How to learn HARD RIFF or SOLO: 4 tricks (lesson + tabs)

Wanna play a favorite riff or solo, but there’s something holding you back, you stumble on? We all struggle with that, especially in the beginning of learning guitar or bass. Today I’ll show you how to learn a hard licks (bass, guitar, sitar, whatever).

The more experienced you get, the easier is next riff to learn. With practice, your technique becomes more universal and stable, fingers know all the possible moves.

Anyway, you may face a lick that makes you sweating at any level. How to handle it in effective and fun way? I have 4 tricks for you.

But at first, few words about the default method of learning music which I call ‘SLOW BUT SURE‘.

You learn riff with no click and slow, getting your fingers to play all moves properly, and then – with metronome, gradually speed up adding +2..5 bpm, nailing every new tempo.

It does work. But here are extra tricks that could help you to overcome ‘stones’ – things on which you may stumble in riff. Use one or another when you feel it’s appropriate.

Trick 1 – RAM STONE

Begin riff, and when you hit a stone – step back, perhaps to the very beginning, and go again. More trials, more punches for the stones – and they gotta get cracked. Dave Mustaine relearned guitar this way after his arm injury in 2004.


You play nailed parts of riff at normal speed, and slow down on stones. Gradually you even out the tempo, so you can yet polish it with metronome.


Break the riff down into ‘bricks’ – certain pieces which you perform good separately. Mastering bricks you get over stones easier.


Define where a stone is, and practice it with the parts which are right before and right after. It’s like licking the stone from different sides.

All the tricks are just an small addition to the most important thing – regular practice. As a self-taught musician I got one thing: body and reason always hint you what works and not. Next time we may discuss the rules of self-teaching, if you want.

Follow me (joining our AVanguard), If you are a beginner or stuck in progress bassist or guitarist, I’ll make more lessons to help you to move on. If you wanna support me, become my Patron which makes my channel sustainable.

Thanks for watching! Andriy Vasylenko \m/

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