#1
so... what i've found for tons of metal bands (death, metallica, lamb of god, etc), is that when they write fast riffs, they tend to base entire riffs of root notes.

and goddammit, i'm having a TON of trouble trying to write good, fast riffs that arent just alt picking and dont rely on root notes.

i dont know a ton of theory nor do i know how to harmonize, so please dont give me advice thats going to blow my mind.

help please
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#2
well, you need a root note, root note would be the first note you play, not having one one mean not playing the guitar.
the only work-around is if you don't come in on beat. skip the first beat then start your riff elsewhere in the scale.
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#3
You can't really avoid root notes. Every note can be a root note and if you cut them out then you don't have anything to work with. Honestly, I used to have trouble writing riffs the same way but the advice I'll give you is try to write riffs that use all the strings and not just the top two. Try using basic arpeggios and avoid relying on open low E if you can.
#4
You wanna hear my advice? Learn some music theory and teach yourself to harmonize.

Here are some quick harmony notes for you.

E minor (standard, durp) - E is the root, G is the minor 3rd, G# is the major third, B is the 5th.
D minor (drop D, durp) D is the root, F is the minor 3rd, F# is the major 3rd, A is the 5th.
B minor (drop B, durp) B is the root, D is the minor 3rd, D# is the major 3rd, F# is the 5th. Take that into consideration when playing stuff in that has a lot of E notes, cause you're prolly in that key

Learn the step patterns for major and minor scales to start, which is to say, for a major:
Whole step = W, half step = H
WWHWWWH (C major: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C)
And for a minor:
WHWWWHW (A minor (relative minor to C major: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A

Basically what I'm saying to you is to quit being lazy and learn theory and practice.
#5
Alex Webster will play quarter notes to the guitar's eighth and sixteenth notes...Still root notes but not following as much.
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#7
first off, octaves and fifths. easy to access in a pinch. second, dead notes.
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#8
I'd suggest learning some basic music theory(your major and minor scales and arpeggios.) It shouldn't take that long and will help with writing riffs greatly.
#9
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#10
Listen to Tool.

Also, you can't avoid root notes. Isn't the bassists job to play root notes? Not every note should be a root note, obviously, but you can't avoid them altogether or it will sound...not good.

And, if you want some riffs, listen to the intro of Testament's Souls of Black.
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#11
Quote by Primus2112

Also, you can't avoid root notes. Isn't the bassists job to play root notes?


****in' scuse me?


There was me thinking it was the bassists job to play bass.
I'm hoping that you're opinions of what a bass are, are limited purely to your lovely root noting 'heavy metal'.
#12
If you stand out in the mix, beware, im about to use the only musical terminology I know, go in patterns with the root, 5th, and octave, Dan Briggs does quite nicely.
Go check out some BTBAM, and you might find inspiration.
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#13
Quote by Casketcreep
****in' scuse me?


There was me thinking it was the bassists job to play bass.
I'm hoping that you're opinions of what a bass are, are limited purely to your lovely root noting 'heavy metal'.


...

Just saying that a bassist shouldnt actually attempt at trying to not include roots into their lines (which is what the OP seems to want to do).

Least thats how i saw the comment, seems you saw it as an attack though.

So yeh, root notes ... they're pretty damn important. I mean, 2nds, 3rds, 5ths, 7ths, 8ths and all the others depending on what you wanna sound like are cool ... but youve gotta have a root to get any of those notes yeh?
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Last edited by Thegian at Feb 10, 2009,
#15
Quote by Casketcreep
You were implying that we have to follow the guitar, which isn't true.
But then again, I don't know a thing about playing in a metal band, so I can't really judge.


Maybe if you went by those 2 lines that you quoted from his post, but if you go by the rest of them, what he said makes sense. He didn't imply anything about what we should play, you should probably read his post again, and, in fact, if you'd actually paid attention to the first 3 words of his post you'd know that this guy actually knows what hes talking about.

Seriously kid, **** off with what you think you know about metal bass lines.
#17
You're playing DEATH with a pick? wtf? Anyway check out some Watchtower, or maybe Athiest. Or just jam some **** out dude.
#18
Quote by Casketcreep
I'm not the only one who should read a bit harder eh?


No, I read what you wrote, and that's why i phrased my response the way I did.

"**** off with what you think you know about metal bass lines" means don't comment on **** when you don't know what you're talking about.
#19
Quote by TheTortured
notes.

and goddammit, i'm having a TON of trouble trying to write good, fast riffs that arent just alt picking and dont rely on root notes.



everything relies on the root note unless you're playing progressive jazzical rock blended with fusion
#20
Quote by slap-a-bass
everything relies on the root note unless you're playing progressive jazzical rock blended with fusion


Head asplode!
#22
No root notes = no heavy...you have to keep it in there at least part of the time. It's our job to hold down the low end, man. There's nothing wrong with playing root notes when they're called for.

That said, if you need something in a pinch, use Root, 5th, and octave. (like a power chord on a guitar) It'll get you by in almost any genre.
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#23
might want to listen to some mudvayne?
might not be the heaviest or most brutal, but rüüd makes some damn interesting lines
You like it
#24
Try Protest The Hero, Arif is always exploring the scale of each chord Tim and Luke play, and the times he does resort to root notes are when the others are shredding mentally so as to hold down the low end... but these are by far compensated for by his mental tapping parts
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#25
Quote by linus.d
might want to listen to some mudvayne?
might not be the heaviest or most brutal, but rüüd makes some damn interesting lines


I still rate Ryan Martinie above Arif from Protest. Martinie is a fantastic jazz bassist as well.

It may be difficult to break away from following the guitar during fast passages, but you ALWAYS run the risk of muddying up the sound and cluttering the song up. What you may find simple, others may find much more pleasurable to listen to, which is what you should be aiming for in a band situation first and foremost. And playing the roots isn't a bad thing- reinforcement is a good thing. Without enough holding down the low end, passages may become vacuous and empty, which is a problem in metal. I've played in various metal bands over the years, but my way of thinking has always been "start simple, add stuff in when necessary." That way, you'll always have something there and you'll learn to appreciate where there is sonic space to do things in.
#26
If you have to guys playing guitar in your band, and their both using distortion, then i feel root notes are really good for playing in that situation., JUst cause you can play fancy **** doesnt mean you should or have to.
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#27
Quote by Deliriumbassist
I still rate Ryan Martinie above Arif from Protest. Martinie is a fantastic jazz bassist as well.



Right, well, I am gunna go away and do some research and listen to plenty of Mudvayne and if I'm not blown away you can be sure I'll be back with a slightly negative comment.

If I am, perhaps I owe you a cake or something?
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#28
Quote by Ouch_needles
Right, well, I am gunna go away and do some research and listen to plenty of Mudvayne and if I'm not blown away you can be sure I'll be back with a slightly negative comment.

If I am, perhaps I owe you a cake or something?


Ryan may not always play overtly technical stuff, but his knowledge of the instrument is nothing short of fantastic.
#29
Quote by Deliriumbassist
I still rate Ryan Martinie above Arif from Protest. Martinie is a fantastic jazz bassist as well.

It may be difficult to break away from following the guitar during fast passages, but you ALWAYS run the risk of muddying up the sound and cluttering the song up. What you may find simple, others may find much more pleasurable to listen to, which is what you should be aiming for in a band situation first and foremost. And playing the roots isn't a bad thing- reinforcement is a good thing. Without enough holding down the low end, passages may become vacuous and empty, which is a problem in metal. I've played in various metal bands over the years, but my way of thinking has always been "start simple, add stuff in when necessary." That way, you'll always have something there and you'll learn to appreciate where there is sonic space to do things in.

QFT. Play what benefits the sound of your band, and the music overall. If it calls for a simple root note passage, play it, no-one will judge you. Like Delirium said, reinforcement is a good thing. You'll muddy the sound of the band and stick out like a sore thumb if you try to do too much. As a metal bassist, I feel that you have to know when to sit back, hold the groove, and come forward with variations.
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