Hey. This is Matias Rengel with Guitar Control, and today we’re going to be exploring different type of riffs that you can play on guitar. These are classic riffs, different techniques that been used all throughout time. Let’s get down to it. There’s a link in the description, so make sure you click or tap on it so you can download the tab and follow along with this video. Let’s go.
All right, so the first riff that we’re going to be checking out, we’re going to be exploring, a classic riff that has a pedal note and changes different chords. So what do I mean by this? Something like this. Check it out.
So in this riff, what we have, we have one note that acts as the base, and the chords on top are changing. This is a very popular riff that was used specially during the 80’s and 90’s. So, why don’t we get into it. So for example, let’s say that we have a chord progression. A, then we have a C Major, after that we have a G Major, and after that we have an E Major.
So, let’s say that we grab the A, which is the open fifth, and what we want to do is we want to play all the chords, keeping this A open. So, we start with a A Major, but then we have the second fret of the fourth, third, and second string. Then what we’re going to do, since we know that this is an A Major, if we move it one fret up, we know that is an A Sharp, okay? This is B, and this is C. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to play this one over to remove this finger from here, and leave it open like that, play the open fifth.
So the next one that we’re going to do, we’re going to play a G. So I’m going to play this type of G right here, okay? What I want to do, from this G I’m going to grab the fourth, third, and second string what I’m playing right there. This is G, and I’m going to grab the fifth fret, fourth fret, and third fret. Okay? So we have…
And now for the final one, I’m going to grab this one that I had already. Remember? This was a C, and we don’t have to press this one, we just know that this is C, and we were playing the second one. So, we’re going to do a C Sharp, D, D Sharp, E. So we have our A, our C over A, out G over A, our E over A. So… And what you can do to play this, you can just… You can do two muted open fifth, two muted fifth, like… so you do one, two, hit. One, two, three, hit, okay?
And there you have it. That’s riff number one.
Now, for the second riff, we’re going to focus on a very popular type of riff, specially metal, and it’s going to involve outlining the chords only using single notes. So, for example. Let’s say that we have a progressions that goes E to A.
“How can we make it work?” you say. Here comes the second riff, okay?
So check this out. What we do here, we don’t really play the actual chord, but in this type of riff, we play single notes, outlining usually the root of the chord. So for example, in this example that I was just playing, we start with a open six, which is the E. I play [inaudible 00:04:38], then I play the second fret of the six. I play once again the E, because we’re outlining the E. Then I play the third for the six, okay? Then I play the open six once again and the fourth fret. So we got… whenever I say zero right now is going to mean the six, okay? The six, open six. So, zero, zero, two, zero, three, zero, four, okay? And even though it’s like we’re playing…
And then we’re going to go into the A. We’re going to go into the open fifth. We’re going to do almost same thing. We’re going to play twice the open fifth, second open fifth, open fifth, and then instead of going into the fourth, we’re going to go into the fifth fret of the fifth string. So, zero, zero, two, zero, three, zero, five. Okay? So…
Then that’s riff number two, okay? And this was a very popular riff used in metal. People still use it now. There’s like so many that riff…
Now, coming from this riff, we’re going to take out a very similar but slightly different technique of riff that we’re going to be learning right now. We’re going to grab the same concept of an A and the concept of single notes, but this is more use in progressive rock or more weird type of situations, right?
So what you’re going to do is your going to outline the root, which in this case will be an A, and you’re going to bring a chromatic note. So, the chromatic notes. Check it out. For example…
Anyway. So, in this one, if you were paying attention, I was mostly outlining the roots, and then I was playing random chromatic notes in a pattern. So what I do in this type of riff, I start by usually playing the root, so I establish where I am, and then I do some sort of chromatic pattern. By chromatic, I mean I can use any of the notes, all of them, okay?
So in this case I play the open sixth, and then go second fret of the sixth string, third fret of the fifth string, and fourth fret of the fourth string. Then I grab this and I move it. I do the same thing. I play the open sixth, but then instead of playing the second fret, I move everything one fret up, and that stays, so… right? But you could also take it to the fifth fret. Or you could do it upside down, right? And that already makes it super progressive sounding. Kind of like Dream Theater. I mean, of course, Dream Theater is an amazing band, and it’s on a different level, but you get the idea, right?
And then when I was going into the A, the open A, I was doing this… So for that, I was going open fifth, fourth fret on the fifth, third fret, and second fret. So… then I was doing the same thing, but on the fourth string, okay? So… and then I was finishing on the first fret of the fifth. So here we are.
And you’re wondering “Yeah, but that sounds kind of cool. How do I come up with my own?” Yeah, for real though. It’s like… grab a little motif, like three notes, and then repeat it. Kind of like in establish a root. So you have a G, then just be like, I don’t know… or like… See? And it sounds a little bit weird, I know, but that’s kind of super progressive.
Anyways, so the last one that we’re going to be checking out is going to be more of a chord-driven riff. Check it out.
So this type of riff was very popular by a bands like AC/DC, of course. Huge band. And by early 2000’s or late 2000 band, and it’s very simple, actually, the concept of this. The concept is to use as many open chords with distortion, right? With a little bit of distortion. You’re like…
Because mostly we’re usually playing like… when you use distortion you want to play just like power chords and stuff like that, right? But in this case, in this type of riff, you grab a chord, for example like an A that we learned previously, and then you put a B over the A, right? That we were learning that thing before. So a D over the A you have like the fourth fret of the fifth string, second fret of the third string, and the third fret of the second string.
And from there, you come in, for example, with an open six, second fret of the six, and then play a G, which would be in third fret of the sixth, second fret of the fifth, open fourth and third, and then you place your ring and pinky on the third fret of the second and first. Right? So…
And I would say it’s mostly like a chord. It’s like a rhythm more than a riff, but it’s considered a type of riff, because the idea of this is that it kind of has a melodic feeling to it, okay? Not supposed to be a rhythm guitar in the background. You’re supposed to start with it kind of, and then it kind of establishes the song.
If you want to say like… then you put chords to that and you… right? So that’s the whole point of this rhythm: to have some sort of melodic thing going on on top in playing the chords, okay? So in this case I was… and the melodic theme becomes…
But yeah. Those are four type of riffs that I just showed you that you can apply to your playing. And of course there are many other type of riffs and there many, many ways to see this sort of information, but I hope this is useful, and I hope you can apply it to your playing, and that’s it.
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One last thing, I would love to know, what’s your favorite song by AC/DC? Leave a comment down below with your answer.