10 Easy Guitar Riffs That You Can Learn in a Day

10 Easy Guitar Riffs That You Can Learn in a Day

September 27, 2022By tom.gilbert@positivegrid.com BigCommerce 0 Comment

10 Easy Guitar Riffs That You Can Learn in a Day

Got an afternoon to kill? Sounds like you have enough time to learn a new riff!

The following list contains easy-to-learn songs with riffs that every rock guitarist needs to know. Whether you’re just starting out on guitar, or just want to add some iconic cover tunes to your repertoire, take a moment to learn these riffs and you’ll be jamming in no time! We even threw in some tutorial videos for all of you visual learners.

10 Easy Guitar Riffs That You Can Learn in a Day

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"

If you love rock ‘n’ roll, then you’ll love playing this scorcher from the queen of rock ‘n’ roll herself, Joan Jett. To play the main riff, start by playing four E power chords, then grab the third fret of the low E and bend. Next, play an open A power chord, a B power chord, tug on the third fret of the E string again, and end with two E power chords. You could also play the last E chords of the riff from the seventh fret of the A string to give it another voicing.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to play the little E minor pentatonic lick, pluck the fifteenth fret B string and go a whole step back with one pick. Then head on over to twelfth fret B string and play fourteen to twelve on the G string.

"Song 2"

You’ll be shouting “woo-hoo!” once you’ve got this infectious ‘90s classic from the Brit rockers in Blur under your fingers. As the tune mostly employs power chords on the fifth string root, this is an especially great, easy guitar riff for beginners.

“Song 2” is comprised of five chords total, so once you’ve got those down, you’ve got the whole thing down! First, you’ll start on the root note of the eighth fret (F), then move down to the sixth fret (E flat), then back up again to the eleventh fret (A flat), then the thirteenth fret (B flat) and then the fifteenth fret (C). Verses are clean, and the choruses are heavy AF, so make sure to kick on the distortion for maximum rockage during those parts.

Green Day
"Brain Stew"

This is a song I hold very close to my heart because it was officially the first time I learned how to play power chords. The beauty of this song lies in its simplicity – the same progression is maintained throughout. It all starts with two powerful downstrokes of the A power chord (5th fret), and then you work your way down the fretboard, hitting the G (3rd fret), followed by an F# (2nd fret), then an F (1st fret), and finally landing on the E minor (open). Also, keep in mind that Billie Joe Armstrong’s guitar is tuned a half step down in the recording. Turn up the overdrive and you’ll be going punk rock in no time with this classic Green Day tune.

The Kinks
"You Really Got Me"

One thing’s for sure; this incredibly easy electric guitar riff from the Kinks (or Van Halen depending on the version you’re listening to) really won’t get you! For the first part of the song, you’ll be playing 1-3-3-1-3 on the sixth (or low E) string with just your finger. As the song progresses, you’ll turn those same notes into power chords.

Next, you’ll move to 3-5-5-3-5, and then 8-10-10-8-10. Finally, you’ll play a full bar chord on the eighth fret. Then, the whole song starts over again. See how easy that was?

The Ramones
"Blitzkrieg Bop"

Hey, ho! Let’s go! We don’t have all day to learn this one from punk rock legends, The Ramones! Just FYI, this super catchy tune tends to sound best if you play all downstrokes or down-up, down-up.

Start by playing an A (fretted from the fifth fret of the sixth string or low E), then D (fifth fret of the fifth string or A string) and move up a whole step to E (seventh fret of A string). Then play an A (fifth fret of sixth string), D (fifth fret of A string), and A (fifth fret of sixth string). For the second part, you’ll be playing D (fifth fret of A string), A (fifth fret of sixth string), D (fifth fret of A string), A (fifth fret of sixth string), D (fifth fret of A string), B (second fret of fifth string), D (fifth fret of A string) and E (seventh fret of fifth string). Then, you’ll just play it over again.

The Troggs
"Wild Thing"

Who can forget this 3-chord classic from British band, The Troggs? Released in 1966, the deliciously languorous and jangly “Wild Thing” remained on the pop singles chart for an impressive 11 weeks. While The Troggs did have some additional charting singles over the years, nothing quite measured up to “Wild Thing’s” success.

To play this one is simple: it’s two strums on A, two on D, two on E, and two on D. The only real variation happens in the verses, in which you will play the A, lift it off, play the A again, and lift off again. Wild thing? More like ain’t no thing…


It’s hard to be a guitarist nowadays without at least knowing this song. For many of us growing up and learning guitar in the 90’s, “Wonderwall” was basically a rite of passage. All jokes aside, this song is a great way to learn how to play nice, open chords on an acoustic guitar. It may also be the first time you’ll need to find a capo! So slap a capo on that 2nd fret and the song’s 5 somewhat basic open chords should play just beautifully at any party. Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit"

This song is the ultimate anthem of the early 90's grunge era, capturing the essence of the Seattle grunge scene. Its legendary guitar intro is so iconic that almost everyone recognizes it instantly. In fact, some guitarists may only know how to play the intro, and that's enough to transport everyone back to a time before social media took over. The song revolves around just 5 chords, making it relatively simple to play. Begin with an F power chord (1st fret) and then transition to a Bb power chord (1st fret, 5th string). Next, play a G (3rd fret) and smoothly slide up to a G# (4th fret) before concluding with a C# (4th fret, 5th string).

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”

We could have chosen any song from AC/DC’s legendary career, however we’re pretty partial to this Bon Scott-era ripper. Like most of their tunes, this one is made up of some easy guitar chords and an insanely memorable riff, but that doesn’t take away from its ferocity. Just remember E, G, A, D and you’re all set!

Blink 182
“All The Small Things”

Brings back memories of your pop-skate punk days, complete with three-chord bangers, bleached spiked hair, and Hurley t-shirts. With the exciting news of Tom's return to the band, it's the perfect time to revisit this classic. Though the song is known for having four chords, don't worry, they are easy to learn and incredibly enjoyable to sing along to. The intro follows the sequence C, G, Am, F, while the verses and choruses consist of the chords C, G, and F.

Now that you’ve got a hearty list of classic riffs to learn, it’s time to start practicing them on one of our smart guitar amps. No matter what level of guitarist you are, there’s a Spark amp for you. Each amp is packed with over 50,000 tones, as well as a variety of smart features such as Smart Jam, in which a virtual band backs you as you play, and Auto Chords, which displays chords to any song – all in real time. Powered by the award-winning BIAS Tone Engine, each Spark amp delivers best-in-class tone, inspiring you to play more guitar than ever. 

If you want to learn some more easy guitar chords with your new rig, be sure to click here

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