China Grove Guitar Lesson – The Doobie Brothers – Famous Riffs

This opening riff to China Grove by The Doobie Brothers is one of the most recognizable guitar riffs ever written.

It just goes to show what you can do with a few simple powers chords with the right rhythmic groove and attitude.

In this China Grove guitar lesson we will learn that opening riff that propelled the band to super-stardom.

Really quick I have a funny little story about China Grove. When I was a kid I used to go to a local music store and one time I went there amp shopping.

The owner didn't want any kid playing his amps so for over an hour we went around the store to try out the amps I wanted to hear and he was the only one allowed to play through them. It just so happens this opening riff to China Grove was literally the only thing he knew how to play on the guitar so I heard it played right around 500 times that afternoon. 😛

That negative experience aside, I do think this riff is a great exercise in muted rhythms for the beginning guitarist.

Make sure you pay attention to the picking indications in the video lesson so you will know how to approach those muted parts of the riff.

For the fret-hand during the muted sections, simply place your fingers across the strings with zero pressure. If you apply any pressure at all you may accidentally sound some notes. You simply want to keep every string from vibrating and that is all.

Ok rock on! Carl..

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China Grove Guitar Lesson


  1. GREAT 80"s Tune on May 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Love these classic riffs. Loads of fun to play.. Only problem is that they take me away from studing my music theory!!!

  2. Eddie Bea on August 7, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Carl, how about the guitar chords for One Summer Dream by ELO. I think I have them but not sure.


  3. Bud on June 29, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Hey Carl!

    Any chance of maybe doing Natural Thing by The Doobie Brothers?

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