#1
So my guitar player friend doesn't really compose much. I don't either, but I do it much more often than he does. Thing is most of my stuff comes out really simple, actually about 80% of it only involves the use of one string. Still I think my ideas sound pretty cool but my friend disses them and says they're "too simple", he doesn't say whether he likes them or not. So what I understand is that he won't use the riffs mainly because they are "too simple" and that's it. Oh and we play Thrash/Heavy Metal... If you wanna check out some riffs that could well match my "too simple" style then check out: Runaround Man or Be My Baby by Motörhead, Black Sunshine by White Zombie or Sadistic Magician by Municipal Waste. That's the kind of "simple" I'm refering to. So have you ever gotten rid of ideas cause they were "too simple"? Any opinions on the situation?

(BTW the guitarist is my best friend since we were kids so don't think of suggesting kicking him out, we've promised each other to play together in our own band, think early James and Lars kind of friendship lol.)
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Last edited by Silveroon009 at Aug 7, 2010,
#2
Some of the simplest riffs can be the best. Most casual listeners wouldn't know the difference, to them if it sounds cool then it is cool.

But I'll admit, when I fiddle around I get frustrated because I want my simple riffs to be come too complicated and then I throw them out. I need to learn to leave well enough alone.
Imagination is more important than knowledge...
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
- Albert Einstein -
#3
You can't be Lars if you play bass. It's cheating.

If he thinks it's shit, you should tell him to write something better. Easy as that. Until he does, then you should go with what you have, ie your simple stuff. Although the genres that you have identified usually contain complex rhythm tracks and riffs...
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#4
Nothing wrong with simple. If it sounds good, it sounds good. It might not get you a lot of respect from other musicians if that's all you do, though. If your friend really has a problem with them, try incorporating some simpler riffs into some more complex things.
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#5
Quote by seemeel
You can't be Lars if you play bass. It's cheating.

lol I was refering to Lars and James' friendship actually, so maybe make it Mustaine and Ellefson if it makes you feel better
Quote by seemeel
If he thinks it's shit, you should tell him to write something better. Easy as that. Until he does, then you should go with what you have, ie your simple stuff. Although the genres that you have identified usually contain complex rhythm tracks and riffs...

Thing is he doesn't comment anythng other than "they're too simple" he doesn't say whether he thinks it's shit or not, so I can't really reply like that, still I have told him: "I really don't think 'simple' means bad, but if you do then let's see you write something more complex" to which he answers: "Well it's not that easy, you can't tell someone to just 'come up with a complex riff', it should just happen"... And yeah I know, tell me about it my favorite band's Megadeth and we all know about their amazingly complex riffs... But still notice how I put some examples that do utilize simple riffs/rhythm patterns.
Quote by Bertallica
But I'll admit, when I fiddle around I get frustrated because I want my simple riffs to be come too complicated and then I throw them out. I need to learn to leave well enough alone.

This happened to me once, I tried very hard to like the over-complicated stuff but in the end I realized I shouldn't ever need to do that so I've never tried it again.
Current Gear:
Peavey Zodiac DE Scorpio (Bass)
Yamaha RBX-170 (Bass)
Boss ODB-3 (Overdrive Pedal)
Line 6 LowDown 150 (Amp)
Last edited by Silveroon009 at Aug 7, 2010,
#6
His hard part can complement your "simple part". You can write the hardest song in the world if the bass just played an open A note.

But it sounds like this guy is just a mopey dude who'll complain about everything and not try to fix it. If you're against kicking him out, just make him your jam buddy and find some other guys to a have a serious band with.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
Ask him what he would change in your riffs, like, ask for his input. If he thinks it's too simple, ask him why he thinks so, and what he would change in the riff.
#8
Kurt Cobain is held up as a guitar hero. Michael White is held up as a pop/rock songwriting genius.

/thread



CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#9
Well, the band I've been hooked on for the last few days, Lynch, have pretty much nothing but simple chugging and power chords, but I love them because the songs are good, which is always the most important thing.

Simplicity on it's own means nothing, there's simple music that's amazing and some that's awful, so as long as he hasn't criticised it then you can assume it's quite good, despite being simple, and carry on as normal
#10
Quote by axemanchris
Kurt Cobain is held up as a guitar hero. Michael White is held up as a pop/rock songwriting genius.

/thread



CT

"Michael White"? whho?
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#11
Sorry.... I meant Jack White of the White Stripes. Michael White is also a musician, but not the one I was thinking of....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_White_%26_The_White

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#12
James and Lars weren't childhood friends, though.They met as adults ( just barely ). They came from 2 totally different backgrounds and got together specifically for the band and love of music. . Had Lars said " this is too fast " or " I want this to be like Floyd " to James, James probably would've hit the bricks.

That and Mustaine never tried to make complex riffs. It's how he played. Okay, maybe he did try, but at some point it clearly comes more natural to him than it does to you. He grew up being influenced by Zeppelin and ACDC. You don't always play exactly like your idols even though you are influenced by them.
Last edited by Toniofalcon at Aug 8, 2010,
#13
I know they weren't childhood friends but they were very close friends when Metallica started out. I'm thinking of removing that "reference" if it continues to distract people from the main point of the thread...
Current Gear:
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#14
Personally, the riffs I play in my band are dam simple, I play rythem and sing but our lead guitarist does some crazy stuff over what I play and it works out really well.

So maybe you could incorporate the two, have yours as just holding it and he can play something with more difficulty oer top. In the end though - you just want it to sound good yeah? So go what sounds best. If he can't write anything better go with it.
#15
Sorry to necro this thread & to ramble a bit, but I had a thought about this the other day and had to post it.

A simple riff is all you need. Once you bring in bass, drums and vocals you can paint a whole new picture with that simple riff. Simple guitar riffs give the rest of the band time to shine and makes music all that much more diverse.

It amazes me that some people despise the chuga, chuga sound in most metal music, but if you think about it, it's the same as country music's version of strumming cords or classical music's violin's long winding notes or techno's drum sound that you associate with those genres of music.

Simple riffs are the backbone of music, they can never be too simple.
Imagination is more important than knowledge...
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
- Albert Einstein -
#16
I think what everybody who wants to avoid simple riffs really wants to avoid is writing something banal. This is easily avoidable if you put some soul into what you're writing. On the other hand very few musicians understand the demands of songwriting and composing. The audience will rarely care how difficult a riff is but as players we must find the need to play something that challenges our abilities. To get to the point, my advice is take a look at how simple ideas work into great songs. Metallica is actually a great example because the Enter Sandman riff's first phrase only consists of three notes (E-A#-A), then the G5 and F5 chords lead back into E and start over. It's really about the atmosphere, mood, and message you want to get across and simple ideas are easier to do that with. Just look at the blues, a whole genre made up of three chords!
#18
Absolutely nothing wrong with too simple. Usually too simple is better in my opinion because everyone just shreds now..no one plays with feeling anymore...and usually the slower more "simple" riffs/solos create a mood better.
#19
Quote by Silveroon009
BTW the guitarist is my best friend since we were kids so don't think of suggesting kicking him out, we've promised each other to play together in our own band

This is what everybody who starts a band with their friend(s) says.

I said it to my friends, they said it to me; now I don't even talk to them anymore.

Seriously, if you're going to be in a band and want to try and go somewhere, you have to put that before your friendships, because they can easily throw a wrench into the entire thing.
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#20
Quote by Eastwinn
Maybe your riffs are too simple?

You do know I have never tried to deny it right?
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#21
I'm in a pretty similar position to yours... I'd say you could tell your friend to write some more technical stuff to accompany your basslines, that's what my guitarist is planning on doing anyways.
#22
Quote by Bertallica
Sorry to necro this thread & to ramble a bit, but I had a thought about this the other day and had to post it.

A simple riff is all you need. Once you bring in bass, drums and vocals you can paint a whole new picture with that simple riff. Simple guitar riffs give the rest of the band time to shine and makes music all that much more diverse.

It amazes me that some people despise the chuga, chuga sound in most metal music, but if you think about it, it's the same as country music's version of strumming cords or classical music's violin's long winding notes or techno's drum sound that you associate with those genres of music.

Simple riffs are the backbone of music, they can never be too simple.

I think this is right. Once you've added a drum track, stuck some vocals in there then you can have an awesome song, not everything needs to be complex, look at The Beatles, their songs comprised of 3 different chords and people still loved them
#24
Quote by Eastwinn
Maybe it's too simple!


I really don't think it's relevant when you can make your own complicated part to complement a simple one if you must.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#25
Quote by AlanHB
I really don't think it's relevant when you can make your own complicated part to complement a simple one if you must.


Sure, but some styles call for a lot of complexity. It could be the case that what he is playing is just too simple.

Now, his band mate is still a tool if he expects the TS to do all the work.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#26
Quote by seemeel
You can't be Lars if you play bass. It's cheating.

If he thinks it's shit, you should tell him to write something better. Easy as that. Until he does, then you should go with what you have, ie your simple stuff. Although the genres that you have identified usually contain complex rhythm tracks and riffs...

First of all, this.

Second of all, maybe you can "combine" ideas by having a mix of his tech riffs and your good rhythm riffs.
#27
Quote by Eastwinn
Sure, but some styles call for a lot of complexity. It could be the case that what he is playing is just too simple.

Now, his band mate is still a tool if he expects the TS to do all the work.


Perhaps. I'm not completely sold on the whole "some genres have to be complex" thing though. If you can't write a complex part to complement a simple one, what suggests that you can write a complex one that can complement another complex one?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#28
Quote by AlanHB
Perhaps. I'm not completely sold on the whole "some genres have to be complex" thing though. If you can't write a complex part to complement a simple one, what suggests that you can write a complex one that can complement another complex one?


It's not necessarily genre as much as it's style.. some really specific styles demand high levels of complexity. That said, I agree that you should be able to write a complex riff to complement a simple one. But that might not be what you want!

For example, Incubus's style on S.C.I.E.N.C.E. pretty much demands simple riffs. However, This Town Needs Guns style on Animals pretty much demands complexity. Obviously two different sides of the spectrum. I don't think we're really disagreeing anyhow.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#29
If your adding notes just to make it more complex, and not because they are necessary/ add to the riff.

you're doing it wrong.
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#30
Quote by Eastwinn
It's not necessarily genre as much as it's style.. some really specific styles demand high levels of complexity. That said, I agree that you should be able to write a complex riff to complement a simple one. But that might not be what you want!

For example, Incubus's style on S.C.I.E.N.C.E. pretty much demands simple riffs. However, This Town Needs Guns style on Animals pretty much demands complexity. Obviously two different sides of the spectrum. I don't think we're really disagreeing anyhow.


It think your argument may be more applicable for bands who are attempting to write a specific genre's music, and not letting it come naturally. I had a listen to some "Town Needs Guns" songs, and whilst the guitar parts are complex, you can easily just simplify the songs into straight barre chords if you wish, and this could be the simple part, where the song started. The timing however could be challenging depending on your skill level.

If you don't naturally write a "complex" part, I don't really see the need to. It's your music, and you prescribe the genre, not the other way around.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#31
I sometimes have this problem in my band, but it's more a recurring joke among the singer and I. We both play guitar and bass in the band (we trade off), so we're the primary songwriters. Oftentimes, I'll bring in a song to the band, and the singer will take it, add some parts, take some away, change the order of some things, etc etc etc.

What we end up with is a song with a simple backbone done by me, which will most likely be the majority of the song. Than there will be a section that he wrote, which is more complicated, and adds to the original atmosphere.

Your friend can either do one of three things. He can either take your song and add to it, he can write his own song, or he can deal with your simple song, and you should tell him this.
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