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. At age 17, he accidentally lost the fingertips of his middle ...read more.

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

The list stops here. I listen and admire others but he is the riff king!

Riff King...

V 3 Comments
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.

For me Page is the best riff machine Page and Iommi both of them are match. But still Jimmy is the best because the sound of his riffs are amazing plus his stage presence. He moved his body according to his guitar riffs.

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

Jimmy is the best riff machines. Iommi and Page are just totally match but, despites Page stage presence he moved his body according to his guitar sounds.

Jimmy page is the man and deserves the top. But where is Robbert Fripp. Starless and 21st Century Schizoid riffs are amazing

V 4 Comments
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. When performing live he does his own version of Chuck Berry's "duck walk" and has also spun on his side while ...read more.

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!

AC/DC

Mind blowing solos: brilliant but I understand if there is better solos

Very good drums: but I understand that there is better drummers

Bon Scott & Brian Johnson: crazy but I will understand if there a better vocals

RIFFS: KEEP CALM AND LISTEN

THE POWER OF AC/DC
NO BAND COULD REACH THIS LEVEL
"amaizing" - shatti

V 1 Comment
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 Newcomers

? Dave Davies Dave Davies

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 David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. Mustaine is best known as a pioneer in Thrash Metal, being the former lead guitarist of Metallica before his dismissal in 1983, leading to finding and becoming the front man of his own ...read more.

He writes pretty much all of the riffs and rhythm parts (at least where he's credited as the sole songwriter, which is a large portion of their catalog) and his own solos.

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

Holy Wars. enough said.

He,s a good singer and guitarist

V 1 Comment
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 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!

#2 after tony - SoldierOfFortune

16 Pete Townsend

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

17 Brian May Brian May Brian Harold May is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen.

I don't's get why everyone forgets about brian may... Shame. On. You

How come he is not in top ten?
I pity the foolishness of voters

Dead on time. - bzsuzsi0128

18 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

19 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.

20 Daron Malakian Daron Malakian Daron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian–American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.
21 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.
22 Johnny Marr Johnny Marr

From the smiths. Definitely the best riff creator. So complex, so powerful ^^ so inventive. Just listen to what difference does it make, william it was really nothing, nowhere fast ^^ many, many others.

23 Chuck Schuldiner Chuck Schuldiner Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner (1967-2001) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck ...read more.

This list shouldn't exist if chuck isn't in the top 10 - Sabbath

24 Joe Perry Joe Perry Anthony Joseph "Joe" Perry is the lead guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist, and contributing songwriter for the American rock band Aerosmith.
25 Paul McCartney Paul McCartney Sir James Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer . With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame with the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop and rock music .
26 Ken Kitamura
27 Tak Matsumoto
28 Randy Rhoads Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot.
29 Richie Sambora Richie Sambora Richard Stephen "Richie" Sambora is an American rock guitarist, producer, singer and songwriter who was the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi for 30 years.
30 Matt Bellamy Matt Bellamy Matthew James "Matt" Bellamy is an English musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and compose most famous for being the main vocalist in alternative rock band Muse.
31 Jeff Hanneman Jeff Hanneman Jeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.

Jeff wrote some of the most menacing memorable and devastating riffs ever after Iommi. Mr Hanneman should be way higher, if not top ten! Reign in blood is a defining moment in music, largely due to the immense creative force of Jeff Hanneman.

32 Ichiro CIPHER Takigawa
33 Minoru Kojima
34 You Adachi
35 Kerri King
36 Chuck Berry Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.
37 Josh Homme Josh Homme

King of desert rock riffs. He should be on here

38 Zakk Wylde Zakk Wylde Zakk Wylde is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor who is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society.
39 Phil Collen
40 John Frusciante John Frusciante John Anthony Frusciante is an American guitarist, singer, producer and composer.He is best known for his time with the Funk Rock California based band the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Snow, Scar Tissue, Can't Stop, Californication, just to name a few. I don't know why I'm the one adding him to this list. - ameentheguitarist23

41 Steve Clark
42 Trey Azagthoth
43 Adrian Smith Adrian Smith Adrian Frederick "H" Smith is an English guitarist, best known as a member of Iron Maiden, for whom he writes songs and performs live backing vocals on some tracks.
44 Billie Joe Armstrong Billie Joe Armstrong Billie Joe Armstrong is an American musician, singer, songwriter and actor who is best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and guitarist of the punk rock band Green Day, which he co-founded with Mike Dirnt.
BAdd New Item

Recommended Lists

P