Play It Loud

Nancy Wilson, guitarist, has inspired many girls to play guitar songs.

The guitar repertoire has been dominated for a long time by the boys, and this is mostly due to the fact that guitar songs enjoyed by the girls isn’t playable on the guitar most of the time.

Music that typically relates to many girls like Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga is made with synthesizers, pianos, strings, and vocal harmonies instead of rhythm and lead guitar parts.

And yes there are the chord strummers like Sheryl Crow and a few riffers like Nancy Wilson of Heart who break this stereotype.

But why shouldn’t this music be available to anyone who wants to play guitar?

Why settle for boring riffs and strumming patterns?

This article is an attempt to remedy this, and I’ve got 9 riffs to show you how.

Another great guitarist, Orianthi, who's inspired girls to play guitar songs

Most of these girl guitar songs are for beginners and intermediate players, while one of these is a doozy for some advanced players.

It’s a huge mistake to dismiss this music as there are huge revelations to be found in the relationships behind each riff.

Many of the harmonies and rhythms are extremely catchy and effective at getting the listener emotional.

Like in my stellar guitar course, (Clueless Beginners), this article is going to cover the individual techniques you need to play each riff….

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I reveal everything I learned in the first 6 months to get to an advanced level of guitar playing, and you can use these tips to learn whatever you want.

Now onto the lesson.


California Gurls by Katy Perry Guitar Tab

 F/A   Bb        C  Dm

A won’t be able to tell if you’re rolling your eyes or taking me seriously, but here goes…..

It’s a riff composed of four chords, and to play it you just switch your left hand fingerings slightly.

Take a moment to play each chord. The most difficult change will the first to the Bb, but afterwards it won’t take much effort as its easy to move from C to Dm.

The main skill you’ll need to play this one is to keep your left hand in that barre chord shape.

Last Friday Night by Katy Perry Guitar Tab

   C/G                Am7                Em7                D/F#

This riff will be a little tougher because of a different technique you’ll need to play this.

To play Am7 and D/F# you’ll have to use your left hand thumb. To play C/G, you’ll have to barre the entire fretboard with your index finger.

If you get the chord shapes locked in, the rhythm won’t be hard as you just have to strum up and down. However make sure to hit the top notes as they are the most important part of the riff.

To make this riff easier to play, just hit the top three strings.

Your Love Is My Drug Chorus by Kesha Guitar Tab


This riff harmonizes the chorus melody with the chords supporting it. All you gotta do to play this one is concentrate on those top notes like the previous example.

Don’t Stop The Music by Rihanna Guitar Tab


This is another easy one that sounds really cool once you get the whole thing to flow.

What I do is play the A note, the very first note, with my pinky so I can easily lock into the 4-5 shape. This also works well when locking into the F#5 powerchord.

The only problem may be throwing in that 4-4 shape between the other 4-5’s. I’d suggest just barre-ing it with your first finger.

Don’t Speak by No Doubt Guitar Tab

Cm    Gm    Fm    Bb    Gm    Fm    Bb

A classic riff we got here.

The trick is to finger the Cm part like you would the full 35543 shape, and then keep your hands in place to easily switch the Gm shape.

And that’s basically it! You can use a pick or fingers although I prefer fingers as it fits the mood of the song better.

Halo by Beyonce Guitar Tab

 A                       Bm
 F#m                      D

This is the hard-as-balls riff I alluded to earlier in this article.

This is NOT for beginners as it requires excellent right hand fingerpicking technique.

For you experts out there who found this, this riff is going to require a little classical guitar technique. The right hand tremolo technique was the only way I could pull this off.

And sorry to disappoint, but explaining that technique will take a whole other article to teach.

You should be able to recognize the best ways to finger each chord.

Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake Guitar Tab

F/G       G/A        Em

A classic funk rhythm applied to a more modern pop harmony.

Switching the chords is once again the problem with this as the Em shape I put above may or may not be something you’ve encountered before.

To avoid a longer discussion on fingering, I suggest using your first finger for the 2nd fret note and the second finger for the third fret.

You should be able to figure out the rest if you take my advice…..

Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus Guitar Tab (The Ebm is weird)

 Gb             Bbm  Ebm       Db

This is another one of the easier riffs here as there’s plenty of time between the changes to switch chords, and you’ll only have to fret three strings.

Many of the same concepts explained earlier are used here so let’s move quickly to the final example.

Poker Face by Lady Gaga Guitar Tab

  Am                F/A      G

  Am                F/A       G

This one will require only two tweaks, if you already know the chords.

Use downpicking to get a similar sound to the synth riff. That means don’t use up/down strumming!

Next is how you should approach the G chords.

What I do is use my thumb on the 1st string, third finger on the third frets, and the first finger on the 1st frets. This way you can easily switch between those two top notes.

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Hopefully that gave you plenty of fun and practice to be had!

In my product, the clueless beginners guitar course, I cover many of the techniques just mentioned in greater depth and a more proper context.

It will also help you learn how to determine what combination of fingerings and techniques to use all by yourself. This is the key to learning the guitar!

Unless you start figuring some things out yourself, you’ll never become a better guitar player I’m afraid.

Click here to check it out!