Three Indie Songs for the Dulcimer Guitar
I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a great indie band. And very often, indie tunes translate really well to your Seagull Merlin dulcimer. We covered some other indie and Americana songs to play before, but we have another batch to share with you from three stellar indie bands of the past couple of decades.
First up is a tune from the indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie. They got their unique name from a song of that title by the also uniquely named, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Death Cab (as they are commonly referred to) was formed in the late 90s, but they achieved mainstream success with the 2003 album Transatlanticism and continued their indie-rock reign with the 2005 release of Plans where this hauntingly beautiful love song can be found.
You can learn to play "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie on a stick dulcimer (such as a D tuned Seagull Merlin M4) fairly easily. You’ll be taught what all of the chords look and sound like, as well as why they are what they are since there are several substitutions here. Then use the "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" Death Cab for Cutie cover video to play along.
Next is a song from the indie folk-rock band called Dawes. They’ve been around for about ten years now and are still putting out great music. Fun pop culture fact: The band’s frontman, Taylor Goldsmith, is married to former teen pop star turned accomplished actress, Mandy Moore.
Dawes’ "Little Bit of Everything" is really straightforward, and uses just the chords D, G, A, and B minor (for you music theory nerds: the I, IV, V, and vi chords). You should be able to make this song work with any inversions of them. Also, the melody you hear from the piano in the intro, verses, and guitar solo are not identical so you should have the freedom to play it as you feel it.
The Portland-based indie rock band The Decemberists have been around since the early 2000s. They write some of the most lyrically unique songs out there, most of which are quite heartbreaking and can be very reminiscent of more traditional and old-world folk tunes. This track is off of their 2005 album Picaresque, and it's a quintessential four-chord sad story song that we can all be suckers for from time to time.
You can use this video to learn The Decemberists' "Eli, the Barrow Boy." It’s fairly easy when played with 1-Finger, or a bit more of a challenge when using the Multi-Finger style. Strumming is the most likely way to go, but there are some ways to jazz it up with hammer-on & pull-off techniques, as well as fingerpicking instead of just strumming (like you’ll see in the video).
Wanna learn some more indie songs? Go back to the first group of Indie and Americana songs for dulcimer guitar we compiled. And if you have any favorites we missed, let us know!