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April 12, 2013
 

Top Ten Rock Guitar RIffs

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Written by: Mike Abbott
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Throughout rock history, great guitar riffs
were created and have since been
used in some way by thousands of other
rock guitar players. These riffs
possessed certain elements which made
them timeless and an undeniable force in rock music!

Choose a riff and check it out :

 

1. The Bo Diddley Guitar Riff

His unique, chugging riffs influenced bands from
The Rolling Stones to Blind Melon! The riff below uses syncopation (
accenting up beats as well as downbeats) and strum mutes to achieve
it’s hypnotic effect. Try it using any guitar chord!

The Bo diddley guitar riff

 

2. The Who Riff

You have to add this to your bag of tricks!! Every
rock guitar player who is worth anything has played this rhythm a hundred
or so times!!

Guitar riff of The Who

 

3. Muddy Waters – Mannish
Boy Riff

This classic Blues Riff has been nipped, tucked, and reworked by The
Stones, Zeppelin, and many more! To learn more about triplet rhythms
click here.
Perform the grace note hammer-on very quickly.

Muddy Waters guitar riff

 

4. Credence Clearwater – "Have
You Ever Seen The Rain" Riff

Ahhh, the ’70’s!! John Fogerty is a master of rhythm
guitar and the guitar riff! When you listen to CCR, you can just lay
back into the grooves of Fogerty’s rhythm playing!

Credence Clearwater guitar riff

 

5. Led Zeppelin "Bring
it on home" riff

This was early Zeppelin at it’s bluesy best! Yes, stole this riff directly
from the blues, but so did the Stones, The Beatles, and everyone other
band!! If you don’t know what swing eighths are, check out the
E Blues Shuffle Rhythm to learn about them.

Led Zeppelin Guitar Riff - bring it on home

 

6. The Rolling Stones – "Brown
Sugar", "Start Me Up"

This was Keith Richard’s pride and joy and the epitome
of ’60’s Rock and Roll swagger and style! Tune your guitar to open
g tuning
and give it a go!

A Keith Richards classic guitar riff

5. Jimmy Hendrix Riff

Jimi raised the bar on how rock music should sound
after tossing off one of his firey, other worldly riffs like this one!

Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Chile Guitar Riff

 

8. Chuck Berry "Johnny B
Goode" Riff

This is quintessential classic rock and roll! Neon
can play an intro riff like Chuck can! The key is to use hard down strums
and lock in with those accents.

Chuck Berry Johnny B Goode Riff

 

9. Nirvana’s Teen Spirit Riff

This riff brought the rock world a sound so powerful and unrestrained
that rock would never ever be the same again! When performing the
strum mutes, keep your fingers on the Bb5 chord, but don’t press down.
More on strum muting..

Nirvana's Teen Spirit Guitar Riff

 

10. Eric Clapton
and Cream – "Sunshine of Your Love"

This was THE guitar rock of the 1960’s! His Gibson
SG through a Marshall combo was a match made in heaven.

Eric Clapton and Cream Sunshine of Your Love Guitar riff

 



About the Author

Mike Abbott
Mike is a pro guitarist and music educator.  He has performed with such diverse acts as the Rolling Stones Horns, Sammy Davis Jr., and Burt Bacharach.   After spending much of his music career in New York City, He now is a very busy guitarist in the Denver area, performing and teaching extensively. Mike's latest work is a book, The Guitar and Amp Sourcebook, published by Harper Collins and released in December 2012.



 
 

 

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