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How To Play Riptide On The Guitar

How To Play “Riptide” On The Guitar?

Vance Joy, an Australian singer-songwriter, wrote the song “Riptide.” It was the second single from his first EP, “God Loves You When You’re Dancing”. It is also contained on his debut album, “Dream Your Life Away“. Joy wrote the song and co-produced it with percussionist Edwin White. The lively song is recognized for its metaphors and pop culture references. It also has been lyrically characterized as a “coming-of-age love narrative.”

Music critics complimented the song for its words, singing, and production, drawing similarities to singer-songwriters Paul Kelly and Jeff Buckley. “Riptide” enjoyed commercial success in Australia, debuting at number six on the ARIA singles chart and later being selected the number one song in Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2013. The next year, “Riptide” reached the place of 10 in the United Kingdom and reached number one on Billboard’s Alternative Songs list. Before May 2015, it was the second longest charting track still on the US Billboard Hot 100, having spent 43 weeks on the chart (at number 42 from its peak of 30).

In May 2015, it was reported that “Riptide” had become the longest-charting track in ARIA Chart history, having spent 107 weeks in the top 100. The week count was 120 in January 2016. It broke Lady Gaga’s previous record of 106 weeks with “Poker Face.”

As of January 2018, the single had sold over 6,000,000 copies globally. “Riptide” was placed 94 on Triple M’s “Ozzfest 100” list of the “most Australian” songs of all time that month.

This guide will teach you how to play Riptide by Vance Joy on guitar. It is a really easy song. So, it will be great for the beginners out there who would just be starting on guitar.

Who is Vance Joy?

Vance Joy is an Australian singer-songwriter, and former Australian Rules Footballer named James Gabriel Keogh. In 2013, he signed a five-album contract with Atlantic Records. In March 2013, he released his debut EP; God Loves You When You’re Dancing. His song “Riptide” was rated number one on Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2013. Joy’s debut studio album, Dream Your Life Away, was released on September 5th, 2014, in Australia and on September 9th, 2014, internationally. He won Best Male Artist at the 2015 ARIA Music Awards. Nation of Two, his second studio album, was released in 2018. Vance Joy was a vocalist with the Zac Brown Band.

Background of “Riptide”

The first few chords and first two lyrics of the song were composed in 2008 in Joy’s Glen Iris, Melbourne, home—the same song title was used. However, he initially shelved the tune. Joy began playing open mic events in Melbourne, Australia, years after his academic education and VFL career, which finally led to a genuine music career.

Joy was developing a track that reminded him of the delayed “Riptide” draft from 2008 when he recorded the song in 2012. Then, he blended the 2008 effort with his current project at the time. He posted a preliminary version of the song on his own Facebook page. Even though the singer had just released “…the first verse and chorus,” the positive response from Joy’s friends and family inspired him to continue with his music. Joy composed and produced the song with drummer Edwin White one day at Red Door Studios in Melbourne’s Brunswick area. John Castle afterward finished the rest of the manufacturing. Joy explained in an interview that the song’s title was inspired by a motel’s name he used to visit with his family as a child.

Facts about “Riptide”

James Keogh is an Australian singer-songwriter who performs as Vance Joy. He got his stage name from the storyteller character in Peter Carey’s novel Bliss.

This ukulele-led song is off his first EP, “God Loves You When You’re Dancing“. It was published in March 2013 on Mushroom Group’s Liberation Music label. It reached #7 on the ARIA singles chart and was the best-selling song by an Australian in 2013.

A chance meeting inspired with a girl. Joy was reminded of 3 Links Music: “I met this girl around the time I created the song. When I asked her what she did, she said, ‘I’m a magician’s assistant.’. I had no idea where to proceed from there. I’m sure she never gets tired of telling them that phrase.” Joy heard the song’s tune while driving back from his neighborhood grocery to get some supper ingredients. Afterwards, he found himself singing the chorus.

An Intriguing Coincidence

After a talent scout at the company heard the song, Joy was offered a five-album deal with Atlantic Records. “I had a nice feeling about the music, almost like an intuition. I knew it was unique. It has a particular zing about it, and it resonates with people, “Joy said to “I’m quite grateful. Writing the song has been quite beneficial to me. I can’t believe I said that. I was fortunate to channel it; I feel like I snatched this fish from the sea.” The song was used in a GoPro TV commercial in the United States.

A rip tide (sometimes called a rip current or an undertow) is a powerful sea current that pushes away from the beach when a violent storm approaches. They can draw swimmers away from the shore and cause death by drowning as a result of weariness while battling the current. Despite being an uncommon occurrence, rip tides kill up to or even more 100 people in the United States each year.

“Riptide” topped Triple J’s 2014 Hottest 100 poll, which is considered an institution in Australia. It’s been billed as the world’s largest music poll. Moreover, it’s become the unofficial soundtrack of January 26th yearly “Australia Day” national celebrations. “Riptide” sounds like the title of a surf-rock hit from the 1960s. No song with that name had ever charted on the Hot 100 before Joy’s release. In 1985, Robert Palmer released a song called “Riptide,”. He used this song as the title track to his album, which also included “Addicted To Love.”

Heroes Behind “Riptide”

Dimitri Basil and Laura Gorun directed the music video for “Riptide.” Basil is a Colombian-born director who attended film school in Australia before moving to London to work on films with various partners. Gorun, who appears as a vocalist in the video, is one of those partners. She is a Romanian-born director and actress who previously collaborated with Basil on Flight Facilities’ “Foreign Language” video. Many of the views in the video are literal interpretations; thus, when Vance sings about being afraid of dentists, we see a female with a mouthful of dental equipment; for “my pals are turning green,” we see American dollar notes.

Pfeiffer, born in 1958, is a little old for Vance, but he was taken with the actress as a child, particularly when she portrayed Catwoman in the 1992 film Batman Returns. Joy says in the song that the girl is the “closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you’ve ever seen.” maybe Bruno Mars was listening to this song in his head when he wrote the first line of his 2014 Mark Ronson duet “Uptown Funk”: “This s—t, that ice cold. Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold.”

The song set a new record for the most weeks in Australia’s Top 100 singles chart, surpassing Lady Gaga’s 106-week run with “Poker Face.” It peaked at #6 on Vance Joy’s home nation chart on February 3rd, 2014, and lasted five weeks in the Top 10 and 45 weeks in the Top 50. At the 2014 Australian APRA awards, this song was named Song of the Year.

How to Play “Riptide”

For the basic, you’ll need your guitar in standard tuning, and you must obtain a capo on the first fret of your guitar. Also, you’re going to need to know four chord shapes. So, these four chord shapes are A minor, G major, C major, and finally, F major. Now, let’s start with the intro/verse, which is the chorus.

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Intro / Verse / Chorus – How to Play “Riptide”

It’s just a very easy three-chord chord progression that goes Am, G major, and then C major and C major again. The strumming pattern will go something like this: D-D–UDU. You’re going to play that strumming pattern once for each chord. And you repeat that over and over again for basically the entire song, with the exception of the bridge. It’s a really easy chord progression that will be great for the beginners out there, people who have just got guitars.

Verse / Chorus Riff – How to Play “Riptide”

Just before we get into the bridge, we will also teach you the little lead riff played in the break before the bridge. We’re going to place our first finger on the 3rd fret of the second string, and you’re going to hammer on to the fifth fret of the second string with your ring finger. So, you pluck the note while you have your finger on the third fret, and you hammer on to the fifth fret.

You only need to pluck the string once, and once you’ve hammered on, you’ll pluck that string again on the fifth fret, and then with your index finger already in this position here, you’ll basically bar it over the third fret of the first string, and you’ll pluck that note. And then, with your middle finger, you’ll place that on the fifth fret of the third string. Then go back to the fifth fret of the second string. You’re going to repeat that full-time.

Bridge Chords – How to Play “Riptide”

In the bridge part, we have four chord shapes. We’re using the same chord progression that’s in the intro, verse, and chorus. Except we’re tacking on the F major chord at the end of it. So, it’s Am, G major, C major, and then F major. We will also use the same strumming pattern: D-D–UDU. Except, in this bridge, each chord will be played for two strumming patterns.

Dynamics and Extra Tips – How to Play “Riptide”

Now, the reason it’s so important there to have that little gap is for the dynamics thing again for the shape of the song. It’s really important, something a lot of beginner guitar players miss out on, and it’s easier, giving you a break and giving you a rest. So, if you start paying attention to the dynamics of the tune when you play, it will really make a massive step up in your progress the in your development as a guitar player. It’ll make it more excellent for people to listen to you, which is also important, right? Unless you can just play for yourself, but if you play for yourself and record yourself, you’ll feel those dynamics as well really makes a difference.

So, after that bridge, just single strum, remembering that tempo as well, don’t go coming back in real super fast. And then you’re back into two choruses. It might be three choruses, and then the last line is repeated once, but it’s up to you how you’ll see, how you finish that tune.


We hope you all enjoyed this article and learned how to play “Riptide” by Vance Roy on guitar. In this guide, we explained how to play “Riptide” on guitar and the background of this unique song. This beginner guitar song by Vance Roy requires only four chords. Based on the original tune, you also need to use a capo at the first fret of your guitar.