Best Guitar Riff Creators

The Top Ten

1 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.

from the heavy Iron man to the softer Planet Caravan, if you ever heard his riffs then you probably agreed that he's the best

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.

This man and the rest of Sabbath invented a musical genre and he invented riffs which others now try to emulate.

2 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...

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.

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

3 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.

None better. Period. Honky Tonk Women is why the guitar was invented.

Satisfaction, Jumping Jack Flash, Start Me Up, Gimme Shelter, Bitch, Can't You Hear Me Knocking, Happy, All Down The Line.

4 Neil Young Neil Percival Young is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.
5 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.

6 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.

He's awesome!

7 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!

This guy and much better than jimmy page and should come first, higway to hell, back in black, you Shook me all nigth long, that give 10 to 0 in the riff of Led Zeppelin Guns n Roses and so on. AC/DC is the best of the best.

8 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.

9 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

Holy Wars. enough said.

Holy Wars, Tornado and Simphony, enough said.

10 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.

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

Amazing just amazing

The Contenders

11 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.

Only 14th? Surely he should be in the top 5 with his legacy.

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

#2 after tony

12 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...

13 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.

No, Clapton wrote it. Allman played on the record, but it was a divine coincidence that he was even available.

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

Didn't Duane Allman write the riff to Layla?

14 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 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.
16 Pete Townsend

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

17 Jerry Cantrell Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains.
18 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.

19 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.

How is he at 19... that's insane. It's a little hard for me to argue against Iommi but Buckethead has got to win. Over three HUNDRED albums released, he is the MAN when it comes to riffs. Hold me Forever, Glacier, Final Wars, Crack the Sky, Wall to Wall Cobwebs, Telescape, Soothsayer, Binge and Grab. I could go on and on and ON, and ON about how many he's got. The mans the best

20 Johnny Marr Johnny Marr is an English musician, songwriter and singer, best known as the guitarist and – with Morrissey – co-songwriter of the Smiths, who were active from 1982 to 1987. Born in Ardwick, Manchester, to Irish parents, Marr formed his first band at the age of 13.

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.

21 Jack White John Anthony "Jack" White is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the duo The White Stripes, but has also had success in other bands and as a solo artist.

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

22 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

23 Daron Malakian Daron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian–American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He's best known as the main songwriter, guitarist, and co-vocalist for Armenian/American rock band System of a Down. After System of a Down's hiatus in 2006 he began to release music through ...read more.

Aerials,byob,toxicity,chop suey,spiders that list goes on and on and on

24 Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. He was killed in a plane crash.
25 Billy Corgan William Patrick "Billy" Corgan Jr. is an American musician, songwriter, producer, television writer, poet, and professional wrestling promoter best known as the lead singer, guitarist, and sole permanent member of The Smashing Pumpkins.
26 Izzy Stradlin Jeffrey Dean Isbell, better known by his stage name Izzy Stradlin, is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter.

One of rock n roll's greatest and most underrated songwriters. Wrote a lot of Guns N' Roses's songs and riffs like Nightrain, and had a guitar perfect style to compliment Slash's.

27 Joe Perry Anthony Joseph "Joe" Perry is the lead guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist, and contributing songwriter for the American rock band Aerosmith.
28 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 .
29 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.
30 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.

31 Malcolm Young Malcolm Mitchell Young was an Australian musician and songwriter, best known as a co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter for the hard rock band AC/DC.

Malcolm was the true riff writer behind acdc, not angus, he deserves the credit.

32 Billy Gibbons William Frederick "Billy" Gibbons is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer, and actor, best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist of the American rock band ZZ Top.
33 Ken Kitamura
34 Tak Matsumoto
35 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. He is known for his work with Bon Jovi from 1983 to 2013. He is a very praised guitarist who played solos for songs like Dry County, Stranger ...read more.
36 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. He was also part of the Mars Volta, Swahili Blonde, Ataxia and more.

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.

37 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.
38 Ichiro CIPHER Takigawa
39 Minoru Kojima
40 You Adachi
41 Kerry King Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.
42 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.
43 Josh Homme Joshua Michael Homme (born May 17, 1973) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and actor. He is the founder and only continuous member of the rock band Queens of the Stone Age, in which he sings, plays guitar, as well as occasionally playing piano, drums, and bass. He also serves ...read more.

King of desert rock riffs. He should be on here

44 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.
45 Phil Collen
46 Steve Clark Stephen Maynard Clark was an English musician. He was the lead guitarist and principal songwriter for the British hard rock band, Def Leppard, until 1991, when he died from alcohol poisoning.
47 Trey Azagthoth
48 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.
49 Dave Davies
50 Quorthon Tomas Börje Forsberg, known by the stage name Quorthon (1966-2004), was a Swedish musician. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the band Bathory, which pioneered the black metal genre and is credited with creating the Viking metal style. A multi-instrumentalist, Quorthon wrote ...read more.

Just listen to "A Fine Day to Die"

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