Top Ten Greatest Guitar Riffs

DeathToMayo

The Contenders: Page 2XW

21Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions

Scorpions are definitely underrated I see. Rock you like a hurricane, Believe in love and some handful other of their songs have the greatest of riffs in rock history.

I would also vote for boston... These two songs made me want to play the guitar

The Scorpions invented shredding... This song epitomizes this technique

V3 Comments
22Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry

Should be higher up, probably lacks popularity because it's so hard to play but it is an awesome song.

The Father of them all, this Riff gave rise to half of the other riffs on this page so there's no way it should be this low down.

V2 Comments
23Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

Hard to pick one riff, but this riff is simply amazing enough to get my vote. One of the greatest songs ever on one of the greatest albums ever released. Disraeli Gears!

Clapton doesn't use feedback like this any more, worse the luck. Baker's drums, Bruce's bass/vocals very good, but the guitar lick and the various fills he use still make hairs stand up.

Great song, and to the guy who commented on Smells like Teen Spirit, Smoke on the Water came out in the Seventies... - raiderfan372

Even if your over 50 its still great

V1 Comment
24You Really Got Me - The Kinks

I love the the guitar work ihope tobe that good someday

Wonder to see it down here. Undoubtedly, "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks is one the best riffs ever. Just check it out, it's awesome. So upvote, come on.

25Can't Stop - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Can't stop the spirits when they need you, this life is more than just a read-through - Psykosauron

No guitar riff can be better than this... Just too good

John Frusciante Is A Beast In This Song - Dglass23

Genius... Pure genius!

V5 Comments
26Holy Wars... The Punishment Due - Megadeth

Wow. Just wow. You people who voted must not know what a guitar riff even is if Holy Wars is all the way down here. The fact that Enter Sandman is at number 3 shows how ignorant and simple minded everyone is. That is a total joke. Enter Sandman should be on the worst riffs list. I know I sound like a fanboy, but any Megadeth song would beat the riffs ranked higher than this. The entire top ten list is nothing but simplistic rubbish that happens to be popular. Just because they are iconic does not mena that they are by any means the best riffs. In fact, a list of "best guitar riffs" should consist of songs by Megadeth, 80's era Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, Death, Death Angel, Sacred Reich, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and newer bands like Havok, Evile, Warbringer, etc. But as usual, I get to see a list containing Guns N' Roses, Avenged sevenfold, System of a Down, and slipknot. Yay... -_-

Go to hell this is one of the best riffs ever written and it deserves at least a top 5 place. Don't believe me? Go and listen to the song. It will blow your brains out!

Only 45...wow, seriously I get the classic ness or whatever of smoke on the water but seriously that riff is SO simplistic, holy wars is complex, thrashy, fast, intense and just awesome

Surely deserves a top 3 spot.

V12 Comments
27Killing In the Name - Rage Against the Machine

Why is this all the way down here? This is the greatest guitar riff in the history of rock, metal, nu metal, and all music genres

One of the best riffs in rock history, when you hear it you know what it is right away.

28Highway To Hell - AC/DC

It's a legendary riff the best three chord riff ever

V2 Comments
29Layla - Derek And The Dominos

This is way to far down. This is a classic, and seriously, GIVE IT A LISTEN!

Don't vote for this, vote for the one on page 1.

Best riff of all time, by far. way better than claptons original acoustic

V1 Comment
30Raise Your Hands - Bon Jovi

The whole song is a guitar masterpiece! - richie4life

Really amazing riff listen to it now - ballaboi17

Haha! Not one you'd expect to be here but it totally deserves it! Total master work!

V1 Comment
31Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

One of the evilest Riff and should be way towards the top. Iommi is king of Riffs.

32Purple Haze - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

This song is so fun to play it's something I try to play every time I perform. I think it's cool the inspration for the song was an aquatic dream!

So great, it's on here three times - MojoSpaederman

33Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd SkynyrdV1 Comment
34Aqualung - Jethro TullV2 Comments
35Plug in Baby - Muse

This should be number one. Matt is a revolutionary guitarist and an amazing song writer. I understand some people do not like Muse's style or how Matt uses his voice (I think he is amazing), but even they have to admit this riff is amazing. Forever a Muser.

This is the best Total Guitar voted of the past decade! :)

He should be in an higher rank! :)

It is also really good to play, and all the song is great ;)

Great riff...
When I go in Guitar shops I see everyone play this its so good. - GlonnAtronnAdonnAdict

Why muse is always underrated

V11 Comments
36Money for Nothing - Dire Straits

WHY IS THIS NUMBER 85? This is such an incredible riff! How is Avenged Sevenfold, Nirvana, The White Stripes and "SLIPKNOT" (what) ahead of this amazing riff? Get your money for nothing' an' your chicks for free!

This is one of those that you just can't prevent yourself from playing the air guitar to. Mark Knopfler's tone with this song, as well as the overall beat make for one of the best songs of the 1980's. - c0mf0rta61ynum6

It even sounds great on acoustic, but when distorted it becomes as iconic as anything. Sure, some of the higher-rated riffs come from great songs, but taking just the riff alone, it's clearly top-ten material.

Best guitar riff ever if I ever get guitar hero this is the first song I'm playing! :) sad to see it at 35 :(

V5 Comments
37Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix

This is a disgrace. Voodoo Child at number 42? Wow, this lists needs some serious contemplation.

Clearly more people need to take The Jimi Hendrix Experience!

This is one of the most iconic guitar riffs EVER. It hurts me to think about how many of the first 65 songs don't deserve to be on this list.

Better than many riffs above it on this list

V8 Comments
38November Rain - Guns N' Roses

Guitar Riff isn't only about speed and loudness. Come on! I don't even see "Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin" up there! And this.. song has one of the PUREST RIFFS ever! The guitar sings, cries, and pulls you right into the heart of this song! Slash is wonderful and this riff is one, you should definitely listen to! I hope to see this up there someday along with 'Stairway to Heaven'.

This should be in the top 10, at least. One of the greatest riffs/solos ever. Better than 'Welcome to the Jungle' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'

Have you ever listen a guitar sing? Yeah november rain does!

I have to say that this song is the WORST riff ever! Most overrated Guns n' Roses song there is! - PositronWildhawk

V2 Comments
39Master of Puppets - Metallica

When I saw the list, I fully expected this to be number one. Clicking on the list and having to scroll to 36 to find it thoroughly disappointed me. Every time I scrolled, I died a bit.

#1 is Smoke on the Water. Even if it is the most 'recognizable', that does NOT mean it's the best. In comparison with a lot of things, it's actually a really bad riff.

#3 is Enter Sandman. The Black Album (not to mention everything after it) sucks.

I don't feel like critiquing every "riff" before Master of Puppets, but here's a hint: ALMOST ALL OF THEM SUCK.

To quote another comment: "You people wouldn't know a riff if the guitar itself slapped you in the face. "

You people wouldn't know a riff if the guitar itself slapped you in the face. This is the best metal riff full stop, such honest metal, Metallica in their prime.

One of the greatest riffs ever! This should be at least in top 5. How the hell is it 35?

James Hetfield is a genius

V16 Comments
40Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses

one of the best songs of a great band - ronluna

The starting is just ridiculously good

PSearch List

Recommended Lists

Related Lists

Top 10 Darkest Sounding Guitar Riffs Top Ten Thrash Metal Songs With the Best Guitar Riffs Top Ten Catchiest Guitar Riffs Metal Songs With the Best Guitar Riffs Top Ten Best Classic Rock Guitar Riffs

List StatsUpdated 8 Dec 2016

11,000 votes
471 listings
9 years, 194 days old

Top Remixes (52)

1. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
2. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
3. Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple
DaRealXgen
1. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
2. Back In Black - AC/DC
3. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
Toraqi
1. Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple
2. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
3. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
GaylaTwtson

WRemix
View All 52

Posts

Add Post

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.
P