5 Easy Black Sabbath Songs to Play on Guitar

What can we say about this amazing worldwide group that transcends the ages?

Most music lovers state that Black Sabbath has set the basis of metal plus inspired a lot of groups with their groundbreaking music. 

Having said that, I will tell you that in this article I’ll be allowing you to learn some of their easiest songs to play on guitar. 

Despite being pioneers in this field, they have simple pieces to play which would be great for those who are first learners.

The 5 easiest Black Sabbath Songs to play on guitar are:

  1. St Vitus Dance
  2. Iron Man
  3. Black Sabbath
  4. Electric Funeral
  5. Paranoid

1. St. Vitus Dance

To begin with, we have a song from the album Black Sabbath vol.4 from the year 1972. St. Vicus Dance is a short song composed of two main riffs, the first one is a C chord plus some fills, the second is a riff made of power chords.

First of all, although you can play the song in standard E tuning, you need to bear in mind that this song is tuned in standard C#, they played it that way when they perform live. 

However, if you play along with the album version you will find that the tuning is somewhere between C# and D.

The first riff works as intro and appears in every verse as a separator whereas the power chords riff, which is C5 – Bb5 – Eb5 – F5, is played twice per verse line. 

Up to this point, a third riff appears, again made of power chords (A – G – E – G) which works as a bridge.

After that, the last verse occurs and the song ends with the first riff. Due to being rather short and doesn’t have a lot of sections, is pretty easy to play it. 

The correct order is; Intro (Riff 1) – Verse (Riff 2) – Riff 1 – Verse (Riff 2) – Riff 1 – Bridge (Riff 3) – Riff 1 – Final Verse (Riff 2) – Outro (Riff 1).

Here’s the song:

Link to tabs

Here’s a lesson:

2. Iron Man

Now we will be talking about a song from the album Paranoid, one of the most famous of the group. 

This piece is in standard E tuning which is weird because most of their songs are tuned down.

The song starts with the open low E but you need to bend and release it behind the nut to get that bend sounding note. 

Then, the popular power chords riff you have heard a thousand times, starting in B5, sliding from D5 to E5, and then more slides from G5 to F#5 to finish with D5 and E5.

During the verse you play the same line, it can be played with power chords or just plucking the root notes. 

The verse is divided by the main riff, which must be played as fifth chords, and when the second part finishes we have a  new riff.

A descending chromatic line on the sixth string starting in B is played three times. 

The first two are exactly the same but the third one is shorter and leaves some time for the listener to rest.

After the main riff is played twice, the verse appears again, completely equal to the previous one. 

At that time, the chorus comes up; plays E5, D5, and in the position of Bm, occurs a pentatonic ascending line with some blue notes added.

The next we have is the main riff, the verse, and the chorus in that specific order. 

Every section is a clone of the previously played, with no changes at all.

The interesting part comes now when another descending riff is played on C# and leads us to the solo. 

This section could be confusing for beginners, is quite fast, involves hammers on, pulls off, slides and bendings but you can give it a try or played a simplified version of it.

What happens next is a repetition of the third riff, the chorus, the main riff, and the verse. 

Finally, we have the outro that begins as the intro, bending and releasing the low E string behind the nut and then, we have more pentatonic riffs.

Although this last section is intended to be the outro, could also be seen as another solo. 

However, this one is simpler than the one played before and you should give it a try.

Even though Iron Man has many sections, it won’t be hard for you to play the song due to many of them are repeated throughout the whole piece. 

The only thing you have to do is listen to the song to remember the correct order and practice.

Here’s the song:

Link to tabs

Here’s a lesson:

3. Black Sabbath

This song is from the first album from the group and has the same name, Black Sabbath

Back in the 70s, nobody would have imagined how big that band was going to be. 

Although this piece is very long, it lasts almost seven minutes, is pretty simple to play because it consists of not so many sections plus has a slow tempo. 

The intro is composed of a fifth diminished chord which adds the perfect fifth with a hammer on.

Most of the song has that pattern, and after each verse, the fifth diminished E chord arpeggio is played. 

Around minute 5 we have a different part, the bridge that consists of a line played on the G minor scale using alternate picking due to it is quite fast.

Right before the solo, we have a previous segment, just two chords G major and a barre chord holding each string in the third fret

Once that section is played, the solo appears.

You may think that the solo is the hardest part of the piece and it could be but it isn’t so fast, there are some bendings, hammers on, pulls off and it is played in almost the same section of the fretboard

It will take time to learn it but is something completely doable.

In the end, you will have to play again the G and the barre chord which we were talking about earlier twice. 

The last section is a G major chord, strum it but don’t let it ring, cut the sound down. 

Here’s the song:

Link to tabs

Here’s a lesson:

4. Electric Funeral

On this occasion, we have again a song from the album Paranoid. 

Electric Funeral could be one of the most simple pieces of Black Sabbath and I will show you why.

To begin with, the intro is played on the sixth and fifth open strings adding hammers on to create an amazing riff. 

During the verse, they continue playing on the same thicker strings but this time they play open E string then goes to the B on the fifth string and plays a chromatic descending line till open A to finish with the G on the sixth string.

After every verse, the intro riff is played until you reach a new section in which you play five times a chromatic descending power chords line from E to D. 

The next section is like a bridge, is not so defined but you have just to play E5 – D5 – E5 and a barre chord in the twelfth fret using only the three higher strings four times.

Up to this point, you will be playing like a solo, simple plucked lines going along with vocals always in the key of E minor. 

Then, you play the previous part again (the one that ends with the funky barre chord) to finish with some hard bendings and go back to the intro plus verse.

The intro is repeated one more time and the last part of the piece is the verse without vocals fading out. 

As this song is in standard E tuning and doesn’t involve complicated technique, just bendings, and hammers on or pulls off, you can fully learn it in a couple of hours.

Here’s the song:

Link to tabs

Here’s a lesson:

5. Paranoid

Last but least, we have one of the most popular Black Sabbath songs, the one that gives its name to the homonymous 1970 album. 

The song is one of the anthems of metal and has a powerful sound.

The song starts with a slide from D5 to E5 three times and then is followed by hammers on in two adjacent strings. 

That pattern is repeated four times, right after that, the verse appears.  

When Ozzy sings the guitar keeps on playing palm muted fifth chords divided into two sections; the first is just an E5 chord played giving downstrokes. 

Regarding the second one, we have a D5 chord played the same way as the E5. 

However, towards the end of this segment, there are some new power chords played straightaway after the D5, the progression is G5 – D5 – E5 – G5.

I suggest you play the G5 chord being the root on the fourth string, I believe that is easier that way. 

Nevertheless, if you feel uncomfortable you could do it using the tenth fret of the fifth string as root, it is up to you.

After repeating that section twice, what follows is the chord progression E – C – D -E. Of course, every note is a power chord and the last E is maintained, played using downpicking.

You play that two times and go back to the verse which is just like the first one. When you reach the bridge, what you need to play is E5 and D5 letting them ring twice.

What we have next is a verse without vocals, you repeat the same chords as the previous verses and then, the vocals enter so you have to play the chords again.

The part where you show your skills has come, up to this point the solo occurs. As we saw in the previous songs, Iommi’s solos tend to involve bendings, hammers on or pull off and this is also the case.

To play this section, he uses the key of the song (Em) and plays melodic lines with some distortion. 

This is definitely the hardest part of the piece but is playable, try to practice it slowly and then add some speed, it is playable.

When the solo finishes we have again a verse with no vocals and then a new verse with Ozzy singing along. 

What happens next is the chord progression E5 – C5 – D5 -E5 played two times.

To finish this fantastic song, you have to play one last verse exactly the same way as before plus a final verse without vocals. 

Paranoid is perfect for those who want to learn songs on electric guitar, I guess after some time practicing you will get it!

Here’s the song:

Link to tabs

Here’s a lesson: