Top 8 Easy Guitar Licks To Help Supercharge Your Playing

Let’s have a look at 8 easy guitar licks that will add some spice to your playing.

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 8 easy guitar licks
  • Pro tips for each lick
  • The best tips for solid practice
  • The secret to why playing slowly gets you further, faster

Want To Learn Some Easy Guitar Licks?

Every guitarist needs a few tricks in the bag to help them sound awesome, and the best way to pick up those tricks is by learning from other guitarists.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to get you introduced to some amazing and easy guitar licks that will help you tread on some new ground with your guitar.

These licks are fun to play and simple to wrap your hands around as a beginner; and we’re going to provide tips for each to help you get the most out of all of them.

Before we dive in though, we’ve got a few pointers to get you off to a good start. See below!

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Pointers For A Good Start On Guitar

When we start out learning to play guitar, there are a few things we really want to keep in the front of our mind to avoid frustration:

  • Start slow in order to process everything more easily – when we start out trying to play a piece of music quickly, we don’t allow ourselves the time to digest what’s going on. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Use repetition to build muscle memory – the more we practice something repeatedly, the more we internalize it.
  • Keep a log of your progress – We preach this in most of our lessons, but a practice journal is the best way to log how far you’ve come and reference everything you’ve practised

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  • Focus on alternate picking as much as you can to build your economy of motion – Alternate picking is hands-down the best way to create fluidity in our playing, so focus on that down-up motion in the picking hand as much as you can.
  • Use your ears – Although we’re going to walk you through pointers for each of these easy guitar licks, you’re going to want to listen to the original tracks in order to get the best sense of how to play them

Now that we’ve got those preliminary pointers out of the way to get you on track, let’s get into some of these licks!

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Easy Guitar Licks #1 – Eric Clapton: “Layla”

The intro riffs to this tune are easy-to-play and a classic staple for every beginner guitarist.

Check out the riff here at 0:45s.

Pro Tip: This song is a great starting point for exploring the sound of the minor scale. We don’t need to bother with the theory of it all for now, but we can listen intently to how the lick sounds.

The first of these easy guitar licks should be played with the index and pinky fingers. This is a great way to start tuning up the pinky finger. In every other bar, we hold the 7th fret on the G string for a whole note.

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Practising our hammer-ons is key to getting this to sound like the original, and it’s great practice for our pinky finger.

We put this tune at the top of our list of easy guitar licks because we want you to give your pinky finger the love, exercise and attention it deserves.

All too often our pinky finger gets neglected when we start out, but building good habits from the beginning of our guitar journey helps to set ourselves up for success further down the line.

The latter half of this riff takes us up the neck a bit further, and pushes us to learn about bending our strings. Pay attention to the track to match your bends to Clapton’s!

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Easy Guitar Licks #2 – Dick Dale & The Del Tones: “Miserlou”

This tune helps us to learn how to perform a technique called “tremolo picking.”

Listen to the track here.

This technique is achieved by alternate picking back and forth over a note at a fast pace, and it’s a great exercise in tightening up your picking hand.

This is the technique that Dick Dale employed when he wrote “Miserlou,” the next of our easy guitar licks.

Although we’re not going to cover the whole song, the intro is worth learning for speed and dexterity alone.

Check out the first riff below:

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You can begin prior to the tab by alternate picking the open E string until the riff commences.

Pro Tip: Watch out for the open string after the 8th fret in the second bar. It’s a bit difficult to pull off at first, but with practice you’ll be able to nail this riff down with no problem.

You can also simply slide down the neck in the fourth bar of the tab while alternate picking to get the same effect as what’s displayed.

Have a look at the second half of this intro riff below, and play in the same manner you did for the first example.

Remember: Easy guitar licks like these are all about taking it slow!

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Easy Guitar Licks #3 – Nirvana: “Smells LIke Teen Spirit”

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain wrote a slew of amazing and easy-to-play tunes.

This tune in particular teaches us a great deal about playing power chords.

Click here to listen to it.

This one makes our list of easy guitar licks on account of power chords and the two-note melody that is played throughout. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

We put this one in position #3 in order to give your hands a break after playing through the first two sets of riffs.

Grab onto your power chords and check out the tabs below:

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The verse section that comes after the intro is even easier than the intro itself – it’s only two notes!

The key takeaway with this lick is to focus on alternate picking in the latter half where the notes repeat consistently.

Be mindful of the rest at the beginning and how the first section repeats. This instalment in our list of easy guitar licks is all about patience and timing.

Don’t forget to have fun with it and jam along to the track!

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Easy Guitar Licks #4 – Black Sabbath: “Iron Man”

Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath is a profound riff writer, and his sound has influenced generation after generation of blues and rock guitarists ever since.

Listen to the song here.

“Iron Man” is another staple in any guitarist’s book of easy guitar licks, and we’re going to look at both the single-note riff as well as the power chord version.

To start with, let’s look at the riff with single notes. Experiment with using different finger combinations to play this lick in order to really wrap your whole hand around it.

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You can begin this riff with your index finger at the second fret, and slide up to the fifth fret to reposition yourself for the rest of it.

This is one of those easy guitar licks that you’ll find yourself jamming to often.

The next way to play this riff is with power chords, and we actually hear this riff before the one above.

We’ve set them up this way so you can get the form down in the first example and expand on it with the use of power chords.

In this riff, you’ll want to focus on sliding your power chord shapes around the neck.

Give this one a good amount of time and some elbow grease, you won’t regret it!

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Easy Guitar Licks #5 – Metallica: “Fuel”

There’s no way we could do this list without mentioning the riff kings, Metallica.

Check the song out here.

“Fuel” is definitely on the easier side of their catalog – especially the two easy guitar licks we’re going to look at today.

The intro riff is simply an aggressive bend-and-pull-off from the 3rd fret on the E string to the open string.

You’re going to want to downpick for this section.

Downpicking through the intro riff below gives us that extra bit of pick attack.

You can either strum or downpick your way through the octave bit in the last bar also.

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Make sure to work on your bending in the section above. You don’t need to pull too hard, just enough to increase the pitch and pull-off.

The second section of this instalment of easy guitar licks requires us to alternate pick and bend a string as well.

This section ends off with a nice drone-y selection of power chords that takes us right back to the top of the riff again in the last bar.

Pro Tip: You can loop both of these easy guitar licks just by playing them over and over from front to back. It will sound fluid and it will give you great practice on a singular set of riffs.

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#6 – Jimi Hendrix: “Purple Haze”

This one’s just got to be in your songbook – no debate.

Click here to listen.

Jimi did an amazing job of leaving a stellar legacy of easy guitar licks to pick up, with “Purple Haze” being among the easiest.

The dots at the top of the staff over certain notes indicate for you to play them “staccato,” meaning “to play sharply detached.”

All this means is you should play the note and then stop its vibration before playing the next note.

This series of licks requires you to use all three of your main fingers (index, middle, ring).

In the third bar, look at the position of the first three notes and use all three fingers – one per fret.

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Make sure your middle finger takes the 8th fret to bend with, as you’ll have a bit more strength right away with that one.

In the last bar, you can use your index finger on the D string and your middle finger on the A string. Leave the middle finger in place as you hit the open E string.

Sliding from the 5th to the 7th fret in the last bar will give this riff the final bit of swagger it needs for you to really nail it.

Take some time to work this one out, it’s well worth keeping in your book of easy guitar licks.

For the main chord section of the song, try on these three beginner power chords:

E POWER CHORD

G POWER CHORD

A POWER CHORD

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#7 – Black Sabbath: “Paranoid”

One Sabbath tune wasn’t enough – we had to go for two.

Click here to listen.

“Paranoid” is one of our favourite riffs to play, and for good reason: It’s got a bunch of easy guitar licks, and it’s a fun song.

This first section requires us to work on our hammer-ons to make two-string power chord shapes – great practice.

Get your fret hand all the way up to the 12th fret and make a mini-barre across the lowest two strings with your index finger. You only have to worry about two strings, so don’t treat this like a full barre chord.

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Fret at the 12th with the index finger and hammer-on to the 14th fret with your ring finger. Repeat twice more and then play the individual notes in the second and fourth bars.

For the second of these easy guitar licks from this song, simply play the same power chord shape you made above and chug along through two chords for the first three bars.

The tricky part is making the three-string power chord in the last bar and then immediately moving it down one string set, then up two frets.

Slow and steady brings success with these easy guitar licks. Give it the practice it needs.

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#8 – AC/DC: “Back In Black”

We had to end off this list with a bang, and there’s only one way to do that:

With some classic AC/DC licks. Click here to listen.

“Back In Black” is a stellar tune, no matter who you ask. We felt it was only right to include it on this list, as it makes a great beginner tune full of easy guitar licks that will stick in your head.

This song uses a brilliant mix of power chords, open position chords and pentatonic licks to create a heart-pounding rock and roll experience.

Have a look at the tab below to see for yourself, and make sure to hang out in the open position – you won’t need to jump around the fretboard for this one.

Pro Tip: Use your index finger at the second fret at the end of bar 2 to get a good pull on your bend before releasing it to the open position.

The final of these easy guitar licks that we’ll be covering is the chorus.

This section features a rapid-fire assortment of power chords and open position chords, making it ideal for those of us looking to practice our chord movement in the open position.

Play through this section slowly to start with so that you can sound out each chord individually before playing along to the track itself.

That’s It For Our List Of Easy Guitar Licks

Remember: The slower you practice these riffs, the easier it will become for you to internalize them overall.

We don’t need to rush our progress, so make sure to give these tunes some patience in order to start playing them like a pro.

So what are you waiting for? Scroll back up to the top and start practicing!

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