Classic Riffs: Hard Rock and Metal

In this latest Classic Riffs article I’ll be teaching a collection of essential metal and hard rock riffs. I’ve dug out my Epiphone SG for these recordings as it’s humbuckers all the way. The riffs range from easy to quite tricky and include some common rock techniques such as palm muting and fast down-stroke picking.

Please note that some of the riffs require drop-D tuning so make sure you tune your low E down to D when advised.

Crazy Train

Difficulty: medium | Tuning: standard | Artist: Ozzy Osbourne | Guitarist: Randy Rhodes

||-------------------------------------||
||-------------------------------------||
||-------------------------------------||
||-------------------------------------||
||------4---5---4----2--------2--------||
||--2-2---2---2---2-----5-4-5----5-4-0-||

Start slowly and get the fingering right, before trying to play this at speed. Other than that this shouldn’t be too difficult but it sounds awesome!

Master of Puppets

Difficulty: advanced | Tuning: standard | Artist: Metallica | Guitarist: Kirk Hammet/James Hetfield

 P.M............................................|
||--------------------------------------------------------------------||
||--------------------------------------------------------------------||
||--------------------------------------------------------------------||
||--------------------------------------------------------------------||
||-----2-----3-----4-----3-----2-2-----2-----3------5s4---5s4---5s4---||
||-0-1---0-1---0-1---0-1---0-1-----0-1---0-1---0-0--3s2-0-3s2-0-3s2---||

This classic chromatic riff is a bitch to play but thankfully it’s only repeated a couple of times in the song. Start slowly and build up to speed. PRACTICE makes perfect!

Killing in the Name

Difficulty: medium | Tuning: drop-D | Artist: Rage against the Machine | Guitarist: Tom Morello

||-------------------------------||
||-------------------------------||
||---------x-x-------------------||
||---------x-x-3h4---------------||
||-----3h5-x-x-----5--0--2h3--2--||
||--0-----------------0--2h3--2--||

Plug in Baby

Difficulty: medium/advanced | Tuning: standard | Artist: Muse | Guitarist: Matt bellamy

|--------------------------|---------------------------|--------------------------|
|--------------------------|-----------7h8p7-----------|--------------------------|
|--------6--------6--7-----|--6--7--9---------9--7--6--|-----6--7-----6--7--9--6--|
|--8--9-----8--9--------9--|---------------------------|--9--------9--------------|
|--------------------------|---------------------------|--------------------------|
|--------------------------|---------------------------|--------------------------|

|-----------------------------|--------------------------|------------------------|
|--------7--7h8p7------7------|--7-----------------7--9--|-9b10--7-----7----------|
|--7--9------------10-----10--|-----7-----------7--------|----------10---7--6--7--|
|-----------------------------|--------7-----7-----------|------------------------|
|-----------------------------|-----------9--------------|------------------------|
|-----------------------------|--------------------------|------------------------|

Back in Black

Difficulty: medium | Tuning: standard | Artist: AC/DC | Guitarist: Angus Young

|-------------------------------------|--------------3-0-----------------|
|------------------3-3-3--------------|--------------------3-0-----------|
|------------------2-2-2----------2-2-|2-----------------------2b42p0----|
|-2----------------0-0-0----------2-2-|2---------------------------------|
|-2-------------------------------0-0-|0---------------------------------|
|-0-----------------------------------|----------------------------------|

|------------------------------------|--------------------------------|
|-----------------3-3-3--------------|--------------------------------|
|-----------------2-2-2----------2-2-|2-------------------------------|
|-2---------------0-0-0----------2-2-|2-------------------------------|
|-2------------------------------0-0-|0-------2-----2-----2-----2-----|
|-0----------------------------------|----------4-----5-----6-----7\--|

My own summer (shove it)

Difficulty: easy | Tuning: drop-D | Artist: Deftones | Guitarist: Stephen Carpenter

||------------------------------------||
||------------------------------------||
||------------------------------------||
||------------------------------------||
||------------------------------------||
||------------------------------------||
||-0-11-12-0-11s8-0-8-0-8s7-0-8-5---5-||
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6 Responses to Classic Riffs: Hard Rock and Metal

  1. Bal Birdy says:

    Love it, keep up the good work. Any chance you can do some flamenco/spanish guitar stuff??

  2. Joel Babb says:

    Awesome choice of songs, that’ll keep me busy for a while.

  3. Pingback: Classic Riffs: Rage Against The Machine « Nearlyarockstar

  4. Pingback: A selection of Riffs from Rock Band 3 « Nearlyarockstar

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