3 Easy Riffs With Just 3 Chords
When you start out on your guitar learning, a great way to motivate yourself is to take some easy songs and play along with some classic tracks. When you start out, the idea of playing a song might seem like a vey big mountain to climb but trust me, it’s easier than you think.
Here are 3 simple riffs that you can play with just three chords. The chords you’ll be needing are:
The Troggs – Wild Thing
This classic rock anthem is a great, and simple riff to learn to help get your chords moving in the early stages of learning the guitar. The rhythm that this riff follows is pretty simple. There are some bars that contain variations of this in the studio version of the track, but this straight, simple version is a great starting point.
The rhythm starts with an A chord played on the 1 and 2 beats in the first bar. The A that you play on the 2nd beat is held for an additional half a beat, so it’s one and a half beats in length. Then you switch to the D chord and strum it twice. The first time you strum the D will be on the “&” of the third beat and then you’ll hit it again on the 4. The second bar follows the same rhythm, but the A chord is now replaced with an E.
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
AC/DC – Back In Black
This riff is from the title track from the AC/DC mega hit album Back in Black. The chord part of the riff is simple, and there are some single note lines that sit at the end of this riff. If you’re a new player, you could simply skip the single note parts for the time being and focus on the chords, and then when you feel more confident, revisit the more technical parts.
The riff starts with an E chord on the 1 beat. This lasts for a whole beat. Then there is a slight pause for half a beat. In this pause you switch to the D chord. You play the D three times, starting on the “&” of 2 and finishing up on the 3, so the counting would be “& a 3”. You then pause for another half a beat, before switching to the A. This is played 3 times starting on the “&” of 4 and finishing on the 1 of the nest bar, count this as “& a 1”.
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a
If you choose to tackle the single note lines, the first ending is a descending run through a scale called the E Minor Pentatonic. It uses pull offs and a string bend at the end. This is quite a tricky run for new players so take your time learning it and getting the notes sounding clear before you think about the speed.
The second ending is all on the Low E string and just alternates between the 7th fret and another fret on the same string. You’ll notice the other fret you add climbs up by one fret each time.
Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
This track by Snow Patrol is a great riff for getting your rhythm playing consistent and tight. It’s played in what is known as straight eighth notes, which is when you play two notes per beat. You can learn more about these rhythmic divisions inside the Fundamentals Tier of the course.
Start with the A chord, strum it twice per beat for two whole bars, then switch to an E. After two bars of E, switch to D, and finally back to A.
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & | 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
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