In the realm of guitar playing, the intermediate level is where the magic really begins.
As players move beyond the basics, they hunger for songs that not only challenge their skills but also ignite their passion.
In this article, we’ve curated a diverse selection of 25 intermediate guitar songs that strike the perfect balance between complexity and accessibility.
Whether you want to master intricate fingerpicking patterns, explore dynamic chord progressions, or delve into soulful solos, our compilation has something for everyone.
These songs will not only refine your technique but also inspire your musical journey.
So grab your guitar and get ready for an exciting journey through melodies and rhythms that will take your intermediate guitar playing to new heights!
1. Enter Sandman – Metallica
To begin with, we have a track that stands as one of the band’s most famous heavy metal anthems.
Released in 1991 and featured on the album Metallica, this track cemented the band’s reputation with its aggressive, distorted chords.
The song begins with an intro with a chorus effect and a recurring riff that subtly evolves, increasing the distortion as the song progresses.
The main riff appears towards the end of the intro, featuring an Em distortion line with the palm-muted power chord sequence of G5 – F#5 – G5 – F#5.
Simplicity comes to the fore in the verse, with a single palm-muted hit of the F5 chord, followed by an E5.
This sequence repeats three times, with the final moments of each verse reintroducing the power chord fill seen in the main riff.
The pre-chorus introduces a riff variation similar to the main riff but transposed to F#m instead of Em.
This riff is repeated three times, culminating in an F#5 that leads smoothly into the explosive chorus.
The chorus section is a dynamic mix of power chords and captivating riffs, going through F#5 – C5 – B5 three times, adding an E5 on the last lap, and ending with the unforgettable G5 – F#5 – G5 – F#5 progression from the main riff.
Later we encounter the interlude, which features eight repetitions of the intro riff and seven iterations of the prechorus riff.
After all that, the only new section is the solo.
As an intermediate guitarist, you may find it difficult to learn this fast melodic line, but I assure you that with some practice, you will master it.
Finally, check out the structure of the song and be ready to play this groundbreaking masterpiece.
2. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson Ft. Bruno Mars
Back in 2015, this track was a huge sensation and you could hear it everywhere.
Included on the album Uptown Special, this song reaffirmed Bruno Mars’ legacy as an influential pop artist.
The intro begins with a simple D minor riff played on bass, but you can also play it on guitar.
After that, you have to play the chord progression Dm7 – G7 but focus on the higher string.
During the verse there’s not much to play, just a lot of funky picking on the third fret of the fifth string, ending with a hammer-on towards the fifth fret and combined with the intro riff.
The pre-chorus is a chromatic line that goes from the 5th fret on the 5th string to the 17th fret.
For the chorus, stick to the Dm7 and G7, no more.
As we move into the second verse, there are some variations that combine the chords with the melodic line and add some spicy rhythmic patterns common in funk.
Then there’s room for a solo with more high chords and funky picked lines.
Finally, the outro also uses chords and a simple descending line, so as you can see, your wrist will be put to work!
3. Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers
When it comes to intermediate songs, this funky tune cannot be missed.
Featured on the 2002 album By The Way, it has become a staple of the band’s live performances.
To play it, you must master the left-hand mute technique, which involves striking the strings with your right hand but letting only the right note ring.
Although it sounds difficult, anyone can do it, and you can also use your thumb to gain muting control.
The intro showcases a simple plucking line that builds to a crescendo as it reaches the verse. Once in the verse, you will need to apply the muting technique.
The verse consists of a funky, aggressive line that goes around the Em key.
To play it, you have to keep a main riff in the higher strings and follow the sequence E – D – B – C, picking only the root notes.
To play the chorus, all you need to do is strum the chord progression G – D – Bm – C four times and that’s it.
The song repeats the verse and chorus, so the next section to explain is the bridge.
The bridge comprises the progression Em – D – Bm – C played four times, using a kind of reggae rhythm and hitting only the three higher strings.
What comes next is the solo, a smooth melodic line composed mostly of bendings.
Once you’ve learned the order of the different sections, that’s all you need.
So put in the hours on the muting technique and you will be playing this track in no time!
4. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
5. Something – The Beatles
6. Every Breath You Take – The Police
7. Stairway To Heaven – Led Zeppelin
8. All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
9. Walk This Way – Aerosmith
10. Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
11. Space Oddity – David Bowie
12. 1979 – Smashing Pumpkins
13. Alive – Pearl Jam
14. Back in Black – AC/DC
15. Dust In The Wind – Kansas
16. La Grange – ZZ Top
17. Wanted Dead Or Alive – Bon Jovi
18. Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
19. Tears In The Rain – Joe Satriani
20. Message In a Bottle – The Police
21. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
22. Plush – Stone Temple Pilots
23. Barracuda – Heart
24. Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode
25. Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.