How to Play Back in Black by AC/DC: A Complete Guide for Guitarists

If you’re a fan of classic rock, you’ve probably heard AC/DC’s iconic song “Back in Black” at some point. This legendary track has captivated audiences for decades with its powerful guitar riffs and infectious energy. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play this rock anthem on your guitar, you’re in the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the steps necessary to master “Back in Black” by AC/DC. So grab your guitar, crank up the volume, and let’s dive in!

Understanding the key signature and basics of 'Back in Black' by AC/DC

Understanding the key signature and basics of ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC

Understanding the Basics of Back in Black

Before we start learning the song, let’s get familiar with its basic structure and key features. “Back in Black” is played in 4/4 time signature and is known for its driving tempo and catchy guitar hooks. The song is in the key of E minor, which gives it a dark and intense sound. Understanding these fundamental elements will help you grasp the song’s essence and play it with precision.

Mastering the essential guitar techniques for 'Back in Black' by AC/DC

Mastering the essential guitar techniques for ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC

Essential Guitar Techniques for Playing Back in Black

To play “Back in Black” like a pro, you need to master some essential guitar techniques. These techniques include power chords, palm muting, and bending. Power chords are the backbone of rock music, giving it that raw and powerful sound. Palm muting is crucial for achieving the distinctive muted effect heard throughout the song. Bending adds the signature bluesy touch to the guitar solos, allowing you to infuse your playing with emotion and intensity.

Step-by-step guide to playing 'Back in Black' by AC/DC

Step-by-step guide to playing ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Play Back in Black by AC/DC

Now that you understand the song’s structure and have a grasp of the essential techniques, let’s break down “Back in Black” into manageable sections and guide you through each one step-by-step.

Intro and Main Riff

Start by learning the iconic intro and main riff of “Back in Black.” This section sets the tone for the entire song and hooks the listener from the first note. We’ll go through the finger placement and provide detailed instructions to help you nail this part.


Next, we’ll tackle the verse section of the song. This part utilizes power chords and palm muting techniques to create a driving rhythm that supports the vocals. We’ll break it down and guide you through the chord progressions and strumming patterns.

Pre-Chorus and Chorus

The pre-chorus and chorus sections of “Back in Black” are where the song truly shines. These parts feature soaring guitar riffs and catchy melodies that make the song instantly recognizable. We’ll dive into the specifics of playing these sections, including the chord progressions and picking patterns.

Guitar Solo

No rock song is complete without a killer guitar solo, and “Back in Black” delivers one of the most iconic solos in rock history. We’ll guide you through the intricacies of this solo, covering the bends, slides, and hammer-ons that give it its flair. With practice, you’ll be able to channel your inner Angus Young and master this epic solo.


The bridge section of “Back in Black” provides a dynamic contrast to the rest of the song. It introduces a different chord progression and creates a buildup towards the final chorus. We’ll walk you through the chords and strumming patterns required to play this section seamlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How long will it take to learn “Back in Black” on the guitar?

Learning a song like “Back in Black” requires dedication and practice. The time it takes to learn the song will vary depending on your current skill level and practice routine. With consistent practice, you can start playing the song confidently within a few weeks.

Q2: Do I need any special equipment to play “Back in Black”?

No special equipment is needed to play “Back in Black” on the guitar. However, using a guitar with a humbucker pickup can help you achieve a richer and fuller tone, similar to the original recording.

Q3: Can beginners learn to play “Back in Black”?

Absolutely! While “Back in Black” may seem challenging at first, beginners can certainly learn to play it with practice and patience. Start by mastering the basic techniques and gradually work your way up to the more intricate parts of the song.


Congratulations! You’ve now completed our comprehensive guide on how to play “Back in Black” by AC/DC on the guitar. We’ve covered the basics, essential techniques, and provided a step-by-step breakdown of each section of the song. Remember, mastering a song takes time, so be patient with yourself and enjoy the learning process. Keep practicing, and soon enough, you’ll be rocking out to “Back in Black” with confidence. Get ready to unleash your inner rock god!