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The History of Rock Guitar Told in 12 Minutes

100 Riffs

Everybody who has ever pulled out a guitar at a party to impress people can stop now. The ultimate guitar trick has been achieved by Alex Chadwick, an employee at the Chicago Music Exchange, who tore through 100 rock guitar riffs in the span of a 12-minute video.

Armed with a 1958 Fender Stratocaster, a ’57 reissue tweed Fender Deluxe amp and a tricked-out pedalboard, Chadwick begins with Chet Atkins’ playing on The Chordettes’ 1954 hit, ‘Mr. Sandman’ and goes chronologically all the way to last year’s ‘Cruel’ by indie act St. Vincent.

Along the way he covers nearly every important classic rock guitarist, including songs from the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Further, by including bands like the Smiths, Cake and Franz Ferdinand, Chadwick shows that guitar rock is still vital and alive today.

But what’s most impressive is that he does this all in one take.

Of course, not every classic song is represented and you may not like some of the songs (including ‘Sex and Candy’ while omitting Cream‘s ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ is heresy), but his ability to switch gears and tones (even detuning his low E string to D twice) is nonetheless a blast to watch.

One minor quibble. Chadwick plays the Who‘s ‘I Can’t Explain’ in the key of B, when it is actually in the key of E. You can see a complete list of the songs he performs right here, or watch it all for yourself:

Watch ’100 Riffs’


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