More Killer Classic Black Sabbath Riffs

Learn to play three more killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs with Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman. Be sure to get the free tabs to go along with the step by step video instructions and you will be rockin’ these killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs tonight.

Black Sabbath Riffs 2.0


How’s it going everybody? This is Darrin with bringing you this video lesson. Today I want to show you how to play three cool classic Black Sabbath riffs. These are not the typical ones that everybody’s always doing like Paranoid and Iron Man and stuff like that; not that there’s anything wrong with those, but these are just kind of not as common I guess. So anyhow these are really cool ones I think that just kind of get overlooked and kind of helped form you know forge a whole genre. So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look at these killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs.

Tuning Down

All right so for a lot of killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs they’re tuned down. So what I’ve done here is I’m tuned down a step and a half just so it’s more like what Tony Iommi did, but some of the stuff they were tuned down a whole step, so you know there’s different variances; but this just kind of gets you into that ballpark of where they’re at and if you haven’t played before tuning down like this, especially if you know if you have a guitar that’s set up for it, you’ve got heavier gauge strings, but this guitar is normally set up for standard tuning, so everything’s like super low and sloppy feeling, but this is kind of more like how it would have been for Tony when he recorded these songs.

Black Sabbath Riff-1 – Sabbra Cadabra

So the first killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs we’re going to look at here is Sabbra Cadabra. So with this we’re going to start off we’re on the A string at the seventh fret with my first finger and then we’re going to go to the eighth fret with my second finger and hammer to the ninth fret with the third finger and then we’re gonna follow that with the seventh fret of the G string. So this is kind of weird, this first note here is on the and of three and then the eight, nine is a triplet on the beat starting on the downbeat of four on the first measure; so it’s kind of weird to get the timing for it. Then we’re going into the second measure we’re going to bring our third finger and we’re going to put it onto the ninth fret of the D string and this is like one and, and then on the downbeat of two we rest and then on the and of two we hit that nine again and that’s tied to the downbeat of three and then we go back to the A string seventh fret and we do that same thing again… so starting from the beginning… So the after when we come to the third time where we do that… then we’re go to the fourth measure and we’re gonna go to the ninth fret of the A string and we’re gonna pick that and slide down to the seventh fret and then go to the fifth fret with your first finger and that is the downbeat of one on the fourth measure, but it’s a triplet, so it just takes up one beat and then from there to the seventh fret of the low E string and that’s like two and three and then on the and of three we hit that seven on the A string again and then hammer eight nine again. So we have to shift our hand position a couple of times so that’s one of the things that’s good about this riff is that not only is it like a cool riff, but it forces you to have to move your hand position which you know you don’t want to do ideally if you don’t have to, but there’s some situations where you just have to; so this is like kind of a good exercise for working on your fretting hand being able to move. So we have the and then back to the ninth fret, your third finger on the A string, slide to seven again and to five and then the two sevens on the low E string and shift back up and then it just starts over again. So the whole sequence…

Black Sabbath Riff-2 – Hole In The Sky

All right so the next killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs we’re going to look at is Hole In The Sky and this one is actually really simple, but it’s just got a cool groove and with it tuned down like this it just sounds so heavy and cool. So this one’s pretty easy, we just start off with the A string open twice, so that’s like one and, and then for beat two we move to the D string, first finger on the fifth fret, third finger on the seventh fret and we’re going to go seven, five, seven, but it’s triplets, so it’s like one and two yellow three and four yellow… So you do that a total of three times, the third time being the first measure is the same as the third measure. Then for beat three we’re going to do a C5 power chord. So come down to the third fret of the A string my first finger and then the fifth fret of the D and G strings with my third finger like this or you could use… whichever is more comfortable for you; this has just always been my kind of go-to way for beat three. And then beat four we just move it up a whole step to D5 and that’s like half of the riff. Then starting on measure three it’s the same as measure four and the only difference is instead of going C5, D5, we’re gonna go D5, C5 and then the whole thing just repeats…

Black Sabbath Riff-3 – Symptom Of The Universe

All right then the last killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs we’re going to look at is Symptom Of The Universe. So this is a really heavy and dark sounding riff, especially tuned down like this. So we start off we’ve got an E5 power chord here; so we’ve got our low E open and then I’m on the second fret of the A string and the D string with my first finger, so it’s like an E minor, but we’re just playing the three lower strings. So this is played as eighth notes with palm muting; so it’s one and two and three and, and then on the downbeat of four we just hit the low E. Now if you end up hitting the whole chord it’s not like a huge deal, but you can hear that that dynamic change there and then on the downbeat of four we’re gonna do a B flat five (Bb5). So first finger on the first fret of the A string, third finger on the third fret of the D and G strings and that is on the and of four and then it’s tied to a dotted half note on the next measure; so that’s like and one two three, and then on beat four we hit it again as a quarter note and then back to… so the first two measures… Measure three is almost the same as measure one except for that last chord instead of being Bb5 flat five we’re actually going to do an E5 that’s an octave higher; so first fret of the D string with your first finger, fourth fret of the G string with your third finger and we hit that on the and of four and then on we rest on the downbeat of one on the fourth measure and we come back to the B5… and then that’s tied to ring out until beat four where we hit it again as a quarter and then the whole thing would just repeat… Such a cool sounding riff and you can really hear the influence in a lot of the modern metal music that was taken from killer classic Black Sabbath riffs like this.


All right so there you have it. Three cool, I believe to be iconic Black Sabbath riffs, but like I said they’re just kind of the lesser known ones, unless you’re like a hardcore Sabbath guy. But like I said not too terribly tough to play, but they’re just great sounding and good to kind of break into playing tuned down and stuff like that. So if you like this killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs lesson be sure to give me a thumbs up and leave a comment down below if you have any questions about this 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 more killer classic Black Sabbath Riffs and have a great day.

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


This free course expires in:


Get 2 hours of FREE Guitar Lessons.