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: