Tom Petty's "American Girl": How to Play the High-Flying Outro Guitar Riffs

(Image credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

"American Girl," the second single off Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 1977 self-titled debut album, has pretty much got it all. There's its urgent Bo Diddley beat, its undeniably catchy melody, its New Wave punch, a tasty hook or two—even a bizarre "American" tie-in (It was recorded July 4, 1976, which is some wild, wacky stuff).

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.