SONGWRITING: Riffs on the Lower Strings



Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question... 

Q: I can strum a good amount of chords, and play some basic solos with the pentatonic scale on the upper three strings, but where I'm having troubles is with making riffs on the lower strings. Could you make a lesson that covers how to create riffs using the lower guitar strings? I really like this sound, but I can't seem to get anywhere with this. Thanks!
Craig - Buchanan, MI. USA 

A: Low string riffs are without a doubt a fantastic guitar idea used in almost every style of music. From, Blue Oyster Cults, "Don't Fear The Reaper," to Bob Marley's, "Redemption Song," to dozens of other hard-rock & heavy metal songs like Metallica's famous piece, "Enter Sandman." Low string riffs are most certainly one of the fundamental guitar ideas used when composing guitar oriented songs. To work out these types of riffs we need to understand the popular Maj. & Min. keys used to write them. Plus, we'll need to have a good background source of examples to draw from. Our success over time will come from having the ability to understand how to compose these riffs, (both in position, and along the neck), using several different key signatures and rhythms.



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