Alternatives: Tips and Techniques

Choosing the Right Alternative Instrument

When exploring guitar alternatives, it’s important to choose the instrument that best suits your musical style and preferences. Consider the sound you want to achieve and how the instrument will contribute to your overall sound palette.

Learning New Playing Techniques

Learning new playing techniques is essential when venturing into guitar alternatives. Each instrument comes with its own unique set of techniques and approaches. Take the time to study and practice these techniques to master the instrument and unlock its full potential.

Adapting Guitar Skills to Alternative Instruments

If you’re already proficient in guitar playing, adapting your skills to alternative instruments will be easier. Many techniques, such as fingerpicking and strumming, can be transferred to different instruments. However, it’s important to remain open-minded and embrace the instrument’s individual characteristics and playing style.

Experimenting with Effects and Sound Manipulation

One of the advantages of guitar alternatives is the ability to experiment with effects and sound manipulation. Explore different effects pedals, amps, and recording techniques to shape your unique sound. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and discover new ways to manipulate the instrument’s sound.

In conclusion, the history of alternative music has been closely intertwined with the evolution of guitar alternatives. From the introduction of new instruments to the shifting guitar techniques and diverse soundscapes, alternative music has been at the forefront of experimentation and innovation. Guitar alternatives have not only expanded the sonic possibilities but also influenced the genre’s characteristic sound. From the keytar and synthesizers to the sitar and ukulele, alternative music has embraced a wide range of instruments, creating unique and iconic songs. Influential bands and artists have pushed the boundaries of alternative music, inspiring new generations of musicians. The impact of guitar alternatives can be seen in the expanding sonic possibilities, genre fusion, and breakdown of traditional boundaries. Alternative music festivals have provided a platform for artists to showcase their guitar alternatives, further fueling the growth of the genre. Current trends in guitar alternative songs include the integration of digital effects, incorporation of world music elements, and the blurring of lines between rock and electronic music. Aspiring musicians who wish to explore guitar alternatives can benefit from choosing the right instrument, learning new playing techniques, adapting guitar skills, and experimenting with effects and sound manipulation. Guitar alternatives continue to shape the landscape of alternative music, allowing for endless possibilities of creativity and expression.

About the author

Latest posts

  • Can Any Song Be Played On Guitar

    Can Any Song Be Played On Guitar

    Learn to play faster while maintaining accuracy. Use metronomes or backing tracks to practice playing in time and gradually increase the tempo. For accuracy challenges, focus on precision and clean fretting, and use techniques like alternate picking or economy picking to improve your efficiency. Remember to take breaks, stay motivated, and enjoy the process of…

    Read more