Anarchy In The UK Guitar Lesson – Sex Pistols

Released in 1976 as the debut single of the Sex Pistols, "Anarchy In The U.K." would quickly become the signature song of the band's short and tumultuous career.

"Anarchy In The UK" went on to become a highly influential song for a generation of teens and young adults that felt their rock and roll has been taken away with the rise of disco.

Guitarist Steve Jones had a simple in your face mentality when creating all the classic guitar riffs and solos found in the song. In this Anarchy In The UK guitar lesson I will show you how to play all of it note-for-note!

"Anarchy In The UK" starts with a pounding rhythm section using descending power chords. Those chords can from time to time turn into major chords due to the way Steve Jones fingers them. He is using a 3rd finger barre across the 2-4 strings. That along with a wild and dynamic strumming technique produces the somewhat erratic chord style heard on the original recording.

For the verse you will be using a more muted style that rotates between an open string and a power chord. This produces a nice rhythmic groove for the entire section so make sure you time this riff correctly.

The chorus then employs the same chords as the intro played in a driving 8th note style with the addition of an extended ending. Everyone knows the sound of this riff so it is essential to get it right! 🙂

We then make it to the first solo which is mostly a repeated sequence of Amin and Bmin arpeggios. The ending of this solo can be especially hard to hear in the mix so don't stress out too much with trying to get everything note-for-note.

The second solo contains another repeated phrase that is rather simple to play. The solo especially is more rhythmic than a flashy fleet fingered solo piece. So concentrate on that rhythm first and foremost and you should be fine.

So have fun learning this punk rock classic or should I say THE punk rock classic. 🙂


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Anarchy In The U.K. Guitar Lesson - Sex Pistols


  1. Jeff Walker` on April 13, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Good times with this one for sure!!!!! Simple yet fun to play. Thanks Carl!

  2. Bartley Bailey on January 22, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Carl, can you share your signal chain on this?

    • Carl Brown on January 24, 2018 at 9:47 am

      I wish I could, but it was made a long time ago. Probably with my Line 6 POD HD500X

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