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Play 8 Awesome Beginner Friendly Guitar Riffs That Can Be Played With Beginner Friendly Open Chords Like G, C, D, A and E (More Songs For Absolute Beginners Class 5)

Play 8 Awesome Beginner Friendly Guitar Riffs That Can Be Played With Beginner Friendly Open Chords Like G, C, D, A and E

 

What is a GUITAR RIFF?

A riff is a memorable sequence of notes or chords.  A good test if something qualifies as a riff is this:  if you hear it one time, do you know what the song is? If you do, you’re probably listening to a riff.  Think of the opening notes to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses, or “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes.

What is a CHORD RIFF?

A chord riff is a riff that is made up of chords instead of single notes.  And that is what this blog post is about. Here are eight awesome, memorable riffs that can be played with simple open chords.

This blog post ISN’T about how to play the entire song–just the juicy, beautiful, crunchy, iconic RIFF that makes you want to crank your amp up to 11.

If you DON’T yet know basic chords or strums, FEAR NOT! Immediately either click this link for the best beginners guitar lessons on the world wide internet or sign up for a lesson or class right away at NYC Guitar School.

If you DO know some basic chords, then you are ready to crush souls and crash parties–and get A LOT better at changing chords! Grab your axe and get ready to start playing along.

Keep in mind:

  • I only included riffs that can be played with full open chords–so no single note riffs.  
  • Sometimes I transposed the song in order to avoid barre chords or power chords like F and Bb.  Those are great chords for playing riffs and I recommend learning to play riffs with barre and power chords too, but for THIS POST, for TODAY these examples are set up for OPEN CHORDS
  • If that means that you need to transpose a chart, the notes on the song will tell you how many half-steps to transpose the song.
  • If that means you need to use a capo, the notes on the song will tell you what fret to put the capo on.

Now, RIFF AWAY. Here’s the list of songs, along with where to place your capo (if applicable) plus links to the song, tutorials and charts.  

(And don’t forget–if you want to play more and better guitar, we invite you to join our friendly guitar community at NYCGuitarSchool.com.  If you’re not in NYC, you can still get the step-by-step goodness at guitarlessons.nyc.)

***Every once in a while links break…please let us know if you notice a broken one!

 

Wild Thing – The Troggs

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qHX493bB3U

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3QuLdm1vhw

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/the_troggs/wild_thing_chords_1056155

A – D – E – D

Garage Rock (1966)

Medium

 

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTWKbfoikeg

TUTORIAL: *No Suitable Tutorial Exists*

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/nirvana/smells_like_teen_spirit_chords_807883

E  – A  – G – C  ( Capo 1)

Grunge (1991)

Difficult

 

Highway To Hell – AC/DC

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l482T0yNkeo

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YN9lbo4nYQ

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/acdc/highway_to_hell_chords_139966

A – D – G – D – G – D – G – D – A

Hard Rock (1979)

Difficult

 

Rock You Like a Hurricane – Scorpions

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TucBvNrrGY

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcUv-5yIhO8 *Tutorial is OK, but was the best I could find*

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/scorpions/rock_you_like_a_hurricane_chords_1930388

Em – G – Am – C – D

Heavy Metal (1984)

Medium

 

Louie Louie – The Kingsman

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RZJ4ESU52U

TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjseTHngpg0

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/kingsmen/louie_louie_chords_1049261

A – D – Em – D

Garage Rock (1963)

Easy

 

Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYkbTyHXwbs

TUTORIAL: *No Suitable Tutorial Exists*

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/rick_springfield/jessies_girl_chords_1725297

Transpose Up 5

G – D – Em – C – D – G (Capo 7)

Power Pop (1981)

Medium

 

Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvuL5jyCHOw

TUTORIAL: *No Suitable Tutorial*

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/lenny_kravitz/fly_away_chords_51423

A – C – G – D

Rock (1998)

Easy

 

Never Let You Go – Third Eye Blind

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl-JGJp-_CM

TUTORIAL: *No Suitable Tutorial*

CHART: https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/third_eye_blind/never_let_you_go_chords_1980241

D – A – G  (Capo 2)

Alt. Rock (2000)

Easy/Medium

 

(And don’t forget–if you want to play more and better guitar, we invite you to join our friendly guitar community at NYCGuitarSchool.com.  If you’re not in NYC, you can still get the step-by-step goodness at guitarlessons.nyc.)

 

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