- Another One Bites The Dust – Queen (time – 1:10)
- Stand By Me – Ben E King (time – 15:16)
- Billie Jean – Michael Jackson (time – 29:51)
- Come As You Are – Nirvana (time – 33:53)
- Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream (time – 38:29)
Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
This riff by the great John Deacon might sound really simple but there are a few challenges in there for the beginning player. There are 16th note skips (good for developing technique) and there are changes in note duration (good for developing your groove and feel).
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Stand By Me by Ben E. King is a great riff to learn because it simply repeats all the way through and it’s a great example of how we can weave a line through a chord progression.
In the original recording there’s no drum beat. It’s just a triangle, some percussion and the orchestra so I’ve written a basic drum beat that should help with your practice.
Please Note: The original recording of this song is actually in the key of A Major. So if you want to play along with that version, here you go:
Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson is a really short riff in the key of F sharp minor and really popular with beginners. There are several different ways of playing the riff but I’m going to show you a simply fingering that’s easy for beginners.
Come As You Are – Nirvana
For this lesson we’ll be playing Come As You Are in the key of E minor but it is worth noting that the live versions are commonly in F minor. I think this is possibly due to Nirvana tuning down to D on the original and then down to E flat on the live versions.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
Lastly let’s look at one of the most famous rock riffs of all time: Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream which is played by Jack Bruce.
There are several different variations on this riff depending but we’ll just work through the line used in the intro