Guitar Riffs You Think Are Hard, But Aren’t

For many non-musicians, certain licks sound difficult to play, when in reality most beginners could master them with a little bit of practice. Many guitarists stick to the same old simple songs that I’ve played a thousand times. So if you want to get out of a rut, here are some legendary riffs that can be easily learned and will wow those who don’t play.

Freebird Solo

PLAY FREEBIRD! This is something that every guitarist has heard at least once in their life. Lynyrd Skynyrd created one of the most recognizable songs heard in countless movies, TV shows, and backyard barbeques all around the world. But when people say “play Freebird”, they aren’t necessarily concerned with the main melody, they want to see if you can play the iconic solo.

Most of the licks in this solo are within the minor pentatonic scale. For guitarists, this is usually the first scale that we learn. The solo combines simple blues riffs with sweep picking techniques and has little to no movement on the fretboard. Linked below are lesson videos that helped me learn this solo.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Eruption

After 14 years of playing guitar, I finally tried learning one of the most well-known licks from the late, great Eddie Van Halen. For years I didn’t think I had what it takes to get the hang of his tapping technique; it always sounded way above my capabilities. However, I woke up one morning and decided to check out the video linked below and was able to grasp it within about an hour.

The same pattern is repeated over and over again, it just moves up and down the neck. The trick here is synchronizing your tapping hand and fretboard hand. There are some transitions where the tapping hand moves slightly before the fretboard hand, but as you get up to speed and play along with the song, you’ll be able to notice that the subtle latency feels natural.

Thunderstruck Intro

This classic AC/DC song has captivated numerous generations and has one of the most identifiable intros of all time. The fingering for this song has a similar pattern to Eruption. You can use a hammer on technique or alternate picking. Some may argue alternate picking is correct because that’s what is played on the record, but Angus uses hammer on for live shows sometimes and in the music video so it’s really up to you.

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