The Greatest Opening Guitar Riffs Ever (2023)

Start Me Up

They reach out of your speakers and seize you, typically within the first four or five seconds and often in a brilliantly simple way, compelling your attention and propelling the tune forward. They’re the opening guitar riffs, immediately recognizable and unforgettable signatures of some of the most notable and celebrated songs in music history.

So what do you say we compile a So Much Great Music Top 10 list (even though it’ll be way more than 10) and rank the greatest ones of all time?

And, in so doing, we’ll need some qualifier, some analysis point to which we can refer. How about we make this our overarching principle:

When you see the song title and band in front of you on the list to follow, you should be able to hear the guitar intro playing in your head.

Now, this may not happen for all of you, or certainly for all of the songs (“your results may vary” as they say in the pharmaceutical advertising game). But it still seems like a valid enough tentpole. These opening riffs are such landmarks of rock and roll, such instantly identifiable surges of melodic adrenaline, they’re largely seared into memory. At least that’s the hope — but just in case not, you will find a handy SMGM playlist at the bottom to sample the selections and aid your recollections.

Alright, as is our list-making custom here, a few quick ground rules before getting started.

  • First, we did say opening riffs. Some pretty famous ones are quite tempting but must be deemed ineligible as the key guitar riffing section occurs not at the very outset but after some other significant musical activity or interval takes place (we’ll visit some of those examples later on).
  • Next, in case it wasn’t previously made clear, we’re talking about electric guitar. There’s a valued place (and perhaps someday another list) for pretty, acoustic guitar intros. But those are, naturally, quite distinct from the plugged-in speaker shakers about to be coming at you. Sorry, but step aside ‘Stairway to Heaven.’
  • And last, even as much as this immediately complicates things, we’re going to impose the one entry per band rule. Now, this is especially burdensome when it comes to four particular bands and their respective riff-masters. In Jimmy Page,Keith Richards, Angus Young, and John Fogerty – there are plenty more, but these jump out the most – you have veritable rock & roll riff machines. They could seemingly fall out of bed (or in one case, stay in it…we’ll get to that later, too) and create more indelible guitar riffs than mere mortals could ever dream. Otherworldly riff automatons are they…but we’re still going to try to stick to one per customer.

Well, you know that tingling feeling of anticipation that gets you all keyed up when you’re presented with an incredible song-opening guitar riff? I trust you’ve got a similar sensation now. Let’s get started.

Greatest Opening Guitar Riffs (50-41)

50. Mysterious Ways — U2
49. Glory Days —
48. Walk Away — James Gang
47. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love—Van Halen
46. Takin’ Care of Business —Bachman-Turner Overdrive
45. Red Neck FriendJackson Browne
44. Alive — Pearl Jam
43. The Boys Are Back in Town —Thin Lizzy
42. American Idiot — Green Day
41. Secret Agent Man — Johnny Rivers

How’d that opening ten, the back of our top 50, hit you? You’re mentally humming some of those to yourself now, right? Weren’t expecting to see a Johnny Rivers appearance, were you? Questions abound, and so do these memorable intros. On to the next block.

Greatest Opening Guitar Riffs (40-31)

40. The CoreEric Clapton
39. Message In A Bottle— The Police
38. Sweet Child O’ Mine — Guns N’ Roses
37. Don’t Fear (The Reaper)— Blue Öyster Cult
36. Should I Stay or Should I Go — The Clash
35. Tush ZZ Top
34. Rebel RebelDavid Bowie
33. Oh Well (Pt. 1)Fleetwood Mac
32. Do Ya — Electric Light Orchestra
31.Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong — Spin Doctors

There’s just no riff-raff among these phenomenal riffs. I bet a ’90’s Spin Doctors selection is a bit of a shock, but go back and listen to that start. Did we hit any of your favorite picks yet? By the way, if you don’t think you know ‘Oh Well (Pt. 1)’ by the title, oh, well, don’t worry you do (remember, the master playlist awaits you below for future reference – but no sneaking peeks yet, we’ve still got 30 more amazing guitar riff greats to go).

But first a quick diversion. This theme topic brings so many fantastic songs into play, including many that would seem to be sure-things within our list. But, they’re not. Why? Because, what you may have long thought of as a song’s beginning really just isn’t. You’ll recall our first rule from above regarding an opening guitar riff (prior to any other “significant musical activity or interval” having taken place), and then note the following grouping of songs: the top 25 songs whose “opening” guitar riffs might otherwise have qualified them for our list of the greatest 50, except that it’s not actually the opening (Don’t believe it? Have a re-listen sometime, be a stickler, and get back to me). And, sorry, I’m not going to bother to rank them, so here they are alphabetized.

Best Not Actually Opening Riffs (1-25)

  • Back in Black —AC/DC
  • Black Dog —Led Zeppelin
  • Can’t Get Enough —Bad Company
  • Can’t Stop —Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Carry On My Wayward Son —Kansas
  • Crazy Train —Ozzy Osbourne
  • Enter Sandman — Metallica
  • Funk #49James Gang
  • I Feel Fine —The Beatles
  • I Just Want to Celebrate — Rare Earth
  • Iron Man — Black Sabbath
  • La Grange ZZ Top
  • Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress) — The Hollies
  • Mississippi Queen — Mountain
  • Money For Nothing — Dire Straits¹
  • More Than A Feeling — Boston
  • Murder Incorporated — Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
  • Purple Haze — Jimi Hendrix
  • Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) — Elton John
  • Song 2 — Blur
  • Sweet Jane — The Velvet Underground
  • Walk This Way — Aerosmith
  • Vertigo — U2
  • Voodoo Child (Slight Return) — Jimi Hendrix
  • You Shook Me All Night Long — AC/DC

¹the longest delay champ, Mark Knopfler’s famous “opening” riff doesn’t appear for one minute and 36 seconds

So many of those were such tough calls. It pained me to have to leave them out, really it did. Well, truthfully some more than others. Ozzy’s two contributions are iconic but musically rather ugly (come out swinging, metal heads). But my god, ‘Sweet Jane.’ Those few simple chords are about as good as they come. An absolute top 10 contender, if not for that twinkly 15-second interlude that precedes them. Not to mention, for the definitive version on Lou Reed’s live Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal album, the multi-minutes-long unadulterated genius of the “intro” section before those legendary chords ever arrive.

But, we digress.

And fortunately, we’ve got even greater, wholly legitimate guitar riff openings to come. Starting next with these.

Greatest Opening Guitar Riffs (30-21)

30. School’s Out — Alice Cooper
29. Rock & Roll Band — Boston
28. Heart Full of Soul — The Yardbirds
27. Gimme Three StepsLynyrd Skynyrd
26. Smells Like Teen Spirit — Nirvana
25. Johnny B. Goode — Chuck Berry
24. Life in the Fast LaneEagles
23. Free Ride — The Edgar Winter Group
22. Stay With Me — Faces
21. Barracuda — Heart

Look at that list of tunes. Anytime you can stack Chuck Berry next to Kurt Cobain, Edgar Winter with Alice Cooper, Yardbirds and Faces…there’s just a lot of damn impressive stuff going on there.

Listen, I’ve done a pretty fair amount of research in preparation for this piece. Multiple weeks, let’s just say. Conservatively. The remarkably sticky, earworm openings of these songs (to say nothing of the scores more that ultimately needed to be excluded) have become mentally ingrained, even more so than what the decades of prior regular listening would have already equated. At this point it’s hard for me to sit still just imagining them playing over and over. I’m, ah…I’m a bit overwrought. We may need another redirection. Let’s try this.

Here’s a quick side-list of 10 more (okay it’s 11, so shoot me). The connection for these being, even if I’m not exactly a huge fan of the band, not as extensively attached to their more widespread catalogs, these songs have some undeniably awesome intro riffs. Again, alphabetized not ranked.

Lesser-Loved Acts, Undeniable Intro Riffs (1-10)

  • Bulls on Parade — Rage Against The Machine
  • Celebrity Skin — Hole
  • God Save The Queen — Sex Pistols²
  • Limelight —Rush
  • No One Knows — Queens of the Stone Age
  • Plush — Stone Temple Pilots
  • Rock You Like A Hurricane — Scorpions
  • Spoonman — Soundgarden
  • Stranglehold — Ted Nugent
  • Supermassive Black Hole — Muse
  • Take It Off — The Donnas

²in fairness they had only one album, though it was momentous

Alright, back to the main list of our Top 50. And we’re nearing the home stretch. Nothing but more classic guitar riff openers await you, one more gripping than the next, and accomplished in mere seconds. Picking back up, then, with #20…

Greatest Opening Guitar Riffs (20-11)

20. Crossroads —Cream
19. Runnin’ Down A DreamTom Petty
18. Day TripperThe Beatles
17. China GroveThe Doobie Brothers
16. Are You Gonna Go My Way — Lenny Kravitz
15. Born To Be Wild — Steppenwolf
14. All Right Now — Free
13. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?R.E.M.
12. Up Around The BendCreedence Clearwater Revival
11. Highway To Hell — AC/DC

You had to see some of those coming, yes? But, maybe not certain others. I’d like to think your mind is now just swimming in these glorious six-string starters. And, perhaps for some others of you, you’re instead starting to glower at the screen: how could some of these songs possibly be ranked up this high? What a joke. And worse, how in the name of Les Paul could my personal choice(s) still be nowhere to be found? I mean, there’s only the Top 10 left. It’s madness. Madness, I tell you!

Let’s try to address that latter point, at least in part, with one final bit of rerouting. Recalling our own self-imposed limitation – only one place on the Top 50 list per band³ – that knocked out some real, otherwise obvious keepers. So at a minimum let’s address 20 of them, heavily populated by the work of the four gents (Page/Richards/Young/Fogerty) called-out at the top, but also numerous other notables. Too much pork for just one fork, so we just had to choose another track.

³and yeah, even that leaves some grey area; Clapton is represented within the list by Cream, Derek’s Dominos, and solo…yup, those are considered different

Best Opening Riffs By Bands Already/Elsewhere On List (1-20)

  • AC/DC — Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  • AC/DC — It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)
  • The Beatles — Revolution
  • Boston — Smokin’
  • David Bowie — Suffragette City
  • Cream — Sunshine of Your Love
  • Cream — SWLABR
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival — Bad Moon Rising
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival — Green River
  • Green Day — When I Come Around
  • The Kinks — You Really Got Me
  • Lenny Kravitz — Fly Away
  • Led Zeppelin — Custard Pie
  • Led Zeppelin — Houses of the Holy
  • Led Zeppelin — Immigrant Song
  • Led Zeppelin — Whole Lotta Love
  • Rolling Stones — Beast of Burden
  • Rolling Stones — Brown Sugar
  • Rolling Stones — Tumbling Dice
  • The Who — I Can’t Explain

…And no, we’re not even including Start Me Up by The Stones because it’s too damn obvious.

⁴gun to my head, this is probably my all-time personal favorite

*Best Opening Guitar Riff in a TV show theme? Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – I could listen to that sh#t on a loop*

Well, in this feast of extraordinary song beginnings, we’ve made it to the end. The actual Top 10, at last. Contemplated and created using a systematic process of sublime subjectivity. Let’s do it, let’s finally reveal So Much Great Music‘s Ten Greatest Opening Guitar Riffs of all time. A few locks, maybe a few surprises. Can you hear them yet? Here we go.

Greatest Opening Guitar Riffs (10-1)

10. Go All The WayThe Raspberries
9. What Is LifeGeorge Harrison
8. Layla — Derek & The Dominos
7. Smoke On The Water — Deep Purple
6. Aqualung — Jethro Tull
5. American WomanThe Guess Who
4. The SeekerThe Who
3. All Day and All of the NightThe Kinks
2. Heartbreaker — Led Zeppelin
1. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction — Rolling Stones

Come on, like there’s really a more perfect and engraved-in-memory opening in rock and roll history than ‘Satisfaction’? Say what you want about any of the other preceding choices, but as far as this being the #1 answer, as Poppie said in Seinfeld, “Now onna this issue there canna be no debate!” I guess the only thing more incredible than this perfectly pristine intro is how it was created. The best known opening riff in rock history came to Keith Richards in his sleep.

“Yeah, that came to me in a dream,” said the inimitable Keef. It was May of 1965, and Richards had a guitar at the foot of his bed and a little Phillips cassette player nearby. “I put a fresh blank tape in, a new one, y’know, just in case. When I woke up the next morning, I just glanced at the tape and (saw) it’s run all the way to the end. And then all of a sudden I realized that my guitar was now in the bed lying next to me. And so out of curiosity I ran the tape back to the beginning, and there it is…’dun, dun, da na nun, da nanna nanna…‘. But I had no recollection of actually doing it.”

And thus was the most iconic opening guitar riff ever (along with about 40 minutes of snoring) captured to history. This, fellow music-lovers, must only be considered a miracle. As well as proof that Keith’s not human (on that, I suppose, ample evidence has long been present). Regardless, thank goodness for Keith somnambulantly hitting the record button on that Phillips cassette player. Somehow. A world without that riff would’ve offered a lot less satisfaction.

* * * * *

Here’s the full Top 50 Playlist. Obviously, the songs are all there in their entirety. But for this exercise, we’ll understand if you only listen to just the first few seconds of each.

(but by all means log in to Spotify so you can hear the beginnings and not the random middle that’s played in preview mode)


What is the greatest ever guitar riff? ›

And now, here are some of the best guitar riffs of all time.
  • 5: Guns N' Roses: Sweet Child O' Mine (1988) ...
  • 4: Deep Purple: Smoke On The Water (1972) ...
  • 3: The Rolling Stones: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction) (1965) ...
  • 2: Chuck Berry: Johnny B Goode (1958) ...
  • 1: Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991) ...
  • The best of the rest.

What is the greatest rock and roll guitar riff? ›

“Purple Haze” – Jimi Hendrix

This opening line is one of the most well-known guitar riffs out there. Hendrix's heavy use of the distorted guitar is a killer sound that makes this relatively simple guitar riff sounds awesome.

What is the hardest riff to play? ›

Top 5 Most Difficult Guitar Songs
  • Joe Satriani – The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing.
  • John Petrucci – Damage Control.
  • Steve Vai – Juice.
  • Eddie Van Halen – Eruption.
  • Animals as Leaders – CAFO.
Jan 15, 2020

What is a lick in guitar? ›

In popular music genres such as country, blues, jazz or rock music, a lick is "a stock pattern or phrase" consisting of a short series of notes used in solos and melodic lines and accompaniment. For musicians, learning a lick is usually a form of imitation.

What is the most forbidden riff? ›

Much like “He-who-must-not-be-named,” from Harry Potter, the opening riff of Stairway to Heaven is considered forbidden among people who are so against the song that they cannot even bear to hear it played. The reason for this popular nickname could come from a number of sources, which we will explore below.

What is the hardest guitar chord ever? ›

The six-string F chord is one of the hardest standard chord shape to play on the guitar. When many people try to play the F chord on guitar (and often succeed), it's with far too much struggle and effort than is actually necessary. Even extremely influential guitarists can have a hard time with barre chords.

What is the most famous rock chord? ›

1. C - G - Am - F (I - V -vi - IV) This just might be the most popular chord progression in Western popular music.

What is the easiest riff to play? ›

10 Easy Guitar Riffs for Beginners
  • 1. “ COME AS YOU ARE” by Nirvana.
  • 2. “ DAY TRIPPER” by The Beatles.
  • 3. “ PARANOID” by Black Sabbath.
  • 4. “( I CAN'T GET NO) SATISFACTION” by The Rolling Stones.
  • 5. “ SMOKE ON THE WATER” by Deep Purple.
  • 6. “ BACK IN BLACK” by AC DC.
  • 7. “ ONE” by Metallica.
  • 8. “ REDEMPTION SONG” by Bob Marley.
Aug 3, 2021

What is the main riff in music? ›

A riff can be a wide range of things - from a melodic lead line that is repeated throughout a song, to a particular chord progression, to even just a single note played with a unique rhythm. Most musicians use the term to describe any musical idea that exists within a song.

What is the heaviest guitar riff? ›

Tony Iommi at his heaviest – think Into The Void, the breakdown in Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the eponymous Black Sabbath intro riff, Lord Of This World – remains unimpeachable. In 2020, Metal Hammer polled pro guitarists and Iommi's Symptom Of The Universe riff came out top.

What is the fastest guitar solo ever? ›

Indian Musician Sets World Record With Guitar Solo Played at an Astonishing 1600 Beats Per Minute. An Indian man named Nirvana B. set a Record Setter world record for the fastest guitar solo played after he performed “Flight of the Bumblebee” at an astonishing 1600 beats per minute (bpm).

What is the hardest guitar solo? ›

The 10 Hardest Guitar Solos to Learn (In our humble opinion :)
  1. Eruption by Van Halen (Guitarist - Eddie Van Halen) ...
  2. Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega (Guitarist - Francisco Tárrega) ...
  3. Billy's Bounce by Charlie Parker (Guitarist - George Benson) ...
  4. Electric Sunrise by Plini (Guitarist - Plini)
Oct 27, 2022

Why do artists smash guitars? ›

The main reason why musicians break guitars is because they're bored. This can happen in a few different situations: They're bored with the show they're playing, and so they want to break something to spice things up.

What is a riff vs lick vs? ›

While a riff is designed to set the vibe, a lick is used to showcase the skills of a guitarist by standing out. Unlike riffs, licks allow a guitarist to perform solos or improvise on an established melodic line of the song. While riffs go down as memorable, licks might not necessarily have the same staying power.

Which guitars are easiest to play? ›

Electric guitars are generally the easiest to play: the strings are usually thinner, the 'action' is lower and therefore the strings are easier to press down. The necks are generally narrower too which can help in the early stages.

What is the illegal riff in Stairway to Heaven? ›

Stairway To Heaven is considered a "forbidden riff" because it's banned from most Guitar stores. Nobody enforces the ban, it's more of a cultural etiquette.

What is the forbidden chord? ›

What is the Forbidden Riff? The forbidden riff is any overplayed song that has been (jokingly) banned from being played in guitar stores. The list consists of many well-known, but easy-to-learn riffs and licks that guitar store employees are fed up of hearing on a daily basis – for example, Stairway To Heaven!

What songs are banned in guitar Center? ›

Let us know what we should avoid playing at Guitar Center in the comments!

What is the darkest chord ever? ›

Eb minor – D diminished – F diminished – Eb minor

The diminished chord is the darkest chord in music. This is because it's constructed with stacked minor third intervals.

What are the scariest chords? ›

3 Spooky Sounding Chords For Guitar
  • The good old standard b5 chord. If we could bottle the sound of Black Sabbath and give it a musical name , it would be a b5 chord. ...
  • A power chord with a b9. ...
  • Augmented Major 7 Chords.

What is the longest chord called? ›

The longest of all chord of a circle is called a diameter.

What is considered the most beautiful chord? ›

The Heaven Chord is a chord that you can use as a substitute for a major chord. For example, instead of playing a C Major with the notes C, E, and G, you can use the Heaven Chord. Doesn't that piano chord sound beautiful?!? Later in this lesson, I'll explain exactly what you are playing.

What chord did the Beatles use most often? ›

section 7). The harmonic language of the Beatles mainly uses the chords I, IV and V (in C major: C, F and G major) and the relative minors vi and ii (A minor and D minor).

What is the happiest chord in the world? ›

The happiest chord progression is the I-IV-V progression which, at one point, was also the most common progression in popular music. What makes it so happy is that it's just the 3 major chords of the regular major scale, the tonic, the sub-dominant, and the dominant.

What is the first riff everyone learns on guitar? ›

Smoke on The Water – Deep Purple

Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple may be the first riff most beginners learn on guitar. You can get away with just the root note of the power chords that make up the riff.

What is a catchy riff called? ›

A hook is a musical idea, often a short riff, passage, or phrase, that is used in popular music to make a song appealing and to "catch the ear of the listener".

Should I learn riffs or chords first? ›

When you first start learning how to play the guitar, it's tempting to rush into your favorite songs and riffs, but it's important to start with the basics: learning beginner guitar chords. Knowing which are the most important first chords to learn on guitar can make a huge difference in your progress.

What makes a guitar riff catchy? ›

Many guitar riffs that feature on 'best of' lists contain a two to four bar repeating motif. They're catchy because they're easy to sing or hum along to and have a habit of not leaving our brains, even when we want them to (becoming what's known as an earworm).

What makes a great guitar riff? ›

A good guitar riff is memorable, rhythmic, and simple. If you ever catch yourself humming a part of a song after hearing it, that's a sign it's a good guitar riff. What is this? While it's possible to write good guitar riffs that aren't simple, the more complicated you make a riff, the less memorable it becomes.

How many notes should be in a riff? ›

The singular riff (built around just three notes) is played by all the melodic instruments while the drums beat out a tempo. And some riffs don't involve guitar at all.

What is the hardest piece of music to play on guitar? ›

Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega

Many consider Recuerdos to be the hardest piece ever written for the guitar. It contains an almost continuous tremolo, a technique that requires a guitarist to repeatedly and rapidly pluck the same note.

What is the hardest to play the guitar in? ›

The answer may surprise you.

As you might expect the answers were varied but the two guitar styles that many agreed were the hardest were the classical guitar and the acoustic steel string guitar.

What brand of guitar is the heaviest? ›

Gibson Les Paul guitars weigh between 9-12 pounds (4-5.5 kg) making them one of the heaviest electric guitars available. This is due the the thick mahogany body, which is around 2.5 inches wide. The single cutaway design also adds some weight, in addition to the thick rounded neck and large headstock.

What is the number 1 best guitar solo of all time? ›

1. "Stairway to Heaven" — Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin (1971) Since its release in 1971, "Stairway to Heaven" has topped numerous lists as the best rock song and best guitar solo of all time, and it's primarily thanks to the masterful architecture of Jimmy Page's guitar solo.

What is the longest live guitar solo? ›

In May 14, in front of a live Web-streamed audience of thousands, Austin resident and former Richmond music-scene staple David DiDonato smashed the world record for the longest continuous guitar solo by playing for 25 hours and 55 minutes.

What was John Lennon's favorite guitar? ›

All You Need to Know About John Lennon's Favorite Rickenbacker Model. The Beatles legend's discovery of the 325 model launched Rickenbacker's British Invasion-era success.

How to annoy a guitarist? ›

  1. Play louder than him.
  2. Noodle on your instrument while he's trying to tune up.
  3. Tell him the song doesn't need a guitar solo.
  4. Tell him you think the other guitarist should play the guitar solo after listening to him play it first.
  5. Ask him to turn down his amp.
  6. Reach back and turn down his amp yourself.

What are the bad habits in playing guitar? ›

Playing a guitar that's out of tune is one of the most seriously bad habits you can do as it hinders you from developing an ear for the right pitch. If your guitar is properly tuned, your brain will remember the sound and you will be able to recognized when a note is off so you can correct it.

Who destroyed the most guitars? ›

Matthew Bellamy of Muse has the Guinness world record at breaking the most guitars in one tour, with 140.

Why is a riff called a riff? ›

The etymology of the term is not clearly known. Ian Anderson, in the documentary "A World Without Beethoven", states (repeatedly) that "riff" is the abbreviation of "repeated motif." Other sources propose riff as an abbreviation for "rhythmic figure" or "refrain".

Is riff the same as hook? ›

The riff is a short and catchy melodic idea and it recurs so often that it gives character and structure to a song. The hook is any part of a song that is meant to grab the listener's attention. The hook is also catchy but it doesn't recur as often so that it makes a greater impact when it turns up.

What are the 4 things riff likes? ›

Below are the things liked by Riff:
  • Toe Jammer (requires level 4)
  • Bass String Bridge (level 19)
  • Leafy Sea Dragon (level 20)
  • Crumpler Tree (level 19) ( )

What is the easiest guitar chord ever? ›

The easiest guitar chords for beginners are the Em, C, G and D chord.

What is the hardest beginner guitar chord? ›

C chord (barred)

However, the barred C chord is one of the hardest guitar chords for beginners. Although it involves the same notes but is rearranged (in a different order), this chord is more challenging to play.

Which is harder piano or guitar? ›

Although many feel it takes longer to master, the piano is a bit easier to actually play.

Who is the king of guitar riffs? ›

Jimi Hendrix taught himself to play the electric guitar and, because he was left-handed, he would play the guitar upside down with the strings in reverse order. One of the most influential musicians in history, he was best known for edgy guitar riffs.

Who is the greatest riff master? ›

Best Guitar Riff Creators
  1. 1 Tony Iommi Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. ...
  2. 2 James Hetfield James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963.

What is the most famous guitar chord? ›

C - G - Am - F (I - V -vi - IV) This just might be the most popular chord progression in Western popular music. There is an actual mathematical explanation as to why it's such a pleasant progression. The quick summary is that these four chords are opposites of each other.

What is the Guinness record for guitar? ›

At 5.15pm today, July 20, Scott Burford, smashed his goal – and the Guinness World Record for officially the longest guitar playing session. He kicked off the marathon last week on July 15, wrapping up 125 hours of play. The finish time put him half an hour over the current record of 124.5 hours.

Which guitarist is called God? ›

Why Was Eric Clapton Called God? Eric's rise to prominence in the British blues scene began during this time period. Clapton is God was a spray painted phrase on a wall in an underground station in Islington, England, in the mid-60s by an avid Clapton fan who played guitar in Clapton's band.

Who are the 3 Kings in guitar? ›

Freddie King (September 3, 1934 – December 28, 1976) was an American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is considered one of the "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar" (along with Albert King and B.B. King, none of whom were blood related).

Who is considered a guitar god? ›

Eric Clapton

Before Clapton became a God, he was a just 13-year-old with a beater guitar that was so hard to play he put it aside for awhile.

What is the hardest guitar solo to master? ›

The 10 Hardest Guitar Solos to Learn (In our humble opinion :)
  1. Eruption by Van Halen (Guitarist - Eddie Van Halen) ...
  2. Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega (Guitarist - Francisco Tárrega) ...
  3. Billy's Bounce by Charlie Parker (Guitarist - George Benson) ...
  4. Electric Sunrise by Plini (Guitarist - Plini)
Oct 27, 2022

Who is the number one best guitarist? ›

The best guitarists in history:
  • Jimi Hendrix.
  • Eric Clapton.
  • Jeff Beck.
  • Chuck Berry.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan.
  • Joe Satriani.
  • Steve Vai.
  • Yngwie Malmsteen.

What are the 3 most useful chords called? ›

The I, IV, and V chords are the three most common and arguably the most important harmonic elements in the musical universe. Built off of the first, fourth, and fifth notes of any major or minor scale, these three chords form the basis for much of the music found in several genres.

Who was the fastest guitarist in the world? ›

Paul Gilbert

Songs like “Techincal Difficulties” and “Frenzy” established Gilbert as one of the fastest and most technically accomplished guitarists in the world.

What is the world's longest guitar solo? ›

In May 14, in front of a live Web-streamed audience of thousands, Austin resident and former Richmond music-scene staple David DiDonato smashed the world record for the longest continuous guitar solo by playing for 25 hours and 55 minutes.


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