- by Kevin Deal
Everyone has to start somewhere. This is especially true for guitarists and other musicians alike. Before you can become a full blown rockstar you have to put in the time and dedication to master your craft.
So let’s say you’re now officially a beginner and by beginner we mean someone who already knows the basic chords and scales. Well then, it’s time to reward yourself with a few easy guitar riffs for beginners that you can use to further improve your skills and maybe impress a few friends or so.
Since it’s understandable that your skills are still at the new stage, we’re going to make this really easy for you. In fact you can play these easy guitar riffs with just one or two fingers.
As always, make sure you’ve properly tuned your guitar with a tuner and play along with a metronome so you can improve your timing as well. Don’t worry about speed, it’ll come in time as long as you’re determined to hone your skills. Just take it slow for now and increase the speed once you’ve achieved playing at a certain speed consistently and accurately. After all, you can’t run if you didn’t start crawling at first right?
Alright! Here are the Top 10 Easy Guitar Riffs for Beginners.
1. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
It’s a sad thing to have lost someone as special as Kurt Cobain so early but his music lives on through other musicians today. This song was the one that finally garnered media attention which catapulted them into the limelight. A position Kurt didn’t really want.
It’s tragic that he had to die but his music lives on in this riff that you can easily play.
2. Deep Purple – Smoke on the water
This is probably the staple song all guitarists have to learn and it’s pretty easy to perform. This is basically performed on two strings using power chords.
Just don’t play this song when you go inside a music store because, everyone’s sick of hearing it.
3. Black Sabbath – Iron Man
If you want to play heavy metal music, then you definitely have to learn this song. No self respecting metal head would ignore this song from the Grand Daddies of Heavy Metal.
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside
John Frusciante is a guitar virtuoso. He may not be as flashy as Steve Vai and the like but he’s shown that his simple melodies can really sell millions. This is an example of one of his simple riffs.
5. Rolling Stones – Satisfaction
Mick Jagger and company may just be able to outlive us all. Their songs have definitely spanned generations and they’re gaining new fans as we speak although they look as if they’re on their way out. They still manage to rock the stage harder than most young bands today.
Learning this riff will give you a little bit of satisfaction!
6. Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
If you want a riff that’s exciting this is the perfect one for you. Eye of the Tiger has been used a lot in sports arenas because of how it was composed. It is the perfect musical backdrop for any sporting event!
You can use this as a motivational song to improve your musical skills. Just treat guitar playing like an athletic sport!
7. Cream – Sunshine of your love
You think everything Guitar God Eric Clapton plays is complicated? Think again! Here’s an easy riff he came up with that you can actually play using one finger. The only thing complicated about this is it uses multiple strings and you need to play it in time to get the effect.
8. White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
Jack White really knows how to craft a song. This song can be played on one string and as long as you get the timing done, you’ll sound good playing it.
This should serve as an inspiration to you. If a guy who can play a riff a simple as this can become big, then you have a chance right?
9. Green Day – When I Come Around
This is a song you can basically play from start to finish even if you’re just starting out as a guitarist. In fact, many guitarists who started playing the instrument during the time Billy Joe and company came out owe their existence to his songs.
Billy Joe proved that Punk’s not dead.
10. The Who – My Generation
Before The Who became known as the band who made a Rock Opera which made off with some relative success.
This is a very easy riff that you can play on your guitar. Once you get good at it, you can check out Knopfler’s playing style and copy his moves.
Figuring out riffs can be an easy task to do if you elarn to listen and understand the placement of notes on the fret board.
There are also a lot of riffs out there that are very easy to copy and play.
The riffs mentioned above may be some of the easiest to play but it won’t work if you play sloppily and forget the timing. Make sure you get it down as well.
Once you’ve mastered all 10, you now have a couple tricks in your bag that you can pull out in any situation. Try to learn the entire song by getting a tablature and follow the instructions there.
Make sure you play with a metronome keeping time and if you have access to a camera, try to video tape yourself playing so you have something to look back to to check on your progress as a guitarist!
Try to make sure you also employ alternate picking so your hands don’t get too tired easily. Set aside some time for practice and sooner or later you’ll be playing the entire song instead of just playing riffs taken from parts of the song itself. Now it’s time for you to practice!