Wednesday Question: Best Rock Guitar Riff?

What is the best rock guitar riff of all time? Place your votes here and see if your nomination makes it into our epic top 10 list this Friday.

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Ultimate Guitar
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Guitarists, get to the starting line. This week we're challenging you to pick out the greatest rock riffs in history, so you'll have to be smart if you want your nomination to appear in this week's top 10 playlist.

Rock 'n' roll might have started out as a relatively tame genre in the 1950s, but it's come a long way. Through the sleazy '70s the the aggressive '90s and everywhere between, rock has been the backbone of guitar music since ... well, since the beginning of time, as far as we're concerned. And there's a lot of great riffs to choose from.

This week's Wednesday question is:

What is the best rock guitar riff of all time?

Don't stray into metal, punk or other related genres today - we want straight up rock, from Chuck Berry to Aerosmith to Foo Fighters and everything between. Rock can be a pretty varied genre, so feel free to post anything if you're not sure.

To help guide the debate, here's a definition of the word 'riff' that we found online, though feel free to post a better definition if you think of one:

Riff: a short repeated phrase, frequently played over changing chords or used as a background to a solo improvisation.

As usual, post one nomination per comment and vote up others that you agree with. We'll post the results on Friday. Good luck!

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826 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    dweb23
    Money for nothing - dire straits
    Vendettagainst
    Sultans Of Swing is better
    Pablo Mortis
    There's too many riffs in Sultans of Swing to pick one particularly good one though - Money for Nothing is just brilliant when you listen to the intro properly first.
    RndyW0
    +1 for Alan Partridge avatar. I mean, I like Dire Straits but I love Alan Partridge.
    floggingmurphy
    Purple haze by Hendrix
    Kriggs
    You really got me - The Kinks
    Dylan_Guitar93
    How was this not mentioned earlier? It's like a fundamental progression for the way rock was preformed as well a simply killer riff
    Shametome
    Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
    willzchannell
    Most Jimmy Page riffs could feature tbh...
    bdof
    We made it into a sweet double-time Jodie during Basic Training for the military. T'was AWESOME
    TheGuitarGuyBr
    Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
    Satrianifan281
    The Ocean is also one of their bests, and so is Kashmir, and Black Dog, and just about every other riff that Jimmy Page does.
    N-D
    One of the catchiest riffs in my opinion [Tom Morello is a great guitarist)] Rage Against The Machine - "Killing In The Name"
    elcapitan1800
    How about some Audioslave if you don't feel that RATM fits the "pure rock" definition? One way or another Tom deserves to be on this list... It's not my personal favorite from them, but is probably the most well known: Cochise - Audioslave
    fistofTHEAXIS
    If we're speaking Audioslave, I'd say "Bring em Back Alive". The solo only appeals to a certain niche. I loved it, but to many, its just noise. But hey, we're talkings riffs aren't we?
    rockfreak611
    this is more alternative than straight up rock IMO. not saying that's a bad thing, but i feel like it doesn't really stand in with stuff like zeppelin on this list.
    Kriggs
    Agreed about how great this riff is. But isn't it a little too heavy for "Rock Riffs"?
    N-D
    Hmm, I think, it's not enough heavy for metal genre
    third(-)eye
    Not heavy ENOUGH? Idk about that... Either way, metal, alt-metal, alt, rap metal, rap rock, whatever the **** you want to call it... they're all subgenres of ROCK.
    dewitt
    Most people these days think that it has to be tuned super low, gain all the way up, and super chuggy or it's not metal. It might not be death metal or extreme metal, but it is most certainly metal.