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Jimmy Page will go down in the history of rock 'n' roll as one of the greatest writers of riff-based songs. Black Dog features some great elements that are challenging on many different levels. It starts with a simple minor pentatonic scale, adds a trill here and a bend there, and combines rhythmic figures that are best played with the steady alternating technique. He then takes a phrase based on the main one and creates a variation with an unusual beat pattern that turns the picking upside down.