“Dancing Days” by Led Zeppelin

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Riff Rundown

Difficulty: Easy – Intermediate

Composer – Jimmy Page / Robert Plant

Where to find this song – Houses of the Holy track #5

Release Date – June 1973

When Led Zeppelin came out in January 1969, it only took two months for it to catch on like wildfire. The album soared to the top of the charts and Led Zeppelin, with their heavy, free-form, psychedelic style of rock, began their ascent to god-like status. Touring endlessly through that year, Zeppelin recorded their second album, Led Zeppelin II, on the road. Like the first album, Led Zeppelin II hit the No. 1 spot and stayed there for seven weeks. In support of the album, Zeppelin hit the road and didn’t stop for a full year.

Main Riff

The main riff has 2 guitar parts. Here’s what they sound like together:



Guitar 1



Guitar 2



How To Play It

Guitar 1



In this part you will stay only on one string: the B string! That should be easy, but there are a few slides AND pulls here. If you were to break this part up into eight measures, the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth measures are identical, so the first measure will explain the others for you.

To play the third and seventh measures, play the same as you did in the other parts EXCEPT for when you WOULD do the pull-off, instead slide down to the fifth fret on the “B” string, then down to the seventh fret, and then directly back up to the fifth fret. All of this is done on the same string. End this measure by playing the second fret on the “B” string. When you slide down to the fifth and seventh frets, try to use your 1st finger to create the actual slide sound. When using more than one finger on a slide, the effect of it just isn’t the same. Theory is that you can still do a slide, but you would be hard-pressed to find someone that actually does that and makes it sound correct.

Guitar 2

This part may look a bit more difficult, but it really isn’t. You will be
performing some “pull-offs” though. Pull-off by playing the higher
note, striking only that note, and letting off onto the lower note. For the measures here, we will break them down into eight measures. Of these measures, some of them are very much alike and some are completely identical. The first through seven measures are almost identical, so we will brush through these pretty quickly. The only real difference between them is when you will hit the third frets on the “D” and “G” strings. Those come in measures one, two, four, five, six, and eight. Just pay attention to when it comes in, as the explanation for WHEN to play it might be more confusing than helpful. A good way to keep track of when to play them is to remember that the third and seventh measures have no third fret activity at all on either
of those strings. To play the third frets on the other measures, you will just need to barre them with your 1st finger. To start off, use your 1st finger and place it on the second fret of the “B” string. Play that once, and use your 2nd finger to play the third fret of the same string. Go back to the second fret ( same string), and then begin the pull-off from the third to the second fret. Then let off and play that “B” string open. Play the “D” string and the “G” string open, then barre on the third frets as directed earlier, and then go back with your 1st finger to the second fret on the “B” string. That explanation will go the same with this measure, the second measure, fourth, fifth, and sixth. The third and seventh measures are taught the same way, but just omit the third fret notes on the “D” and “G” strings.

The eighth measure is also identical to how the other riffs except the third and seventh go, except here after you have barred the third frets of the “D” and “G” strings, you play a power chord here. When you barred the third frets on the “D” and “G” strings, try to go ahead and barre the “A” string this time as well. That will make it easier in getting that power chord down. After you have barred those strings, simply place your 3rd finger on the fifth fret of the “D” string
and your 4th finger on the fifth fret on the “G” strings. That is
it for this guitar part. Whew!

Verse Riff

The verse riff has two guitar parts also. Here’s what they sound like together:

Guitar 1

Guitar 2

This guitar’s high E is tuned down one tone to D.

How To Play It

Guitar 1

There aren’t may technicalities in this part. About the hardest thing will be the way your fingers will have to stretch in order to achieve the correct notes. We will attempt to be break down these parts in the easiest way possible.

Part 1

To begin, You will be forming a basic power chord. To do this, place your 1st finger on the third fret of the “A” string. Place your 3rd finger on the fifth fret of the “D” string, and your 4th finger on the fifth fret of the “G” string. Play that once, and then play it once again
without hitting the “G” string. Now, for your first little stretch,
keep your 1st finger where it is, and attempt to place your 4th finger on the seventh fret of the “D” string. Once you feel comfortable with that, go back to playing the power chord on the third and fifth frets, not hitting the “G” string. Do that twice, and slide one fret to the fourth fret and the sixth fret on the “A” and “D” strings.

To play the second measure, you will need to keep your hands where they ended up in the end of the first measure, and play that two more times. Then, you will need to stretch a bit again. Leave your 1st finger on the fourth fret, and move your 4th finger to the eighth fret on the “D” string. Play that twice, and move back to the original power chord on the third and fifth frets that you played in the beginning.

Part 2

The third measure is a little easier, because the stretch in it is the same as the first measure’s stretch. Start this measure by playing the last note from the second measure twice, and sliding like you did with your 4th finger on the “D” string. Now, move the 4th finger back to its starting position, and play the “D” string on the fifth fret once by itself. Play the third and fifth frets three times again to end the measure. Notice that except for the first measure, you seem to end up on the third and fifth frets throughout. (Just food for thought).

The fourth measure is much like the third measure. The beginning starts out the same way, up until when you had to slide to the seventh fret on the “D” string. Now, after you have slid to the “D” string on the seventh fret, you will go back to that third and fifth fret power chord that you began playing, and play that once. Slide that 4th finger once again to the seventh fret, and then this time instead of hitting the fifth fret on the “D” string like you did in the third measure, you hit the third fret on the “A” string once. End this guitar part’s measure by playing the third and fifth frets in power chord form one last time.

Guitar 2

Part 1

This guitar part is a bit more difficult, but still not really the hardest.
Start this riff by placing your 1st finger on the fifth fret of the “G” string, your 2nd finger on the sixth fret on the “B” string, and your 3rd finger on the seventh fret of the “high E” string. Play that twice.
Notice here all you need to do is play the fifth frets on the “G” string,
the “B” string, and the “high E” string with your 1st finger.
Play that once. For the last part of the first measure, you will just be playing a power chord on the sixth and eightth frets. Do this by placing your 1st finger on the “G” string, your 3rd finger on the eighth fret on the “B” string, and your 4th finger on the eighth fret on the “high E” string. Play that once.

For the second measure, allow the last note you played from the first measure to ring through once. Now just barre your 1st finger over the sixth frets of the top three strings. Play that once, and go right back to the first chord that you let ring in this measure. Play that twice. Notice that this next chord is barred once again on the sixth frets of the top three strings again.

Part 2

For the third measure, let the note that you just played ring, and then use your 1st finger to barre the fifth frets on the top three strings, and then go directly back into what you started this measure with. Play the barred fifth frets on the top three strings again, and then go BACK AGAIN to how you started this measure out. Play that twice. To end this measure, simply barre the fifth frets on the top three strings again with your 1st finger.

The last measure is the same as the last chord that you played at the end of the third measure. Play it twice and this guitar part is finished!

Riff Resources

Complete Transcription To “Dancing Days” (PDF)

Complete Transcription To “Dancing Days” (Power Tab)