#1
Sorry if this is in the wrong forum. Anyway, I need help writing lead riffs like you hear on megadeth's killing is my business album. My guitar player said that my riffs are starting to sound very similar. I'm trying to write riffs based around leads but it's not working for me. I'd appreciate any serious advice.
#2
have a look at stuff played by other instruments. (I may play allot of jazz, but I'm sure it'd help you as well) I had a look at the way sax and trumpets play their 'riffs' and I must say, it's not stuff you would think of because of how their notes are laid out on their instruments.
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Quote by MyDesertRose
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Well played Wicked Rose
#3
why do your riffs have to sound like megadeth's? my advice is develop your own style and don't bother trying to sound like anyone else
#4
well it first would depend on what you mean by "lead riff" exactly ? I know terms like "riff" etc. from the rock vernacular are not rigidly defined actual musical terms anyway, so people may mean different things by them. Here's my (also rock-ish, thus not official or theoretical) definition, a "riff" is usually a rhythm-phrase. It needs to be memorable (so it's usually more than a simple chordstrum) because it will be repeated. It usually has some sort of distinctive pattern or structure behind it (that becomes especially apparent when the same pattern riff then is applied to different chords). The fact that the term is not theoretical makes it a kinda wide spectrum - I wouldn't call simple chordstrums etc. "riffs" per se (though they can become riffs if a rhythmic pattern is applied), and on the upper end of the spectrum, there is a point when a riff gets more into "melody" or lead/lick/solo territory.
In rock terms, "lead" guitar mostly simply means "the guitar that provides melodies/solos above the rhythm guitar". It is "leading" in that it is the center of the musical attention at that point. Lead guitar has it's own little phrases, called "licks". Now, sometimes you see people switching those terms (using licks to mean (rhythm) phrases, also using riffs applied to (lead) phrases), and that's ok because they're not rigid terms, but for sake of communication I like to keep things seperate. A "lick" in the case of lead guitar again is a more or less short phrase that usually has some sort of pattern applied to it. These licks can take the form of certain runs that the guitarist likes and throws in every now and then, or a repeating-lick (a set of a few notes that get repeated in a systematic way a lot), a certain arpeggio move, a doublestop-phrase, etc. Again, kinda loose territory, but usually in rock/metal music you can more or less hear when a soloist plays a melody or a lick, and many solos are built in some sort of pattern-fashion, like: Opening Melody 1, Lick Run 1, Rep-Lick 1, Lick Run 2, Melody Reprise 2, Rep-Lick 2, Outro Run 3... Go try to analyze some of your favorite solos and categorize the phrases in such a manner to see how you can arrange an engaging solo.
Now there's also things like "pet licks", you know, everybody's got their favorite runs and phrases that you practice a lot and appear in your leadwork constantly. If we want to be more generous, let's call them "signature phrases". For example it's quite easy to pick up Kirk Hammets Style because he often uses a few very similar phrases - point is, you have to be careful, unless you want to nail somebody elses style, it's easy to become stale, boring and predictable if you always strut out the same pet licks.

Now onto your question, the point of my boring introduction (congrats for making it this far) is to clear up any misunderstanding about what I talk about concerning "lead riffs". Do you mean rhythm riffs (in such, I would not classify them as "lead" (see above) unless you just mean "leading", like in 'being the focus point of the song' or 'leading the opening segment'..).. or do you mean lead licks, soloing phrases ?
Especially since your bandmate requested you make it sound like Megadeth: Does he mean Megadeth riffs or Megadeth - Solos ?
Because either your problem is that you want to sound like Megadeth and don't nail it, or you mean generally you can't come up with new and interesting licks/riffs at all (which is a different issue from simply copying Megadeth, and as such would get a different answer -that's why I (and you) do this clarification).

If you want to create Megadeth-style licks and riffs, the best way to do that would be first to learn, practice, play and study all the Megadeth material you can find at first. Starting with simple stuff like Symphony of Destruction at first, if you aren't yet up to the task. The point of this is (besides getting you able to actually play that stuff) that with a few songs under your belt you quickly can recognize a few key characteristics and signature moves of their writing style and replicate them. You can try actively rearranging some riffs, shuffling notes around, etc., if you don't make it too obvious. As for Mustaine's Lead work, 95% of the time you can just mindlessly wank on the E-minor pentatonic without too much regard to the musical implications (no offense intended, Mustaine-fans, it fits the music and sounds cool, so it's good).

If you rather mean inspiration for new riffs and licks in general, some of the other advise is good. Broadly speaking, you need to "break out" of your "box". That can be interpreted literally - breaking out of the worn-out old (scale, chord...) patterns you used and learn new ones: You can spend a lifetime with all the information on scale patterns on the net, for example. Or break out of your "musical box", by listening to other music, paying attention to other instruments, etc. You can get ideas for new fresh rhythms, for example, or ways to traverse the fretboard that are not really common in your current style. It might not be immediately obvious how knowing a few bossa nova -tunes, or being able to play a simple jazz head melody may help you compose better (metal)riffs, the point it is will make your ear and musical imagination more refined to simple (yet not so simple to express in words) same basic fundamentals that undercurrent all effective music.
Another interesting thing is to not completely discard your current patterns and pet licks, but to play them with new interesting twists. I could write books about that (lol and have), but for a start, simply imagine all the patterns and permutations you could walk through a simple scale shape you already know: consecutive (simply one note after the other), sequential (for example 3 notes up, 2 notes down, next 3 up again...), intervallic (leaving out certain notes inbetween, for example playing the first note and the third of the scale, then the 2 and the 4, then..) etc. Simply practice new variations that challenge your well-travelled and ingrained fingering/picking. Or if you have repeating licks: Try starting those on the second note of the phrase (thus shifting everything one note behind), or the third note, etc. They will all take on new flavours. But that's all rhythm mechanics, that doesn't teach you exactly WHAT notes to play when. Theory gives you a certain framework for what notes traditionally don't sound at least "bad" over what chords. What all this is for, what you really want to develop in the end is the ability I call "melodic control": The ability to be able to play what you actually want to play, that is, the melodies you hear in your head. Now, there's of course a technical aspect to it (if you want to play a fast phrase, you should be mechanically able to do it), but I covered that above in rote practice. The more important aspect is the simple "knowing" of what notes to hit where to achive a certain sound - that is, the sound you want. For your consideration I'll cut short here and simply say that the best way to develop that ability is to start figuring out tunes by ear -stop relying on notation- because: The abilities you develop by transcribing per ear (pitch recognition, rhythmic and harmonic intuition, fretboard knowledge, solidification of musical memory) are exactly the same as those you need in composition and improvisation, because in the end the two processes are simply the same: You pick up a musical idea from elsewhere and transfer it to your fretboard - and it doesn't matter if the idea originated from another tape or from inside your head (though the tape of course has the advantage of definition and review).
Oh and another quick tip at the end for that: Don't overexalt yourself at first to try a perfect transcribe of a complicated song completely. Start with simple stuff at first, and don't worry if you only got a few riffs out of a song - collect a dozen or so of them from different songs: It's a skill you build up gradually, and since most song parts are not of the same complexity level (for example, easy riff but complicated solo), you can simply revisit them later when you honed your skills elsewhere first. For example, since jazz was mentioned, I can pick out a few prominent jazz phrases here and there - others: not so much, but that's ok, because with each simple phrase I pick up, the complicated ones get easier and thus I can conquer those (of course there's always more new complicated phrases to tackle).
So, that's the roadmap:
-build technical ability
-build melodic control (playing what you hear, weather it's another recording or your head)
-build your musical imagination (by opening up to other styles you enrich your refined repertoire of moods)
#5
Quote by Ailes
well it first would depend on what you mean by "lead riff" exactly ? I know terms like "riff" etc. from the rock vernacular are not rigidly defined actual musical terms anyway, so people may mean different things by them. Here's my (also rock-ish, thus not official or theoretical) definition, a "riff" is usually a rhythm-phrase. It needs to be memorable (so it's usually more than a simple chordstrum) because it will be repeated. It usually has some sort of distinctive pattern or structure behind it (that becomes especially apparent when the same pattern riff then is applied to different chords). The fact that the term is not theoretical makes it a kinda wide spectrum - I wouldn't call simple chordstrums etc. "riffs" per se (though they can become riffs if a rhythmic pattern is applied), and on the upper end of the spectrum, there is a point when a riff gets more into "melody" or lead/lick/solo territory.
In rock terms, "lead" guitar mostly simply means "the guitar that provides melodies/solos above the rhythm guitar". It is "leading" in that it is the center of the musical attention at that point. Lead guitar has it's own little phrases, called "licks". Now, sometimes you see people switching those terms (using licks to mean (rhythm) phrases, also using riffs applied to (lead) phrases), and that's ok because they're not rigid terms, but for sake of communication I like to keep things seperate. A "lick" in the case of lead guitar again is a more or less short phrase that usually has some sort of pattern applied to it. These licks can take the form of certain runs that the guitarist likes and throws in every now and then, or a repeating-lick (a set of a few notes that get repeated in a systematic way a lot), a certain arpeggio move, a doublestop-phrase, etc. Again, kinda loose territory, but usually in rock/metal music you can more or less hear when a soloist plays a melody or a lick, and many solos are built in some sort of pattern-fashion, like: Opening Melody 1, Lick Run 1, Rep-Lick 1, Lick Run 2, Melody Reprise 2, Rep-Lick 2, Outro Run 3... Go try to analyze some of your favorite solos and categorize the phrases in such a manner to see how you can arrange an engaging solo.
Now there's also things like "pet licks", you know, everybody's got their favorite runs and phrases that you practice a lot and appear in your leadwork constantly. If we want to be more generous, let's call them "signature phrases". For example it's quite easy to pick up Kirk Hammets Style because he often uses a few very similar phrases - point is, you have to be careful, unless you want to nail somebody elses style, it's easy to become stale, boring and predictable if you always strut out the same pet licks.

Now onto your question, the point of my boring introduction (congrats for making it this far) is to clear up any misunderstanding about what I talk about concerning "lead riffs". Do you mean rhythm riffs (in such, I would not classify them as "lead" (see above) unless you just mean "leading", like in 'being the focus point of the song' or 'leading the opening segment'..).. or do you mean lead licks, soloing phrases ?
Especially since your bandmate requested you make it sound like Megadeth: Does he mean Megadeth riffs or Megadeth - Solos ?
Because either your problem is that you want to sound like Megadeth and don't nail it, or you mean generally you can't come up with new and interesting licks/riffs at all (which is a different issue from simply copying Megadeth, and as such would get a different answer -that's why I (and you) do this clarification).

If you want to create Megadeth-style licks and riffs, the best way to do that would be first to learn, practice, play and study all the Megadeth material you can find at first. Starting with simple stuff like Symphony of Destruction at first, if you aren't yet up to the task. The point of this is (besides getting you able to actually play that stuff) that with a few songs under your belt you quickly can recognize a few key characteristics and signature moves of their writing style and replicate them. You can try actively rearranging some riffs, shuffling notes around, etc., if you don't make it too obvious. As for Mustaine's Lead work, 95% of the time you can just mindlessly wank on the E-minor pentatonic without too much regard to the musical implications (no offense intended, Mustaine-fans, it fits the music and sounds cool, so it's good).

If you rather mean inspiration for new riffs and licks in general, some of the other advise is good. Broadly speaking, you need to "break out" of your "box". That can be interpreted literally - breaking out of the worn-out old (scale, chord...) patterns you used and learn new ones: You can spend a lifetime with all the information on scale patterns on the net, for example. Or break out of your "musical box", by listening to other music, paying attention to other instruments, etc. You can get ideas for new fresh rhythms, for example, or ways to traverse the fretboard that are not really common in your current style. It might not be immediately obvious how knowing a few bossa nova -tunes, or being able to play a simple jazz head melody may help you compose better (metal)riffs, the point it is will make your ear and musical imagination more refined to simple (yet not so simple to express in words) same basic fundamentals that undercurrent all effective music.
Another interesting thing is to not completely discard your current patterns and pet licks, but to play them with new interesting twists. I could write books about that (lol and have), but for a start, simply imagine all the patterns and permutations you could walk through a simple scale shape you already know: consecutive (simply one note after the other), sequential (for example 3 notes up, 2 notes down, next 3 up again...), intervallic (leaving out certain notes inbetween, for example playing the first note and the third of the scale, then the 2 and the 4, then..) etc. Simply practice new variations that challenge your well-travelled and ingrained fingering/picking. Or if you have repeating licks: Try starting those on the second note of the phrase (thus shifting everything one note behind), or the third note, etc. They will all take on new flavours. But that's all rhythm mechanics, that doesn't teach you exactly WHAT notes to play when. Theory gives you a certain framework for what notes traditionally don't sound at least "bad" over what chords. What all this is for, what you really want to develop in the end is the ability I call "melodic control": The ability to be able to play what you actually want to play, that is, the melodies you hear in your head. Now, there's of course a technical aspect to it (if you want to play a fast phrase, you should be mechanically able to do it), but I covered that above in rote practice. The more important aspect is the simple "knowing" of what notes to hit where to achive a certain sound - that is, the sound you want. For your consideration I'll cut short here and simply say that the best way to develop that ability is to start figuring out tunes by ear -stop relying on notation- because: The abilities you develop by transcribing per ear (pitch recognition, rhythmic and harmonic intuition, fretboard knowledge, solidification of musical memory) are exactly the same as those you need in composition and improvisation, because in the end the two processes are simply the same: You pick up a musical idea from elsewhere and transfer it to your fretboard - and it doesn't matter if the idea originated from another tape or from inside your head (though the tape of course has the advantage of definition and review).
Oh and another quick tip at the end for that: Don't overexalt yourself at first to try a perfect transcribe of a complicated song completely. Start with simple stuff at first, and don't worry if you only got a few riffs out of a song - collect a dozen or so of them from different songs: It's a skill you build up gradually, and since most song parts are not of the same complexity level (for example, easy riff but complicated solo), you can simply revisit them later when you honed your skills elsewhere first. For example, since jazz was mentioned, I can pick out a few prominent jazz phrases here and there - others: not so much, but that's ok, because with each simple phrase I pick up, the complicated ones get easier and thus I can conquer those (of course there's always more new complicated phrases to tackle).
So, that's the roadmap:
-build technical ability
-build melodic control (playing what you hear, weather it's another recording or your head)
-build your musical imagination (by opening up to other styles you enrich your refined repertoire of moods)


WOW
Sorryz for me bad engrish.

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I just cut myself shaving my pubes...
#6
Yeah, wtf man. That's a lot of text.
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