Message In A Bottle (The Police)
The Message In A Bottle riff is a great technique challenge.
Be prepared to hit lots of wrong strings or have your pinky accidentally landing on the wrong fret.
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes)
Play the lowest notes only (not the full chords), repeating the first 2 bars over and again: that is the bass riff
The D and G strings on the guitar are tuned a whole step down to C and F. This facilitates slide playing.
Jack plays the following part with the slide when the guitar comes in.
If you rather not deal with the hassle of having to tune down 2 strings just to play this riff, you can also play it with regular power chords on the A D and G strings. (You would just leave your guitar in regular standard tuning then)
In that case, the top 2 numbers in the tablature would move up 2 frets.
In other words: add 2 frets to the numbers on the D and G string.
i.e. 777 (from bass to treble) becomes 799, 555 becomes 577 etc.
Walk This Way (Aerosmith)
Fun riff with chromaticism. Slide the ending A chord up the fretboard.
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
This fun, iconic riff is also a bit of a picking exercise.
Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
One of the classic rock riffs every guitar player should know. Classic Eric Clapton.
Beat It (Michael Jackson)
One of my top-10 favorite guitarists played this iconic riff: Steve Lukather.
As you probably know, Eddie Van Halen plays the solo.
You Really Got Me (The Kinks)
Simple power chords a whole step apart + cool rhythm is all it took to create this instantly recognizable rock riff.
Layla (Eric Clapton)
The Layla riff actually consists of 2 guitar parts.
The 2nd part comes in while the ending note of the first part is sustaining out.
Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry)
This is one of these riffs that always seems to impress people.
All the more reason to learn this intro to Chuck Berry’s most well-known song.
Ain’t Talking About Love (Eddie Van Halen)
Arpeggios, harmonics, etc… there is a lot of music packed in this short riff. It’s also, as you may find out, a great picking exercise.
It starts with a simple Am chord shape.
This Am chord is followed by an F triad. The riff ends with pinch harmonics on the bass strings.
You can see the riffs played slowly in the following video
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