Here is another AC/DC song for your to test your rocking chords and strumming talent. The first AC/DC that we’ve covered here was Back In Black (awesome guitar riff!) and the second one was You Shook Me All Night Long, which also has a very distinct and amazing riffs. And just to think of it, AC/DC really do have great riffs now don’t they?
For this post, we will dissect and learn each riff part of the song “Highway to Hell”.
The song was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott, with Malcolm Young credited for writing the guitar riff which became an instant classic.
The song came about during their album promotion where they had to go on touring. The whole experience was being on a high way to hell.
The song was released as a single on 1979 and was the opening track for their Album: Highway To Hell.
How to Play Highway to Hell
The song starts with a 3 strums on the open A chord. Those 3 strums are actually 3 8th notes on the last beat of the first bar.
The same 3 strums repeats at the last beat of the 2nd bar with the D/F# chord (5th string muted) twice and G once (5th string muted – G5).
The 4rth bar basically repeats what was done on the 3rd bar.
The 5th bar is also the same pattern as with the 3rd and 4th bar but this time it is immediately followed by the D/F# once and A major once.
Then with an extra A major, the whole intro repeats.
And so that’s the first part of the Highway to Hell intro riff. You can better understand what we discussed here if you will watch the video (several times) and of course open up the tab you see on the right. It will redirect you to Songsterr. It is free but of course if you decided to be a premium member (very cheap) you will be able to help this site by making it earn a very small commission.. like few cents commission :)
Before the actual chorus notes/chords get played, a steady beat of 8th notes on the A5 power chords can be heard (see image on the right).
The same pattern then repeats for the chorus.
Free Video Guitar Lesson
AC/DC Artist Study: Angus Young Licks
by Prashant Aswani of GuitarTricks.com
Instructor: Prashant Aswani
Speciality: Rock, Metal
Guitar Tricks instructor Prashant Aswani takes you through some of the elements of style that make AC/DC one of the most popular
bands in rock. In this lesson we’re going to take a look at a standard pentatonic lick in the style of Angus Young. This one is in
A minor, and features the kind of aggressive bending and pentatonic playing that Angus often uses.
This free lesson is from an 8 lesson Artist Study at Guitar Tricks. This AC/DC tutorial looks at the
foundations of the band’s signature tone, how Angus and Malcolm voice their chords and give them movement, some of the pentatonic
licks they use, the use of open string licks, and double stops. In the final lesson there’s a jam along session with a rockin’
custom jam track!
For over 3000 lessons on every guitar style and technique visit