43 Popular And Easy Guitar Riffs For New Players

What’s the absolute best way to start learning the guitar?

Playing along to music you love. Nothing about playing an instrument is more empowering than replicating the sound of a piece of music that made your hair stand on end. 

What’s the next best thing? Easy guitar riffs. (No need to worry about strumming a guitar in this article!)

As someone who has been playing for more than 15 years, I can say with confidence that guitar players are always, always trying to learn new riffs and licks. 

For better or worse, I largely learned how to play electric guitar (and bass guitar) by ear. I started out by playing riffs along to my favorite songs — learning easy guitar riffs and power chords before tackling lead guitar riffs. 

And there are certain classic riffs that everyone goes through. From “Smoke on the Water” to “Stairway to Heaven,” these popular songs are almost a rite of passage. These are the jams that tell everyone you’re a player. They are great for practicing to speed up your guitar learning journey.

Here’s a list of easy guitar riffs every guitar player should learn.

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

The main riff in Seven Nation Army is an iconic seven notes. Everyone immediately knows what it is, and it’s phenomenally easy to play. Despite being more of a contemporary song, Seven Nation Army has become an instant classic and one of the most recognizable riffs in popular music.

How To Practice

This easy guitar riff by Seven Nation Army is all about the timing. Just tap along with Meg’s drums to get the feeling for the song, and then you can walk right down the scale.

What Might Trip You Up

When the song really kicks in, it does walk back up the scale a little bit, but you’re right in that pocket the whole time. It might feel intimidating, but follow the drums and you should be just fine.

Tab for White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" riff

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Just four power chords changed the music landscape for the next 20 years or more—nothing to sneeze at. But, you may have noticed, it’s only four chords.

How To Practice

This is a song you have to play along with the record. The chord changes and riff are straightforward if you follow the drum pattern to get the timing right. 

What Might Trip You Up

Kurt’s strum pattern is a little different here. It sounds messy, but it’s actually deliberate and precise. 

Tab for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" riff

House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

House of the rising sun sounds like a lot of intricate picking when you’re first learning guitar. Until you see it written down. Then you realize that all you’re doing is strumming very slowly through some of the earliest chords you’ll learn as a new guitar player.

How To Practice

Learn all of your basic open chords in the key of Am. Then start slowly picking each note in the chord from the heavy E string down to the high E string and back. 

What Might Trip You Up

There’s a Dm in the song, a chord many beginner guitar players struggle with. “It’s that high F, man.”

Tab for The Animals' "House Of The Rising Sun" riff

Iron Man – Black Sabbath

Released in 1970 on the album Paranoid by Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi’s evil-sounding riff at the beginning of Iron Man is all 5th chord shapes moving up the neck. Two fingers. That’s it.

How To Practice

Listen to the drums on this classic Black Sabbath recording to get where the accents are for this riff. Then play it slowly until you can speed it up. This is a good opportunity to get your pinky finger involved. Use it together with your to play the 5th chords.

What Might Trip You Up

The back and forth at the end of the riff isn’t actually being strummed. Iommi only strums on the accented downbeat. He does the rest with his fret hand and a lot of sustain from his amp.

Beat It – Michael Jackson

This instantly recognizable riff from the King of Pop, played by the King of Guitar, is a pretty simple arpeggio in the key of Em. And it’s slow enough to give a budding guitar player enough time to navigate the fretboard. You might not think of Michael Jackson when you think about cool guitar riffs, but “Beat It” is one of pop music’s great riffs.

How To Practice

Start as slow as you need to get the pattern into your working muscle memory. Then speed it up as you develop a comfort level.

What Might Trip You Up

The second time through, the riff doesn’t have the 8th note. It has a pause before launching back into it. That can make it feel like the song’s time signature is odd.

Day Tripper – The Beatles

It’s an instantly recognizable picking riff that’s slow enough for any beginner to pick up. We are in Orbison easy territory.

How To Practice

Learn the succession of the riff in chunks, and then listen to the recording for the timing. Pick a counting pattern of single-syllable numbers to help group the notes. 1, 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2, 1-2-3.

What Might Trip You Up

You notice that the count pattern isn’t a straight 1-4. That pattern can be a bit tricky to pick in time in the beginning.

Come As You Are – Nirvana

Nirvana makes the list twice for good reason. This is a number one hit using a two-finger riff on the thickest strings of the guitar. That’s home base for new guitar players.

How To Practice:

Jump right in. There’s not a ton of technique to this. Slow practice makes perfect.

What Might Trip You Up

The effects on the record might make it seem like there’s more going on than there is. But if you catch an acoustic rendition, the starkness of the riff is evident. Might as well be bass. Bleh.

Blister In The Sun – Violent Femmes

Blister In The Sun is a bouncy, upbeat song that relies on a single finger of your fret hand and some basic picking technique.

How To Practice

This riff feels like dancing. Slow the metronome down until you get a feel for where the accented notes are. It flows with the vocal melody. Make the guitar sing.

What Might Trip You Up

When you’re first learning, it’s common to get lost in the picking. That’s okay. Just reorient yourself to the vocal melody.

Smoke on The Water – Deep Purple

Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple may be the first riff most beginners learn on guitar. You can get away with just the root note of the power chords that make up the riff. 

How To Practice

Start with those root notes on the low E string while you listen to the song for timing. Once you’ve got your index finger well and truly worked out, add in the 5th and the octave to make the power chord. 

What Might Trip You Up

Power chords aren’t technically the way Deep Purple played the riff. But they wrote it, so bully them. Alas, you might occasionally run into one of those “know-it-alls” who gives you a hard time about playing Smoke on the Water the way Deep Purple did.

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Even if you don’t like Skynyrd (and, who’s that, maybe Neil Young?), you know this riff. It’s a legendary piece of music. 

How To Practice

Get comfortable with your barre chord form. You can play the riff by just manipulating the picking within that form.

What Might Trip You Up

The last strum in the riff is an open G chord. So switching between the barre form and open form of G can be a little tricky when you’re first starting out. The singer in our band couldn’t pull it off the entire time we played together.

That said, you can get away with just playing a very jangly barred G in a pinch.

Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

Much like Pretty Woman, this is a one-finger-should-you-want-it guitar riff that everyone on the planet will recognize. Rumour is Keith Richards dreamed this one up (1). Literally. So if it came from him sleeping, it should be doable awake.

How To Practice

Best practice is to play this riff using your ring, middle, and pinky finger. Roll up the string to achieve rock immortality.

What Might Trip You Up

Satisfaction is deceptively easy. You might find yourself sliding into similar riffs inadvertently. Muscle memory kept forcing me into Bad Religion’s American Jesus, for example.

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day

Ah, when Green Day sold out or whatever. It sounds complicated because Billy Joe messes up on the recording twice. But really, you’re only moving a couple of fingers.

How To Practice

Plant your ring finger on the B string’s 3rd fret and let that be your anchor. Then play the chords until you feel familiar enough to accent the B string on the upstroke. Play along to the recording, and you’ll hear it.

What Might Trip You Up

Strumming this one is fun, but getting that accent note of the intro’s riff can be an uphill battle. Stick with it, and you’ll have new open-chord powers.

Sweet Child of Mine – Guns N’ Roses

Sweet Child O’ Mine actually grew out of a practice exercise that Slash would do to goof off (2). So even if you don’t get this riff right the first time, it’s practice.

How To Practice

Start very slow. 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. That double one to four count should be running through your head as you learn this riff as slowly as you need to feel comfortable.

What Might Trip You Up

What trips people up about this song is the rhythm chords. The riff begins and ends on D, so you have to pay attention to that.

La Bamba – Ritchie Vallens

It’s a three-chord wonder with a riff over the top. You can play with two fingers, and everyone on the planet recognizes it.

How To Practice

Start with strumming the C, F, and G chords in time with the song to get the timing and feel. Then you can go back to the intro riff with the timing in mind. The riff is heavy on the ring finger, with the pointer finger picking up the excess work. 

What Might Trip You Up

The actual recording has some nuance that, as a beginner, you don’t really need. But, again, you might find someone who wants to be flashy and show off somewhere down the road. Let it go. Anyone who’s showing off with La Bamba has other issues going on.

Wonderwall – Oasis

If you find yourself at a college reunion for anyone around the turn of the millennium, you will hear this song. If there’s an acoustic guitar there, there’s a 90% chance you’ll hear it live. It was everywhere. It is everywhere. But it helps build your chord voicing, so it gets a pass. 

How To Practice

This song is all about the syncopated strum pattern that matches the vocal. Down, down, down, up, down, up, down, down. That’s the basics. Play along with the isolated intro until you get a feel for it.

What Might Trip You Up

Everyone “knows” this song. That is, everyone who has picked up a guitar can muddle through this song by getting close.

But Noel Gallagher is actually playing some slightly complicated chords. It’s an excellent opportunity to become familiar with how easy it is to change a chord’s tone with simple finger shifts.

Wild Thing – The Troggs

A three-power chord riff that is all about timing and attitude: that’s the definition of an easy riff. But when it’s done right, you get something as timeless as Wild Thing.

How To Practice

Hit those first two A power chords on the low E string. That gives you the feel for the song right there. After that, move the chord shape one string down. Then move it two frets up to complete the “L.” 

What Might Trip You Up

If you want to get fancy with the intro, you can work on the first slide note on the G string. It might be the most challenging thing in the song, and it’s also the first. Easy tunes are like that. Gate-keeping notes.

Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison

The intro riff is one of the most recognizable guitar music pieces in the last 80 years. Plus, it can be played with a single finger if you should so like. Beyond that, the verse and chorus are the same.

How To Practice

Start with Orbison’s intro riff. Hum 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 to get the timing for your picking hand. Then just play it slowly until you can build up the speed.  

What Might Trip You Up

Again, the bridge is a little bit tricky. But like many other songs where the verse and chorus are the same, all you have to do is learn the chords and ring them out. So you have lots of time to change your finger positions.

Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi

This is a song that Jon plays on guitar, so you know it can’t be too hard. 

How To Practice

Once you’ve learned the chords for this song, get ready to play them on repeat with the song. It sounds like the verse and chorus are different, but they aren’t. The pattern’s the same; only the timing changes. The vocal just makes the changes seem different. 

What Might Trip You Up

That timing in the chorus feels a little awkward because Jon and Richie play the chord changes twice as fast as the verse. So the pattern is the same, but your hand has to move quicker. 

Enter Sandman – Metallica

If there’s a metal riff that every guitar player knows, it might be Enter Sandman. For the main part of the riff your hand doesn’t move around the neck, so it’s a good practice riff for fingering accuracy. 

How To Practice

Tap the notes out percussively with your fingers to get a feel for the timing of the riff before you jump into it. Listen to the accents of where Lars builds the drums up at the beginning of the song.

What Might Trip You Up

When the main riff starts over, there’s a quick E on the A string followed by an open ringing E string that rings into the riff again. If you don’t have the timing down from practice, that can feel a bit weird to sneak in.

Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

It’s a song everyone knows, and it’s the same chords throughout the piece: verse, chorus, bridge… same thing. 

How To Practice

Start with ringing the chords out along with the recording.  The riff is putting a pinky finger on the third fret of the high E string. It’s just finding the timing to do that.

What Might Trip You Up

Because this one is so simple, you’ll run across players who play Free Fallin’ quite a bit differently. But this song is about being free. So, play the easiest version imaginable. 

Closing Time – Semisonic

Another song that is just four chords throughout. Aside from the bridge, but we’ll touch on that. If you’re feeling particularly cheeky, you can switch from open chords in the verse to barre chords in the chorus. But, this is not, strictly speaking, necessary.

How To Practice

This song’s feel comes from the strum pattern. That’s what gives it the attitude. The first and third chords are all down strums, with the second and third chords giving some up strum flourishes. Listening to the intro will help since the guitar is by itself. 

What Might Trip You Up

The bridge. The bridge is entirely different. It’s only four chords as well, but it changes keys a half step and is really obvious if you miss it. Just use power chords and ring them out. Nothing fancy.

Everlong – Foo Fighters

The only riff on the list in drop D tuning. The alternative tuning means David Letterman’s favorite song has several chords you can play with a single finger.

How To Practice 

Dave Grohl thinks of the guitar as if it was a drum set. So listen to the subtle downward strum pattern of the intro to get a feel for the changes. 

What Might Trip You Up

The first chord in the chorus is a barred B on the A string for no reason other than to sound fuller. When you’re starting out, stick with the B on the deepest string.

Why this song was an enormous hit, I don’t know. But as a guitarist from San Diego, I’m required by law to include this in any discussion of easy guitar riffs. 

How To Practice

Turn your maturity level down a few notches and brush up on your power chords—the poor man’s barre chord. You’re living in power territory the whole time.

What Might Trip You Up

The trickiest part of this song is actually the first two notes. The song counts in the 8th beat with a quick G to F before launching into the first beat of the main riff on C.

Hey Ya – Outkast

Another four-chord wonder. This was such a universal piece of music that NPR was gushing about it (3) back around the release. It’s a party anthem you can pull out of your back pocket when you need an upbeat piece of music that isn’t guitar rock.

How To Practice

If you’ve seen this song’s video, you know what to do. Sit down with an acoustic and strum away with the recording.

What Might Trip You Up

There’s not much to go wrong here. When you’re first learning, there’s enough production on the song to lose the chord changes because you stay on the C for quite a while. Keep coming back to the bass.

Back in Black – AC/DC

Name a more instantly-recognizable classic rock riff than Back in Black. This timeless AC/DC tune is an excellent song for beginners to learn, thanks to a nice mix of big chords and easy guitar riffs.

How To Practice

If you know how to play an E, D, and A chord, crank up your amp, work on your single-note picking and have fun.

What Might Trip You Up

The single notes that come after the big E, D, and A chords. While it’s still a relatively simple guitar riff, getting the correct timing down might be a little more challenging. Play along to the track and try to match your playing as best as possible. 

Breaking the Law – Judas Priest

“Breaking the Law” is a classic, easy riff to add to your repertoire. 

The main riff consists of a single note run on just two strings. And once you get past the intro riff, you get to crank out some big power chords. If you’re just starting out, this should be at the top of your list for easy guitar riffs to learn. It’s a lot of fun to play.

How To Practice

Crank up your distortion and work on your alternate picking. This is one of the classic guitar riffs for beginners — you’re only playing on the low E and A strings.

What Might Trip You Up

The alternate picking (plucking up and down to play single notes) may be a little tricky if you’re just starting. But once you get that technique down, you’ll find this to be one of the most fun and easy guitar riffs to play. 

Walk, Don’t Run – The Ventures

These surf rock stalwarts are known for a ton of iconic guitar riffs. “Walk, Don’t Run” might be one of their most famous ones. The song intro starts with some power chords before breaking into the iconic riff. 

How To Practice

Truth be told, this might be one step above a beginner riff. While not overly complicated, I’d recommend pulling up a guitar tab and playing along with the recording of this famous song. And don’t forget to crank up your reverb!

What Might Trip You Up

You’ll be picking across all six strings throughout the song. However, most of the notes in this classic guitar riff will be on the first three frets. 

Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

There’s no denying “Crazy Train” when you hear it. This iconic riff can be heard everywhere, from stadiums and arenas for major sporting events to jukeboxes at your local dive bar. This is one of the great guitar riffs for beginners to learn — especially if you’re into classic rock and metal songs. 

How To Practice

Crank up the gain on your amp (or use a distortion/fuzz pedal) and check out the guitar tabs. The intro riff isn’t too hard, but you’ll find more challenging aspects to the song as it progresses.

What Might Trip You Up

It might take some practice to get the speed of this riff down. Once you achieve that, the sky is the limit. The entire song is filled with killer parts: a thundering intro, a few riffs, and a searing guitar solo. 

Heartbreaker – Led Zeppelin

Heartbreaker is one of the classic guitar riffs that employs a minor pentatonic scale. While it’s a simple riff, it’s challenging enough for even intermediate players on their way to learning more complex riffs. 

Oh, and if you’re following along on the album, you get another cool bonus riff in “Living Loving Maid” on the next track.

How To Practice

Pay attention to the bends in this riff. Bending the note to hit the correct pitch can be challenging, but it’s crucial. This will be very beneficial for you, not just when learning this song but as you continue to progress and learn more guitar riffs.

What Might Trip You Up

The progression can be a little tricky. This was one of the earlier riffs I learned when I started playing guitar, but it took some practice to get my fingers in the right place consistently. 

Money for Nothing – Dire Straits

Money for Nothing is another classic electric guitar riff that’s instantly recognizable. It’s one of those riffs you can “sing along to,” and it has an unmistakably cool tone.

How To Practice

Turn up your gain and dial back the tone knob on your guitar to get that gritty, nasal-sounding tone. Learning this whole riff will be easier if you’re familiar with minor pentatonic scales. You’ll play the majority of this riff on two strings.

What Might Trip You Up

Dire Straits’ guitarist Mark Knopfler plays this riff fingerstyle. There are a couple of tricky aspects to this song, but it’s a lot of fun to play once you get the hang of it.

Rebel Rebel – David Bowie

Speaking of iconic riffs, “Rebel Rebel” is one of my favorite easy guitar riffs for beginners. The opening riff consists of just two chords: Dsus2 and E. 

How To Practice

This riff requires picking single notes out of these two chords. Since the notes are pretty easy to make out in the recording, Rebel Rebel is a great riff to play along with as you learn.

What Might Trip You Up

Don’t let the sight of a Dsus2 chord scare you away — you’re just removing one note from a standard D chord. This is a great riff to learn for beginner guitarists. 

Rumble – Link Wray

“Rumble” by Link Wray might be one of the most famous riffs in the history of rock music. Rumble became legendary thanks mainly to being one of the early examples of songs using amp distortion and tremolo. 

How To Practice

Brush up on your open chords. With a total of four chords ( Dsus2, E, A, and B7), this is one of the easy riffs that every guitar player should know. 

What Might Trip You Up

The melody riff and solo can be a little more challenging for beginners. But even these parts are easy to lock down with a bit of practice. Rumble is not just a beginner riff; it’s arguably one of the most famous riffs in music history.

Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones 

The Rolling Stones have no shortage of classic guitar riffs and famous songs. Brown Sugar is an excellent example of a chord-driven guitar riff with a twist: It’s played in an open G tuning.

How To Practice

First things first, tune your guitar to open G (D, G, D, G, B, D). As its name suggests, tuning your guitar to open G will allow you to play a G major chord without touching any frets. 

Therefore, you’ll be able to play chords with just one finger. You’ll have to work on Keith’s signature hammer-ons, but as you’ll see in the tutorial above, that’s as simple as adding two more fingers to the chord formation. 

What Might Trip You Up

Playing in open G tuning might feel weird at first, but it’s a straightforward (and fun) way to play many easy guitar riffs — especially many popular songs by the Rolling Stones. As Keith Richards himself described playing in open G tuning, “If you get it in the right way, in the right moment, it’s a cheap ride to heaven.” (3)

I tend to agree — I always keep one of my guitars tuned to open G and love to play some Stones songs from time to time.

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

A classic acoustic guitar riff. The opening riff to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” is an excellent choice for beginners, with straightforward single-note plucks from familiar first-position chords. 

How To Practice

This famous riff lives entirely on the first three frets. Get comfortable with G and C chords in the first position, and riffs like this will feel familiar after some practice.

What Might Trip You Up

The hammer-ons, while relatively subtle in this song, can be challenging as you start to learn guitar riffs. This is one of the best guitar riffs for beginners who want to learn one of the most iconic guitar riffs on an acoustic guitar. 

Teenage Kicks – The Undertones

“Teenage Kicks” is another simple riff that’s a lot of fun to play. This anthemic rock song is built around big power chords. Crank up your amp and get your kicks!

How To Practice

Teenage Ticks is a simple riff you must play with a lot of overdrive or distortion. You can play the D chord with your index finger on the 10th fret of the low E string or on the 5th fret of the A string. I prefer to play the power chord starting on the low E string since you’ll just simply move up and down the neck without having to change chord shapes.

What Might Trip You Up

As long as you can play power chords and bar chords, there’s not too much that can trip you up here throughout the entire song. 

Unknown Legend – Neil Young

“Unknown Legend” is the opening track on one of Neil Young’s highly-acclaimed studio albums: Harvest Moon. “Unknown Legend” features both electric guitar and acoustic guitar in the original song, and I’ve even heard some versions employ a chorus pedal to add dimension to this dreamy classic.

How To Practice

“Unknown Legend” features a simple guitar riff built around five notes. The entire song alternates between a G and a C chord, so this is a great song to learn for beginner guitarists on either an acoustic or electric guitar. 

What Might Trip You Up

Watch your sequencing on the single note runs — they can be easy to reverse or play out of order. 

I Got Mine – The Black Keys

Here’s a fun blues rock riff from indie rock duo The Black Keys. Guitarist Dan Auerbach is no slouch in the riff department, but “I Got Mine” features a super cool yet easy riff with some nice dynamics throughout the song.

How To Practice

This soulful song sounds best with some gritty overdrive and sustain. As Dan Auerbach plays it in the original recording, work on adding some palm muting to the quieter parts. 

What Might Trip You Up

Watch your picking while alternating from an open note on the low E string and other notes on the A string.

I Wanna Be Your Dog – Iggy and the Stooges

One of THE classic riffs in punk rock history comes from The Stooges’ self-titled debut album. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is fast, raw, and easy to play. 

How To Practice

“I Wanna Be Your Dog” consists solely of power chords. The main 3-chord riff (G, F#, and E) should be played with the root on the A string. Leave the low E string open and hit it as you play all three chords. 

What Might Trip You Up

The descending chord pattern between the last time Iggy sings “and now I wanna be your dog” and “well, come on” is the most challenging part about this song. Unless you want to tackle Ron Ashton’s frenetic lead guitar part too. But that’s a tutorial for another day.

Have Love Will Travel – The Sonics

The Sonics are seen as one of the most influential bands in rock music, especially in punk rock. “Have Love Will Travel” is a classic riff written in the 60s that you can play on just two strings.  

How To Practice

This riff ain’t no Sweet Child O’ mine. And by that, I mean it’s MUCH easier to learn and play. Five notes—that’s all you need to play to learn this riff. You might not even need to look at a guitar tab to learn the entire song. 

What Might Trip You Up

Sliding between notes on this riff might be challenging at first. 

You Really Got Me – The Kinks and Van Halen

“You Really Got Me” is another timeless riff that was made famous by two very different bands in two different eras. This song initially put The Kinks on the map, and it helped usher in the use of distorted guitar tones for generations to come.

Decades later, Van Halen recorded a heavy-rocking version of “You Really Got Me.” Perhaps more famous than the song itself, guitar god Eddie Van Halen wrote the classic “Eruption” solo as a lead-in to this cover song.

How To Practice

If you can play two open power chords, you can play this riff. The song follows a standard blues progression that can be applied to countless other songs and riffs.

What Might Trip You Up

Regarding the riff itself, the most challenging aspect is perhaps matching the grooviness and feel of Eddie’s chunky, muted strummings between chords. The kind of simple yet not easy stuff that the really greats take to a whole new level.

And, of course, if you want to tackle the entire song, whether you’re trying to learn the version played by Dave Davies or by Eddie Van Halen, you can run into trouble trying to learn the solos. Whichever version you decide to learn depends on your skill level and overall musical preferences. It’s a great song either way.

Johnny B Goode – Chuck Berry

What list of guitar riffs would be complete without Johnny B Goode? Dating all the way back to 1958, Chuck Berry penned one of the most iconic riffs in the history of rock and roll. 

How To Practice

I really like Chuck Berry’s tone, so try to approximate his sound by plugging in a hollow body guitar (if available) and setting your amp (or pedals) to feature just a hint of grit.

What Might Trip You Up

There are a lot of bends in Johnny B Goode. Practice getting comfortable with bending notes and making sure that they achieve the proper pitch. 

Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz

This guitar riff will forever live rent free in my mind, but not for the reason you might think. During one of my final exams in my last year of college, a classmate next to me started blaring this song from his iPod after he finished his exam. 

It would not have been my first choice, but there’s no denying that this guitar riff is instantly reconizable. 

How To Practice

Like to play power chords? Then you’re off to a good start with “Fly Away” — this song is full of them! 

What Might Trip You Up

Sliding between the chords. It’s not difficult, but it might take some time to get used to. Practicing this will serve you well when learning more riffs down the road.

The Boys Are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy

Everybody knows this song from the very first chord. It’s hard not to like this song unless you’ve been forced to listen to it repeatedly (4). Even then, you could do far worse—at least in my opinion.

How To Practice

Crank up your amp and let those big chords ring out. The first three chords are massive, easy and everybody will know what you’re playing.

What Might Trip You Up

If you want to go beyond the riff, the verse can get tricky, and the legendary guitar harmonies are definitely more advanced. 


Every guitarist needs to memorize a few easy guitar riffs they can bust out at the drop of a hat. You never know when you’re going to find yourself with a guitar in hand. 

And there’s nothing more evident than the gulf between someone who can play a lick everyone knows and the guy just strumming chords.An excellent article to read next to get those riffs down faster would be our best tips on learning guitar the right way.

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  1. Rachel Chang, “Keith Richards Wrote One of the Rolling Stones’ Biggest Hits In His Sleep,” as published here https://www.biography.com/musicians/keith-richards-satisfaction-rolling-stones
  2. SonGacts.com, “Sweet Child O’ Mine by Gunn N’ Roses,” as published here https://www.songfacts.com/facts/guns-n-roses/sweet-child-o-mine
  3. Robert Lloyd, “A new doc shines a light on the Rolling Stones as individuals, not just a band,” as published here https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-08-07/my-life-as-a-rolling-stone-epix-review
  4. Timothy Faust, “I Played ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ on a Bar Jukebox Until I Got Kicked Out,” as published here https://www.vice.com/en/article/dpwa7w/i-played-the-boys-are-back-in-town-on-a-bar-jukebox-until-i-got-kicked-out-832

Image Credits

The White Stripes image: Fabio Venni from London, UK; modified by anetode, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; The Rising Sun image: Bartlomiej Markiewicz, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Michael Jackson image: DrewFromNY at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; The Rolling Stones image: Jim Pietryga, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedi a Commons; Guns N’ Roses image: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Oasis image: Will Fresch, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Roy Orbison image: David Shoenfelt, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Metallica image: DallasFletcher, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Semisonic image: Andy Witchger, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Blink 182 image: Drew de F Fawkes, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.