Learn To Play These 3 Killer ZZ Top Riffs

Learn to play these 3 killer ZZ Top riffs with Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman. Be sure to get the free tabs to go along with the step by step video instruction and you can be rockin’ these killer riffs tonight!

ZZ Top Riff

Introduction

Hey everybody how’s it going? This is Darrin with GuitarControl.com bringing you this video lesson. Today I want to show you how to play three cool ZZ Top riffs that aren’t too terribly difficult to play and they are in just standard tuning. So I know a lot of Billy Gibbons stuff is in open tunings, but these are variations that you can play in standard.I’m not 100% sure if these ones originally are in an open tuning or not, but this is just the way that I play the riffs. So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look.

ZZ Top Riff-1 La Grange

Alright, so the first one we’re going to look at is La Grange. So for this one I’m using a hybrid picking technique because on this one part of the riff you want to play it with your fingers. So if you’re new and you’ve never really done hybrid picking before it might be easier to just play it with your fingers, but what I’m doing basically is barring the second fret of the D string and G string with my first finger and I’m holding the guitar pick just with my thumb and first finger and that leaves my second and third fingers free so i’m using my second finger to pluck the fourth string and my third finger to pluck the third string. So for the timing on it it’s all eighth notes, so we’ve got one and, and then we rest on the downbeat of two and then pluck that again on the and of two, and then rest on the downbeat of three, and then on the and of three rest on the downbeat of four and on the and of four… and that’s the first measure. So on the second measure we rest on the downbeat of one and then on the and of one we hit that chord again and then on the downbeat of two we rest. Then I’m going to bring my pinky up here to the fifth fret of the D string and I’m gonna play on the and of two i’m going to play the open A string and then on the downbeat of three I’m going to play the open A string plus the fifth fret of the D string and then back to the open A string and then we’re going to bring that pinky up so it’s on the fifth fret of the G string and we’re going to hit the D and G strings together… back to the A string and that’s the second measure… And then on the downbeat of the third measure we’re going to do that same thing, our fourth finger is still on the fifth fret of the G string and we’re going to play that and the D string together, but we’re going to do a slight quarter step bend on that G string and then release that back to where we started with the second fret of the D string and the G string… and then that just kind of repeats… just like that and it just repeats and if you listen on the original song it just kind of repeats that and then he just kind of just it just kind of changes around rhythmically where he throws stuff in here and there. So that’s basically it the riff’s, somewhat repetitive, but it’s a pretty cool riff and it’s a good one to work with your hybrid picking.

ZZ Top Riff-2 Sharp Dressed Man

All right so the next one we’re going to look at is Sharp Dressed Man. So for this one we’re going gonna come all the way up here to the eighth fret of the low E string and we’ve just got a C5 power chord. So I’m on the eighth fret of the low E with my first finger, the tenth fret of the A string with my third finger and the tenth fret of the D string with my fourth finger. So with this it’s made up of eighth notes for the most part, so this is like one and,  and then you’re going to keep that first finger where it is and we’re going to bring our third and fourth fingers up a set of strings so we’re still on the 10th fret, but now our third finger is on the D string and our fourth finger is on the G string and we’re just going to strum that as a another power chord, but instead of being a fifth it’s a fourth, this is F5 over C (F5/C) and then we follow that with the low E string; now when you come back to that if you hit the chord again that would be fine too… Then we’re gonna take the our third and fourth finger off and our first finger we’re gonna barre it so we’re picking up the eighth fret of the D and the G strings and then we’re to come back to the 10th fret of the A string and the D string and then follow that with the eighth fret of the low E string and that’s the first measure; so it’s like one and two and three and four and… All right, so moving on to the second measure we go back up and move our third and fourth finger back up again so we’re on the D and G strings at the tenth fret and then down to the eighth fret again with your first finger and then the low E string and back to the tenth fret of the A and D strings, again like the power chord… Then this is probably the one of the harder parts of it, we’re going to come all the way down to the third fret of the low E string and then we’re going to go to the first fret of the A string and we’re going to pick that and slide and these are 16th notes. So… and then back up to here and then the whole riff starts over again…

ZZ Top Riff-3 Tush

All right and then the last we want to look at is a riff from Tush. So for this one I’m going to come down and start off with your first finger on the third fret of the low E string and then we’re going to kind of do something similar to what we did in Sharp Dressed Man, but we’re going to do it down here; so your first finger is going to be here on the third fret of the low E string and then your third finger is going to be on the fifth fret of the D string and your fourth finger is on the fifth fret of the G string. Now you want to barre your first finger because we’re going to move this down to the third fret and we just want to do that by just barring our first finger… and that’s like the first measure. So we hit two the low E string twice palm muted and then the fifth fret of the D and G strings and back to the third fret of the low E string and then back to the D and G strings on the fifth fret and then to the third fret and then back to the third fret of the low E string… so that’s the first measure one and two and three and four and, and then on the second measure we go back to that fifth fret again… Then we’re going to come down to the first fret on the low E string and we’re going to pick this on the and of four of the second measure and slide to the third fret which will be the downbeat of one on the third measure and then on the and of one we hit that again and then the riff basically just repeats…

Conclusion

All right so there you have it, three somewhat simple, but really cool and recognizable riffs from ZZ Top. Now like I said before I’m sure, but I’m pretty sure La Grange is just in standard tuning, at least that’s the way I’ve always played it and I’ve never really seen anybody do it otherwise, but I have seen people do Tush in an open tuning and I’ve heard people talk about that Sharp Dressed Man is also originally done in an open tuning; but I just wanted to do it like this so that way you don’t have to mess around with that and it’s just fun to play riffs that you can just in standard tuning. They have things in there that are going to be good for you to practice to work on timing and muting and articulation between the strings and everything. 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 to 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 and have a great day.

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