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How to play Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones

Updated on December 15, 2015

How to Play Satisfaction

Welcome to my page if you want to learn how to play Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. I can't get no Satisfaction epitomises the rebellion and the freedom of the 1960s. The riff from Satisfaction is easily in the Top 10 all time greatest rock guitar riffs.

Picture shows:

Mick Jagger - The Rolling Stones live at San Siro Stadium, Milan, Italy - june 10th, 2003. Original uploader was Kronos at it.wikipedia. Transferred from it.wikipedia; transfer was stated to be made by Blues 1911. Released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

This page was written to help you to play Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones and I designed all the music graphics just for you. The raunchy guitar introduction of Satisfaction is one of the most iconic sounds in rock and roll. I loved this song as a kid and I still do, so finding material to help you play Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones will be a pleasure!

Here you will find the chords, the riff and a clue to the attitude too.

How do you play the Satisfaction Riff? - Picture TAB of the notes for Satisfaction

Notes in the Satisfaction Riff
Notes in the Satisfaction Riff

That moody Riff from Satisfaction.

Use the chart to see where the notes are on the guitar. you can use finger 1 for B, finger 3 for C# and finger 4 for D to play as a melodic riff. Alternatively, use the index finger only until familiar with the moves and then make a power chord riff out of it which will sound more punchy and give it some growl by using slight amp distortion or crunch setting.

B B B C# D D D C# C# B

B B B C# D D D C# C# B

Do you know how to play power chords? If not, the diagram here might help.

Power Chords with Root on 5

This is the shape you can use to play the riff from Satisfaction in sliding power chords. For B, play it in 2nd position, for C# play it in 4th and for D play it in 5th.
This is the shape you can use to play the riff from Satisfaction in sliding power chords. For B, play it in 2nd position, for C# play it in 4th and for D play it in 5th. | Source

What is your favorite Rolling Stones song?

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Chords to Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones - E, A and B7 chords

Satisfaction Chords
Satisfaction Chords

Satisfaction Chords for Acoustic Guitar - Unplugged

You can use these simple open position chords to play Satisfaction on acoustic guitar. As you are not using distortion they will sound OK, especially if you have a friend playing the bass riff or the power chords on electric guitar.

To play Satisfaction all you need is three chords, a riff and an attitude!

Satisfaction chords with lyric for personal  and educational use only.
Satisfaction chords with lyric for personal and educational use only.

Satisfaction Riff - An Analysis

How can something so simple be modal?

The riff from Satisfaction is actually modal. The chords are firmly in the key of E major, but that riff which starts on the 5th of the E chord, is in the mixolydian mode. What makes it mixolydian is the minor seventh - the D natural. That shouldn't surprise you though, because the Rolling Stones were very much influenced by the blues and part of the British blues explosion of the 1960s! Much of blues is mixolydian. The whole key to blues (in the traditional rhythm and blues idiom) is the clash between major chords and minor melodies and that riff is so reminiscent of Howlin' Wolf! (If you haven't listened to Howlin' Wolf singing Smokestack Lightnin' PLEASE do!)

For those musical anoraks (like me) here is a treatise on Modal and Tonal Counterpoint: From Josquin to Stravinsky

This book delivers a lesson on modes for guitarists too:

You can find out more about power chords, modes and improvisation on these pages.

British Invasion Mousemat


Satisfaction for String Orchestra

The Rolling Stones - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Music Book

For those of you who just can't resist the thought of those grunting cellos and basses....


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