#1
I'm trying to play a Fall of Troy kind of style but with wider obvious influences. I'm the bassist but I'm writing for all the other instruments in my band and I noticed my lead riffs usually aren't that great, they're typical ya know? Like I'll either use a mode and just play its most defining notes in the riff (the notes that guitarlessons.com says brings out each modes "flavor," check it out if you don't know what I'm talking about), or I'll just go up and/or down sections of the scale. Can anybody help me write better lead riffs? Not chord progressions, the single note melodies.
And I know people have made threads like this before but the ones I've read haven't been much help.
I can play really fast notes, and even if I couldn't it wouldn't matter cuz I'm not the guitarist, but I need help picking WHICH notes need to be played, ya know?
Sorry abt this being so long and the only good way to summarize it is the title but there's some info in here that might come up later so I'd rather get it all out of the way. Please help?
#2
C'mon man, you've made quite a few threads asking how to write this sort of stuff. You're just going to have to pay attention to the key, scales and chords, and be CREATIVE.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#3
Listen, analyse, apply.

Or just play whatever comes out of your fingers and dont worry how genre you are.

Really good musicians never let genre limit them and innovate. It's average and mediocre musicians who try to emulate a few of those innovative bands and start sounding alike.

If asking 'how do I play genre X like bands so-and-so?', the best you can get is sounding like a clone of those bands. It's a dead end, as you'll never grow beyond that.
#4
Quote by TMVATDI
or I'll just go up and/or down sections of the scale. ?


1. Well to start off don't think of a riff as "just going up and down a scale."
2. Don't worry to much about using certain notes, and experiment.
3. Arpeggios are your friend.
4. What i like to do is try to come up with "cool" interval combos, and while that may seem obvious I think it helps.
5. Also RHYTHM is great, say you find your cool notes. What's better then to make it awesome rhythmically to? I love doing 8th notes then randomly for about a quarter of a bar, do 16ths, it gives it a cool sound.

Again it all might seem painfully obvious but I find that it really helps to think of stuff in different ways.

Edit: Also don't rely on other people to make it good for you, that's something your need to work on yourself. I think it would be very difficult to "teach" someone how to make great riff, seeing as there is no one way to do so. My friend always asks me how I make mine (not saying they are the best ever) and I try to explain it. His riffs always seem to be lacking something and (I hate to admit it) aren't normally as cool as mine (imo). Which is weird cuz I'm normally the type of person to favor someone else's stuff.
Last edited by brandon2784 at Aug 5, 2010,
#5
Learn arpeggios and mix them up with usual minor/major scales. I guarantee that you will be proud of your creativity there on
#6
Playing with the Root, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, are you friends in post-hardcore. For a rhythm-y lead, 5ths and flat 6's are great as well. Just learn a bunch of riffs, then analyze them
#7
These are all the best answers I've ever gotten in a thread, thanks!
Yeah sorry I make like 3 threads a day asking almost the same stuff but I just don't know where else to learn, can't afford lessons and I'm not finding better info anywhere else on the internet. And post-hardcore's a relatively new genre, I can't exactly find a Hal Leonard "How to Play Post-Hardcore" book at Borders.
And all the "heavy" guitarists in my town just chug power chords and don't know crap about keys or melody so not getting much help from them.
Thanks again
#8
Dude we've all been giving you the same advice.

It just so happens that At the Drive In's Pattern Against User just came on my shuffle, and I can tell by listening to it that Omar's riff during the verse involves a little bit of string skipping around the 5th position on the highest three strings.

If you can't apply this sort of thing to your playing, maybe you need to go learn more theory.
#9
Quote by STONESHAKER
Dude we've all been giving you the same advice.

It just so happens that At the Drive In's Pattern Against User just came on my shuffle, and I can tell by listening to it that Omar's riff during the verse involves a little bit of string skipping around the 5th position on the highest three strings.

If you can't apply this sort of thing to your playing, maybe you need to go learn more theory.

I've learned a lot of theory, its just that when I learn a song I don't really understand which elements of what they're doing gives the effect I'm trying to cause. I know I can always learn more theory but I don't know where else to learn it but this site and the crap-load of books I've been buying over the last year.
And its not all the same advice, you're saying string skipping and brandon's saying rhythm and arpeggios, I get different advice from different people who know or use different technique
#10
Quote by ShadesOfGray
Listen, analyze, apply.

This.

Learning it helps a lot too, but really listen to the rhythms, note choice, pitch, techniques used and the feeling you get. The analyzing it helps to see what they did to achieve it.
Your ear will be your best friend here. Listen to the music, learn some songs, (analyze it), and emulate the sound. I recently did this with a couple Protest the Hero songs and I think it's really helped me understand a bit better what they do to get their individual sound.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Who's going to stop you? The music police?
Last edited by FacetOfChaos at Aug 5, 2010,
#11
Quote by FacetOfChaos
This.

Learning it helps a lot too, but really listen to the rhythms, note choice, pitch, techniques used and the feeling you get. The analyzing it helps to see what they did to achieve it.
Your ear will be your best friend here. Listen to the music, learn some songs, (analyze it), and emulate the sound. I recently did this with a couple Protest the Hero songs and I think it's really helped me understand a bit better what they do to get their individual sound.

i have trouble with that, all i've been able to pick up from other people's songs and use myself is rhythm, like i've learned a lot of mars volta and at the drive-in songs and started to incorporate their weird rhythmic stuff but its tougher for me with melody/harmony etc.
ill keep trying tho, like im not the type to give up, i just try my best to find shortcuts if possible, main reason for using this site haha
#12
It could be entirely possible that;

1. You're jumping in at the deep end, and that taking a theory approach to writing the music is a bit too much. So ignoring any rules and just playing anything you think sounds good. Get other people to analyse it with theory later.

2. You're trying too hard to play a genre that doesn't come naturally to you. This can be for many reasons, but the most basic would be that you don't really want to write it, and like the sound of whatever music you're playing already. The music you write may not be a certain genre, but you enjoy what you're playing and that's far more important.

So if you were enjoying your music but thinking of changing it because someone else said it wasn't like someone else's music, the question would be WHY?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#13
Quote by AlanHB
It could be entirely possible that;

1. You're jumping in at the deep end, and that taking a theory approach to writing the music is a bit too much. So ignoring any rules and just playing anything you think sounds good. Get other people to analyse it with theory later.

2. You're trying too hard to play a genre that doesn't come naturally to you. This can be for many reasons, but the most basic would be that you don't really want to write it, and like the sound of whatever music you're playing already. The music you write may not be a certain genre, but you enjoy what you're playing and that's far more important.

So if you were enjoying your music but thinking of changing it because someone else said it wasn't like someone else's music, the question would be WHY?

ive learned really as much as i can without lessons (which i cant afford), jumping in at the deep end feels like my only option.
im not really trying to play the post-hardcore genre, i just want to incorporate some of the feel from post-hardcore's guitar work into my music, which actually has a lot more influences in it too. the reason i dont usually make threads abt my other influences like "how to play jazz?" is because there would already be sources all over the place to learn from, post-hardcore is just the kind of thing people aren't making books and websites about how to play so its harder for me to learn.
#14
Don't be afraid of dissonance and experimenting with new chord voicings over what the rhythm guitarist is playing. Controlling tension like that is always really cool in hardcore music.
#15
Quote by SKAtastic7770
Don't be afraid of dissonance and experimenting with new chord voicings over what the rhythm guitarist is playing. Controlling tension like that is always really cool in hardcore music.

alright, tough for me cuz i'm not used to thinking outside the box or anything but ill try it. thanks
#16
Here's a tip..

Learn intervals from the unison to the double octave using this website.

If you play around with them, I'm sure you'll find the flat fifth and the flat second are two of the most dissonant note pairings you can find on there, followed by seconds and perfect fourths. There's your tension.

If you want an example from music, "Pickpocket" by At the Drive-In opens by jamming on a minor second harmonic interval.

Thinking about it more, another idea I've heard Omar use in at least two songs ("One-Armed Scissor during the part with the line "sputnik sickles found in the seats.. " and the chorus of "Rolodex Propaganda") are melodies that use an open string as a pedal point, meaning something like 12-0-0-12-0-0-12-0-10-0-0 up high on the B string.

Between the string skipping (more like string skip) in Pattern Against User and the two parts I just pointed out, you can conclude that Omar tries to write his riffs with large melodic intervals thrown in and run with that idea. The riff to Catacombs adheres to this too, as it jumps from the open E string to the F# one octave higher on the 4th fret D string, a ninth.

It might sound complicated, but once you learn the intervals and what they sound like, you'll get it. Whether you can use this advice to write music depends on how much you mess around with the ideas I threw at you.
#17
Quote by STONESHAKER
Here's a tip..

Learn intervals from the unison to the double octave using this website.

If you play around with them, I'm sure you'll find the flat fifth and the flat second are two of the most dissonant note pairings you can find on there, followed by seconds and perfect fourths. There's your tension.

If you want an example from music, "Pickpocket" by At the Drive-In opens by jamming on a minor second harmonic interval.

Thinking about it more, another idea I've heard Omar use in at least two songs ("One-Armed Scissor during the part with the line "sputnik sickles found in the seats.. " and the chorus of "Rolodex Propaganda") are melodies that use an open string as a pedal point, meaning something like 12-0-0-12-0-0-12-0-10-0-0 up high on the B string.

Between the string skipping (more like string skip) in Pattern Against User and the two parts I just pointed out, you can conclude that Omar tries to write his riffs with large melodic intervals thrown in and run with that idea. The riff to Catacombs adheres to this too, as it jumps from the open E string to the F# one octave higher on the 4th fret D string, a ninth.

It might sound complicated, but once you learn the intervals and what they sound like, you'll get it. Whether you can use this advice to write music depends on how much you mess around with the ideas I threw at you.

alright thanks, now thats a lot of good information!!
#18
Hi, actually I find that a really easy way to write those posthardcore riffs creatively, is to do it almost randomly

Since many of these riffs are minor, your riff should be based around note 6, the la note for a minor fill. After which you can picture a contour for the riff to follow. for example, fall of troy's long long song title i cant rmb (f.c. sthsth) has its contour as a descending sequence of ascending thirds. Bands like saosin might like to do leaps from up to down and back up. I'd recommend u try to compose the riffs not on guitar, but rather use guitar pro's keyboard, and then learn the fingerings on guitar

Rmb to base its on the 6th note, and then you can decide the range of your riff, perhaps 1 octave range starting from the 6th note, or 1 and a half octaves below so on and so forth. If lets say you wanna leap (this makes it sound rly creative and REALLY posthardcore style) alternate notes, you don't have make it too patterned. Just identify the notes you wanna start with and the notes you wanna go to. It's easier if you think of this as a chord progression, perhaps from a suspension to a resolved. so if lets say, you are thinking of an Asus2sus4 resolving to an Aadd7 (in C major), then you can go:

A B(oct. above) A(oct. above) D G A E G

You see that the first four notes are broken up from Asus2sus4, and the last 4 notes give an Aadd7. The whole point of thinking in chord progression helps the riff achieve a kinda movement, and something to 'resolve' to, otherwise if it just kept spinning around among the same notes it'd be boring. The other advantage of this is that because there are many different ntoes in this riff (A, B, D, E, G), it can fit over many different chords, so as ur main chord progression moves, this riff can repeat over the different chords without clashing, allowing for the endless repeating riffs u often find in posthardcore! Here's just a short sample riff I thought of with this method -because of its almost random nature, its rly easy and fast to think up riffs!:

-----10----------------------------------------
----------------------------10-----------------
---------12--------------------------12-------
-12-----------10----12-----------------------
---------------------------------12------------
------------------------------------------------
(this is in d minor

If you wanna be even more creative, you can always extend this method while keeping in consideration the overall chord progression, to create a long riff that doesnt repeat, but rather changes every bar But I guess tt'd be too long to go into detail >.<

Hope this helps, tho its super long and lectury :P srry abt that!
Last edited by yaoyuan12 at Nov 8, 2010,