Chuck Berry Rhythm & Riff -

Chuck Berry Inspired Rhythm & Riffs

The riff in the video uses the first and second strings on the 5th fret, and on the 8th fret. It comes directly out of the A pentatonic minor scale.

Learning how to mix your rhythms and riffs is a tremendously rewarding skill on the guitar, and the lesson above is just a tiny sample of what you'll learn in Rhythms & Riffs of Early Rock & Roll. If that style of playing appeals to you, I'd recommend checking out the course!

Leave a Reply 44 comments

MFM Reply

Nice job of breaking down of a simple and popular riff!

mike riley Reply

This looks like a fun and fairly simple riff, very cool bluesy riff , im not very farmiliar with Chuck Berry, but it looks to me like he rocked pretty hard especially for way back in the day! Very inspirational! Thank you Jonathan, and Colin!
Mike Riley,

El Camino Reply

Nice lesson. Chuck Berry was super influential with his playing style (double stops) & his stage antics. If you listen to the Beach Boys, you will hear Chuck’s influence.

Paul Tolman Reply

Ihave picked up a guitar off and on since I was 15 (I’m 62 now). when I saw Riffninja’s beginning acoustic course I got it to see if I had some holes in my learning. It was a great course! I filled some holes, fixed some bad habits AND had some fun! Colin is a great teacher! a little corny at times, but he passes on some great knowledge! plus I love to see his great collection of guitars!

Ernie Reply

think this is a great video….It is easy to follow and easy to understand…It
does a great job of showing a pattern and how to apply that pattern…This is a
pretty cool video.

FUFatherEisenman Reply

Easy lesson to follow. Great teaching style.

Richard Mixter Reply

This is very direct and easy. I could play these two licks, but now I play them better. Thanks!

Dan Weir Reply

started playing the 3rd week of 2010 because my grandson got a guitar for X-max and my wife though he would do better if learned with him. I fell in love. Played some lead for a friend. Sometimes just chaseing the pinnatoic, sometimes playing parts wrote by his teacher. He moved. I’ve started writing some songs, singing and playing rhythm. Wanting to start going to lead when not singing. This could be just what I need. Anyway GOOD VID. Thanks Dan Weir

Mel Reply

Here’s my favorite Guitar Remembrance: Saw Clapton with Delany Bonnie & Friends circa late 60’s, eye-ball’n, or trying, to figure out what Clapton was doing. Now here is the cool part: BB King was the opening act; and, instead of DB&F coming out for the encore (usual in those days — where $3 to $5 got you a whole lot of live music) Clapton and BB jammed for at least a half hour. At the end, Clapton bowed down and laid his guitar at BB’s feet; and, then tuned slowly exiting the stage. You can guess the reaction from the audience.

bbrazown Reply

Very Very cooool video lesson Colin!!
2practice alone? u would b such a fool- when u hav my man, Colin Daniel on video, w/such an essential tool… with Colin, teaching the axe, u b on it, u my brutha, u b on the right tracks… dreamn’ 1night, u b up on the stage- crowd n awe, by your learned talent, u b aaaalll the rage… Heads b wondering, “wher’s he from: Seattle? London? Kenya?”…naaawww- he just spun off Daniels pottery wheel.. thats talent.. molded.. by RIFF NINJA! (reread- talk out or sing AND of course add riffs!!! Njoy 😉 )

Len Reply

Good Video Lesson. Chuck Berry and his guitar work have always been a favorite of mine since “Maybellene” in 1955 and “Johnny B. Goode in 1958. Still have all the “Chess Record albums” and early “Sun Record Albums” from that era. Can’t get enough of trying to make my guitars sound that good… Keep up the good work, Colin. Maybe I’ll get the the Chuck Berry Riff’s right, sooner or later.

Richard Prochowski Reply

Thanks for another great video to help expand my beginning playing skills Colin! Very cool…

R. P. Hinds Reply

Great lesson! Easy to follow & fun to play. Not only shows pentatonic scale, but how to incorporate it in a practical manner in your playing. Sounds great. Easy to follow teaching style.

dando Reply

what can i say colin?
you make things so uncomplicated and easy to follow
which is what I need as a 72 year old

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Harlan Taylor Reply

Damn, Colin. Where can I get a shirt like that? I gotta have one. Pretty good lesson. As a lifelong strummer I enjoy your videos and could really use the free videos as I am not an accomplished player. I especially appreciate that you do not spend a whole lot of time on the fundamentals which should already have been covered before getting it on with riffs and rhythms. I call it the hokey pokey of guitar teaching when someone has to tell you where to put each finger in order to produce a simple chord or learn the pentatonic scale. Colin you rock. One of my favorite online teachers. Now please send me the free vids.

curtis Reply

Hello Collin…I would like too say…Your the greatest!!!…I look forward to see your video’s. You alone have shown me so much about the guitar. You have help me out of my rut. and back to playing again. What you really done for me is get me started , Playing my own music. I was just a cope machine or a bad jukebox. But you always say (play around with it , make it your own) That is what I did !!! I play everyday now. And I don’t mean sitting down and play someone elses’ stuff. I get lost for hours in my own music. Trying new thinks. and what would this sound like if I tried this or did that…..LOVE IT…….I still learn new song. But I find myself going I could do this or that. That’s just me.. I thank you very much for you showing me the light. and most of all giving my guitar back THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH

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John Reply

Colin, great lesson, BUT I am really a more visual learner in that I need to see the picks/tabs written out. Does your new course include a manual/tabs? Sure hope so.

    Jonathan Boettcher Reply

    Yeah – we’ve got you covered! It comes with a 75 page book with all the tabs…

Richard Prochowski Reply

Colin, Hope to see you do a few George Thorogood tunes in the future. It amazes me that he made a pretty good living playing tunes he never wrote, but, did a damn find job of expressing them in his own unique style. Thanks again man…

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Stephane Villeneuve Reply

Yet another great lesson, with a perfect mix of theory, context, use, and inspiring sound/melody. Half the battle with learning the guitar is picking out relevant things to learn/play and use it as a spring board to take your playing forward. You have a knack for identifying such pieces that inspire and most of the bits I play “instinctively” of late come directly from your videos, and that speaks to how “playable” and “reusable” your teaching is…

sam bloodgood Reply

Great fun lick. I am a beginner and this one will be fun to play. Thanks!

Gerald Cameron Reply

Hey Colin…..thanks for another cool and helpful lesson. I am a beginner who has been trying to copy stuff for years (still a beginner cuz I haven’t actually LEARNED anything). The boogie woogie shuffle was the first thing I memorized on the guitar many years ago. I think that cool rock & roll sound is what flipped the music switch for me, but I never understood any theory at all. The hints you give as to the basic theory behind these various riffs, such as mentioning which scale it comes out of, and the terms for the fingerings are helping me to piece together more of an understanding of what is going on. Thanks again, and keep rockin!

Shane Ross Reply

Good one to remember and play.

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Jerry Nolan Reply

The “Johnny B Good” song was inspired, according to Chuck, by listening to the rhythm of drivers of the locomotives that went by near his home. He even mentions it in the song. Still love that rhythm!

Macon Reply

Colin, as usual, you have given us a great workable phrase to learn twist, and remodel in our on way. Thanks man for your help, and ease of approach.

Glen Reply

This should be a good course everyone loves rock&roll

William T Branch Reply

Wow! That was a really COOOOL lesson. I am 51 and been trying to learn guitar for about 4-5 years now. It is hard when you try to teach yourself. It is like the blind leading the blind. LOL But seriously, I think your lessons are just what I need to be able to play great songs like this one and other great Rock Classics. Not to mention great Blues songs. That is my favorite music. Classic Rock and Blues or Blues Rock. Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Gary Moore, Colin Daniels the list goes on. No that was not a typo you are on my list of Guitar Gods now. So please pick me! PLEASE I am poor and can not afford to buy anything but still want to LEARN Thank You win or not I have learned a lot from you, again thanks for all your posts

Cody Pacquin Reply

Hi Colin, nice lesson. I have your essentials of strumming course. Loved it. It helped me a lot with my rythem and my timing. I have learned the pentetonic scale (major and minor) and a bunch of pent riffs and bass lines. This new course is what I need next. Put it all together and start rockin with some vigar.

Soundjunkie Reply

Very easy to see what is going on with this riff. Very good teaching style.

Ed Reply

In the seventies my girlfriend at the time had a layover at Stapleton Airport in
Denver. To her surprise Chuck Berry was also waiting for a flight out of
Denver. She introduced herself and told him how much her boyfriend enjoyed his
music and Chuck immediately suggested that they check into a hotel room for a
couple of hours until their flights were ready! I asked her if she took him up
on his offer, she told me she said no, but I’m not so sure. I guess that’s
between her and Chuck.

Brendan Reply

I’ve been a Life Long Ninja for awhile now
All you folk out there who REALLY want to improve need to get onboard
I’m loving the challenge and the new sounds I’m making on my Fender Stratocaster
Brendan Breen

Leon Haygood Reply

Chuck Berry is awesome. Thanks for the cool riff!! I can really use it.

David Crane Reply

Another great lesson colin. Can’t wait for the new rock n roll lessons. I’m getting a new american strat for my 40th b-day next week and can’t wait to crank it up. Thanks again

Danny Carman Reply

Chuck Berry was and still is a big influence to Rock and Roll. I remember growing up listening to this music and I still enjoy listening and playing it on my guitar. A course like this can only help me improve my playing.

Ken Embers Reply

Hi Colin,
I’m in Vietnam, teaching English as a Second Language, preparing to start an English Language Program at the Bong Son Lucky Stars Library Learning Center that we Vietnam vets have built. Like language, music is a fantastic way to communicate and just jive with the people. Thanks so much for the great lesson; I can hardly wait to get on my guitar and fly with it. You could contribute a free copy to the Library Learning Center. I’ve already given them a guitar. Love your stuff, Ken

Ranbo Reply

Hi Colin,
I used to be a Twinkie-hauler and I ran into Chuck at a gas station near his home here in Wentzville, Mo. I frantically looked for something for him to autograph and found an old Hostess display of Twinkie the Kid playing a guitar. I took it in the store and he signed it “Cheers! Chuck Berry” with a smiley face. I thanked him and gave him a cupcake. I’ve seen him play live a couple of times and he is quite a showman. Thanks for the lesson. If you want to learn to rock, you have to start with Chuck.

Walt Reply

What a screwed up Mess of a Video start stop start stop You can`t see whats going on…. it`s a MESS….

George Reply

This is the best lesson I have seen on a Chuck Berry riff! Well done & thank you.

Mark Smith Reply

This course seems very useful. As you have stated in your emails you can learn different things in isolation but to me it just doesn’t seem to come together from there. These lessons seem to allow me to use the basics I have built and really be able to apply them and progress from being an ‘accomplished beginner’ with lots of experience. As I will gain loads of value for the course, as they say – pick me, pick me!

Robert Reply

Good stuff Colin…when will it be on sale?

Predrag Nikolic Reply

It is great.I am beginner 2 but this is easy for me,my opinion is thet riff easy to understanhing and practice.Thanks

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