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Best Guitar Riffs


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Always wanted to learn how to play parts of classic rock songs from Led Zeppelin, Guns and Roses, Metallica, Pearl Jam and many more?  Well then you've come to the right place - This lesson focuses on a few classic guitar riffs aimed at new and intermediate players.

Song Artist Rating
Enter Sandman Metallica 3
Day Tripper The Beatles 3
Smoke on the Water Deep Purple 3
Simple Phish 3
Wild Thing The Troggs 4
Pretty Woman Intro Roy Orbison 4
Walk this way Aerosmith 5
Alive Pearl Jam 6
Nothing Else Matters Metallica 6
Stairway to Heaven Intro Led Zeppelin 7
Are you Gonna go my Way Lenny Kravitz 7
Money for Nothing Intro Dire Straits 7
Sweet Child 'O Mine Guns 'n Roses 8
Under the Bridge Red Hot Chilli Peppers 8
What exactly is a Guitar Riff?
A Guitar riff is a short piece of melody usually played by the rhythm or solo guitarist that makes up a vital part of a song.  Riffs can be complex or very simple, but they're usually very catchy.

Ricky Rooksby defines it like this: "A riff is a short, repeated, memorable musical phrase, often pitched low on the guitar, which focuses much of the energy and excitement of a rock song."

Many times the 'hook' of the song - that most memorable piece of melody that people immediately link to a specific song or band -  is a guitar riffs. 
How these Riffs are Rated
I've used a simple rating system to classify the best guitar riffs in this section according to difficulty.  The 1 - 10 system means the easiest riffs will be rated lower and the hardcore stuff higher

If you're fairly new to the guitar, avoid the temptation to start with the more difficult ones and try a riff with a lower rating first, then work your way up from there.
Click on the Song Name for step-by-step video lessons
In order to play any of these songs, you need to know how to read guitar tabs and how to use basic guitar techniques
Best Online Guitar Lessons
Learning the Best Guitar Riffs
As usual on this site, the free lessons include videos that I've recorded of the riffs, so you'll know exactly what they're supposed to look and sound like.  With most of the Riffs, I'm using an electric guitar with some amplified effects like distortion and overdrive - If you have the gear, try and do the same...

These lessons teach you a few basic guitar riffs, but for a greater selection (actually a HUGE selection) of riffs, songs and licks from many genres, I recommend you check out some of the amazing video lessons by Jamplay.  They are currently offering a limited free trail (more info on my Jamplay review page) with access to any of their over 4,000 lessons, which include songs and techniques from many genres.

I've done a short review on the "why" and "how" of Jamplay here, as they continue to dominate the Internet Guitar market, and for good reason: their material (which I myself use) is truly of high quality.


Guitar Riffs
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“There is two kinds of music, the good and bad.  I play the good kind." - Louis Armstrong
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