The Six Sweetest Riffs of All Time

Categories: Nitpick Six

This is what happens when you search "lightning guitar" on the internet.
I, Ryan James Wasoba, hereby announce that, after over a year and a half of weekly contributions, the end of my Nitpick Six column is upon us. As such, it's bucket list time. This space is usually reserved for microscopic aspects of music, but now let's go big.

These are the six sweetest riffs of all time.

See Also:
- The Nitpick Six Archives

6. Metallica, "Master of Puppets"

I never had a Metallica phase growing up, so the first time I heard "Master of Puppets" was when I taught a kid how to play the song on guitar. I remember being unimpressed because the opening riff just moseys down the neck one fret at a time. Later, I realized that Metallica wasn't being lazy. The band just knew that additional complexity would not make this riff any sweeter. "Master of Puppets" gets bonus points because, while other sweet riffs are showy, this one is actually harder to play than it sounds.

5. Ozzy Osbourne, "Crazy Train"

Spoiler alert: There is no Black Sabbath on this list. Heresy, I know, but the reason is simple. Sabbath was a riff factory, making it difficult to decide if "Sweet Leaf" is better than "Iron Man" or "Children of the Grave." Meanwhile, Ozzy put most of his eggs in "Crazy Train." Randy Rhoads' intro riff is legendary. It barely matches the bass hits that introduce the song, because its sweetness transcends function. And don't say that "Mr. Crowley" is better, because even though opinions are impervious to definitive judgement, you would be totally wrong.

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