July 29, 2022 by Klaus Crow
When you’re learning to play guitar you practice chords, strumming patterns, fingerpicking patterns, guitar songs and scales in order to become an an accomplished guitar player. That stuff can be hard and challenging sometimes so it’s healthy for you to take a pleasant break now and then. That’s where easy guitar riffs and intros come in.
Indulging in the best and easiest guitar riffs is good for the soul. It’s motivating and will keep the fun alive while working on your regular practice workout.
What is a guitar riff?
A guitar riff is a memorable sequence of notes or chords that has a main part in the song. It has a strong melodic or harmonic pattern that is used as a repeated catchy hook and makes the music stand out. Riffs can be found in all styles of music from rock to latin all the way to classical music.
While riffs are usually short in duration, there are examples of longer riffs and they can differ in complexity from really simple to super challenging riffs.
How to practice a guitar riff
Before you start practicing a guitar riff you want to listen to the riff a couple of times. Put on the original track and carefully listen to the notes (the melody or harmony), to the duration of the notes, the beat, the rhythm, the tempo, the timing of the notes, any dynamics or accents of the notes in the riff.
Analyze the riff with your ears in anyway possible. This is a really important process and skill to learn and gives you a great advantage before you really start learning any riff on the guitar.
Once you’ve listened and analyzed the riff you look for the Tabs (see the easy guitar tabs list below) and try to figure out the riff note by note. I recommend you first try to figure out the riff using only the tabs and your ears and when you’re stuck you watch a video guitar lesson. Trying to work out the riff on your own is so good for developing and improving your guitar skills, it’s huge!
How to read easy guitar tabs
Tab (Tablature) or Tab notation is an easy way to read and notate guitar music. Tab has six horizontal lines. Each one represents a string on the guitar.
The top line is the thinnest string called the high e-string or 1st string. Next comes the B-string also called 2nd string, then the G-string, D-string, A-string and finally the low E-string (6th string) on the lowest line which is the thickest string on your guitar.
The numbers on the lines indicate the fret numbers and so what fret (note) you have to play. You read the notes from left to right. In the tab example below you see a “2” on the A-string, it means you put your finger on the 2nd fret and play the A-string. Next you see a “0” on the D-string it means you play an open D-string.
In measure two you see an “H” above fret number 2 and 4, this means you play a hammer on from the g-string 2nd fret to the 4th fret. On the b-string there is a pull off from the 5th fret back to the 4th fret. Next you can find slides up and down, bend ups, vibrato and tapping.
Here are the most common Tab symbols you can find: “h” = hammer on, “p” = pull off, “/” = slide up, “\” = slow down, “b” or “arrow up / full” = bend, “bu” = bend up, “bd” = bend down”, “t” = tapping, “~” = vibrato. If you see notes stacked vertically on top of each other you play them simultaneously. They are usually chords.
Check out How to Read Guitar Tabs – Tablature for a more extensive explanation on how to read easy guitar tabs.
Let’s play easy guitar riffs and intros
Now it’s time to plug into your overdrive and distortion pedals, turn on the amp and go for it. Behold the best, most easy and timeless guitar riffs and intros for beginners that will make you sound like a badass!
Click on the song title to watch the guitar video lesson. Click on “Chords” to read the chords & lyrics sheets and click “Tabs” to read the easy guitar tabs to learn your favorite guitar riffs and intros.
|Smoke on the water||Deep purple||Chords||Tabs|
|Seven nation army||White Stripes||Chords||Tabs|
|I will follow||U2||Chords||Tabs|
|Beat it||Michael Jackson||Chords||Tabs|
Featured: “Seven Nation Army” by WS – Easy Guitar Riff
|Come as you are||Nirvana||Chords||Tabs|
|Sunshine of your love||Cream||Chords||Tabs|
|You really got me||The Kinks||Chords||Tabs|
|Breaking the law||Judas Priest||Chords||Tabs|
|Redemption song||Bob Marley||Chords||Tabs|
|Heart of gold||Neil Young||Chords||Tabs|
Featured: “Come as you are” by Nirvana – Easy Guitar Riff
|The one I love||REM||Chords||Tabs|
|Roadhouse blues||The Doors||Chords||Tabs|
|Plush||Stone Temple Pilots||Chords||Tabs|
|By the Way||RHCP||Chords||Tabs|
|Chasing cars||Snow Patrol||Chords||Tabs|
|Ticket to ride||The Beatles||Chords||Tabs|
|The man who sold the world||David Bowie / Nirvana||Chords||Tabs|
Featured: “Chasing cars” by Snow Patrol – Easy Guitar Riff
Now you’ve got some riffs and intro’s in your pocket you’re ready to learn some easy to play guitar songs. Check out Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners
Do you know some really easy guitar riffs? Please share in the comments.
I always wanted to learn easy riffs and intros.The tabulature is easy to learn.My favourite riffs are heart of gold ,the one i love and sunshine of your love.Thanks for sharing.
I am a beginner, how to read this riffs?? I know how to read basic Tab but the above given are very difficult. Can you please help how to read them
Hi Klause, great post as always, I’ve been reading your blog for more than a year now,
just thought to let you know that the youtube link for 21 – Heartbreaker – Led Zeppelin has been removed by youtube – you might want to put another ;)
cheers and keep up!
Klaus Crow says
Thanks for mentioning. I appreciate that. I just put up another link for “Heartbreaker”.
And thanks for reading Guitarhabits!
mayonaise james keenan says
Hey another easy song to learn and is awesome is:
Sweet Dreams – Marilyn Manon
Mister Superstar –
Those 2 songs are easy to play. You can pick them up fast and sound like a rockstar in like 10 minutes. Fun to play along too.
Add the good the bad and the ugly, it is so simplr and easy to learn, possibly too easy ? zephyr song by red hot chilli peppers is pretty easy too
Eric Lehtonen says
None of these links work.
Could you please post a video on youtube for easy country licks and intros
dont know if im on the right forum for this request, im new here
Thank you ever so kindly
ameer sfkah says
Great Works thanks
Good list of nice guitar riffs that are easy to play even for a beginner. But some of these songs are a bit harder to master even there are easy riffs. I’d suggest to learn these full songs, it’s a good practice as well!
So greatful for them
The walking theme from Bully by Shawn Lee is easy
It’s basically one hand shape across 4 frets
I havent seen a good tab on the internet, so I will attempt to male a tab for it
Randall Dill says
how to get these nice thing?
I am an old beginner @ 71 years
Thanks for the list given here, I love to play most of them.
Bob Taylor says
Hello Klaus, I found the way you word what you are getting to penetrates my head so easy to follow. The riffs are great, got to put a lot of work into them, it is a great break from SCALES. YOURS Bob Taylor (Keep on Punching)
YouTube links from Daytripper to Otherside are all Beat it, otherwise great content!