Best Guitar Riff Creators

The Top Ten

1 Tony Iommi Tony Iommi Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, he has been the band's sole continual member and primary composer.

He should be higher. The riffs he created in the 70s were some of the heaviest riffs at the time. People didn't know what to think. They had never heard such heaviness before. A critic said "Like Cream, but worse. " If it wasn't for Iommi a lot of great metal guitarists would have never even picked up a guitar.

He had great idea about riffs at that time. Simple slow and becomes heavier. When I was a kid (even before hearing black sabbath's songs) I got the idea, I used to think strumming with full power (pressure) would make the heaviest guitar sound. - zxm

He is the father of metal riffs - Sabbath

He is the father if metal - Sabbath

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2 Jimmy Page Jimmy Page James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

The stuff he came up with over the years with the Yardbirds, that they didn't use, wow.
Jimmy Page is by far the best riff creator of all time, not to mention the greatest guitarist ever. Every single song has an awesome spot in rock history... - chili

Whole lotta love, stairway, Kashmir, ocean, black dog, immigrant song, dazed and confused list goes on and on

The man is the prodigy of rock music

Kashmir, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, Communication Breakdown, Good Times Bad Times etc. - zxm

No one touches him clearly the greatest riff maker that ever strapped on a guitar

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3 Keith Richards Keith Richards Keith Richards is an English musician—primarily a guitarist—singer, songwriter, best-selling memoirist, and founding member of the rock band The Rolling Stones.
4 Neil Young Neil Young Neil Percival Young is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.
5 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter . Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated ...read more.

Because he's a Voodoo Child. enough said. - ameentheguitarist23

6 James Hetfield James Hetfield James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.

Yes, this man should top the list, he has created all Metallica riffs and Solos and Kirk plays them, there are no words to describe this genius!

Of course he is not the best guitarist on the list. But I think he is one of the best metal riff creators of all time.
Thanks Mr. Hetfield!

three words. Master of Puppets.

7 Angus Young Angus Young Angus McKinnon Young is an Australian guitarist of Scottish origin, best known as the co-founder, lead guitarist, songwriter and sole constant member of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC.

All AC/DC songs have amazing riffs! Angus Young & Malcolm Young are geniuses! The Young brothers are masters at riffs!

Just to say, back in black was made by Malcolm so they both deserve it

Together with Malcolm Young #1!
Let There Be Rock!

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8 Slash Slash Saul Hudson, known professionally as Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

I don't even have to explain. His music tells it all.

Everyone knows his riffs from Appetite, and the riffs from his solo albums are extremely overlooked. - ameentheguitarist23

9 Dimebag Darrell Dimebag Darrell Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell, was an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of two bands, Pantera and Damageplan, alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott died in 2004 after he was shot by a mentally unstable fan.

Cemetery Gates (both the clean and distorted riffs are highly underrated), Walk, Cowboys From Hell. These are not ordinary riffs. - ameentheguitarist23

dimebag darrell's riffs are the best. they're agressive, pure metal - joinordie

Amazing just amazing

10 Tom Morello Tom Morello Thomas Morello is an American musician, singer-songwriter and political activist. He is best known for his tenure with the band Rage Against the Machine and then with Audioslave.

The craziest riffs of 90s metal: killing in the name, sleep now in the fire, guerrilla radio, bulls on parade, know your enemy and the list goes on and on...

The Contenders

11 Eric Clapton Eric Clapton Eric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. He has also been a member of Derek and the Dominos.

Lay down sally, cocaine, sunshine of your love, tears in heaven, layla and many more - itamarlivn

Didn't Duane Allman write the riff to Layla? - 12cc

12 Kirk Hammett Kirk Hammett Kirk Lee Hammett is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus.
13 Dave Mustaine Dave Mustaine ...read more.

Many of the Megadeth riffs weren't created by him. Mustaine has many good riffs but he's no Chuck Schuldiner - Sabbath

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14 Eddie Van Halen Eddie Van Halen Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen is a Dutch-American musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, occasional keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen.
15 Pete Townsend

A riff machine... Live at leeds, isle of wight, tanglewood men he's the man

16 Ritchie Blackmore Ritchie Blackmore Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work in the hard rock/metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the ...read more.

Its not only Smoke On the Water. There are some great riffs like Highway Star, Black Night, Perfect Strangers, Burn, Pictures of Home, Strange Kind of Woman etc. - zxm

Ritchie should be in first 5!
Smoke on The Water!

17 Buckethead Buckethead Brian Patrick Carroll, known professionally as Buckethead, is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked within many genres of music.

Yes, he is a great guitarist. But because of most of his songs can be called shredding/solos those aren't really riffs. Riffs are main theme of a song, some chords repeated over and over. But when riffs are in a solo it becomes simply licks. - zxm

18 Jack White Jack White

Seven Nation Army, Fell in Love with a Girl, Blue Orchid, Icky Thump, Sixteen Saltines... I could go on and on.

19 Daron Malakian Daron Malakian Daron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian–American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.
20 Jerry Cantrell Jerry Cantrell Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American musician who is best known as the lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter for the rock band Alice in Chains.
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