Metal is one of the widest and wildest music genres, which started getting off the ground in the ’70s with some bands such as the incredible Black Sabbath. Since then, it progressed in many phases over the years, having a significant role in the music scene. However, with its high tempo and various techniques, it was never an effortless music style for beginner guitarists to master.
Guitarists who want to play metal music have to have a good command of the mastering power chords, palm-muting, high tempo triplets, staccatos, and forceful rhythmic senses to achieve the unique and aggressive sound of the genre. Your fretting hand and picking hand will be both put on the test, as well as your musical harmonic knowledge as the chromatic progressions, modal scales, and tritones are often used in metal songs.
However, there is also some good news for beginner guitarists. There are plenty of easy-to-play famous metal songs, which are excellent starting points for beginner guitarists to step on the metal scene. From heavy metal to death metal, hard rock to nu-metal, you can find great riffs that you know, love, and would utmost enjoy playing.
Playing these pieces will train your hands to get used to the unique style of the genre and will make you ready to play more challenging riffs or even some solos of these fantastic songs.
Back In Black – AC/DC
One of the famous songs of the hard rock giants AC/DC’s Back In Black is well-known for its rock-solid guitar riffs celebrated as some of the most incredible guitar riffs of all time. It is not exactly a metal song, but AC/DC is considered one of the first steps towards creating the heavy metal genre.
It is played with distorted power chords, and lead guitar fills in between the partitions. As the riff features power chords and some nice fills in between, it is a whole package for beginner guitarists to get familiar with the heavy metal style riffs.
Enter Sandman – Metallica
The piece starts with the riff played by a lovely clean-toned guitar, which later gives space to the heavily distorted version of the riff. It is a pretty straightforward melody to play, which will not give you any hard time.
Released in 2008, Psychosocial is the death metal hit by the famous metal band Slipknot. The piece features experimental rhythm changes and drops while maintaining the central groove building up the band’s unique style.
Most of the song is played on the 6th string with melody notes on the 4th and 5th strings. Your picking hand needs to be strong to play the tune as the tune has a high tempo. Also, you will need to tune your guitar to Drop A to play the song.
If you want to play riffs from other genres too, feel free to check my article Top 45 Famous & Easy Guitar Riffs For Beginners – Tabs Included
Unforgiven – Metallica
Another famous Metallica hit, Unforgiven, is one of the slow tempo pieces of the band. With this tune, you will get familiar with the clean side of the metal with many arpeggios and slow melodic riffs.
Although the piece has many riffs, which may seem complicated, none of the partitions are challenging, even for absolute beginners.
Du Hast – Rammstein
German industrial metal band Rammstein is one of the greatest metal bands on the music scene who are still active today. One of their most famous songs, Du Hast, features an incredible and aggressive riff played by power chords, perfectly suitable for any guitar player.
The riff is pretty straightforward, with three power chords and a slide in between. Later two more power chords are added in the chorus section, which you need to play the entire song.
Poison – Alice Cooper
80’s pop-metal tune by Alice Cooper, Poison is the most famous song of the musician. The tune is remembered with its iconic intro riff and chorus.
With straightforward single notes and power chords in verses, it is a tune to be learned and mastered pretty quickly.
If you like the 80’s rock and metal songs, you will probably love the following list as well Top 30 Guitar Rock Songs Of The 1980s You Must Learn To Play
One – Metallica
1989 song One is one of the most famous songs of the legendary Metallica, and surprisingly it is one of the mellow tunes of the band. Although the song rises to the climax at the final parts, it mainly has low-tempo partitions that are easy to play.
Along with nice-sounding clean riffs, the piece also has an effortless intro solo which you can learn and play.
The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson
Released in 1996, The Beautiful People is the hit single of the American band Marilyn Manson. With only power chords, its riff is more than easy to play for any guitar player.
The intro section is played with muted triplets, giving space to the main riff with power chords. In the bridge section, you will have to mute the middle string of the power chords, which is not a big challenge.
You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
Another famous AC/DC tune, You Shook Me All Night Long, was released in 1980, which later became one of the traditional songs on the band’s live performances. It was a massive hit that gained global popularity.
The intro riff features some double stops, while the verses and chorus use simple G-C-D chord progressions. Easy and fun piece to add to your repertoire.
If you want to play some amazing solos along with riffs, you should check out my Top 50 Famous&Easy Guitar Solos For Beginners – Tabs Included
Sonne – Rammstein
Another Rammstein hit, Sonne, is an amazing piece of metal with a dark and aggressive sound. The tune is played with a Drop D tuning to create the darker-sounding guitar tones.
The riff of the song is played with three power chords which is not a challenge. Interlude and intro sections have some single-note partitions, which are also straightforward and entertaining.
Walk – Pantera
Walk is the 1993 groove metal hit by the American metal band Pantera. As with many metal songs, the piece is created by adding a lot of flair to a simple song structure.
The tune’s riff is played with only 3 notes, but it sounds pretty unique with syncopation and a bit of swing feel.
Highway To Hell – AC/DC
AC/DC is famous for its outstanding yet straightforward guitar riffs. So here is another piece from them, the famous Highway To Hell. The piece has one of the most classic riffs of metal history. Indeed, you have heard it somewhere, even if you are not a rock or metal fan.
The riff consists of standard chords which are played with a bit of overdrive. It is an easy piece of cake to play this song for any guitarist.
If you are loving this list and want to play more electric guitar songs, you should check out my article Top 60 Famous & Easy Electric Guitar Songs – Tabs Included
Fade To Black – Metallica
Another mellow Metallica tune on the list is the famous Fade To Black. It is a fantastic tune with outstanding clean guitar partitions.
The beginning arpeggios of the song are very easy and sound great, while later, some partitions may take some time and practice to play for absolute beginners.
We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
Twisted Sister’s signature song We’re Not Gonna Take It from 1984 features yet another exceptionally famous chorus and guitar riff. It is one of the most straightforward songs to play on this list, as the entire song can be played with simple power chords.
Besides the power chord riffs, the tune’s solo is easy enough for you to learn and master it quickly.
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
The pioneers of the heavy metal genre, Black Sabbath, inspired many musicians and bands with their unique guitar tones and songs. As one of their most famous songs, Paranoid from 1970, was a worldwide hit with its iconic riffs and lyrics.
The iconic riff features double stops and hammer-ons while the verses and chorus are played with basic power chords—an enjoyable song to learn and play.
If you like playing rock-solid power chords, you will love the following list as well Top 45 Famous & Easy Power Chord Songs For Beginners – Tabs Included
Blind – Korn
Famous nu-metal band Korn’s most successful hit is Blind with its iconic intro with the line Are You Ready. This piece with which the genre was literally born combines rap with metal tones and riffs.
It is ultimately an easy song to play with low-pitch walks on the 5th and 6th strings, along with melodic licks on the lower strings. With high and low notes combined, the tune creates a contrasting tension that builds the unique sound of the piece.
Breaking The Law – Judas Priest
The British heavy metal band Judas Priest’s Breaking The Law is an essential mark on heavy metal history thanks to its iconic riff that rocked the world back in 1980. It is a fantastic song that is a must-learn for every heavy metal lover.
The iconic riff is super easy to learn with single-note walks on different strings. With plenty of distortion, this riff is impressive to play and have fun with.
Holy Diver – Dio
Probably the most fantastic vocal on heavy metal history is Ronnie James Dio. He inspired many players and singers with his unique voice and character. As one of his first singles as a solo musician, Holy Diver is a great song to learn and play for every metal fan.
As with many Dio signature songs, this piece’s intro riff sounds extremely good and easy to learn. Also, while learning this riff, you will get familiar with palm-muted triplets commonly used in heavy metal.
If you like the glam metal songs of the 80’s, do not forget to check out my list Top 40 Famous&Easy Glam/Hair Metal Songs/Riffs – Tabs Included
Cemetery Gates – Pantera
Another hit song by the metal band Pantera, Cemetery Gates, features pretty easy arpeggiated metal riffs to learn for beginner guitarists. With arpeggios, power chords, and fills, the piece features many riffs to learn and play around with. Utterly an entertaining and educative metal piece to add to your repertoire.
Symphony Of Destruction – Megadeth
Symphony Of Destruction is the most famous song of the legendary American thrash metal band Megadeth. The song is remembered with its heavy guitar tones, exceptional riffs, along with amazing lyrics.
The tune is played with power chords, mainly with the palm mute technique. Learning this tune’s riffs will develop your picking hand significantly as palm mutes with a high tempo require good stamina. But be sure the outcome will be more than rewarding.
Kickstart My Heart – Mötley Crüe
1989 hit by the American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, Kickstart My Heart features some great power chord riffs for beginner guitarists. The riffs are played with palm-muted open string triplets followed by power chords.
The riff also features some slides and legatos between the power chords, making it more entertaining to learn and play.
Iron Man – Black Sabbath
One of the most famous tunes of Black Sabbath and one of the first examples of the heavy metal genre is the well-known 1970 piece, Iron Man. With its iconic riff built with power chords and lead guitar accompanying vocal lines, it is a must-learn for every metal fan.
The riffs of the tune are pretty easy to play, thanks to the moderate tempo of the song. You can learn and play this piece in no time if you are already familiar with power chords.
Welcome Home Sanitarium – Metallica
Another Metallica piece on the list is Welcome Home Sanitarium from 1986, remembered for its famous chorus parts. The tune features many great riffs to learn, from clean, toned arpeggios in the beginning and later notable distorted riffs in the chorus parts.
Both sections are suitable for novice guitarists as they are pretty straightforward in terms of rhythm and harmony.
Detroit Rock City – Kiss
1976 song Detroit Rock City is one of the most famous from the American rock band Kiss. All of the riffs the piece features are elementary to play with single notes or power chords which make the tune excellent for absolute beginners.
You can also try your chances with the tune’s solo, as that is also pretty simple.
Shot In The Dark – Ozzy Osbourne
The great Ozzy Osbourne’s Shot In The Dark from 1986 is yet another great song to learn with its classic heavy metal style riffs. The palm-muted triplets with open power chords are a joy to play, while the verse section’s clean arpeggios create an amazing contrast with them—a great song to add to your metal repertoire.
Madhouse – Anthrax
One of the greatest Anthrax songs is indeed Madhouse with its fantastic guitar partitions. The piece has an amazing core riff with palm mutes and significant single-note transitions.
With a good amount of distortion, the tune is utterly entertaining to play, making you feel you are heavily rocking the audience.
Guardians Of Asgaard – Amon Amarth
Released in 2008, Guardians Of Asgaard is the metal hit by the Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth which is one of their most famous pieces.
The piece has three different riffs, all beginner-friendly and enjoyable to play. The single-note riffs are pretty straightforward, while the power chord riff won’t give you any hard time as they have accessible fret positions.
Another Day – Dream Theater
The progressive metal band Dream Theater’s pieces are always outstanding but challenging to play, but Another Day is not like that, thanks to its slow tempo and basic structure.
The song has many arpeggiated riffs, which are not that challenging and are also great practice for your arpeggiating technique. You can also play the solos of the piece as they are straightforward.
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Released in 1980, Crazy Train by Ozzy is undoubtedly one of the most iconic heavy metal songs in history. From the iconic, All Aboard opening to its fantastic guitar riff and solo, this song is a must-add to the repertoire.
The iconic single-note riff is so unique and simple that it can be played by any guitarist. Also, the verse part with power chords and palm mutes are excellent training for heavy metal style riffing.
Heaven And Hell – Black Sabbath
Heaven And Hell is a unique heavy metal song from the time of Black Sabbath and Dio collaboration. The main riff of the piece is the most fantastic riff to listen to and to play, at least for me. The song has impressive guitar partitions, fantastic lyrics, beautiful structure; all in all, it is an outstanding piece.
The main riff played with power chords is pretty straightforward, but the last quick transition takes time to play correctly.
Lateralus – Tool
The progressive metal band Tool has some amazing riffs and songs with complex structures and challenging partitions. But Lateralus is relatively a more effortless piece with single-note clean-toned riff and straightforward power chord verses.
Adding some delay to the clean tone and turning on the gain generously will get you closer to the original sound of the piece.
She Wolf – Megadeth
She Wolf is an amazing thrash metal tune from 1997 by the great Megadeth. It is one of the most straightforward Megadeth tunes to play with simple riffs and an introductory solo.
The tune shines using palm-muted open string triplets, power chords and slides through the fretboard. All the riffs are beginner-friendly and really fun to play.
Ace Of Spades – Motorhead
The most famous song of the English heavy metal band Motorhead. The tune is globally well-known for its high tempo and powerful riffs and lyrics.
Most of the song is played with basic power chords, while open string mutes are used to keep up with the rhythm. To play the tune properly, you should be aware of some nuances, such as slides and ghost notes.
Die For Metal – Manowar
Thanks to its highly easy structure and riffs, the famous heavy metal tune Die For Metal by Manowar is yet another fun song to learn and play. You can play the whole song with double note power chords and open string classic heavy metal triplets. Utterly a piece of cake to learn and highly entertaining to play with high gain.
Harvest – Opeth
Opeth is one of the most exciting metal bands with its progressive approach to the genre. Released in 2001, Harvest is one of their most famous tunes, which is not like a classic metal song with its mellow tone and soft atmosphere.
The song is mainly played with classic chords and a clean tone. But you can also play the lead guitar partitions, which are simple and great for a beginner guitarist to master. Another you should be aware of is that the tune is played with a 6/8 time signature.
Sweet Leaf – Black Sabbath
Sweet Leaf is another great tune by the heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath with simple yet amazing guitar riffs. The song offers excellent power chord riffs along with single-note transitions, all easy and fun to play.
Try to keep your attention on the timings of mutes and slides to play the main riff accurately.
A Tale That Wasn’t Right – Helloween
Helloween’s metal ballad A Tale That Wasn’t Right is an utterly beginner-friendly tune with various riffs from clean arpeggios and solos to distorted power chords.
You can also play both solos as they are melodic, slow-tempo, and easy to play. Especially the second solo is great for beginners because it uses many techniques like bends, tapping, and legatos.
The Devil’s Orchard – Opeth
Another amazing riff by Opeth is featured in the piece The Devil’s Orchard. As the single note riffs of the tune use many techniques, it can be challenging for absolute beginners but keep your patience and practice as this one is a great song to practice and progress with your technique.
Try to play the parts slowly and separately to master them. Later you can combine everything with playing the fantastic riffs altogether.
Hellrider – Judas Priest
Another one of the masterpieces of the heavy metal band Judas Priest is Hellrider. The piece features a rock-solid metal riff with power chords and 6th string open triplets along with single note transitions and interludes.
Be aware of the timing while playing, as the only challenge is keeping up with the rhythm and consistently playing the riffs.
Crystal Skull – Mastodon
The 2006 hit of the groove metal band Mastodon, Crystal Skull, features a fantastic metal riff that is very easy to play.
You will have to tune your guitar to Drop D to play the tune, but you will not regret the effort after playing the fantastic riff. It is full of triplets which are easy to play. Be careful with the vibratos on the 6th fret, as they are the heart of the riff.
Master Of Puppets – Metallica
The favorite song on this list for metal lovers is probably the iconic Master Of Puppets with its iconic riff, fantastic solo, and fantastic lyrics. After its release in 1986, the tune became a regular and the most played tune of the band’s live performances.
The iconic “spider riff” in the intro section is a fantastic riff to play for every metal guitarist. The high amount of down picking makes it challenging to play for the picking hand, yet it is not unmanageable for an average guitarist.
The Trooper – Iron Maiden
Legendary English heavy metal band Iron Maiden’s fantastic tune The Trooper is one of the signature pieces of heavy metal history. Released in1983, the song tells about the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854. With fantastic guitar riffs, Bruce Dickinson’s unique vocals, it is a must-learn song for metalheads.
The main riff of the tune features high-tempo legatos that can be hard to play on the first try. Start slowly and build up the speed, later on, to play the tune properly.
Hallowed Be Thy Name – Iron Maiden
Another great piece from the English heavy metal giants, Hallowed Be Thy Name, features outstanding riffs from start to finish. The clean tone guitar intro followed by the iconic distorted main riff is truly masterfully composed partitions that are a joy to play.
While the intro is more than easy, the main riff can be challenging as it features many fast-paced legatos, all fingers, and a high tempo. So as always, keep it slow at first to get the grasp of the riff.
Painkiller – Judas Priest
Painkiller is one of the most famous tunes of the heavy metal band Judas Priest. With Rob Helford’s incredible vocals and Downing’s fantastic guitar riffs, it is a great tune to add to your metal repertoire.
The main riff is built with triplets which the first melody notes are followed by open 6th string fills. It is not that hard riff to play, but you will need a fast-picking hand to keep up with the rhythm.
Wasted Years – Iron Maiden
Wasted Years is yet another rock-solid tune with memorable guitar riffs by the English giants Iron Maiden. The main riff played in the intro pedals 1st string open with some notes on the exact string in between.
To play the riff as cleanly as possible, rest the palm of your hand on the lower strings, so they don’t start making any noise. Starting slowly and memorizing the frets to play will help you immensely on this one.
Holy Wars The Punishment Due – Megadeth
The trash metal tune Holy Wars The Punishment Due by Megadeth features some challenging riffs that are entertaining to learn and play. The second riff, which is the main riff, is fantastic with legatos, and palm-muted open 6th string fills in between, ending with the power chords.
Most of the song is played with variations of the main riff, but there are also different amazing ones that are no less challenging or entertaining than the main one.
Scream Aim Fire – Bullet For My Valentine
Bullet For My Valentine’s most famous tune, Scream Aim Fire, is remembered with its iconic main riff and solo. The riff features rhythmic triplet fills on higher strings along with single notes on the fourth string, which create the melody.
It is not very hard to get a grasp of it but be aware of the vibratos and rhythmic pattern to play the riff accurately.
Raining Blood – Slayer
Raining Blood by American thrash metal band Slayer features some great guitar riffs to learn and expand your metal repertoire. The main riff is played on the lower 3 strings with a repetitive style.
It is not a very challenging riff, but the high tempo can make you struggle. If you have a solid picking hand, you will learn it in no time.
Schism – Tool
Tool is well-known for its progressive and complex riffs and song structures, and Schism is one of the most famous examples. There are many great riffs in the song, some easy with power chords, some quite challenging with various techniques and odd timings. But all of them are utterly fun to play and are excellent practice for your technique.
Panama – Van Halen
One of the most famous tunes of the American heavy metal rock band is Panama by Van Halen. Thanks to its iconic opening riff. It is played with palm-muted rhythmic low strings and three-note power chords.
The most challenging part is to play the notes at the right timing, so get help from a metronome and listen to the riff carefully to get the hang of it.
Revolution Is My Name – Pantera
The groove metal hit Revolution Is My Name from 200 by the metal band Pantera has a beautiful guitar intro riff full of bends. The main riff, which comes later, uses lower strings rhythmically along with great-sounding legatos and walks on the 6th string.
You can add a high amount of distortion and wash effect to play it closer to the recording.
Hot For Teacher – Van Halen
Another great riff from Van Halen is featured in the 1984 piece Hot For Teacher. There are two great riffs to play in the song: the main riff and the chorus riff.
The main riff is relatively easy with power chords and muted triplet fills, but the chorus riff features a great scale run in which you will have to stretch your fingers mainly to play it.
Forty Six & 2 – Tool
Forty-Six & 2 by the progressive metal band Tool has some exciting and unconventional riffs with various difficulties for metal guitarists. Most of the riffs in tune are not challenging to play, yet you will need a good mastery of the fretboard to play them.
You can use a light distortion and flanger effect to play it like the recording.
2 Minutes To Midnight – Iron Maiden
Another iconic Iron Maiden riff can be found in 1984 hit 2 Minutes To Midnight. The riff is played with muted open 5th string and power chords in a high tempo. It is ultimately an entertaining riff with great-sounding nuances such as vibratos and ghost notes.
You will require good stamina as you will be down-picking quite fast to play the tune.
Tornado Of Souls – Megadeth
Megadeth’s Tornado Of Souls has excellent sounding guitar riffs with impressive scale runs, harmonics, slight palm mutes, and power chords that drive the riffs forward. The 2 main riffs of the tune require an excellent technique to play them correctly, but they sound fantastic when done so.
Start slowly and build a solid foundation to play this tune. In this piece, quality comes before speed.
Bark At The Moon – Ozzy Osbourne
Bark At The Moon is one of the high-tempo and great-sounding tunes of the great vocalist and composer Ozzy Osbourne. The riff sounds amazing with power chords and high-speed palm-muted open string notes.
With this piece, the challenge is to catch up with the rhythm. Initially, it is played with downstrokes, but if you can not, you can use alternate picking to catch up with it.
Laid To Rest – Lamb Of God
The famous piece of the death metal band Lamb Of God, Laid To Rest, features a fantastic riff with single-note triplets and power chords. The riff uses palm mutes, legatos, and slides to create the melody, followed by power chords that drive the riff forward. Ultimately a great riff to add to the metal repertoire.
Pull Me Under – Dream Theater
Dream Theater is well-known for its complex riffs and songs, which sound outstanding. Pull Me Under is a great example that features a great intro with a clean tone guitar with the great use of tremolo bar.
The intro is followed by a rock-solid distorted guitar riff with power chords and muted open string rhythmic fills. You should be aware of the timings as the challenge is with the timings on this one.
As I Am – Dream Theater
Dream Theater’s John Petrucci is a genius when it comes to composing odd guitar riffs and solos. His talent can be seen in the fantastic riffs of As I Am, as the progressive guitar riffs are unique in terms of rhythm, harmony, and technique.
You will have to listen to the song very carefully to get the hang of the riff. Actually, the main riff is pretty straightforward, but Petrucci adds so many nuances to keep things interesting that are brilliant but may take some time to play them properly.
The Coming Curse – Iced Earth
The 1998 progressive metal hit by Iced Earth, The Coming Curse, is built around a great guitar riff that is wholly played with palm mutes. The second riff is similar, but the mute is held off on the power chords that create the melody.
This is not a challenging riff to play if you are comfortable with high-tempo palm mutes and power chords.
Playing metal riffs has many levels of complexity as they use many challenging techniques, high-tempos, theories, and odd time signatures. But, every challenge will help you grow as a guitarist and make your progress faster. You will get familiar with many new ideas and playing styles that will help you on your journey as a guitarist.
Playing these tunes with power chords, distortions, palm-muting, easy musical figures and scales, high-tempo triplets, which are all basics of metal playing, are of utmost fun, especially if you like metal tunes. Playing some of your favorite band’s tunes always motivates you to play more and more, which is the perfect way to play better. Besides, having fun is the ultimate goal of playing any instrument.
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