UG Weekend Riff: Part 4

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Introduction:

Rage Against The Machine - Sleep Now In The Fire. Tom Morrello is best associated with wierd sound-effects. Produced from what some would see as sub-standard equipment (such as the wobbly tremelo bar on his Floyd-Rose equipped Fender Strat), on Sleep Now In The Fire this is shown by the use of various digital effects and his trem system to produce a 'scratching' effect. Today, we will not be looking at this part of the song. No, the pentatonic riff at the start of the song is our goal for this weekend.

The riff starts with varying double-stops on the A and D strings giving A-octave and A7 tonalities. It is best to use the 1st and 3rd fingers which should allow the 1st finger to move to the G string for the bend. The bend is not a full semitone, so don't go Jimmy Page on us with octave bends! Instead aim to raise the note by about half a semitone.

The open A string rings throughout the riff, so it does not need to be muted for the bends and fourth bar. We then jump to a quick bend on the third string and then back to the syncopated A chords.

The fourth bar is completely different, featuring a bend on two strings simultaneously which is best played with the first and second fingers. Then the final six notes are a simple A minor pentatonic lick which returns you to the correct position to repeat.

In Rage Against The Machine, Tom's main guitar was a Strat-like guitar featuring two humbuckers. The best way to get the sound would be through a neck humbucker and as you are unlikely to have anything like this on a stratocaster, you may need to find a different style of guitar. The most important thing to remember is that the tone is quite dry, not a 'creamy' distortion heard in most applications. The gain is quite high while reverb is off entirely and the player should strike the strings quite hard. The amplifier was most likely a Marshall JCM through Peavy cabs. Try these amp setiings, best on a Marshall:

Gear Settings:

  • Gain: 8
  • Treble: 8
  • Mid: 7
  • Bass: 3

    Audio & Tab:

    130 bpm

    | --------------------------------- | |:--------------------------------- | | -----------------5b-------------- | | -7---7---5---7-----------7-----7- | |:-0---0---0---0-----------0-----0- | | --------------------------------- |    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &

    | --------------------------------- | | --------------------------------- | | -----------------5b-------------- | | -7---7---5---7-----------7-----7- | | -0---0---0---0-----------0-----0- | | --------------------------------- |

    | --------------------------------- | | --------------------------------- | | -----------------5b-------------- | | -7---7---5---7-----------7---5--- | | -0---0---0---0-----------0---0--- | | --------------------------------- |

    | --------------------------------- | | -7-b-8---7-----------------------:| | -7-b-8---7-----5-7---5----------- | | -------------------------7-5-7--- | | ---------------------------------:| | --------------------------------- | Click here to get a midi file of the tab above.

  • 34 comments sorted by best / new / date

      KaLiStO
      chronic: to do the solo plug a wah-wah pedal in backwards (amp input to guitar and guitar input to amp)
      seriously!? i read somewhere if you get some feedback from your amp and mess around with the A string it should work, it sounds alright... anyways, that even good for your crybaby?
      Breakneck
      Geldof the Grey is my hero. Thanks for putting out some really great riffs, the cool stash to play!
      Punkarse
      This is great, but Tom's main guiater was as Tele with single-coils. Just so you know.
      box_car_racer51
      tom morello is the best guitarist of the last decade. and Rage Against The Machine was such an awesome band. too bad their singer left
      Geldof the Grey
      ^I will do Sweet Child O' Mine in a few weeks time, including the funny bit he does at the end.
      dudewowamcool
      am sick of stupid easy songs, well atleast its not all powers for this song like all the others
      chronic
      to do the solo plug a wah-wah pedal in backwards (amp input to guitar and guitar input to amp)
      the_cheat22
      Great Article... Awesome song (hard to get the right sound to it... ) Ratm rocks!
      Geldof the Grey
      ^Christ you're funny. nyway, time for another clue: Next week, you'll need some good fingerpicking
      gooseholla
      If you want hard riffs, why not search UG yourself and play them. Most people want to play riffs that are easy and sound cool, not involve using all 5 fingers at once across like 4 octaves.
      Jackson0207
      You need to put the intro to "sweet child ol mine" GNR!. Thats unforgettable, and classic intro man! You need that one.
      Geldof the Grey
      jof1029 very nice riff Geldof. i was working on figuring this one out by ear and it looks like i was pretty close. i do agree that cool sounding riffs are better than hard ones no one can play. and to anyone who wants to suggest a riff, Geldof has a stickied thread in Riffs and Recordings where you can suggest riffs. he probably reads them here but if you put them there you know he wont miss them.
      I like you, you're clever. Yes, there is a stickied thread and yes I do read them.
      Dave_Grohl
      good song, but u should show us how to do the feedback solo, i dont think anyone needs help with this riff.
      maxvcore
      Um... is there going to be an audio clip for this song? Sry if it's an inconvenience, but I find that those helped me with the other riffs.
      life_247
      i believe tom had bare humbuker pickups. im sure he didnt have normal humbuckers
      Geldof the Grey
      YES!!! It wasn't my fault. See Zappp, and you thought I wasn't gonna make it. Most of Tom's riffs are indeed based on the minor pentatonics. Guerilla Radio, for example, is based around the F# minor Pentatonic while this is in A minor. So is most Led Zeppelin, like the whole of the Stairway solo. BAHHHH-BAH-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DUM-DA-DA-DA... ahem...
      hoobariffer87
      Catchy riffs are definitely more effective than hard ones. Kurt Cobain wrote some VERY simple stuff, but it sounded good. I mean, when's the last time you found yourself humming one of Kirk Hammet's lightning solos like in "Master of Puppets"? Hammet is an extremely talented guy, and nothing against his music at all, but I think you see my point. I'd rather write something catchy and simple rather than insanely hard and fast.
      Geldof the Grey
      Well... we'll play a guessing game everyday I'll tell you something you'll need to play next week's riff. Next week, you'll need a headband!
      Ababil_Albarn
      How bout "Bad Day" by R.E.M huh? more in context...nice article, always wonder how thats playes///
      MiNDspiN
      Keep up the good work Geldof the Grey. So far the riffs you've chosen are pretty awesome! Another riff that sticks out to me is Velvet Revolver's Superhuman.
      jof1029
      very nice riff Geldof. i was working on figuring this one out by ear and it looks like i was pretty close. i do agree that cool sounding riffs are better than hard ones no one can play. and to anyone who wants to suggest a riff, Geldof has a stickied thread in Riffs and Recordings where you can suggest riffs. he probably reads them here but if you put them there you know he wont miss them.
      Geldof the Grey
      chronic: to do the solo plug a wah-wah pedal in backwards (amp input to guitar and guitar input to amp)
      if that works your wah is broken. it should be full of diodes that would result in it not working backwards