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Setting the Rhythm for Your Music

Riff Guitar Lessons

Riff Guitar Lessons

One of the most breathtakingly impressive styles of guitar is the rock of the late sixties and early seventies. The era of the riff-heavy songs where the lyrics seemed to be just an excuse to make up another riff. So, as a result, lots of guys who hear music from this era want to take riff guitar lessons. That’s it, nothing else, just the riffs. This is just one step above air guitar, but a step just the same.

A riff is a sequence of notes or chords that is repeated many times throughout a song. The guitar riff is a modern musical phenomenon although riffs have always been used in jazz and blues. In rock guitar a riff may contain very few notes but those notes usually make up a catchy combination of rhythm and tune that sticks in the memory of all who hear it. A riff can also contain a rhythm with no melody as in Ravel’s Bolero or in any number of classical pieces that make use of the fandango rhythm.

But getting people’s attention is what riff guitar is all about. As soon as you start playing, heads turn, the attention of the room is focused on where the music is coming from. It might be news to some of you guitar players who just want lessons on how to play riffs that the whole song is usually not a whole lot harder to play than just the riff. So when you pick up a guitar at a party, you could actually impress the people with your ability to play and sing a whole song.

Some early songs containing notable riffs are Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix, Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple Spoonful and Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream, and It’s All Right Now by Free. An interesting example of the use of a riff is Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin. The riff is in the song’s melody line which is sung by Robert Plant, and the guitar simply accompanies the riff.

If you start off your guitar playing with lessons on how to play riffs, that’s fine. Your next step could be power chords, or you could tap into your creative side and begin composing riffs of your own. If you are having trouble remembering riffs that are not from the sixties, try Under The Bridge by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dammit by Blink 182, Come As You Are by Nirvana, and Devil Inside by INXS.

So, there is no shame in wanting to take riff guitar lessons. It’s a great way to grow a repertoire of popular songs. You don’t even need an electric guitar to learn riffs. Just get some tabs for some of the songs I’ve mentioned and take a look at how simple it would be to learn the chords to the complete song.