Diary Of A Madman Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Ozzy Osbourne – Famous Riffs

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In this famous riff lesson we will be learning how to play the acoustic intro to “Diary of a Madman” by Ozzy Osbourne as played by the late great Randy Rhoads.

If want to play along with this lesson and the original recorded version you will need to tune your guitar down 1/2 half step. The tuning starting from the low E string will then be Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb.

In this Diary of a Madman guitar lesson you learn not just one riff but two. The riff that starts the song then the acoustic riff he goes into at the end that is almost note-for-note the same as the main electric guitar riff when the band comes in.

The inspiration for this acoustic intro is firmly planted in the classical guitar world. In fact, the opening riff is a pretty much a “re-imagining” of composer Leo Brouwer’s “Etudes Simples No.6”.

He uses the same chords as that Etude with a different right hand pattern that is picked instead of played fingerstyle. It’s pretty cool sounding though so I guess if you are going to rip anything off it should be something like this. 🙂

There are some big stretches in this opening riff along with some pretty intricate fingerings. Be sure to keep your frethand fingertips nice and arched so you don’t mute out any of the adjacent strings by accident.

After this opening riff we then kick into what would become the main riff of the song albeit played on acoustic guitar.

Once again we have a pretty repetitive riff here with just a few picking variations in there. In this Diary of a Madman guitar lesson I will try to point out where any patterns may lie so you can memorize everything a little bit easier.

Ok enough of the small talk, let’s learn to play it!

Video Rating: / 5


  1. yomommaiscalling

    One of those songs you put on to try and figure it out then just end up listening to it.

  2. Carl your catalogue of songs is amazing you are a legend and your stuff will go down in history on youtube a pioneer I thank you for all I have learnt

  3. 2:32 just markin my place gotta rest my fingers already

  4. Nice job, I was lucky enough to see RR and Oz back in the day when I was a teen not once but twice, I knew at the time he was something special, he ignited my interest in playing more than Halen. I hear alot of folks saying RR was a rip of Halen, personally I never thought they had that much in common. Rhoads was so clean and eloquent with his playing [plus the classical influence], Halen was more all over the place and commercial. This song I have known the bulk of for decades but never nailed the intro, just started it a few hours ago and already sounds half way decent, tough transitions but practice makes perfect !

  5. I just gotta say I'm determined to learn this song. I shattered my pinky metacarpal YEARS ago and it never healed so playing that A minor add 9 is excruciating. Watching this has given me hope that I might actually get there. I can play everything else but that chord properly. Practice…patience.

  6. Robbo Pinnetto

    He totally ripped it off

  7. Guitar sounds good.

  8. Beth Lundquist

    I know this is an older video but I think he teaches this AWESOME. He explains everything, he shows you everything, it is absolutely the best one!! I just wanted to say thank you!!! I've been playing guitar for almost 2 years now and I want to learn the song so bad!!! My fingers are getting more agile and I thought let me try this song again…and ….FINALLY!!! I just love how you teach this. Thank you for it. RR is my fav.

  9. Love this song and Carl's lessons – but hate my short and fat fingers. My wrist aches like crazy when I try to bar while fingering 2 and 3 frets higher. 🙂

  10. After trying to play this song you really do realize just how good of a guitar player Randy Rhoads was.

  11. Bob Ravenscraft

    Niice Funny

  12. Bob Ravenscraft

    When you learn this you feel your brain grow

  13. Bob Ravenscraft

    Third chord m7b5. Or half diminished. Man I'm learning weird shit. RR forever

  14. WorldRenownedCFE

    complicated but pretty!

  15. adventures with jeff

    Hey Carl I probley owe ya 500 buck for lessons. Haha let me know next time your in Edmonton Alberta and will square up. Thanks for all the great work you do.

  16. adventures with jeff

    Anyone wonder how randy played this with tiny hands?

  17. That acoustic you're playing just sounds so damn good

  18. Elmer Shiflett

    My fingers aren't as long as yours Carl

  19. Elmer Shiflett

    Anyone says this song is easy to play they're full of it, the stretches kill me

  20. When playing the Aadd9 chord, which is really an Aflatadd9 chord, why not have your first and second fingers switched from the get-go instead of switching them when you go to the minor? It's much easier for me. All I have to do is slide my first finger down a fret, and it lets the rest of the notes from the previous chord ring out. Food for thought, great video man.

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