Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (2022)

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (1)So you got yourself a new heavy metal guitar and you want to start playing some of your favorite riffs.

But a lot of them are just too complicated when you’re just starting out.

That doesn’t mean you can’t play anything, though.

Some of the greatest heavy metal and hard rock riffs of all time are actually quite easy to learn to play.

The following easy metal riffs are all famous, they sound great, and any beginner can pick them up with a little bit of practice.

We’ve included guitar tabs for each riff, so you can get to work on learning them immediately. Let’s get started!

Easy Heavy Metal Riffs For Beginners

Go through the list and find your favorite riff. Then study the tabs and start practicing. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to wow your friends with some of the most famous metal riffs of all time.

Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple

Of course, Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water is usually the first riff every rock or medal-loving guitar player learns. The song comes from the band’s legendary album Machine Head and tells the story of an incident and a huge fire that happened back in 1971 in Montreux, Switzerland while the band was in the process of recording their album in Rolling Stone’ Mobile Studio.

The riff, written by guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore, is written in G minor blues scale. Instead of using standard power chords, Blackmore added a lower fourth below the basic note. It’s played on the third and fourth string and is quite easy to perform, both technically and rhythmically.

(Video) 20 EASY METAL RIFFS (with tabs)

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (2)

Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin

Another guitar champion of the erawho is also responsible for the development of heavy metal music is Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Released in 1969 on the band’s second album, Whole Lotta Love still remains one of the staples of the genre. The song’s guitar riff goes through the entire song and pretty much defines it.

Although fairly simple, there are a few important things that a beginning guitarist can learn from this simple riff written in E minor. Most notably, you’ll get the chance to practice playing proper rhythm and how to implement palm muting.

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (3)

Iron Man by Black Sabbath

Who better to be featured on this list than Tony Iommi? Iommi is often credited with inventing heavy metal and he changed music history with his immensely heavy riff for Iron Man from the 1970’s Paranoid album. To this day, the song is considered one of the pivotal moments in the history of metal music.

The Iron Man riff is fairly simple. However, there’s one thing that even more experienced musicians don’t know. Although it starts with a B power cord, the riff is actually written in the key of E minor. There are a few ways you can play this riff, but Iommi always preferred to play it on 5th and 6th string.

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (4)

Paranoid by Black Sabbath

And the title track of Sabbath’s 1970 album Paranoid is another example of how innovative Tony Iommi was for his time. This simple song with a simple riff was written just to fill up time on the record. However, the song ended up being their biggest hit and a song that they played at the end of almost every one of their live setlists.

Also written in E minor, the riff essentially consists of a three chord progression. While there are two main ways to play it, Iommi preferred to play it on 5th and 6th string, starting on the 12th fret.

(Video) 20 Metal Guitar Riffs for Beginners (with Tabs)

He used the palm muting technique throughout the entire riff, except for the last cord. With this riff, a beginner can not only learn how to implement this technique but also get acquainted with dynamics and holding down a steady rhythm.

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (5)

Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne

While we still hear the classic metal style, Ozzy Osbourne’s solo material turned out to be a little different than his work in Black Sabbath. With a great musician like Randy Rhoads doing all the guitar duties and a huge portion of the songwriting, the resulting material pretty much changed the game for metal music.

Crazy Train is still one of the musician’s biggest songs. Its intro features a riff that’s played note by note in F minor on the 5th and 6th strings. While you can play everything “evenly” without using any additional techniques and tricks, most of the notes are played with palm muting with only some of them left to ring out.

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (6)

Breaking The Law by Judas Priest

Judas Priest pretty much changed the game in hard rock and heavy metal music. This is especially the case with their 1980 album British Steel. On it, we have Breaking the Law – a song with a very simple riff and a very simple structure. But despite its straightforward nature, this is still one of the most important genre classics.

This is another example of a riff that’s played note by note instead of using power cords. It’s written in A minor and it starts with an open 5th string. Just like Ozzy’s Crazy Train, this is one of the easiest examples to get familiar with minor scales and how they work.

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (7)

T.N.T. by AC/DC

While it’s not always easy to say whether AC/DC is heavy metal or hard rock, their songs have made a huge contribution to the development of the genre. Their entire catalog was done using a very simple yet effective formula that worked for them for many decades. And this is exactly what we hear in their legendary song T.N.T. from 1975.

(Video) 15 Easy & Cool Guitar Riffs You Should Know | With TABS

Although their songs seem simple, most of the riffs are a bit tricky due to syncopation that makes for that “bouncy” groovy feel. This is also the case with T.N.T. which has just a little bit of that old school rock ‘n’ roll feel to it. A good amp for metal will help you achieve this sound with ease.

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For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica

Just a straight-up mid-1980s metal song, For Whom the Bell Tolls is one of Metallica’s most popular pieces of all time. And its strength lies in its simplicity, with entire stadiums chanting along to all the riffs and vocal melodies.

While we’re at it, the song is filled with some really simple riffs, which makes it very popular among beginners. With a little practice, you can sound like Metallica.

The intro, right after the sounds of bells ringing out, is just simple F# and open E power chords. After that, we have a few riffs throughout the song that are also very beginner-friendly.

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (9)

Holy Diver by Dio

There will never be a musician like Ronnie James Dio. Even to this day, the power of his voice is unmatched. A perfect example is his big hit song Holy Diver. Complementing his flawless singing, we have simple yet amazing guitar riffs. The song’s main riff is a must for every lover of rock and metal music, no matter the playing skill level.

Holy Diver is written in the key of C minor and consists mostly of power cords. Along with power cords, we also have a few spots where the C note, played on the 3rd fret on the 5th string, is palm-muted. This is another great riff that will get you familiar with the minor scale, palm muting technique, and dynamics.

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (10)

Rock You Like a Hurricane by Scorpions

While it’s not a pop song, we can easily say that Rock You Like a Hurricane by Scorpions is as catchy as any mainstream tune these days. Released back in 1984, it’s the band’s signature song and just a straight-up heavy metal piece.

(Video) 17 easy guitar riffs every beginner can learn (with tabs)

Compared to most of the other metal riffs, this one essentially serves as a chord progression. These are all power chords, but they serve the purpose of a regular chord progression that goes: E, G, A, C, and D. What’s really great about this song is that it really feels gratifying when you learn its main riff.

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Symphony Of Destruction by Megadeth

One of the “Big Four” bands of thrash metal (along with Slayer, Metallica, and Anthrax), Megadeth defined the elements of modern metal music. With Dave Mustaine as the leading musician , the band had some pretty innovative songs, including Symphony of Destruction from their 1992 album Countdown to Extinction.

Since the 20th century was nearing its end, the piece reflects on the impact of global politics on both the masses and the individual. This is all accompanied by a very simple and sinister-sounding riff.

We have F and E power cords, along with a brief passage of palm-muted F and G notes played on the 6th string. The reason why this riff sounds so dark is due to a half-step distance between the first two power chords. Along with the G note, we could say that it fits Phrygian mode, which is known for its somewhat tense feel.

Easy Metal Riffs (Tabs For Beginning Heavy Metal Guitarists) (12)

Raining Blood by Slayer

From their beginnings to their end, Slayer has always been a band that makes no compromises. They’re just a straight-up thrash metal band with some of the most evil-sounding riffs known to man (though we did include Kerry King on our overrated guitarists list). This is exactly what we can hear with the main riff of their legendary hit Raining Blood.

As you might suspect, the riff sounds as evil as its name might suggest. And this is exactly where all boundaries will be broken. If you know at least a little bit about music theory, you’ll definitely get confused over the riff’s structure since it doesn’t really fit into any scale you know. It’s just one evil-sounding chromatic mess that works perfectly in the ears of true metal fans.

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(Video) Top 25 Guitar Riffs for Beginners | WITH TABS

Easy Metal Riffs: Final Thoughts

What did you think of those riffs? Have you learned any (or all) of them yet? If you’re starting completely from scratch, I imagine they might seem a bit daunting (especially if you can’t read guitar tabs) and take a fairly long time to learn. If you have a little bit of experience, you were probably able to pick them up pretty easily. Once you’ve got them all down, try your hand at these easy guitar solos.

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What is the easiest heavy metal song to learn on guitar? ›

Some easy heavy metal songs to play on electric guitar include: “Iron Man” – Black SabbathFeasy. “Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin. “Back in Black” – AC/DC.

What is the easiest riff to play on guitar? ›

  • Come As You Are by Nirvana.
  • You Really Got Me by The Kinks.
  • Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.
  • Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple.
  • Psycho by Muse.
  • Sunshine of Your Love by Cream.
  • In My Place by Coldplay.
  • Paranoid by Black Sabbath.
3 Jan 2020

How do you play heavy metal on guitar for beginners? ›

So you'd play that open string the E string with the 5th note of that e which is going to be on your

Is metal hard to play on guitar? ›

The Heavy Metal genre can reach very high levels of complexity, difficult technique, and speed. However, if you're a beginner you shouldn't wait until you master the advanced stuff before you start playing Metal on guitar. If you do so it will kill your motivation since you wouldn't be playing the genre you love.

What tuning does Ratt use? ›

The tuning is Drop D tuning. That is, starting from the 6th string, D A D G B E. The opening riff is one of my favorite hard rock riffs of all-time.

Are Nirvana riffs easy? ›

Nirvana was one of the most important bands that shaped the current music industry. Although they released only three studio albums, they quickly became grunge icons. What's interesting, a lot of their riffs are very simple to play.

How long does it take to learn a riff? ›

Well, as we said above, one song or riff can take as little as fifteen minutes. Of course, to refine it and play it well will take consistent practice, but that can be as simple as fifteen to thirty minutes a day.

How do I practice riff guitar? ›

5 Classic Riffs That Make Great Exercises - Guitar Lesson w/ TABS

Will we ever run out of guitar riffs? ›

no, it is impossible to run out of riffs. the number of differences in how you can play one note is infinite, technically. you can hold the note for any set period of time. there are an infinite amount of these set periods of time.

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.

How do you play cool riffs? ›

The 12 Easiest, Most Fun Guitar Riffs (no, not 0 3 5) - YouTube

Where do I start with metal? ›

Learn what albums you heavy metal lovers advise to beginners.
  • Seven Heavy Metal Albums for Beginners. ...
  • Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast. ...
  • Deep Purple: Machine Head. ...
  • Judas Priest: British Steel. ...
  • System of a Down: Toxicity. ...
  • Black Sabbath: Paranoid. ...
  • Dio: Holy Diver. ...
  • Slipknot: We Are Not Your Kind.
13 Aug 2020

What chords are used in metal? ›

As you've already learned, in Metal music we use Power Chords. A power chord is made up of a root and 5th intervals, creating a perfect 5th. Power Chords are also a form of Dyads. Dyads are basically chords made up on 2 – 3 notes.

What are metal guitars called? ›

Resonator guitar
Single cone resonator with metal body
String instrument
Other namesDobro
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322
Inventor(s)John Dopyera
7 more rows

Is jazz or metal harder? ›

Both are technical in their own ways. Jazz in that it utilizes dissonant chords and more technical melodies. Metal is technical in that it requires speed and good technique to pull off. Generally though, Metal is easier to play than Jazz.

How long does it take to get good at metal guitar? ›

More Arbitrary Ratings of Proficiency
LevelHours NeededDaily Practice Investment
Basic312.578 days
Beginning625156 days
Intermediate125010 months
Advanced25001.8 years
5 more rows

What is easiest genre on guitar? ›

Rock guitar is popular among beginners. There are many easy rock songs to learn whether you are focusing on chords or riffs. Though some rock songs are extremely complex, there are plenty of simple songs to learn to get the rudiments of guitar right.

Why did Hendrix tune to EB? ›

Even half a step-down, which isn't much, is enough to remove a perceptible amount of tension from the strings. And less tension on the strings can make bending strings easier, as there's less force acting on them. Hendrix LOVED to bend, so Eb tuning was an obvious choice for the man.

Why do guitarists tune down a half step? ›

Guitarists tune their guitar half-step down for many reasons. The most compelling one is probably to favor the vocal performance by transposing songs into a lower key, making it easier on the singer. But other reasons might include a heavier sound, lower string tension, and easier chord voicings in some keys.

Why do musicians tune down? ›

It's because to make the pitch of the guitar tune agrees with the vocal's pitch :) If one doesn't tune properly , the pitch would sound different . For example playing a 'C' note , and suddenly a 'C#' pitch will be heard . If the vocal sings a C , guitar must play a 'C' too .

What is the hardest Nirvana song to play? ›

In an interview with NME, Butch Vig explained the trickest song for Nirvana to record was the album's final track, 'Something In The Way'.

How hard is it to play Nirvana songs on guitar? ›

Smells Like Teen Spirit

As you may think, most Nirvana songs are not so difficult to play. Although some of them are tuned lower than usual, in most cases you could play them using standard E tuning. What is more, Nirvana songs are mainly composed using just a bunch of power chords.

How do you play a plain? ›

Guitar Lesson: How To Play On A Plain by Nirvana - YouTube

How good can I get at guitar in 3 months? ›

In 3 months time, you can pick up many of the fundamentals of the guitar but you are unlikely to master them for many more months, even years. You will be able to strum several songs you recognize and be able to pluck out some scales, as well as learning the fundamental chord shapes, and other basic guitar skills.

Can you get good at guitar in a year? ›

These guys aren't interested in being the best players in the world and just need to learn the skills that will get them through basic repertoire. Depending on your commitment to practice you can become a good hobby player in as little as 6 months or as long as 4 years.

How do I strengthen my fingers for guitar? ›

Hold the fingers down as you go: When you put down your little finger, make sure that all your fingers are still pressing down in the correct frets. This is what helps you develop the stretch between the fingers, which makes them more agile. Holding them down also works the muscles, making your fingers stronger.

How do you make riffs chords? ›

How to Write a Riff (or Melody) over a Chord Progression - YouTube

What is a rock riff? ›

A riff in music, a riff is a repeated sequence of notes or chords. A guitar riff is often catchy and helps give structure and character to a piece of music. Riffs most commonly appear in rock, funk, jazz, and Latin music, though they can be found in almost any genre of music.

How do you play guitar tabs for beginners? ›

How to read guitar tabs. Guitar tab is read left to right, and all notes indicated are in chronological order. When the numbers are in line with each other vertically, they represent a chord. A chord is played by strumming all the indicated strings at the same time.

What Metallica song should I learn first? ›

If you are interested in learning to play Metallica solos on guitar, I highly recommend starting with the solo in Nothing Else Matters. It's a relatively easy solo to learn and great fun to play as a beginner just getting into lead playing (it was the first Metallica solo I learned to play). What is this?

Is metal music easy to learn? ›

It's not always an easy genre for beginner guitarists to learn either. To master metal music on a guitar takes excellent command of the staccato, mastering power chords, palm-muting, and forceful rhythm that comes complete with very deliberate stresses.

Is Master of Puppets hard to play? ›

Is it hard to play? Master Of Puppets is hard to play. That's because of its fast tempo (212 BPM) and downstrokes. It's all downstrokes, for which you have to have very strong wrist and advanced sense of rhythm.

Is it hard to play your own summer? ›

My Own Summer is one of the most popular songs written by Deftones. Although it's not the easiest track made by this band, it features a lot of easy parts that are suitable for all the beginners out there.

Is Enter Sandman hard to play guitar? ›

Enter Sandman is not so hard to play. It requires an intermediate level of guitar playing. Guitar solo is not that hard, either, especially in comparison to other Metallica's solos. Enter Sandman is perhaps among the 'easier' songs in Metallica's repertoire.

What tuning is fuel in? ›

Fuel Guitar Lesson - Metallica - Chords/Rhythms - YouTube

What is an easy song to play on the guitar? ›

1. “I Wanna Be There” by Blessed Union of Souls. This song has just three simple and major chords: G, C, and D. These are probably the easiest chords to learn first on the guitar, and once you have them, you can already learn how to strum a song.

How long does it take to get good at metal guitar? ›

More Arbitrary Ratings of Proficiency
LevelHours NeededDaily Practice Investment
Basic312.578 days
Beginning625156 days
Intermediate125010 months
Advanced25001.8 years
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How do you hold a metal pick? ›

How I Hold My Guitar Pick for Playing Metal - YouTube

What kind of amp does Metallica use? ›

What amps do Metallica use? Metallica are well known for using Mesa/ Boogie amplifiers such as the Mark IIC. James is also known to play the Roland JC-120 for his clean tones. Kirk also has a signature line of amps with Randall.

What tuning is my own summer in? ›

Weekend Riff: How to play Deftones - My Own Summer (Shove It)

How do you play mascara on guitar? ›

Deftones Mascara Guitar Lesson / Guitar Tabs / Guitar Tutorial / Guitar ...

How do you play summer on acoustic guitar? ›

How to play Deftones My Own Summer (Shove It!) easy acoustic


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