How to Create More Interesting Guitar Riffs


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More Interesting Guitar Riffs...

Develop skills for enhancing guitar riffs in several different styles. Learn how to; make "laid back" riffs more active, work with different chord voicings, add counter rhythms, and study rhythmic meter. Plus, you'll also have the opportunity to develop more advanced counter rhythm.

The examples given in the Lesson (Parts One and Two) work through four "riff comparisons" that cover the use of common sounding guitar riffs applied across several different types of music styles. 

The riffs used throughout each of the lesson examples are all diatonic in harmony. This means they will allow you the opportunity to have them either stand on their own, or each example could be layered on top of each other.

PART ONE: In the first example, we explore how a laid back riff (example 1a), can be made busier and more active by changing the rhythmic feel from quarter and half notes into straight eighth-notes (example 1b). The harmony functions within the key of "E Minor" and is demonstrated using both power-chords and a single-note line phrase.

The second example explores both chord voicings and rhythm with a key of, "E Minor," riff that is shown using large barre chords (example 2a). A harmony for the part, applies small chord inversions built between 2nd to 5th strings, (example 2b). The second phrase in example 2b, also utilizes a slight counter rhythm compared to the phrase in the idea from example 2a


PART TWO: Example three involves comparing the rhythmic meter of straight quarter note rhythm to straight eighth-note feel. In example 3a, we work out a series of open position chord changes in the key of "D Minor." The chords all function "on the beat" played "in" time, (an often over looked rhythm feel due to its simplicity). 

In example 3b, the harmony of the chord progression is converted to a straight time eighth note groove. The example 3b chord changes also expand upon the harmony through an "add2" a "sus2" and a first inversion (C/E) major triad. 

In example four, the concept of "Counter Rhythm" appears once again using a slightly more advanced approach. The key of "G Major" riff operates using a busy single-measure 16th-note rhythmic pattern in example 4a. This feel pushes hard into each down-beat of the example 4a groove. 

In example 4b, the rhythm pattern changes to include syncopated pushes in the time that accent staccato off-beat 16th's on the count of 2 and 4. The difference in feel between the parts creates an interesting counter rhythm. This is especially noticeable when the two parts are layered..



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