Tag Archives for " Guitar Riffs "

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An Awesome Little Blues Lick

In today's lesson we're looking at one little blues guitar riff that you can literally use anywhere you want to. It's a short lick, so you can fit it in between vocal lines if you want, or you could use it as part of your solos - anything you want. 

The trickiest part of this guitar lick is the very first note. We're bending the string up, but then abandoning it. Making that transition from the bend to the other two strings will probably be the hardest part for you. It really helps if you walk through it slowly though, paying attention to your various muting techniques. I like to use my right thumb to help mute that string, and I also use my left index finger to catch it as it comes back down. That finger really only just butts up against the string, it doesn't depress it or anything like that, but it serves to deaden any further vibration and end the note. 

Hopefully you recognized right away that we're in the A Pentatonic Minor scale. If you're not familiar with that scale pattern, I really recommend you start working there, first, then come back later on to learn some riffs that come from the scale. 

If you're looking for ways to take your soloing to the next level, checkout my course, Secrets of Tasty Riffs & Solos. We'll not only dig into many more great riffs, but we'll also look at what makes them work, and discover the principles of how you can improvise amazing, progression-fitting solos on the spot. 

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The Three-Note Super Weapon Riff

There’s one particular riff I taught in my Secrets of Tasty Riffs & Solos course that I half-jokingly call my super weapon riff (maybe that’s a little over the top). You might laugh that I call it that, because honestly, it’s only a few notes. It’s not some machine gun blazing glory riff, not by any means.

Interestingly, I first picked it up from a country song somewhere (and I don’t listen to that much country!). Then, I heard Joe Bonamassa using it… and as my ear has become attuned to this particular interval, I start hearing it more places.

Today, I heard Eric Clapton using it in his solos in While My Guitar Gently Weeps. (Video posted below for your viewing pleasure). Side note – this song has an awesome chord progression worthy of studying… another time!

As I mentioned, it’s not a particularly difficult riff, it’s just an extremely tasty and well placed minor third when used at just the right place over a chord progression. It’s the kind of thing that when you nail it, you just feel that gratifying rush that says YES! This is why I love soloing on guitar! And all it is is this simple little string bend that pops to a minor third.

In fact, I just dug up a tabbed version for you from the Secrets of Tasty Riffs & Solos course. The riff I’m referring to is simply the first few notes of this bar – you can precede it or follow it with anything you please. This example is played over an Em, in the key of Am. The first note is a D, you stretch a full tone to an E, then pop to that G, which is a minor third up from the E. Simple right? But in context – amazing. There’s your lesson for today – it’s ALL ABOUT CONTEXT.

You can hear variations of this in Clapton’s solos at 2:20 and 5:05 to 5:07, and probably elsewhere as well. He’s got some cool solos in this song that aren’t particularly fast, but they are quite tasty, and I bet if you go looking, you find more examples of the “tasty” interval in here as well. If you do, let us know in the comments below.

PS – Clapton’s solo is in A minor as well, so this tab is in the correct key for video, bonus! He’s soloing a lot out of the Root 5 Minor Scale. I should mention that the whole super weapon thing is a bit more effective if you make this the feature… in Clapton’s solo, he passes through it pretty quick. Sounds amazing, but probably not something you’d consider super weapon status in this context. Nevertheless, worth learning!

Check it out:

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Guitar Lick Using Inverted Thirds

Okay – QUICK – before anybody’s eyes glaze over… an inverted third is simply another way for saying “this sounds awesome!” in musical geek-speak.

I know that sometimes throwing around lingo like this shuts some people down, but it is my firm belief that understanding what we play makes us better players. But never fear, we’re not going into the theory angle today, we’re just learning a riff. In the actual course, I do explain this stuff in much greater detail, and you’ll learn how to use it in context too, but for today, I just wanted to give you a sample riff pulled straight out of the Dynamic Rhythm Guitar course.

Check it out:

Learn More About Dynamic Rhythm Guitar

Questions or comments? Let me know below!

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Cool Chord Progression + 2 Riffs

Well it’s been a little while since I shot a lesson for you guys, so this time I thought I’d at least change up the background a bit!

Today we’re going to learn a cool chord progression: Em G D A, and a couple licks.

The first lick is pretty simple – it’s just straight up through the E pentatonic minor scale. Here’s some basic tab, for those who need it – feel free to change up the feel from what’s written.

E pent minor lick

The second riff is marked out a bit in the video itself.

Bonus points to anyone who can figure out the location where this video was shot, in the comments!

Alright, here’s the video, enjoy… if you watch to the very end you’ll see a special guest appearance. 🙂

Watch on Youtube

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Guitar Riff on the C Major Chord

Here’s another riff for you guys looking for something else for your guitar’s arsenal… this one today is in the key of G major, and it works off the C+ chord. Just as an aside, if you haven’t seen the ( + ) used before, it is shorthand for ‘major.’ The flip side to that is ( – ) which means minor, as in A-. The ( – ) is less common though, and more often you’ll see that as Am, but it’s helpful to know they’re interchangeable.

Okay – so on to the riff. This thing can be played in hybrid style, if you’re comfortable with that (and if you’re not, get practicing!), or alternatively you can just pick it and it sounds good too. Personally, I like the hybrid approach just a wee bit better, but I do use this both ways.

Because we’re in the key of G major, you should hopefully know by now that we’re going to be using the relative minor scale, which is E minor diatonic. Here’s a diatonic minor scale refresher if you need it.

Special treat today – I’ve actually got tab for this riff, which you’ll find below the video.

Alright, grab your guitar, and let’s dig in!

Video Problems? Watch it on Youtube.

Click Here For More Licks Like This One

Here’s the tab for the riff, picked hybrid style:

Key of G - C+ Riff

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The One String Rockstar Riff

Alright all you one finger wonders out there, this one is for you! This is a fun kind of riff that you can really do pretty much anything you want with, once you get the hang of it.

The main idea is that you’re using the open E string as a drone, and then you’re hitting notes out of the scale on that same string. You can use this in different keys, only make sure that there’s always an ‘E’ in the key you’re working off.

Need more ideas? Try working off a different string. Try moving between strings, or if you’re really up for it, try using one string as a drone and pull your notes off a different string.

Really, the sky is the limit, but this should get you started. Have fun.

Watch on Youtube

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