Heartbreaker Guitar Riff by Led Zeppelin – Famous Guitar Riffs

The guitar riff that opens Heartbreaker from Led Zeppelin II is instantly recognizable by virtually every rock guitarist.

It is a cool example of using the blues scale to create a driving hard rock riff.

Technically Jimmy Page's Heartbreaker guitar riff is pretty straightforward. It isn't overly fast or contain any awkward techniques.

The one thing you will want to concentrate on when trying to master the Heartbreaker guitar riff is the feel.

Then most confusing thing to most guitarists is the fact that the intro guitar riff doesn't start on the one. I explain in the video lesson how to think about this so that it won't confuse you very much.

Other than that I think most guitar players will be able to grasp this classic guitar riff pretty quickly. 🙂

The “Heartbreaker” solo has long been known as “the impossible solo” due to it’s fast and chaotic playing style, especially during the unaccompanied section.

In this video lesson, I will demonstrate how to not only play both solo breaks, but how to make sense of them as well.

You will notice that the tuning of the solo is a little over a quarter-step sharp. This is probably from them speeding up the tape slightly after recording and might explain how crazy fast the solo is.

I will be using standard tuning throughout the lesson though. If you want to play along with the solo, you will need to either raise your standard tuning pitch up about 60 cents, or detune the recording in software like “Transcribe” by Seventh String.

These solos are THE most requested solos in the history of GL365. I have avoided it for long enough, so I hope you guys enjoy FINALLY learning one of the most well known and most revered guitar solos ever recorded by the great Jimmy Page!


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Heartbreaker Guitar Riff - Led Zeppelin

Heartbreaker Guitar Solo - Led Zeppelin


  1. Gary Hodgins on April 20, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I always played that on the 5th fret E position. You get the nice bend coming back on the return A like Page did it. I would love to see you show us the lead in that one though!!

    • Giacomo Bergonzi on March 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      That sounds good and i also find it really easy to play it that way ,thank you. Also thanks a lot to Carl for the lesson anyways, great lessons everytime.

  2. Brian Keesler on May 8, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Great lesson Carl as always! This is one of my many Led Zeppelin favorites. Any plans on including a lesson on the solo????? ….Please ??

    • Carl Brown on May 8, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Unfortunately that solo is pretty much complete chaos so it would be difficult to recreate the more erratic parts. I am sure Mr. page himself doesn’t ever play it the same either. 🙂

      • Brian Keesler on May 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

        Yup that’s why I was asking ? and what I figured. Lol I try listening over and over I have the tabs (for what that’s worth?) and you tube videos . Some parts are semi straight forward others is just as you total chaos especially for a noob like me lol. You are correct I have watched several videos of Mr.Page playing this song a and it is always somewhat different. Thanks ?

  3. Jason Fredensborg on May 7, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Carl, not sure if this is the place to do this or not, but I was wondering if you could do a lesson on Stranglehold by Ted Nugent? Lots of awesome guitar work in that one! Has some similarities to Heartbreaker in my opinion, so I’m putting this here…:)

    Have you ever thought of adding a “request” page somewhere on the website?

    • Carl Brown on May 11, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Hey Jason, thanks for the request. I don’t really have a request page on the site because I already get 100’s of requests a day so I don’t want to make it worse. Haha

      Basically, the songs I do on the site are chosen from balancing how difficult it would be to transcribe and the amount of requests for it. If it is a more advanced song that would take me a while to transcribe and get ready for a video lesson, it would need to get a lot of interest from the general public to make it worth it for me.

      However, if it is a very easy song I usually do them anyway. 🙂

      • Jason Fredensborg on May 11, 2017 at 7:54 pm

        Right on…I wouldn’t call stranglehold “easy”, so hopefully others have asked. You need some Nugent on the website anyway!? “Free for all” is pretty killer too, and a little easier than “stranglehold”. Consider
        This a request for both! ?.

        Thanks again for the awesome guitar resources Carl! Learning more in the last few weeks than I have the last few years!!!

        Keep up the great work!

  4. Dr Pepper on January 27, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    WOW Dude-my fingers hurt watching you do the solo!

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