How To Play Some of the Popular Guitar Riffs

Remember those times when you’re sitting back, kicking your legs up, and listening to your favorite radio station? Then all of a sudden, that great song comes on with that beautiful melody in the beginning that sticks in your head more than the lyrics do.

As guitarists, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Hello, this is Joshua from guitarcontrol, and I’m going to talk to you about guitar riffs.

What is a guitar riff? Well it’s essentially a group of notes or chords in a song that is extremely recognizable, and can be repeated in solo sections or throughout the piece itself. It’s that instrumental in your favorite music that you keep playing over in your head. Some notable riffs are in Passenger’s Let Her Go, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, Fall Out Boy’s Uma Thurman, and many more!

If you’re still a bit confused as to what a riff is and how to play it, here is a tutorial video on the subject by our very own founder, Claude Johnson.


The importance of a riff is to add uniqueness to make a song stand out from its competition. It’s how artists make much of their music their own. The rock and roll band NEEDTOBREATHE is notorious for placing many riffs in their songs, a lot of which are very popular to learn.

Originally, I was going to take the time now to post some of my own favorite riffs for you guys to learn and practice in your spare time, but an article was recently written by a colleague of mine, Darrin Goodman about the 100 best guitar riffs. He highlights many of the riffs I would recommend, so I would encourage you all to check his work out.

Below are some of the popular riffs he referenced.

Sweet Child of Mine


Crazy Train


As always, keep checking back with our website for more riffs, lessons, and other things guitar related too! Keep practicing, fellow guitarists!

I also want to recommend you to check out our song collections:


How to play your favorite songs from the 60's & 70's on the guitar


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