Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne) Style Riff & 4 Licks

Hey guys, something a bit heavier than usual for this week! Randy Rhoads was Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist back in the early 80’s before his life was tragically cut short in a plane crash, joining the other greats Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Holly who were also sadly killed in aviation accidents. You could say he was one of the first to meld Metal with Classical music, effortlessly blending British Metal and Classical music, although I’d say Ritchie Blackmore pipped him to the post. Regarding his choice of scales, he would usually use the Pentatonic and the Natural Minor Scale (AKA Aeolian Mode).

Here’s a breakdown of what’s going on:

Riff With Pedal Note

This type of riff contains the simple trademark power chords played over a pedal note, which effectively captures Randy’s heavier side.

Double-picked Lick

Playing each note twice adds rhythmic interest to a relatively simple run. Palm-muting in this way was a big part of Randy’s playing.

Sequential Pull-offs

Randy’s use of rapid pull-offs played over a classical style chord progression is an example of the Neo-classical style that was to prove so popular in the late 80’s.

Classical-style Hammer-ons

The classical technique of employing the ‘outside’ note of the G# creates an interesting Harmonic Minor Scale feel to the key of Am.

Open String Lick

This is another simple classically inspired, yet effective technique, based on the A Harmonic Minor Scale played over a pedal E note.

As always, below the YouTube video you’ll find the backing track to play along with, and below that, the tablature. Aren’t I nice?!

Feel free to ask questions or just share your thoughts in the comments!

Watch the video:

Play along with the backing track:

Read the tab:

Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne) Style Riff & 4 Licks


Add yours
  1. 1

    Just found your page, really cool and great of you to share your knowledge! I was wondering if you are cross-picking/outside picking the sequential pull off part?

  2. 2

    Thanks for your kind comment Jim! For the sequential pull-off part I’m using alternate picking, so in other words, down-picking on the high E string, pulling off, then up-picking on the B string and repeating that over and over. This is also good practice for what’s known as ‘inside picking’. Hope this helps.

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