The greatest guitar songs of the 21st century

The greatest guitar songs of the 21st century – 2000

Revolution Is My Name – Pantera

Appearing on Pantera’s final studio album (and the only one they would release in the 21st century) Reinventing The Steel, this is among the band’s best-known songs.

We’ve tuned to DGCFAD for in our playthrough of the main riff , but if you want to jam along to the original recording, note that Dimebag Darrell would detune by a further quarter-tone.

Remember that the song is in 12/8 time – so count ‘1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4 & a’ to keep time and emphasise the notes on the numbers to generate a pulse.

The first two bars of music follow this rhythm exactly, with a note on every number, ‘&’ and ‘a’. Bar 3 is a pretty tough one to master because there are six evenly-spaced notes.

What’s so difficult about that, you ask? Well, it’s all about the feel. Several notes are placed between the pulse. The pulse is easy to feel; the notes in between, not so much. Our slow play-through of the riff should help.

One Armed Scissor – At The Drive-In

On this landmark single, Omar Rodríguez-López cemented his place as a guitar hero for the modern age – reinventing punk through a more psychedelic lens.

Riding With The King – BB King & Eric Clapton

Two names this size could crush a song under the weight of expectation, but the blues titans delivered.

Papercut – Linkin Park

The opening track from LP’s debut took nu-metal to soaring new heights thanks to its melodic grandeur and dynamic riffs.

The Fight Song – Marilyn Manson

The God Of Fuck’s first album with country shredder John 5 marked a career-high thanks to big hits like this.

Bohemian Like You – The Dandy Warhols

The world needed a really great Rolling Stones riff. With Mick and Keef otherwise occupied, the Warhols stepped up admirably.

Change (In The House Of Flies) – Deftones

This eerie anthem signalled the arrival of the band's career-best album, White Pony, and bulldozed a new path for metal. The combination of Chino Moreno's tentative SG strums and Stef Carpenter's wrecking-ball powerchords results in a track that's sonically expansive and heavy in equal measure.

Hate To Say I Told You So – The Hives

When it comes to the early 00s garage rock revival, three bands instantly spring to mind: The Strokes, The White Stripes and Swedish rockers The Hives. 

None of their contemporaries packed as much of a punk-rock punch as The Hives, and this big hitter from their breakthrough sophomore album Veni Vidi Vicious would become the band's signature song.

There’s no special secret here – just good, old-fashioned raw energy. Those relentless powerchords are pounded out by the formidable right arms of guitarists Nicholaus Arson and Vigilante Carlstroem. 

It’s easy enough to play, but that pause in the breakdown can’t come soon enough for our worn-out forearms! If you’re going to play Hate To Say I Told You So, you’re going to need to practise more than you might think you will...

Yellow – Coldplay

Johnny Buckland's ingenious intro riff might just have made you think Coldplay were about to become one of the UK’s great alt-rock acts.

Judith – A Perfect Circle

A textbook example of the tight playing style and widescreen sound of former Nine Inch Nails guitar tech Billy Howerdel, Judith is chock-full of some of the greatest heavy tones ever wrung out of a Les Paul – and one smashed by Trent Reznor at that.

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Total Guitar is one of Europe's biggest guitar magazines. With lessons to suit players of all levels, TG's world-class tuition is friendly, accessible and jargon-free, whether you want to brush up on your technique or improve your music theory knowledge. We also talk to the biggest names in the world of guitar – from interviews with all-time greats like Brian May and Eddie Van Halen to our behind the scenes Rig Tour features, we get you up close with the guitarists that matter to you.