Top 10 Rock Guitar Riffs Of All Time

The riffs on this page are the tried and true “standards” for Rock guitar music. Walk into any music shop and you’ll find a line of people trying out the guitars for sale and I’ll bet they will be playing one of these top 10 riffs.

The Top 10

  1. Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry: You’ve gotta give props to Chuck Berry as one of the prime influences of rock music. The opening for this song is his quintessential riff that epitomizes what rock is all about.
  2.  Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin: The opening riff is easily one of the most played riffs at the music shop. Remember Wayne’s World? “No Stairway Allowed”! I guess shop owners get a little tired of hearing it…
  3. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix: This one still sound weird today. Imagine what it sounded like to fresh ears 40 years ago. Hendrix is probably the greatest rock guitarist of all time and here is his signature song.
  4. Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne (featuring Randy Rhoads): Rock lost one of it’s most promising guitarists when that plane crashed.
  5. Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple: This was the very first guitar riff that I ever learned. Easy-peasy, but it doesn’t have to be hard to sound good.
  6. Iron Man by Black Sabbath: Ozzy has always been surrounded by great guitarists. Iron Man has a slow and plodding power chord based main riff. I am Iron Man!
  7. Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival: Here you’ll find common chords woven into a rock classic. See, you don’t need anything fancy…
  8. Sweet Child O Mine by Guns N Roses: This a great song that begins with one of the great rocks riffs. 9 out of 10 guitarists will play this one at one point or another.
  9. Back In Black by ACDC: This song is filled with fantastic riffs, but the main riff has to be tops. This is more than a simple guitar riff. It’s an entire band riff. What a tight performance it is on the album.
  10. Enter Sandman by Metallica: The main riff slowly builds up until it explodes. Metallic has had many killer riffs in their career, but this one is by far the most recognizable.