5 Essential Open G Riffs

5 Essential Open G Riffs

Now that you’ve gotten your guitar in Open G tuning and you’ve learnt a few of the basics, it’s time to learn some great open G riffs.

These riffs will give you a little insight into what this tuning can do and how you could use it to get some ideas for writing your own riffs in this tuning.

Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Jumpin Jack Flash

This classic Stones riff has a capo at the 4th fret.

It’s broken into two parts; the first part is a chord based riff which features the 6sus4 chord you would have learnt in the introduction to Open G lesson.

The second part is the main theme which is a double stop style riff.

Status Quo – Down Down

Status Quo

This Status Quo riff also uses a capo at the 4th fret and alternates between 3 note chords on the, G and B strings and an Open D string.

The chords that are in this riff all contain the G string as an open string, so you have this drone that’s fairly consistent through the entire riff.

George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Bad to the Bone

George Thorogood

This is a great slide guitar riff if you’re new to slide playing.

It is a simple riff that just contains open G major chords and a pair of chords on the 3rd and 5th frets both played with the slide.

The entire riff takes place on the middle 4 strings so you’re leaving both the high and low D strings out.

The great thing with this riff is that when it is played in its simple form, it sounds great, but as you progress with slide guitar, you can also add embellishments and make it more complex.

Black Crowes – Twice as Hard

Black Crowes

This Black Crowes riff is another slide guitar riff which sounds a lot harder to play than it is.

It starts with a pair of open major chords before sliding from the 2nd to the 4th fret and back. The slide parts do not have to be super precise; it can be a little loose and you can get away with hitting more strings than you technically need.

The first bar ends with a C maj chord with lots of vibrato. When using a slide, vibrato is done by moving the slide side to side above the fret.

Alter Bridge – Watch Over You

Alter Bridge Alter Bridge

This riff is an acoustic guitar line, but it can be played on a clean electric.

You will notice the majority of the part is open G major chords but there are chords added in and out on the D and B strings throughout the section.

Both the front and back sections of this riff use the same strummed rhythm, but the endings differ slightly. In the second repeat, the final chord contains a slide.

About The Author

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player from Swansea in South Wales that has written and created content for many high-profile guitar brands and publications such as PMT, RSL Rockschool, Trinity College London, Guitar.com and more.

He works with mgrmusic.com to provide high quality guitar content for guitar players of all abilities from around the country. To date, mgrmusic.com has successfully generated over 32,000 student enquiries for their network of music teachers around the country. Find a local teacher in your area today.

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