The best famous guitar riffs every guitar player should know, acoustic or electric, sound cool on both. FREE Tablature link for each.
- Wondering what the best cheap acoustic guitars for beginners are? Check out the 10 best beginner acoustic guitars to buy here
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Do you know why learning some of the best easy beginner guitar riffs is such a clever move?
People recognise what you’re playing straight away.
And because it can sometimes be a grind learning to play guitar, there’s nothing more satisfying and rewarding than playing something on guitar when one of your friends or family says they recognise it.
After hours of brainstorming, we’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be the 20 best easy guitar riffs every guitar player should learn to play.
Not just for beginners but also for people who have been playing for years, the must-know riffs coming up will make you sound colossally cool.
The question is: how many can you play?
Best Way to Practice Beginner Guitar Riffs – 3 Tips
Practice Tip #1. Choosing acoustic or electric
It doesn’t matter if you own an acoustic or electric guitar – you’re ready to rock these riffs.
If you have both guitar types, a great tip is to start off practicing the riff on your acoustic. Why? You’ll find it a bit trickier in general.
But you want to be able to play the riff in the shortest time possible, so why am I suggesting that?
The simple answer: you’ll develop better technique and strength quicker.
Once you have the notes, rhythm and phrasing memorised on your acoustic, plug your electric in, turn up your amp, and let rip.
Practice Tip #2. Always use good technique
I understand that learning cool riffs on your instrument can be really exciting, but it’s important to focus on your technique first.
Take your time with it and don’t rush just to learn the riff quickly. Make sure your timing is spot on, the notes are clean, and everything flows smoothly. All your hard work will pay off in the end.
Good technique examples:
- Use alternate picking (down to up picks) and avoid the amateurish habit of playing just down picks on everything.
- Keep your fretting fingers spread out across the fretboard and keep them close to the strings, aka economy of movement.
- Don’t rush! Use a metronome to help you develop the sound and feel of the riff properly.
Further reading: 19 Killer Guitar Practice Tips
Practice Tip #3. Divide and conquer
When you’re learning a guitar riff, break it down into smaller sections. Don’t attempt to master the entire riff all at once.
Especially as a beginner, it’s crucial to focus on developing the right playing technique and finger strength. So, take each section of the riff and practice it repeatedly until it becomes more manageable and sounds smoother.
The final step is like solving a musical puzzle: once you’ve honed each section, piece them together and practice the entire riff along with the recording.
Now, let’s dive into some fantastic beginner-friendly guitar riffs for you to sink your teeth into.
Top 20 Easy Beginner Guitar Riffs
1. Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
2. Come As You Are – Nirvana
3. Seven Nation Army – White Stripes
Song key: D
4. You Really Got Me – The Kinks
5. Beat It – Michael Jackson
6. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
7. Shine on You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd
8. Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
9. Faceless Man – Creed
10. Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
11. You Really Got Me – Van Halen
12. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
13. American Idiot – Greenday
14. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
15. Everlong – Foo Fighters
16. Alive – Pearl Jam
17. Say It Ain’t So – Wheezer
18. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
19. Daytripper – The Beatles
20. Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jets
Summing It Up
So, there you have a bunch of awesome beginner guitar riffs to kickstart your musical journey. Remember, it’s not about how fast you learn them, but how much fun you have along the way.
Whether you’re into classic rock, blues, or pop, these riffs will set you on the path to becoming a guitar hero.
Keep strumming, keep jamming, and enjoy every moment of your musical adventure!