8 June 2010

Learning to Play Guitar - Easy Guitar Riffs to Practice

If you're learning to play guitar then these easy guitar riffs will help you to create interesting sounding rhythm backings. Many popular songs were made famous by their catchy guitar riffs, and with the skills you'll learn in this lesson you'll learn how to play riffs of your own.

In this lesson you'll learn how to play riffs by building on basic chords and strumming skills. We'll discover six easy guitar riffs to practice on E major and A major chords. You'll need to understand tab notation to follow the lessons.

E Major Chord Riffs

Let's start with some easy riffs based around the open position E major chord. This position should be familiar to any guitarist, the riff is easy to play with only one extra note to finger that creates some movement in the high notes.

Form an open E major chord as usual and use your little finger (pinky) to play the note at the second fret of the second string. This note is the 6th of the chord, so technically you play an E6 chord on the beats where it is present.


You can use this note on any of the beats and with different rhythm patterns. Experiment with some riffs of your own using just this note, you can create a lot of riffs.
In the next riff we're going to add another note to this riff. The flatted 7th of the E chord at the third fret of the second string creates a blues sound.

Try the example below, use your little finger again for both the notes on the second string.


Once you get the hang of this you can create many more riffs with the same notes. Here's another example with a different rhythmic placement for the notes.


Now let's take a look at how these ideas can be applied over an A major chord.

A Major Chord Riffs

The 6th and flatted 7th notes of the A major chord are found on the first string near to the open position A major chord.

This first riff uses only the 6th at the second fret of the first string to give you an easy introduction. Use your little finger to play this note. Ensure that the last joint of your fingers is perpendicular to the fretboard to make this easier.



In this second A major example we've added the flatted 7th too. Use your little finger to play both notes.


Experiment with different rhythms and placements for the three notes on the first string. You can make up lots of riffs in this way.

To give you a few more ideas for your own riffs, here's a final example that introduces a new rhythmic idea. The strummed notes are mixed with some muted notes marked by x in the tablature.

Mute the strings for these notes by resting the side of your right hand palm (assuming you are right handed) lightly on the strings near to the bridge of the guitar as you strum. You should get a muffled percussive sound from the strings.


Learning to play guitar with these easy guitar riffs to practice will help you create fun and interesting rhythm parts.

Download this Easy Guitar Riffs To Practice Lesson in printable PDF format for free.

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