Learn These 3 Fun & Easy Southern Rock Riffs

Learn to play 3 fun and easy southern rock riffs with Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman, aka Uncle D. Be sure to get the free tabs to go along with the step by step video instruction and you will be rockin’ these classic riffs tonight!

southern rock riff


How’s it going everybody? This is Darrin with GuitarControl.com bringing this video lesson and today I’ve got three fun and easy southern rock riffs for you.

So right now Guitar Control is giving away this really cool free chord chart and it’s a free download. It’s in PDF format and has every chord that you could ever need all neatly compiled into one sheet and you can download it you can print it off and put it where you practice, throw it in your gig bag; just have it wherever you might need any chord at a glance and it’s a free download, just click the link.

So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tab so let’s get close up and take a look at these.

Southern Rock Riff-1 – Black Betty – Ram Jam

All right so the first southern rock riff we’re going to look at is the riff from Black Betty by Ram Jam. So this starts off, it’s made up of just a bunch of regular uh power chords and barre chords and stuff that you probably already know. So the first one we got here is an A5; so I’m on the fifth fret of the low E string with my first finger and I’m picking up the seventh fret of the A string with my third finger and the seventh fret of the D string with my fourth finger. Now if you’re a beginner you might have issue with getting that fourth string and you know you might be trying to just do this with your first finger or your pinky. If you cannot get the D string you can just whenever you’re doing this shape the note that’s on the lowest string and the note that’s on the highest string is the same note; so if you omit this one and just play this it’s close enough that you can still get through the song just fine. All right so we rest on one two three four and, and then on the and of four we hit this A5 and we’re going to slide up the whole step to B5 and that’s the downbeat of one of the second measure… And then we strum it again on the and of one… Okay then we’ve got a muted strum; so I basically just release the pressure just touch the strings so that way you can just kind of get that percussive sound you don’t want to press down you just want to lightly touch them. So that’s the downbeat of beat number two and it’s 16th notes so it’s just two quick ones and then we have a D5 or actually I guess it’s just as full on D major, but what we’re doing is we’re picking up the fifth fret of the A string with your first finger in the seventh fret of the D, G and B string, all with your third finger. Now if you can’t get that and you can just get the A and the D string, and again that’ll be good enough to be able to play and then as you get better you’ll be able to get the whole chord… So we hit that D5 and that’s on the and of two and then on the downbeat of three we have a mute strum and then we’re gonna take this D shape and just move it up a whole step to E; so now your first finger should be at the seventh fret and your third finger should be at the ninth mute back to the D… And then on the and of four that second measure we come back to the A5 and then slide up to the B5 again two mutes. Now this time we have the same rhythm, but we’re going to go to the D mute D mute D A and then it would just start over again…

Southern Rock Riff-2 – Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd

All right so the next southern rock riff we’re going to look at is riff from Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd. So for this we’ve just got three chords. We’ve got a regular old just C major open chord; so I’m on the third fret of the A string with my third finger, second fret of the D string with my second finger, the G string is open and I’m on the first fret of the B string with my first finger. And then we’ve got a G and for this particular case the way I recommend to do it is just to take your second and third finger and just move them down a set of strings so now your second finger is on the second fret of the A string and your third finger is on the third fret of the low E string. The reason is because when we’re only playing just the E, A, B and G string while we’re on this chord; so it just makes it for an easy transition. And then the next chord we have is A minor seven (Am7).  So for this particular voicing you just do regular old A minor (Am); so first finger is just staying here on the first fret of the B string throughout all of this and then my second finger is going to the second fret of the D string and my third finger is going to the second fret of the G string and then my pinky is going to pick up the third fret of the high E string and that’s Am7. So those are the three chords for this whole thing, so when we start off we rest on this first measure we rest for all of all four beats except for the last two sixteenth notes of beat four. So with that we’ve got these pickup notes, so immediately just put your first finger down here on the first fret of the B string and just keep it there so we can hit the A string open and then the second fret with your second finger and then drop to a C chord… So that’s our picking pattern; A, G, D, A, B, G, D, G. Then we’re going to switch to the G and now it’s E, D, A, E, G, D, A, D and then to the Am7; A, G, D, A, D… I have my finger on the wrong on the wrong string there, I try that again so that second third this third measure we switched a minor seven; A, G, D, A, B, G, D, G, A, B, G, D, E, B and then those two pickup notes and then it just repeats… Now when you’re playing that if you notice there that there was a couple of places where I picked the G string when it should have been the B string or vice versa, that kind of thing. As long as you’re just staying out of the you know off that high E string except for that one note if you hit any of the other strings it’s still going to sound you know good, it’s still going to sound close enough; so don’t you know get too hung up if you know hit the wrong string just keep just keep going.

Southern Rock Riff-3 – Midnight Rider – Allman Brothers

All right and then the last southern rock riff we’ll look at here is the riff from Midnight Rider. So this one’s pretty easy because it just all revolves around D major, but we’re going to want to play it a little bit differently. So take your first finger just barre across the first three frets at the second fret or excuse me the first three strings at the second fret; so I got that first finger there and then I’m going to use my ring finger, my third finger here to pick up the third fret of the B string and so you know it sounds the same as this we’re just playing it like this and the reason is because we’re going to need this middle finger here to do these little notes, little pickup notes. Alright so the beginning of this starts off it’s really kind of strange, we have the first three notes there, E, G, B, that referring to the to the strings, what string that is and we hit that as a sixteenth note triplet and then on the and of that beat we hit the D string again and then on the downbeat of two we strum the whole thing and then on the and of two the G string; so that’s the riff and it repeats a total of four times, so twice per measure, it’s kind of hard to really get it so it’s really consistently the same way. All right so then starting on the third measure is where it goes into this like really recognizable part. We play the A string open and then we go to the third fret and this is on the downbeat of one, and that’s 16th notes, so it’s… and then we go to the strum the regular the D chord, but this way so that we have that middle finger free and we hit that on the and of one and then the downbeat of two. So then we hit this note on the A string again this is a C on the third fret here and then back to the D… So when we hit this third time we have the D chord is actually on the and of two, but it’s tied to all of beat three plus the downbeat of four and then on the and of four we just hit the D chord again. And then on the fourth measure it’s just a variation of that open three strum strum and then that just repeats.


All right so there you have it, three not too terribly difficult to play and fun southern rock riffs. So if you like this lesson be sure to give me a thumbs up and leave a comment down below if you have any questions about this or other guitar related topics. If you’ve not already done so please subscribe the channel and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss any of the content that we upload throughout the week. Well that is all I have for you today. Thanks for watching 3 Fun & Easy Southern Rock Riffs and have a great day.