It's Riff Week!

None more metal logo!
None more metal logo!

So what the hell is a riff anyway? There are numerous definitions out there, but most are along these lines: "a short rhythmic musical phrase which may be repeated often during a piece."

Through the decades as folk begat blues, blues got rhythm then spawned rock 'n' roll and its many bastard offspring, the guitar riff became king, sometimes even usurping the vocal melody as a song's main calling card.

Whole careers have been built on killer guitar riffs, so it's fitting that as another decade winds down we celebrate the most unforgettable air guitar anthems of all time. Yup, this week on MusicRadar it's Riff Week.

Interviews, features, video

Not only will we be counting down the top 50 guitar riffs of all time as voted for by you, but we'll also feature a dazzling array of A-listers from Slash to Brian May, Billy Gibbons, Rivers Cuomo, Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani.

These guitar stars know a thing or two about riffs, so we asked them to nominate their favourites and tell us what they think makes a great guitar riff.

We'll also be charting the evolution of the riff in the history of popular music and even offering non-guitarists the chance to get in on the act by giving away hundreds of pro-quality heavy metal guitar samples. For free.


The Top 50 Guitar Riffs Of All Time: Part One (50-26)

The greatest riffs ever, as voted for by you!

The Top 50 Guitar Riffs Of All Time: Part Two (25-1)

We have a winner!

9 guitar heroes pick their favourite riffs

Joe Perry, Tony Iommi, Billy Gibbons, Jeff Beck and more!

The alternative 10 greatest riffs of all time

Your favourites as you've never heard them before

The evolution of the guitar riff

Charting the riff from Howlin' Wolf to Jack White

SampleRadar: 400 free heavy metal guitar samples

Celebrate Riff Week with these crunchy free sounds


VIDEO: Slash picks his favourite riffs

Plus riff-writing tips from the GN'R and Velvet Revolver star

VIDEO: Queen's Brian May picks his favourite riffs

The Kinks, Black Sabbath and The Beatles all feature

The MusicRadar team

MusicRadar is the number 1 website for music makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, djs or producers...

  • GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high- quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts.
  • TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars.
  • STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the actual craft of music making that no other music website can.