Top 5 Guitar Riffs For Beginners

guitar chords heart of gold

This riff is an ideal exercise for beginning musicians. Combining chords and pull-offs, this piece provides the ideal way to develop fingering skills.

One of the more challenging parts of this riff is barring over two strings at once with just one finger, so it is wise to practice on an open string first before trying this on actual guitar strings.

Day Tripper

One of the most iconic guitar riffs in rock n roll. Every electric guitarist knows it! This song served as the B-side to their #1 UK hit “Yesterday and Today”, reaching #5 in America in January 1966.

“She Was Just a Day Tripper” may suggest an illicit relationship; regardless, this song is fun and catchy!

Notable in this song is how it manipulates harmonic rhythm. The guitar riff’s repeating two-measure ostinato frame is enhanced by static harmony that stands out against its underlying tempo.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley was a cultural icon renowned for his songs that promote spiritual and political liberation, spreading peace and love across generations. His message remains alive today in many hearts across the world.

Marley gained unique perspective as the result of growing up mixed race in Jamaica’s segregated society, which gave him an expansive viewpoint of life and an edge when embarking upon his musical mission.

Marley first formed the Wailers with childhood friend Neville “Bunny” O’Reilly Livingston as teenagers, listening to rhythm and blues artists on radio stations before adding elements into their style that ultimately gave birth to what became known as ska music.

Brown Eyed Girl

There have long been songs celebrating blue eyes and green eyes; however, until Van Morrison made history by singing about brown-eyed women there wasn’t much out there dedicated to brown-eyed ladies. Thanks to Irish singer Van Morrison though, there is now one available.

This song provides a nostalgic look back at youthful love. Its upbeat and fun sound captures all the sweetness associated with young romance.

This upbeat tune is ideal for beginners. With its familiar I-IV-V chord progression and occasional vi chord, this song provides an easy introduction to playing guitar while showing students how to add some groove into their playing.

Back In Black

After Bon Scott’s passing, AC/DC joined forces with producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange (who produced Highway to Hell) to record Back in Black – an epic rock opus that captures adolescent experience perfectly.

With the combination of Angus Young’s guitar riffs and Brian Johnson’s deeper, raspier vocals, they craft an unparalleled hard rock sound. Back in Black has endured time while many records that hit charts but then quickly become outdated haven’t.

Back in Black is an iconic album with iconic riffs featuring power chords and chromaticism – one of rock music’s biggest successes and one of the top-selling records ever produced.

You Really Got Me

You Really Got Me is one of The Kinks’ iconic tracks and is known for its mesmerizing guitar riff that encompasses chords, pull-offs and single notes. As an ideal first track to learn for beginners, You Really Got Me helps students focus on individual sections of its riff rather than trying to learn everything simultaneously.

The Kinks had been having difficulty with their record company at that point and were being threatened with being dropped unless they produced a hit quickly. A combination of amp slashed to reduce volume and Ray Davies’ famous riff resulted in You Really Got Me becoming their signature tune.

Sunshine Of Your Love

Sunshine of Your Love from Cream’s Disraeli Gears album was an international hit that helped cement their place as one of rock music’s premier acts.

Ginger Baker considers this Cream song his personal favourite, enjoying the tempo and live recording from Winterland or Oakland that captures perfectly its splash cymbal sound.

This song features a distinctive bass guitar riff composed by Cream bassist Jack Bruce after attending a Jimi Hendrix gig, driving both guitar and vocal lines as well as providing support to the arrangement with drums providing support.

You Make Me Feel

Beginner guitarists often fall into the habit of only playing songs they already know or practicing only occasionally, and this eventually causes their commitment to wain and they return to where they started from.

Harmony (which conveys a light, relaxing sensation), or dissonance (which creates tension, heaviness and darkness). This chart contains dark chords for creating more dramatic sounds.

This chart includes an example of chord progression to help you arrange them into songs more easily.