First Easy Riff, Part 1 (Guitar Lesson)

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Will Ripley

First Easy Riff, Part 1

Will wastes no time getting you playing actual music! Check out this cool riff in the style of Black Sabbath. You'll be rockin' in no time!

Taught by Will Ripley in Rock Guitar for Beginners seriesLength: 7:13Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Scene 1: Finding The Frets-(03:41)

In this scene, Will focuses on showing you where to put your fingers on the fret board, in order to get the proper sound and tone out of the riff. Make sure your finger is as close to the metal bar, also known as the fret, as it can be without actually touching it.

Will then shows you the buzz test, which is how you can tell if your finger is properly positioned on the fret board or not. If you move your finger too far away from the metal fret, the note will not ring out clearly, and the string will produce an undesirable buzzing sound.

Scene 2: Getting Into The Riff-(03:27)

In this scene, Will walks you through the actual riff. Start out by placing your finger on the fifth fret of the thickest string. With your picking hand, you’re going to play five downstrokes.

Strum the string in a top to bottom motion, and count the rhythm out loud, like “1-2-3-4-5”. Once the last pick attack is played, lift your index finger off the fretboard ever so slightly in order to stop the note from continuing to ring out.

After you get comfortable with that, move your index finger down to the third fret, and repeat the process. Next, you will move down to the second fret and play the same rhythm in that position.

To finish off the riff, you are going to move your index finger down to the first fret, and play four downstrokes instead of five. Then, take your finger off the fretboard completely, and just play the open string four more times.

After you feel comfortable with the different parts of the riff, try playing the whole thing. You can practice along in real time with Will towards the end of the lesson.



Video Subtitles / Captions


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TerrierTerrier replied

Got to agree with a lot of the comments on here, sounds like 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago.

jm_kerrjm_kerr replied

Yeah. I keep waiting for the horn section to kick in. I think 624 was their hotel room that night. (Should I do the "25" or just go to the room (624) and call it a night.) ;)

MohdaliMohdali replied

Error loading media Can't watch videos

JamesKeithJamesKeith replied

A similar riff is also used by Green Day in "Brain Stew". I'm sure there are many other songs that use a similar chord progression as others have mentioned in the comments already. I just immediately went to "Brain Stew" guess I'm just more of a 90's rock/punk dude.

bfinehoutbfinehout replied

The First Easy Riff, Part 1 lesson only shows 30% complete, but I watched the entire lesson.

chrispickingchrispicking replied

I'm new here. Really nice lessons ..Thanks to the teacher! Any body could tell me if it is possible to download the backing track he is using for the lesson? For exemple first lesson is a small riff of black sabath, it would be easier to have the backing track??? Thanks for answers ;)

DfgbugsDfgbugs replied

Very good. He gets you playing very quick! I’m guessing Will has never heard the song 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago. Nevertheless, good job for beginners here.

harrisonbharrisonb replied

Will has my favorite personality of all the teachers.

dixiejdixiej replied

I totally agree! I left JamPlay for a while but as soon as I heard he had a new series up, I quickly rejoined!

OutofTuneTooOutofTuneToo replied

25 Or 6 To 4 by Chicago?

Amethyst8Amethyst8 replied

I took lessons for a year and am more at home with the minor pentatonic scales, need to expand on theory, but definitely need to start over and brush off the cobwebs!!! Will, you are an excellent instructor!!! Cheers!!!

gemini9665gemini9665 replied

Will you are an amazing teacher, your presentation style is so laid back and easy to follow. You make the whole experience of learning so much fun, absolutely brilliant cant wait to come home from work and play.

JREED13416JREED13416 replied

Thanks for making my first lesson recognizable and easy.

freefly8freefly8 replied

Nice and straight forward. Initially the video and voices weren't sync'd, but it came together in about 30 sec or less. Thanks

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied

If that happens, try reducing your video quality using the "HD" button in the lower right hand corner of the video window. The symptom you are experiencing is usually attributed to not having enough system resources to receive the stream and decode it in real time. Going to a lower quality and thus smaller file makes it easier for your computer to handle that.

daddy2pops60daddy2pops60 replied

What do I do now?

SurfpopSurfpop replied

I do like how he got you playing a song in the first real lesson.

aleshaalesha replied

Nice riff for a beginner. I hear Led Zeppelin "Babe, I gonna live you" here...

maxresultsmaxresults replied

Black Sabbath??? Sounds like Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4"

Amethyst8Amethyst8 replied

Definitely was Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4...:)

fired420@gmail.com[email protected] replied

hey will as a left hand beginner am enjoing ur lessons,there are clear and easy to grasp.glad I picked you as my instructer, tnks tom kilo

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

LOL- Sounds more like the tune "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago!

bgubar@gmail.com[email protected] replied

I thought that I was the only person who thought that way...LOL

SewilliamsSewilliams replied

I kept hearing the horns kick in after that riff.

HahcooshuhushdunahHahcooshuhushdunah replied

Excellent presentation.

dryandryan replied

Nice Start

James PolitoJames Polito replied

Will. I LOVE your style of teaching. You are the choice instructor for me. Hope you keep building on these lessons all the way to advanced! Thanks!

Rock Guitar for Beginners

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Learn to play the electric guitar like a pro! Will Ripley is a veteran teacher that will show you quick and easy ways to start playing actual music on the guitar! Start learning original classic rock style riffs right away, all the while learning solid foundations to your guitar playing. Get ready to Rip it up!!



Series IntroductionLesson 1

Series Introduction

Join Will Ripley as he gives us all the details of his series, "Rock Guitar for Beginners". You'll be playing cool rock riffs from the very first lesson!

Length: 5:25 Difficulty: 0.0 FREE
First Easy Riff, Part 1Lesson 2

First Easy Riff, Part 1

Will wastes no time getting you playing actual music! Check out this cool riff in the style of Black Sabbath. You'll be rockin' in no time!

Length: 7:13 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
First Easy Riff, Part 2Lesson 3

First Easy Riff, Part 2

Will continues in this lesson by showing you how to read basic tablature for his Black Sabbath style riff.

Length: 9:31 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Chromatic ExerciseLesson 4

Chromatic Exercise

In this lesson, Will takes a break from riffs to show you a great tool for increasing your dexterity on the instrument: the chromatic exercise.

Length: 6:37 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Right Hand Technique, Part 1Lesson 5

Right Hand Technique, Part 1

A good foundation on the guitar has a lot to do with your right hand, or picking hand, technique. Will starts here with the basics: How to hold a pick and how to place your hand.

Length: 9:22 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Right Hand Technique, Part 2Lesson 6

Right Hand Technique, Part 2

So far, Will has had you focus on playing on one string. Now he gives you the tools to play across multiple strings.

Length: 8:40 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Riff in the Style of Deep Purple/QueenLesson 7

Riff in the Style of Deep Purple/Queen

Now that you have some right hand technique under your belt, Will hits you with another classic sounding riff in the style of Deep Purple or Queen. This is an easy, yet great sounding single note riff...

Length: 9:43 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Riff in the Style of Bon JoviLesson 8

Riff in the Style of Bon Jovi

Will is back with another classic sounding riff! This riff is a great exercise that gets you using your fingers on more than one strings, and improves on your chromatic movement.

Length: 5:44 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Riff in the Style of Journey/Foster the PeopleLesson 9

Riff in the Style of Journey/Foster the People

Will uses this catchy riff to teach you how to mute open strings and fretted notes, and how to add some rhythmic depth to your playing.

Length: 5:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Riff in the Style of RATM/Led ZeppelinLesson 10

Riff in the Style of RATM/Led Zeppelin

Here's another catch, classic sounding riff from Will. This one will get you up and running with your alternate picking. A must have picking technique moving forward!

Length: 7:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Chromatic Graduation RiffLesson 11

Chromatic Graduation Riff

Remember the chromatic scale we learned earlier in this series? Well, Will steps it up a notch by adding a cool funky riff to help you earn your chromatic diploma!

Length: 10:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
E Minor Pentatonic ScaleLesson 12

E Minor Pentatonic Scale

The minor pentatonic is one of the core scales of rock guitar. In this lesson, Will shows you a super simple fingering for this essential scale!

Length: 8:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Em Pentatonic Riff In the Style of the BeatlesLesson 13

Em Pentatonic Riff In the Style of the Beatles

Now, take the minor pentatonic scale, add some rhythm, and you've got a super cool rock riff!

Length: 4:47 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Intro to Power ChordsLesson 14

Intro to Power Chords

Power chords are essential to any rock guitar playing. In this lesson, Will shows you the basics. Learn open string power chords and other classic power chord shapes!

Length: 11:09 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Power Chord Riff In the Style of Tom Petty/ACDCLesson 15

Power Chord Riff In the Style of Tom Petty/ACDC

Will's back with another classic sounding riff in the style of Tom Petty or ACDC. This riff builds off of what you learned in the previous lesson on power chords. Use both your open string power chord...

Length: 11:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Palm MutingLesson 16

Palm Muting

Getting a great rock sound has lots of different elements to it, and one of those is the palm muting technique. Will shows you a super easy way to get rolling on this great right hand technique!

Length: 6:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Power Chord Riff in the Style of Black SabbathLesson 17

Power Chord Riff in the Style of Black Sabbath

Now Will takes a riff he taught earlier in the series and adds the power chord element to it. This makes the riff extra heavy sounding and extra cool!

Length: 10:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Power Chord Riff with a Fifth in the BassLesson 18

Power Chord Riff with a Fifth in the Bass

Believe it or not, Ripley can show you a way to make your power chords even more powerful sounding! It's a simple fingering shift, but will add a lot of thickness to your power chords.

Length: 12:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Power Chord Riff in the Style of Audioslave/RHCPLesson 19

Power Chord Riff in the Style of Audioslave/RHCP

Get ready to learn a super pro-sounding riff in the style of Audioslave or Red Hot Chili Peppers! Hidden in this riff are some more foundational guitar techniques that will increase your facility on the...

Length: 12:41 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Other Two Note ShapesLesson 20

Other Two Note Shapes

We've learned the interval of the power chord, now Will shows us some other intervals in the form of two note shapes that are easy, and add tremendous color to our playing.

Length: 10:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Octave ShapesLesson 21

Octave Shapes

Will's back with an important and useful technique: Octave shapes. Learn not only the shape, but how to apply muting to get it sounding very professional!

Length: 8:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Muting TechniquesLesson 22

Muting Techniques

Proper muting can add a lot of passion to your playing. In this lesson, Will shows us how to play single notes without compromising any of the energy or intensity.

Length: 8:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Minor Pentatonic Scale - Second PositionLesson 23

The Minor Pentatonic Scale - Second Position

Will showed us the first position of the minor pentatonic scale in an earlier lesson. Now it's time to move on to the second position. It's a must know scale and technique!

Length: 5:22 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Reading Chord ChartsLesson 24

Reading Chord Charts

Up to now we've learned a lot of single note riffs and power chords. Now it's time to inject some chord playing into our technique. In this lesson, Will starts us off by showing us how to read a chord...

Length: 9:13 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Spanish Flavored Chord SongLesson 25

Spanish Flavored Chord Song

Continuing with chords, Will introduces us to some new chord shapes with this Spanish themed chord song.

Length: 6:06 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Sus and Slash ChordsLesson 26

Sus and Slash Chords

Sus and slash chords are very important when it comes to making you sound like a pro. Will walks us through a few of the most common ones, and how to implement them in our playing!

Length: 6:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The G Major ChordLesson 27

The G Major Chord

The G major chord is one of the most common chords used in popular music. In this lesson, Will shows some of the more popular and useful variations of the chord.

Length: 5:26 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Secret to Changing ChordsLesson 28

The Secret to Changing Chords

One of the biggest issues for beginning guitarists is changing chords. It can be a source of great frustration. Join Will as he shows us his secret to changing chords that will revolutionize your playing!

Length: 11:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Rhythmic SubdivisionsLesson 29

Rhythmic Subdivisions

By now you've learned what an important role rhythm plays in the process of learning guitar. Will gets more specific here by showing us some basic rhythms and how to count them.

Length: 14:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Acoustic Pop Chord SongLesson 30

Acoustic Pop Chord Song

Ever wonder how certain songs get really pro sounding chord progressions and strumming? Here's a peek behind the curtain as Will shows us a chord progression that is simultaneously easy and great sounding!

Length: 16:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Three Must Know Strum PatternsLesson 31

Three Must Know Strum Patterns

Strumming and rhythm is something that frankly gets taken for granted when learning guitar. But, it's just as important as the notes you play on the fret board! Will gets you started on the right foot...

Length: 11:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
All Major and Minor ChordsLesson 32

All Major and Minor Chords

It's time to get deeper into chords! In this lesson, Will shows us all the major and minor chords.

Length: 12:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
12 Bar Blues Song - Part 1Lesson 33

12 Bar Blues Song - Part 1

The 12 bar blues is a fundamental rock and blues song form. Will shows you the 12 bar blues, but puts a little twist on it to make it sound extra rockin'!

Length: 7:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
12 Bar Blues Song - Part 2Lesson 34

12 Bar Blues Song - Part 2

In part 2 of the 12 Bar Blues Song, Will gets into the meat of the 12 bar blues form.

Length: 11:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Techniques in the Style of Neil Young/Guns and RosesLesson 35

Chord Techniques in the Style of Neil Young/Guns and Roses

Will brings together several chord playing techniques in this lesson that will challenge you and keep you on the road to sounding more like a pro!

Length: 15:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic Scale - Third PositionLesson 36

Minor Pentatonic Scale - Third Position

Will now brings us the 3rd position of the minor pentatonic scale. This is one of the great rock guitar scales, and Will is building towards having you cover the entire fret board with this scale!

Length: 4:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chop BuildersLesson 37

Chop Builders

Here's a couple of exercises that will help build your "chops", otherwise known as your strength and dexterity on the guitar!

Length: 11:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Major Scale and Basic TheoryLesson 38

The Major Scale and Basic Theory

Don't let the phrase "music theory" scare you off! It's merely an aid to help you understand what you've been learning and playing so far. Will uses this lesson to show you a very important scale that...

Length: 10:59 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic Scale - Fourth PositionLesson 39

Minor Pentatonic Scale - Fourth Position

On to the fourth position of the minor pentatonic scale! As usual, Will shows us the scale, then shows us a way to connect all of the positions so far.

Length: 4:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Find Every Note on the Fret BoardLesson 40

Find Every Note on the Fret Board

Believe it or not, finding and knowing every note on the fret board is not as hard as it may seem. In this lesson, Will demystifies the fret board taking away that overwhelming feeling when you look down...

Length: 13:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Precursor to Barre ChordsLesson 41

Precursor to Barre Chords

Leading up to learning your barre chords, Will shares this lesson with us that gets us familiar with some of the basic shapes we'll need to know. Plus, you get to learn some super cool sounding chords!

Length: 9:26 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Four Shapes of Barre ChordsLesson 42

Four Shapes of Barre Chords

The "dreaded" barre chords are anything but dreaded here. Will gets you going on the four basic shapes, with some tips and tricks to make them frankly, quite easy!

Length: 15:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Barre Chord SongLesson 43

Barre Chord Song

Now Will gives you the chance to put those barre chords into practice! Here's a super simple little song to help you get more familiar with the shapes we learned in the last lesson.

Length: 8:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic Scale - Fifth PositionLesson 44

Minor Pentatonic Scale - Fifth Position

The Grand Finale of your minor pentatonics: The Fifth Position. Now that you have all 5 positions, Will shows you some cool ways to practice these, and consequently, the ability to begin using them in...

Length: 9:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Will Ripley

About Will Ripley View Full Biography

Will Ripley is a passionate guitarist who performs, teaches, and manages a successful music business. His wild stage presence and undeniable guitar skills transcend vibe and waveforms of the highest levels of energy.. His talents however, are directly related to years of staying “on the grind” and “paying his dues”. He has played with many bands, produced, composed and collaborated both solo and with top level musicians. He is a sought-after studio musician and works creatively with other musicians.



Coming from a blues and classic rock background, Ripley discovered 90?s rock in his late teens. Ripley’s style is unique. He’s been described as combining the blues guitar playing of Albert King and Jimi Hendrix with big riffs that are reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Rage Against the Machine with the booty shaking rhythms of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and N.E.R.D. Ripley also has a soft place in his heart for pop music ranging from The Beatles to Stone Temple Pilots to Kelly Clarkson.

In addition to creation and production of music, Ripley teaches guitar using a method he developed through his education and over countless sessions with learners of all ages and levels. This led to the development of a successful series of recorded lessons called Guitar Goals available from his website. As the founder of the Will Ripley Guitar School he has begun expanding as a franchise into other cities which has 1 location currently – the Vancouver Guitar School. Students the world over can learn guitar using this effective, rewarding, and enjoyable style at their own pace – with epic results!

Ripley seeks participation in authentic, professional-level music, with like-minded, enthusiastic, high-achieving musicians. With dreams of creating legendary songs, Ripley is open to new band mates, songwriting partners, and recording opportunities.

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