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Easy Guitar Riffs & Intros for Beginners (Tab incl.)

Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by Klaus Crow

Easy Guitar Riffs and Intros for Beginners

When you’re learning to play guitar you practice chords, strumming patterns, fingerpicking patterns, guitar songs and scales in order to become an an accomplished guitar player. That stuff can be hard and challenging sometimes so it’s healthy for you to take a pleasant break now and then. That’s where easy guitar riffs and intros come in.

Indulging in the best and easiest guitar riffs is good for the soul. It’s motivating and will keep the fun alive while working on your regular practice workout.

What is a guitar riff?

A guitar riff is a memorable sequence of notes or chords that has a main part in the song. It has a strong melodic or harmonic pattern that is used as a repeated catchy hook and makes the music stand out. Riffs can be found in all styles of music from rock to latin all the way to classical music.

While riffs are usually short in duration, there are examples of longer riffs and they can differ in complexity from really simple to super challenging riffs.

How to practice a guitar riff

Before you start practicing a guitar riff you want to listen to the riff a couple of times. Put on the original track and carefully listen to the notes (the melody or harmony), to the duration of the notes, the beat, the rhythm, the tempo, the timing of the notes, any dynamics or accents of the notes in the riff. Analyze the riff with your ears in anyway possible. This is a really important process and skill to learn and gives you a great advantage before you really start learning any riff on the guitar.

Once you’ve listened and analyzed the riff you look for the Tabs (see the easy guitar tabs list below) and try to figure out the riff note by note. I recommend you first try to figure out the riff using only the tabs and your ears and when you’re stuck you watch a video guitar lesson. Trying to work out the riff on your own is so good for developing and improving your guitar skills, it’s huge!

How to read easy guitar tabs

Tab (Tablature) or Tab notation is an easy way to read and notate guitar music. Tab has six horizontal lines. Each one represents a string on the guitar. 

The top line is the thinnest string called the high e-string or 1st string. Next comes the B-string also called 2nd string, then the G-string, D-string, A-string and finally the low E-string (6th string) on the lowest line which is the thickest string on your guitar. 

The numbers on the lines indicate the fret numbers and so what fret (note) you have to play. You read the notes from left to right. In the tab example below you see a “2” on the A-string, it means you put your finger on the 2nd fret and play the A-string. Next you see a “0” on the D-string it means you play an open D-string.

In measure two you see an “H” above fret number 2 and 4, this means you play a hammer on from the g-string 2nd fret to the 4th fret. On the b-string there is a pull off from the 5th fret back to the 4th fret. Next you can find slides up and down, bend ups, vibrato and tapping.

Here are the most common Tab symbols you can find: “h” = hammer on, “p” = pull off, “/” = slide up, “\” = slow down, “b” or “arrow up / full” = bend, “bu” = bend up, “bd” = bend down”, “t” = tapping, “~” = vibrato. If you see notes stacked vertically on top of each other you play them simultaneously. They are usually chords.

how to read easy guitar tabs

Check out How to Read Guitar Tabs – Tablature for a more extensive explanation on how to read easy guitar tabs.

Let’s play easy guitar riffs and intros

Now it’s time to plug into your overdrive and distortion pedals, turn on the amp and go for it. Behold the best, most easy and timeless guitar riffs and intros for beginners that will make you sound like a badass!

Click on the song title to watch the guitar video lesson. Click on “Chords” to read the chords & lyrics sheets and click “Tabs” to read the easy guitar tabs to learn your favorite guitar riffs and intros.

Have a good time!

Featured: “Seven Nation Army” by WS – Easy Guitar Riff

Featured: “Come as you are” by Nirvana – Easy Guitar Riff

Featured: “Chasing cars” by Snow Patrol – Easy Guitar Riff

Now you’ve got some riffs and intro’s in your pocket you’re ready to learn some easy to play guitar songs. Check out Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

Do you know some really easy guitar riffs? Please share in the comments.

Sours: https://www.guitarhabits.com/top-25-easy-guitar-riffs-and-intros/

Guitar riffs are one of the most fun things about playing guitar. Here’s 30 of our favourites from the likes of Eric Clapton, Guns and Roses and Radiohead. Let’s do it!

 

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In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 30 amazing guitar riffs that make you sound like a Guitar God.
  • How to play guitar riffs from different genres such as Classic Rock, Metal, Blues and Indie.
  • 4 essential tips that will turbo-charge your lead guitar technique.

Before we dive into the epic list, let’s cover off some basics…

What is a ‘guitar riff’?

Guitar riffs are melodic phrases that are played on guitar and are catchy and memorable. They are musical ‘hooks’ and the best ones are instantly recognisable (sometimes from the very first note).

Why guitar riffs are so cool (and useful) to learn

Learning guitar riffs should be a part of every guitarist’s journey. Here are some of the benefits of learning guitar riffs:

1- It massively benefits your technique.

Often, guitar riffs can be technically demanding, so learning them will instantly improve your dexterity and technique as a guitarist. Not only do they improve your technique, but learning guitar riffs also helps with your timing.

2- Guitar riffs are a huge part of guitar culture. 

Throughout history, guitar riffs have played a major role in forming guitar culture in popular music, so it’s a right of passage for you as a guitarist.

3- They’re so much fun to play! 

One of the best things about learning guitar riffs is that they are awesome to play. What’s better than learning your favourite guitar riffs on your guitar? Literally nothing!

Ok, strap in and buckle up, it’s Guitar-Riff-Blast-Off time!

guitar-riffs

If you want to learn guitar riffs, you MUST be able to read guitar tabs. Check out our guide to learn fast: How To Read Guitar Tabs

Guitar Riffs #1 – ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes

This is one of the best guitar riffs of all time. It’s easy to play, sounds great and can be played on one string. Here’s the tab:
Seven-nation-army-guitar-tab

Tone matters

One of the most important elements in playing guitar riffs is about getting your tone right.

This song needs a decent amount of distortion with cranked mids and bass. Once you get that tone singing you’ll want to play this riff all night long because it loops really well.

Technique Tip!

This riff can be played in a number of different ways. If you’re a beginner you may be tempted to play this with one finger.

However, it will be beneficial for your guitar technique if you try and use different fingers for different notes.

  • When playing this riff, start playing with your first finger on the 7th fret then move to the 10th with your pinky.
  • Then in the last section when you jump between frets 3 and 5. Try and use your 1st finger on the 3rd fret and 3rd finger on the 5th fret.

This is known as the ‘1-finger per fret method’ and you can learn more about this technique in our guide: Guitar Techniques: 18 Guitar Tricks Which Make You Sound Amazing

beginner-riffs-on-guitar

Guitar Riffs #2 – ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson

This is one of the best examples of using guitar riffs in pop music. It’s slick and fun.

The guitar solo on this record was played by none other than Eddie Van Halen, a shred legend!

Here’s the tab for this epic track:

Beat-it-guitar-tab

Guitar Riffs #3 – ‘Smoke On The Water’ – Deep Purple

Now, if you’re a beginner guitarist this is one of the first guitar riffs that you will learn. Here are a few reasons why it’s perfect for beginners to learn:

  • It allows you to move between frets 0-6.
  • It teaches you how to use your first finger to barre over more than one string.
  • It embodies ‘classic rock’.

Here’s the tab:

smoke-on-the-water-guitar-tab

Technique Tip

One of the hardest parts about playing this guitar riff is barring over two of the strings at the same time. This can be tricky for most beginners. If you struggle with this you can play the main riff on just one string without barring at all.

If you’d like to learn more about barring technique click here to read our barre chord guide

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Guitar Riffs #4 – ‘Satisfaction’ by The Rolling Stones

This epic rock riff from The Rolling Stones was one of the first records to feature a fuzz pedal.

The intro riff has such an iconic sound and to this day is still considered one of the most iconic ways to use a fuzz pedal.

For more on this, check out our guide: Guitar Effects: The Ultimate Guide

Here’s the tab:

satisfaction-guitar-tab

This riff is similar to Seven Nation Army as you can also use the ‘1-finger per fret method’ here:

  • 2nd fret = 1st finger
  • 4th fret = 3rd finger
  • 5th fret = 4th finger

Guitar Riffs #5 ‘Come As You’ Are by Nirvana

This is one of the most iconic guitar riffs of the 90s grunge movement. It’s famous for three reasons:

  • It was the second single off of their monster album, ‘Nevermind’.
  • Cobain famously ‘double-tracked’ his vocals over the whole recording. Double tracking is when you do two takes of a track and layer them together to create a thicker sound.
  • The guitar in this track is tuned down a whole step. This means that the tuning is DGCFAD instead of EADGBE.

Here’s the tab:

come-as-you-are-guitar-tab

Guitar Riffs #6 – ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ by Cream

‘Sunshine of Your Love’ is arguably one of the greatest guitar riffs of the classic rock. Clapton’s roaring ‘woman tone’ along with a catchy syncopated riff makes this one of the best hooks of all time.

Here’s the tab:

sunshine-of-your-love-guitar-tab

Guitar Riffs #7 – ‘You Really Got Me’ by The Kinks

‘You Really Got Me’ is a fantastic song famously written by Ray Davies and The Kinks.

The riff is based around power chords. Power chords are commonly used in rock music to give the music more depth and weight.

You can learn more about power chords here:

How To Play Power Chords

Here’s the tab:

you-really-got-me-guitar-tab

Guitar Riffs #8 – ‘Day Tripper’ by The Beatles

Day Tripper is a classic track from the ‘Rubber Soul’ album.

It has a strong blues influence and was included in the Beatles set until their retirement in 1966. Here are a few reasons why it’s one of the greatest guitar riffs ever:

  • It’s fun to play and is a great introduction to the influence of the blues in popular music.
  • It’s easy to play and stays mainly in the first 4 frets.

Here’s the tab:

day-tripper-guitar-tab

If you find this riff tricky, tackle it 2-3 notes at a time. The hardest part about this riff is skipping strings, so make sure that you take your time with that and practice it s-l-o-w-l-y to embed the correct muscle memory.

Guitar Riffs #9 – ‘Redemption Song’ by Bob Marley

‘Redemption Song’ is one of the coolest Bob Marley tracks. It kicks off the song with a pretty easy guitar riff. Here’s the tab:

redemption-song-guitar-tab

When playing this riff, take your time. There are lots of repeating sections here so it can be easy to get confused, but take it a bar at a time and you’ll be chillin’ with Bob in no time!

Guitar Riffs #10 – ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ by Van Morrison

‘Brown Eyed Girl’ is Van Morrison’s most famous song and with such an brilliant guitar riff at it’s heart, it’s easy to see why.

Here are a few reasons why it’s one of the best guitar riffs of all time:

  • It’s ridiculously catchy and memorable.
  • It uses 3rds intervals in the main guitar riff, one of the most popular harmonies used in all music.

Here’s the tab:

brown-eyed-girl-guitar-tab

This riff is a little tricky, the hardest part is using two fingers at the same time. To get used to playing this, practice playing each fretted note individually then combine each section one by one until you can play the whole riff.

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Guitar Riffs #11 – ‘Iron Man’ by Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath are considered one of the first bands to pioneer the metal genre.

Before this riff kicks in, Tony Iommi famously bends behind the note to allow his guitar to roar before the main guitar riffs kick in.

Here’s the tab:

iron-man-guitar-tab

Tone Tip

Crank the gain on your amp for this one, there’s a reason Black Sabbath are one of the heaviest bands of all time. Gimme dat gain!

Guitar Riffs #12 – ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol

‘Chasing Cars’ is one of the most played songs on British radio over the past 10 years. It gained most of its popularity through the TV show ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ where it was played in the season finale of season 2.

Here’s the tab:

chasing-cars-guitar-tab

This riff is a bit of a finger twister so you’ll need to be patient with yourself stretching between the frets. The most important part of this riff is to let each note ring out as clearly as possible.

Guitar Riffs #13 – ‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil Young

‘Heart of Gold’ was a release from Neil Young’s album ‘Harvest’ and is the only single of Young’s to reach number 1 in his homeland, Canada.

The guitar riffs are particularly interesting as they combine chords and melody. Here’s the tab:

heart-of-gold-guitar-tab

This track mainly uses Em, G, C and D chords which makes it a perfect beginner track to learn.

Guitar Riffs #14 – ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica

Metallica are titans of the metal genre and when you hear the guitar riffs from ‘Enter Sandman’ you can hear why!

Here’s the tab to play one of the most metal guitar riffs of all time:

enter-sandman-guitar-tab

Technique Tip

This guitar riff uses a lot of palm muting. You can learn more about this cool technique here: Palm Muting: The Essential Guide

Guitar Riffs #15 – ‘Back In Black’ by AC/DC

‘Back In Black’ is easily one of the greatest guitar riffs of the 1980s.

It comes off of the ‘Back In Black’ studio album which is the first album to feature vocalist Brian Johnson. It combines chords, pull-offs and single-note lines.

Here’s the tab:

back-in-black-guitar-tab

Take care when learning this song as it can be challenging to move between the chords and the lead parts. If you’re struggling, try to learn it in distinct phases and gradually blend them together.

Continue reading on page 2:

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Sours: https://nationalguitaracademy.com/guitar-riffs/
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Looking for acoustic guitar tabs? We’re going to show you 19 iconic acoustic guitar songs. Hold on tight, it’s going to be awesome!

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 19 epic acoustic guitar tabs which sound amazing.
  • 3 essential acoustic guitar hacks that will accelerate your guitar progress.
  • These acoustic guitar tabs cover a wide range of musical genres; this will enhance your musicality.

Over 100,000 guitar-learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

1) ‘Wish You Were Here’ by Pink Floyd

This track is one of Pink Floyd’s most well-known tracks.

This acoustic guitar tabs is perfect for beginners because:

  • It blends chords and lead techniques into one awesome package.
  • It’s fantastic for practicing your alternate picking and chords.
  • It sounds awesome!

Listen to this video to hear this track:

There are a few tricky chords in this one, so look out for them!

acoustic guitar tabs

2) ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’ by Green Day

This next track was THE sound track of the 1990s.

To play this song, you must know the following chords:

  • G major.
  • C major.
  • D major.
  • E minor.

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

Here are the chord boxes for each of those chords:

G Major

G major chord

C Major

acoustic guitar tabs

D Major

acoustic guitar tabs

 

E minor

acoustic guitar tabs

There are two sections to this song:

The verse features the following chords:

G          |C     D

1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4

The bridge features the following chords:

Em G | Em G    |Em D

1 2 3 4| 1 2  3 4 |1 2   3 4

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.


3) ‘Redemption Song’ by Bob Marley

This song is a reggae classic and is one of Bob Marley’s most popular songs.

For this part of the lesson, we’re going to learn the opening riff.

In this video, Jack will show you how to play this iconic acoustic guitar tabs:

acoustic guitar tabs

Here are a few reasons why this acoustic guitar tabs is great to learn:

  • It’s fun and easy to play.
  • It sounds great!
  • It only uses the first 3 strings on the guitar.

4) ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles

If you’ve ever played ‘Guitar Hero’, you will know this next song.

This song is EPIC and sounds fantastic when played on acoustic guitar.

For this acoustic guitar tabs, we’re going to learn the intro which is played on a 12 string acoustic.

A 12 string guitar is less common than an acoustic. To learn more about weird and wonderful guitar types, go here:9 Types of Guitar Every Guitarist Should Know

Here’s the acoustic guitar tabs:

Hotel California

5) ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by The Beatles

‘Here Comes The Sun’ is an epic acoustic track. The opening 30 seconds of this song is THE sound of the sixties!

Here are a few reasons why this tab made it onto our list of acoustic guitar tabs:

  • This progression uses open chords which sound amazing.
  • This song is perfect for practicing your picking.
  • It’s a crowd-pleaser, EVERYONE loves this 60s hit.

To learn this song, check out this tab by Ultimate Guitar: Here Comes The Sun by ‘The Beatles’

6) ‘Tears in Heaven’ by Eric Clapton

Tears in heaven is one of Eric Clapton’s softer tracks, however it is an acoustic classic.

This song is perfect for enhancing your finger picking technique.

It isn’t the easiest of songs to learn, however it’s SO iconic we couldn’t possible leave it off of this list.

Listen to it here:

To learn the full tab for this song, go here: ‘Tears In Heaven’ by Eric Clapton

7) ‘Stairway To Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin

The opening of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ has been heard in guitar shops for decades.

There’s a reason for this, it’s one of THE most iconic acoustic guitar riffs of all time.

Here a couple of reasons why you should learn this epic acoustic guitar tabs:

  • It’s hugely popular!
  • It’s a great way of enhancing your finger dexterity.
  • This riff is PERFECT for practicing finger picking.

Stairway To Heaven acoustic guitar tabs

Fun Fact!

‘Stairway To Heaven’ was originally played on a double neck Gibson SG, an electric guitar. However, this riff also sounds epic on acoustic guitar.

To learn this song in more detail, go here: ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles

Song Hack!

This song uses a capo on the 7th fret, this makes playing the song FAR easier.

If you how to use a capo, go here:How To Use A Capo

8) ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young

‘Harvest Moon’ is the title track of Neil Young’s 1992 album ‘Harvest Moon’.

Neil Young is known for creating iconic acoustic guitar tracks and ‘Harvest Moon’ is no exception.

Listen to the song here:

To learn this iconic acoustic guitar tabs, go here: ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young

9) ‘She Talks To Angels’ by The Black Crowes

‘She Talks To Angels’ was one of The Black Crowes biggest hits in the 1990s.

It was off of their debut album ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ and was the fourth single which was released off of that album.

This track is a fantastic acoustic number, here are a few reasons why this song made it onto our list of top acoustic guitar tabs:

  • The opening riff is fun to play and sounds fantastic!
  • It uses open strings and sounds wicked on an acoustic.
  • It’s an unusual tuning, so is perfect if you want to experiment with a new tuning.

For this song, you will need to tune your guitar like this:

  • E (6th string).
  • B (5th string).
  • E (4th string).
  • G# (3rd string).
  • B (2nd string).
  • E (1st string).

Experimenting with new tunings can add a new flavour to your guitar playing.

Listen to the track here:

To learn this classic track, go here:‘She Talks To Angels’ by The Black Crowes

.

10) ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz

This next track is perfect for any aspiring guitarist.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • It uses the same chords all the way through.
  • It’s a great introduction into reggae style strumming patterns.
  • It’s a crowd pleaser, EVERYONE loves this song.

Click play to listen to this track:

The chords in this track are:

  • G6.
  • Dsus2.
  • E minor.
  • C major 7.

G6

g6

Dsus2

acoustic guitar tabs

 

Em

Cmaj7

acoustic guitar tabs
For this song, the strumming pattern is slightly unusual.

In music, most of the time you strum on every beat.

Like this:

1 2 3 4

In this song, we’re only going to strum on beats 2 and 4.

Like this:

1 2 3 4

acoustic guitar tabs

11) ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran

‘Thinking out loud’ was one of the most played tracks of 2014. It hit number one in the UK, US, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovakia and South Africa.

It was one of the first singles to spend a whole year in the UK top 40.

Here a few reasons why this song made it onto our list of acoustic guitar tabs:

  • It’s simple to learn, it only uses a few chords.
  • The strumming pattern is fun and interesting to play.
  • It’s a crowd pleaser, if you played this at a party you would tear the house down!

Here’s the video:

This song uses the following chords:

  • D major.
  • D/F#.
  • G major.
  • A major.

You must know these chords if you want to be able to play the intro.

Here are the chord boxes for each of these songs:

D Major

acoustic guitar tabs

D/F#

D/F#

G Major

acoustic guitar tabs

A Major

acoustic guitar tabs

 

To learn this song in more detail, go here: ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran

12) ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman

‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman is an 80s classic. This track put acoustic guitar on the map!

If you’re an guitarist, you must know how to play this guitar riff.

Here are a few fun facts why you should learn this track:

  • This acoustic guitar riff is guaranteed to make you sound amazing.
  • It goes down SO well at parties.
  • It’s fun to play!

Here’s the acoustic guitar tabs:

acoustic guitar tabs

Want to learn guitar online for FREE? Go here:Learn Guitar Online With The National Guitar Academy

13) ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson

This song is one of the best songs you can learn on acoustic.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • It uses string slapping technique. Learning how to string slap enhances your musical phrasing and musicality.
  • It’s great for practicing barre chords.
  • It’s a very popular track, great for those chill out guitar sessions at home.

If you want to know how to play this track, you must know how to barre chords.Watch this video to learn how:

You also might want to brush up on your string slapping technique, watch this video to learn how to string slap:

To learn how to play this track, go here: ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson

14) ‘Under The Bridge’ by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

This ballad is one of The Red Hot Chili Peppers most successful songs. It’s was a HUGE hit for them in the 1990s and allowed them to break into the mainstream music scene.

Here are a few reasons why this track made it onto our list of acoustic guitar tabs:

  • It sounds great, EVERYONE loves this track.
  • It’s perfect for practicing barre chords.
  • If you want to nail your alternate picking, you should learn this track.

Here’s the video for this epic track:

acoustic guitar tabs

Be careful when learning this song, barring each chord is tricky. If you find barring difficult, use a capo on the 2nd fret and play the following chords:

15) ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd

This track is one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most iconic tracks.

It’s perfect for beginners because it uses 3 chords all the way through.

It sounds fantastic and is the perfect song for parties and gigs.

If you want to learn this song, you must know the following chords:

  • D major.
  • C major.
  • G major.

To learn the track, watch this video:

16) ‘Blowin In The Wind’ by Bob Dylan

This song is perfect for acoustic guitarists as it only uses 3 chords.

Those chords are:

If you want to learn this song, you need to know these chords!

To learn this chords, check out these lessons:

This song has two sections:

The verse progression goes like this:

G   C    |D   G    |G    C    | D          |

1 2 3 4 |1 2 3 4 |1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 |

The chorus goes like this:

C    D   |G   C    |C    D    |G           |

1 2 3 4 |1 2 3 4 |1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 |

acoustic guitar tabs

17) ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis

If you ever think of songs on acoustic, the first song which comes to mind is ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis.

Even though it’s a cliché, it wouldn’t be right to not have it on this list.

This song is the sound of the 90s, to listen to this song go here:

For this song, you will need to know the following chords:

  • Em7.
  • G.
  • Dsus4.
  • A7sus4.
  • C add 9.

This chords are a little different to standard open chords, however you could still play the following chords:

These chords would work perfectly.

To learn this song in more detail, go here: ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis

18) ‘Street Spirit’ by Radiohead

Even though this song is played on an electric, it also sounds fantastic on an acoustic too.

There’s no better sound than huge chords ringing out an acoustic.

This track is perfect for the guitarist who wants to:

  • Develop their technique and dexterity.
  • Practice complex chord shapes.
  • Enhance their picking skills!

Watch this video to hear this song:

Here’s the acoustic guitar tabs for the opening riff of this song:

acoustic guitar tabs

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19) ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift

‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift is one of the most popular songs of the 21st century. With other a billion hits on YouTube, there’s no way that you don’t know this song.

Click ‘play’ to watch this video:

This song is perfect for beginner acoustic guitarists to learn.

Here’s why:

  • It uses 3 chords.
  • The strumming pattern is really fun to play.
  • It’s a crowd pleaser, EVERYONE loves this song.

The chords in this song are:

To learn this song, watch this video:

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The easy guitar riffs in this lesson will give any beginner a good starting point to rocking out to some popular songs. Some of these riffs are easy enough for absolute beginners to play, while other riffs may take a bit longer to master.

I’ve included Guitar TAB for each riff and explained what to focus on when learning these riffs. Once you learn these riffs, you will have a good idea of which songs to continue learning and which you may need to leave for later on.

Find out how to read Guitar TAB in this guide so you can get the most out of this lesson.

What Amp Settings Should I Use?

If you listen to the songs in this lesson, you’ll hear some very different guitar tones. Some songs use a clean tone, some use effects, and others use different drive tones.

If you’re wondering what you need to do to get your guitar amp to sound like the song, I highly recommend reading my Ultimate Guide to Guitar Amp Settings. It’s one of the most important guides I’ve ever written and will explain how to think about your guitar amp properly.

After you learn these guitar riffs, check out these 7 Seriously Easy Guitar Solos. Learning some easy guitar solos is easier than you might think.

Come As You Are by Nirvana

This simple song is played on an electric guitar with a clean tone. A chorus pedal is used in the song, but you don’t need to use one. If you like the sound of the effect in the song, check out my Guide to Chorus Pedals here to learn more.

Tuning: the guitar in this song is tuned a whole-step down, but you can still play it in standard tuning and it will sound fine. If you want to play along with the song with the proper tuning, tune your strings down to D G C F A D.

Here’s the intro riff:

Come as you are guitar riff TAB

In the above TAB, start slow and make sure each note rings out clean without any buzzing or fret noises.

Those thick lines at the start of the second bar and the end of the third bar mean to repeat those sections over and over. That means when you get to the end of the last bar, repeat the second and third bar.

Use your first finger (index) to play the first fret notes and your second finger (middle) to play the second fret notes. Practice this riff slowly until you can play it with ease without any mistakes. Gradually increase the tempo (speed) but make sure it never sounds like you’re rushing.

A good way to tell how well you know how to play a riff like this is to try and play it with your eyes closed. Learn to feel where to place your fingers and where to pick each string. If you can easily play this riff with your eyes closed and you don’t make any mistakes, you can move on to more complex riffs.

You can use alternate picking for this riff, or play everything using down picking. Alternate picking is when you pick down, up, down, up, down, up. I highly recommend you practice this riff using both alternate picking and all-down-picking so you can feel comfortable with both picking methods.

If you like the guitar tone in this song, find out more about the effects used by Kurt Cobain in this guide.

You Really Got Me by The Kinks

This riff is so simple that anybody can learn it in a short time. It’s also a great way to learn and practice power chords.

The first version shown below is meant for absolute beginners trying to learn their first riffs. Use your first and third fingers and practice moving back and forth between the two positions.

You really got me guitar riff TAB

The second version uses two-string power chords. This time you need to practice sliding your hand back and forth between the two positions.

The riff is fairly fast, so practice moving back and forth slowly until it feels easy, then you can speed up the position changes. Aim for accuracy instead of speed. You don’t want it to sound sloppy or rushed.

The third version is the actual way the riff is played. These are still power chords, but this time they’re played across three strings. Use your first finger (index) on the sixth string, your third finger (ring) on the fifth string, and your fourth finger (pinky) on the fourth string to play these power chord shapes.

If this version is too hard for you now, keep practicing the second version. It will sound essentially the same as the real version. But I recommend you keep practicing until you can play all three versions. This will make it easier when you see three-string power chords in other songs.

Important note: if you look up the Guitar TAB for this song on any free Guitar TAB site, you’ll see two possible versions. The first version matches the above Guitar TAB. The other version will be one fret higher, playing the riff on the second and fourth frets. The reason you’ll see two versions is that the actual recording isn’t quite in tune.

The song was most likely slightly sped up in the studio, which slightly raised the pitch (they used tape to record back then). This means the guitar sounds slightly higher than the version shown above. So don’t stress if it sounds weird if you try to play along with the song, it’s not your fault.

Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes

One of the simplest riffs you can learn was a massive hit in the early 2000s. Any beginner can learn to play this easy guitar riff and you can play it on acoustic or electric and both will sound fine.

The guitar in this song is tuned to Open A tuning, but you can play this riff in standard tuning and it will sound exactly the same as the song. Find out about Open A tuning in this guide on alternate tunings.

Later on if you want to learn the entire song, I recommend learning how to play with a guitar slide. A slide is used in this song and plays a big part in making the song sound great.

Here’s the main riff that plays throughout most of the song:

Seven Nation Army guitar riff TAB

You have a few different ways you can play a riff like this. Which fingers you choose to use can completely change how a riff feels to play.

Here are two different ways you can play this riff:

All with one finger: the way most beginners will first try to play this riff is to play every note with your first finger. Simply start with your index finger on the seventh fret, then move it back and forth to play all of the notes.

While it might feel easy to play this riff using one finger, it starts to feel awkward when you try to play the riff at full speed. You’ll notice that you need to jump around the fretboard fast and it can be difficult to play at full speed.

While there’s nothing wrong with learning how to play this riff using only one finger, I suggest you try the other method below so you can learn how to think about finger placement for this riff and for other riffs.

Play the tenth fret with your pinky: the idea here is that you play all of the notes with your first finger, but play the tenth fret with your fourth finger (pinky).

The reason this method will feel more comfortable than playing everything with your first finger is that the jump from the 7th fret to the 10th fret is quite wide. So instead of sliding your index finger back and forth between those two frets, it makes more sense to use a different finger to play the 10th fret.

Play the 7th fret and the 10th fret back and forth over and over again using your first and fourth fingers and once you feel comfortable using your pinky, you’ll understand why it’s a better way to play this riff.

After you can comfortably play the riff using the two above methods, have a think about which other notes you might want to change to using a different finger. For example, which fingers should you use to play the last two notes? Should you keep playing both of them with your first finger, or does something else make more sense?

How to Get the Right Tone

This riff sounds like a bass guitar in the song because of an effect pedal used on the guitar.

A Whammy pedal was used to lower the pitch of the guitar down an octave. This simply means a pedal was used to make the guitar sound like a bass.

Digitech Whammy

The above pedal is what was used in this song and there are a lot of interesting ways you can use a whammy pedal.

Find out about other songs that use a Whammy pedal here and learn to use a whammy pedal in this lesson.

A whammy pedal can be ridiculously fun to use, so if you like the idea of turning your guitar into a bass or you like the other songs in the above guide, you might want to check out a whammy pedal like the DigiTech Whammy DT.

You can still play this riff without a whammy pedal, only it won’t sound quite like the song. But it’s still a good riff to learn to get you used to moving around the fretboard.

Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple

This classic guitar riff is easy to play and one of the most iconic riffs of all time.

While this riff is easy to play, a lot of people play it wrong. There are a lot of memes about this riff because it is so iconic and so many people play it wrong.

To play this riff, flatten your first and third fingers over the third and fifth frets. This makes it easier to move between the fret positions without any sliding noise.

Smoke on the water guitar riff 1 TAB

After you pick the open strings at the very start, use either your left or right hand to dampen the strings before you move on to the next notes. If you listen to the song, you’ll hear the short punchy sound of each note hit, so muting your strings with your hands is an easy way to create that punchy sound.

The above version is a slightly simplified version that makes use of the open strings. The actual way this riff is played is shown below:

Smoke on the water guitar riff 2 TAB

I know that everybody is used to seeing the riff written as 0-3-5, but it’s not played that way.

While the two versions may sound identical, there are reasons why advanced guitarists will prefer to play the second version. You will learn these reasons as you develop your skills, but the basic idea is that you have more control over how fretted notes sound compared to open string notes.

When you play the fifth fret instead of the open strings, you don’t need to use your hand to mute the strings. You just lift your finger off of the fret and the note cuts out. This is how they got that punchy sound in the recording.

If you really want to play this song properly, you need to play it with your fingers and pluck the strings hard. The twangy sound you get from plucking the strings with your fingers will help you get closer to the actual tone in the song. It will sound fine playing with a guitar pick, but playing with your fingers will get you closer to the right sound.

Use a light distortion or overdrive, but don’t go overboard. Riffs like this one sound better with less gain. If you use too much gain, it will sound like a mushy mess.

If you were to listen to 10 beginners playing this riff and compared it to 10 advanced guitarists, the main difference you would hear is that the advanced guitarists would use far less distortion. While it can be fun to crank the gain up, more isn’t always better. Find out more about dialing in good guitar tones in my Guitar Effects Course.

Psycho by Muse

This simple riff is a great way to get started with Drop D tuning. Drop D tuning is when you lower the tuning of your low E string down to D.

Many great rock and metal songs use Drop D and there are a lot of easy guitar riffs in Drop D, so check out this guide on Drop D Tuning to learn more.

The Drop D guide includes 6 more songs in Drop D tuning with Guitar TAB – so once you put your guitar in Drop D, check that guide out for more riffs to learn.

If you enjoy playing this riff, check out this lesson to learn how to write your own riffs in Drop D tuning.

The main thing to keep in mind when playing this riff is the groove. The timing of each note plays a big part in how heavy this riff feels. Listen to the song a few times and try to match the timing of each note to what you hear.

Start off by memorizing the order of the notes, then you can spend time working on the rhythm by listening to the song.

Psycho guitar riff TAB

With the bends, lightly pull on the string to bend the note up. A 1/2 bend is the same as one fret distance, so a bend on the fifth fret should sound the same as a sixth fret note. If this is your first time trying to play bends, it may take some time before they feel comfortable.

If you don’t recognize any of the symbols in the above TAB such as the brackets on the (0) or the X, check out my lesson on How to Read Guitar TAB. It explains the most common symbols you will see used in Guitar TAB.

Muse has a lot of great guitar riffs worth learning. While some of their guitar riffs are hard to play, many of them will be surprisingly easy for you to learn.

Check out this lesson on the Top Muse Guitar Riffs here to learn more Muse riffs.

Sunshine of Your Love by Cream

This might be an old riff, but it’s fun to play and instantly recognizable to a lot of people.

What makes this riff great to play is that anybody can learn it and you can make it sound better as you learn more skills on guitar.

Here is the first version of the riff you hear at the very start of the song:

Sunshine of your love guitar riff TAB 1

In the first bar, play the 12th fret with your third finger, the 10th fret with your first finger and the 11th fret with your second finger.

In the second bar, play the first 10th fret with your first finger. Then shift your hand down two frets and play the next 10th fret with your third finger.

The reason you will want to do this is so you can easily play the 8th fret with your first finger. If you don’t shift your hand down then, the riff will suddenly feel awkward to play.

The wavy line above the 8th fret is for vibrato. Vibrato is when you smoothly wiggle your finger up and down. If you don’t know how to play vibrato yet, just ignore the symbol and play it normally. Then you can add vibrato in later on.

Pick the notes hard and lift your fingers off of the frets to get a short and punchy sound. Use light distortion or overdrive to help the riff pack some more power.

If you want to enhance how this riff sounds, you can add in a few slides as shown in the below version:

Sunshine of your love guitar riff TAB 2

Little slides like these can turn an okay-sounding riff into a great-sounding riff. If you’ve ever heard an advanced guitarist play a riff you know how to play and you wondered why it sounded so different when they played it, they likely used little techniques like this to enhance the riff.

The way you play this first slide is to start with your hand lower than the 12th fret (maybe position your finger on the 8th fret). Then start sliding your hand up while pressing your finger against the string. Before you reach the 12th fret, pick the string.

If you do this properly, you’ll hear a quick slide up into the 12th fret. Just remember to start sliding your hand before you pick the string or it won’t sound right.

If you really want to test your skills, try playing the below version which comes up in the song after a few repetitions.

Sunshine of your love guitar riff TAB 3

This time the riff uses chords instead of single notes. If you can’t figure out how to play these chords, practice the other two versions and come back to this version later on. It’s a lot of fun to play, so keep working on it.

It might look confusing at first, but with practice, you will be able to play this as easily as you play the first version.

In My Place by Coldplay

While most guitar riffs are played low on the fretboard, here is a simple riff played on the higher strings to help you feel comfortable with a different area of the fretboard.

Use a clean tone with your neck or middle pickups to give your tone a more mellow sound.

Play the ninth fret with your first finger and the twelfth fret with your third or fourth fingers. Hold your fingers down and try to let the notes ring out as you pick the different strings.

In my place guitar riff TAB

This riff may take some time for beginners to learn because of the wide stretch and the awkward way it moves back and forth between the two positions.

If you want to take this simply riff further, try adding in some effects such as reverb or delay.

Reverb is a great way to give your clean tone some extra life and feeling. Find out about reverb in this guide.

Delay is one of the most popular guitar effects and can be used in almost any style of music. A soft and long delay sounds great with this type of guitar riff. Find out more about delay in this guide.

Once you learn a riff like this one, a great riff to learn is the intro to Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses.

Paranoid by Black Sabbath

Paranoid is another classic rock riff that’s fun to play and ridiculously easy to learn. Many advanced guitarists you hear today grew up learning riffs like this one.

Once you learn this riff, try learning the easy guitar solo in this lesson.

The hammer-ons in the first bar are really fast, so practice coordinating between both hands to make sure you pick the strings right before you hammer-on to the 14th fret.

Paranoid guitar riff TAB 1

Listen to the song to get an idea of the rhythm. You may need to start by practicing this riff at a slower tempo and gradually speed up as you build your confidence.

The riff used in the verse is a great way to practice your palm-muted power chords. Play all of these power chords with down picking to emphasize the chugging sound you hear in the song.

Paranoid guitar riff TAB 2

If this riff is too fast to play, practice it slowly until you build up your skills. If you consistently practice, you will get there.

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones

This simple guitar riff only uses three notes on the same string. Use your first, third, and fourth fingers to play these notes.

Satisfaction guitar riff TAB

The first few times you play it, ignore the pull-off and slide symbols. Pick each note and get used to the rhythm. Once you can play it with ease, try adding the pull-off and the slide to see how it changes the feel of the riff.

This song uses a fuzz distortion pedal. While you can use a normal overdrive or distortion pedal, to get the authentic tone, you’ll want to use a fuzz pedal.

Check out my Guide on Fuzz Pedals to learn what fuzz is and why it’s so popular. If you want to hear more examples of fuzz distortion, check out these Songs Using Fuzz Distortion.

Enter Sandman by Metallica

While there are other Metallica songs that are far easier than Enter Sandman (another Metallica song is included further down this lesson), Enter Sandman is easy and fun to play.

Metallica also have some easy guitar solos you might want to learn. Check out this lesson for some easy Metal Guitar Solos including a detailed look at the intro solo in Fade to Black.

This is the intro riff, which is played on a clean electric guitar.

Hold your fourth finger down on the seventh fret, then use your first, second, and third fingers to play all the other notes. While this way may seem more complicated at first, it’s how James Hetfield plays the riff. Playing it this way allows the strings to ring out the entire time.

Here is the main riff which uses a heavy distortion:

Enter sandman guitar riff TAB 2

This may be the most complicated riff in this lesson, so take your time learning it one note at a time. Take it slow and get used to sliding up the fretboard to the seventh fret.

Don’t go overboard with the distortion or else it will sound mushy. You want a tight sound, not a completely over-saturated tone. If you can play this riff, you will find the rest of the song much easier.

If you want to learn more songs by Metallica, check out this lesson on How to Play Metallica Songs on Guitar. The guide covers techniques and useful exercises to work on.

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix

There are a lot of fun riffs and licks in Jimi Hendrix’s music, but a lot of it is pretty advanced for beginners.

The main riff to Purple Haze is fairly simple once you learn some basic techniques such as bends and slides.

Unlike other Hendrix songs, this song is in standard tuning. This means you can play along with the recording without retuning your guitar (Hendrix normally tuned a half-step down).

Purple Haze guitar riff TAB

The first two bars are pretty simple. Pick the notes hard and lift your fingers off of the frets to cut short each note. This creates a punchy sound you hear in the song.

With the bend in the third bar, only push the string up slightly to push it out-of-tune. A quarter bend is the easiest bend to play because you don’t need to push it far.

Think carefully about which fingers you use as your choices will completely change how easy this riff feels to play. Think about the first two bars, which fingers make the most sense to use to play these notes? Using the first and third fingers is the most natural way to play a part like this.

Start the riff in the third bar by sliding up to the ninth fret using your third finger. From there, which fingers make the most sense to play the next three notes? Hopefully, you’ll see that using your first finger on the seventh fret and second finger on the eighth fret makes the most sense.

Whenever you learn a new riff, try to think carefully about which fingers you use to play it. If you take your time to plan out which fingers you will use, you’ll cut down on the time it takes to properly learn to play a riff.

To learn about the effects and gear Hendrix used, check out my Ultimate Guide to Jimi Hendrix. It covers everything you would want to know about the pedals, guitars, and effects he used to create his iconic tone.

Back in Black by AC DC

AC DC have many great guitar riffs that are easy to play. Unlike the other guitar riffs in this lesson, this one focuses heavily on power chords.

Start by playing the power chords and skipping the single-note parts. Get used to muting the strings after each group of power chords. The key to making this riff sound good is to keep your rhythm spot-on.

Back in black guitar riff TAB

Practice strumming the power chords along with the song until you can play it with ease. Then you can work on the single-note parts and add them in.

Don’t worry if you have trouble playing a full bend on the second fret. It takes some finger strength to do this, so at first your bends may be a bit flat. Keep working on it and you’ll get better.

With the single-note part at the very end, think about which fingers you should use for each note. There are some wide jumps, so make sure you’re using the fingers that make it easier to play.

Iron Man by Black Sabbath

This is a strange guitar riff because it slides power chords around. You may find this easy to do, or it may feel awkward.

If it feels awkward to slide both fingers at once, slow the riff down. Get used to each individual slide and practice them over and over. Then you can put it all together and get used to sliding up and down the fretboard.

Iron Man guitar riff TAB

Once you feel comfortable sliding the power chords around, think about your rhythm. Listen to the song and try to time your slides so each power chord is ready to hit at the right moment.

Being able to slide power chords around like this is a great exercise to work on. Practicing this riff will build your confidence with power chords and get you used to moving around the fretboard. Use the dot markers on the side of your fretboard to keep track of which fret you’re on.

One by Metallica

Here’s another Metallica song with an easy riff. The intro riff to One uses a clean guitar and is nice and slow. While the rest of the song may be quite difficult for a beginner to learn, the intro is easy.

With each bar, think about which fingers you should use. You want the notes to ring out, so be careful that your fingers don’t accidentally touch adjacent strings. If your finger accidentally touches a string that is ringing out, it will cut the note off and won’t sound right.

One guitar riff TAB

Once you get used to playing this riff, check out the intro to Fade to Black. That intro uses similar finger positions, so you should find it easy to learn.

Check out this detailed lesson on how to learn the intro rhythm guitar parts to One with video demonstrations and practice tips. 

If you are interested in learning more Metallica songs, check out this lesson on how to learn Metallica songs on guitar. The lesson talks about the techniques and skills you need to learn to play this style of music.

 

There are plenty of other easy riffs you can learn, but the above examples are great starting points. Subscribe for updates here to be notified of other lessons like this one.

Here are some related lessons to learn more songs:

  • Easy Chord Songs. The lesson includes chord diagrams, strumming patterns, and some easy strumming songs to learn
  • Easy Fingerpicking Songs. Learning riffs, strumming, and fingerpicking is a great way to quickly build up your skills as a guitarist
  • Easy Guitar Solos. Guitar solos can be incredibly fun to play and these solos are easier than they sound
  • Easy Metal Guitar Solos. Even if you’re not interested in metal, these solos are a great way to improve your lead guitar skills

Categories LessonsTags beginner, learning, metal, metallica, riffs, rock, songs, whammySours: https://guitargearfinder.com/lessons/easy-guitar-riffs-for-beginners/

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15 Easy \u0026 Cool Guitar Riffs You Should Know - With TABS

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Throughout the "Third World". And there is no optimism in the eyes of the wife. A marshal will not grow out of her husband - a lieutenant.



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