Welcome to this lesson on Back in Black by AC/DC. In this lesson, I’ll be providing you with the Back in Black TAB and guiding you through this rock masterpiece one step at a time. Back in Black is my all-time favourite AC/DC tracks and it also happens to contain one of the greatest and most recognisable guitar riffs of all time. This is the first AC/DC guitar lesson here at Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat, but it certainly won’t be the last! They’ve a discography full of insanely fun guitar tracks and this one for me is right at the top. Let’s get down to business.
Back in Black TAB – first bars (intro)
The intro of Back in Black is simple. Just a few percussive strums which land directly on each beat of the first bars. You don’t really need the TAB for this but here it is anyway.
There’s lots of room in this track for you to throw in percussive muted strums like this so experiment with adding the above sound into the other parts and see if you can find nice spots for it.
Back in Black TAB – The main guitar riff
Next, we have the main guitar part of this song. The Back in Black guitar riff. This guitar riff is first heard after the percussive intro and then throughout the song at different points as the guitar riff is played behind the verse sections of the song. This next part is therefore both the main guitar riff and also the guitar for the verse sections.
The above can be played differently. You can swap out the D and A power chords for the open equivalent power chords. It’s up to you which way you do it. I just happen to like playing this guitar riff with the full power chords. Don’t know why. That’s just always how I’ve played it.
Another thing that can be played differently is the second lick. Not the first one that’s based on the high strings but the second that’s based around that B note on the low strings. I’ve given you the TAB for that part across 2 strings. Again, this is just how I’ve always played it but you can choose to play that section fully on the low E string if you choose to.
Playing it on one string does allow for a cool slide down from that last B which would lead back into the E power chord, but I prefer doing this across two strings. I just find it easier and more efficient. It’s up to you.
If you do it my way, your index finger would sit on the B note on the A string, then you’d use your third finger for the A flat and your fourth finger for the following two notes.
Try the different approaches and see what works best for you but I’d argue that my way of playing this riff is easiest.
Back in Black TAB – The chorus rhythm guitar
The next section that we need to learn is the rhythm guitar for the chorus sections of Back in Black. This section is all chord based apart from one note. Here is the TAB.
There’s nothing particularly difficult there. The chords are simple, and the rhythm is easy to follow if you listen to the track.
In the middle, you’ll see a G major chord shape and also a D major chord shape. This can be done differently but these full open chords work just fine here in my opinion.
There’s also a slightly odd bit where you’re playing an open E whilst playing the fourth fret on the following two strings. It looks weird in the TAB but all you need to do is lift our index finger up from the B power chord and then place it back down at the right time. Easy.
You can also alter the strumming for that very last part as my instructions are in a basic form, which works well.
Back in black TAB – guitar solo 1
The next part that we need to learn is the first guitar solo. This solo is definitely achievable, but there is some tricky moments in here too. If you’re at a stage where you’re able to perform the below, you won’t need me to hold your hand through it. Just take it a bar at a time and you’ll get there. The first portion is simple enough anyway and the phrasing is done in a way that’s easy to take in. The rhythm in this guitar solo TAB (and the next one) looks tricky but if you listen to the track closely, you’ll get it. I’ve had to split the solo images up so that they’ve visible.
Rhythm guitar for guitar solo
Another part that you may wish to consider is the rhythm guitar that sits behind the solo. It’s got kind of a blues power chord feel to it and the rhythm closely resembles that of the verses. Here it is.
The same sort of thing happens behind the second guitar solo that comes later so if you learn this, you know that part too.
Power chord tip
The first guitar solo is followed by another chorus which is followed by a kind of instrumental bridge / interlude section, so I thought that this would be a good spot for a top tip and it relates to your power chords.
As you know, you can play either a two finger or three finger version of a power chord. The three finger utilising a root note an octave higher than the original.
For this track, it really doesn’t matter whether you use the two finger version or the three finger version. Just play about with it and see what feels best for you.
On with the lesson.
Back in Black TAB – Guitar riffs from the bridge
This cool little instrumental interlude part is eight bars long but you only need to learn two bars of material. Here’s the TAB.
There’s two riffs there but the second is the same as the first, it’s just shifted down a string.
You play the first riff four times, then the second twice and finally, the first another two times. After that, you jump into another chorus section which is followed by the final moments of the song.
Pre solo section
Back in Black ends with a fade out and a bunch of lead guitar but before that, there’s a brief moment that breaks away from the groove. You may as well tackle the lead for this because the rhythm is simply an A power chord. You don’t need the TAB for that.
This section is two notes long. What follows the first two notes is the beginning of the guitar solo proper. You’ll see how this blends together shortly.
Back in Black TAB – guitar solo 2 and outro
The following and final section opens with the little part that we looked at above and blends into the last guitar solo which also serves as a fade out outro.
I’ve adjusted the very final moments there so that you can end the track without the fade out. That last bend falls at a point where the rhythm is concluding those galloping E power chords that we saw earlier during the first solo rhythm section.
The rhythm for this guitar solo is the same. Once that little gallop part is finished, the rhythm can end on a sustained E power chord while the lead hits that final bend. Hope that made sense. A simple yet effective way to conclude the track. Play around with it or alternatively, figure out your own way of ending. That seems the right spot to do it though.
We go rather high up the fretboard with this which I discovered while composing the lesson on a Fender Start which didn’t have enough frets.
If you don’t have enough frets, don’t worry. Get yourself to bar thirteen of the above. At that point, you can kind of get yourself to the same conclusion but an octave lower. It takes some playing around with but it’s doable and you can make it work.
That about wraps things up for this guitar lesson. You now have all of the Back in Black TAB and everything that you need to know on how to play this AC/DC classic on guitar. As mentioned earlier, this is the first AC/DC lesson that I’ve written for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat thus far. How did that happen? This means that I can’t direct you to another AC/DC track. What I can do however, is link you to other classic rock lessons such as the following.
Metallica Enter Sandman TAB and Guitar Lesson
Iron Maiden The Trooper TAB and Guitar Lesson
Black Sabbath Paranoid TAB and Guitar Lesson
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.