50+ Easy Guitar Riffs – All Tabs AND Video Lessons Included

There’s always been something special about playing a great guitar riff. Riffs that are memorable, get stuck in your head, and that everyone knows are actually in many cases are relatively easy to play. That’s because most people remember simple melodies that they can hum along to. I don’t think many people would be able to hum along to “Through the fire and flames”.

In this post, I’ve compiled a list of over 50 easy guitar riffs that are great for both beginner and intermediate-level players. Many of these guitar riffs focus on plucking technique (e.g. Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin) although I’ve also included guitar riffs that are chord or power chord based (e.g. You Really Got Me by The Kinks).

In the list below, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be 50+ of the best easy guitar riff songs I know. For each song, I’ve linked to a variety of online resources to help you learn them. As you may have already noticed, the table below includes 4 columns:

  • The song title (linked to the song on Spotify) and artist
  • Tabs from Ultimate-Guitar and Guitar Pro tabs
  • A link to a video lesson of how to play each song / guitar riff
  • Official guitar tabs

If you prefer to learn a new song by tab, I’d highly recommend using the Guitar Pro tabs whenever available as it can definitely help you get a better feel for the timing of each tab and provide you with more tools to learn guitar riffs and songs in general much faster.

Guitar Pro 6: chord diagram, digital tuner, guitar fretboard

This list is in no particular order so feel free to jump in wherever. Pick a song you like, and start learning how to play its riff with one of the options provided.

Happy guitar playing!

Song / Artist UG & Guitar Pro Tabs Video Lessons Official Tabs
1. Heartbreaker -Led Zeppelin Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
2. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
3. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
4. Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
5. Rock You Like a Hurricane – Scorpions Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
6. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
7. Day Tripper – The Beatles Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
8. Do I Wanna Know – Arctic Monkeys Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
9. Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
10.  Hair of the Dog – Nazareth Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson N/A
11. Sunshine of Your Love – Cream Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
12. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
13. Enter Sandman – Metallica Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
14. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
15. More Than a Feeling – Boston Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
16. Beat It – Michael Jackson Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
17. You Really Got Me – The Kinks Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
18. Paranoid – Black Sabbath Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
19. Carry On Wayward Son – Kansas Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
20. Funk #49 – James Gang Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson N/A
21. Cocaine – Eric Clapton Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
22. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield Tabs|N/A Lesson N/A
23. Bad to the Bone – George Thorogood Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
24. Black Betty – Ram Jam Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson N/A
25. The Ocean – Led Zeppelin Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
26. Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
27. La Grange – ZZ Top Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
28. American Idiot – Green Day Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
29. Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
30. Say It Ain’t So – Weezer Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
31. Takin’ Care of Business – BTO Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson N/A
32. I Wanna Rock – Twisted Sister Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson N/A
33. T.N.T – AC/DC Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
34. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
35. Shine – Collective Soul Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
36. Feels Like the First Time – Foreigner Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
37. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
38. Walk This Way – Aerosmith Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
39. Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
40. My Generation – The Who Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
41. Rockin’ In the Free World – Neil Young Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
42. Ocean Pearl – 54-40 Tabs|N/A N/A N/A
43. Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
44. Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
45. Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
46. Godzilla – Blue Oyster Cult Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
47. Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
48. Run to You – Bryan Adams Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
49. Nothin’ But a Good Time – Poison Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
50. Rock and Roll All Nite – KISS Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson Official
51. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor Tabs|GP Tabs Lesson N/A
52. Slow Ride – Foghat Tabs|N/A Lesson Official
53. You Could Have Been a Lady – April Wine Tabs|N/A Lesson N/A
54. Everybody Wants You – Billy Squier Tabs|N/A Lesson N/A

What Exactly Is a Guitar Riff?

A riff is a repeated sequence of notes or chords used in a song. How riffs are used isn’t always the same. Some songs use riffs as the basis of the entire song while others use a riff for just a short section of the song.

A great riff is memorable and easily identifiable. That’s exactly what each of the songs in the list above have, they’re guitar riffs that most people would recognize.

However, this brings up the question of how does a lick differs from a riff? Well, a lick is usually a short phrase or sequence of notes used to add a bit flair or color to a section of a song. These are typically used in accompaniment with the main melody and typically aren’t repeated like most riffs.

Which Riffs Should You Start Off With?

When looking at the list above, it may be a bit overwhelming to see 50+ guitar riff song suggestions. You may not know where to start depending on your skill level. Below, is a short list of 5 songs you should start out with and learn the main riffs of as a beginner guitarist as well as 5 songs you can start with as an intermediate guitarist. Once you’ve learned these, feel free to head back up to the list above and start learning others as you wish.

Beginner

  • Walk This Way
  • T.N.T
  • Enter Sandman
  • Satisfaction
  • Seven Nation Army

Intermediate

  • Funk #49
  • Beat It
  • The Ocean
  • Do I Wanna Know
  • Crazy Train

Summary

Hopefully, this list of easy guitar riffs has provided you with some ideas of memorable riffs you can learn as a beginner or intermediate player. The great thing is, there are tons of resources out there to help you learn all of these songs. Depending on which medium you prefer to learn from (written, audio, or video) links to each are included above for all songs.

If you think I may have missed any great easy guitar riffs in the list above, don’t forget to leave a comment below. Let us know what your favorite guitar riff is!

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