#1
Hey guys, i have been thinking over the past week about what the chances are of someone else coming up with the exact same riff as me on guitar, as in if i played one to my guitarist, and another band played it.

So far i have come up with this:

On a 24 fret 6 string guitar you would have to do: 24^24 = 1.33*10^33
Then you would have 6^6 for the strings = 36

On top of this you would have different time signatures and notes.

Anyone care to have ago at working it out?
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#2
You cant work it out exactly, but music follows structures, only certain combinations of notes will sound good so it drastically limits it. If you mean fed it into a computer, then its unlikely to happen at random.
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#3
You, sir, must be high.

If you want to lose more sleep, add in the variety of tunings, bends to those microtones or whatnot... as in play with more than the 12 tones we use in western music.

Also...this is almost beyond stupid.

Play more guitar and make music, think less.
#4
You can't invent a riff, it's been done.

Think of all the music in history, that's a lot.
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#5
you can't really work it out because you could have any number of notes.

Now obviously you're not going to have a riff that lasts for 7000 bars/measures, but yeah.
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#6
Quote by Dave_Mc
you can't really work it out because you could have any number of notes.

Now obviously you're not going to have a riff that lasts for 7000 bars/measures, but yeah.

It could though.

Anything is possible, therefore I have solved his problem.


"There are an infinite amount of riffs that could exist."
#7
yep, sure. Just saying that in more normal music, it's unlikely.

Maybe he likes dream theater, though.
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#8
ok i mean like a riff as in just one riff, not a 7000 bar riff, as that would surely be a song
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#10
ye but how the hell could you make a riff 7000 bars, that would surely be a collection of riffs. To me a riff it 1 bar.
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#11
Posted by Linkerman
Nothing out of the ordinary...

João Cabeleira, "Xutos & Pontapés" (a portuguese rock band) lead guitar player uses a custom Washburn with 29 frets.
He's considered the portuguese Slash.


he doesn't even uses all those frets i imagine who would use the 36th fret on a guitar....
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#12
Quote by avenge the rage
ye but how the hell could you make a riff 7000 bars, that would surely be a collection of riffs. To me a riff it 1 bar.


A lot of riffs last at least 2 bars, ranging up to 12 and beyond. There is no set limit for how long a riff can be, that's utter bullshit. For instance, (guessing you know Dream Theater. as someone else pointed out), the riff at the beginning of Constant Motion, is it one long riff, or different riffs with variations after each other? There's multiple interpretations possible.
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#13
See I would say it was different riff with variations. I was meaning like a riff as 1 bar, or maybe 2, but they to me would be separate riffs
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#14
Your math doesn't work. It's just nonsense.

Actually, on a 24 fret guitar you have 4 octaves. Let's say that you may be using dropped tunings so that's about 40 different tones available.
Let's say you won't be going faster than 32nd note (but you are allowed to use slower notes as a combination of more than one 32nd). Also, let's say you only write in 4/4 measure.
That's 32^40 without considering all kinds of bends, vibratos, harmonics, triplets and similar possibilities. Of course, majority of those riffs are absolute nonsense but they are possible. And that's for just one-bar riff. For every added bar, you multiply this number with itself.
#15
Quote by -Rodion-
Your math doesn't work. It's just nonsense.

Actually, on a 24 fret guitar you have 4 octaves. Let's say that you may be using dropped tunings so that's about 40 different tones available.
Let's say you won't be going faster than 32nd note (but you are allowed to use slower notes as a combination of more than one 32nd). Also, let's say you only write in 4/4 measure.
That's 32^40 without considering all kinds of bends, vibratos, harmonics, triplets and similar possibilities. Of course, majority of those riffs are absolute nonsense but they are possible. And that's for just one-bar riff. For every added bar, you multiply this number with itself.

This. In reality there is an almost infinite amount of riffs. However not all would sound any good...
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#16
there is not an equal chance that notes in a certain sucession will be featured in a riff compared to another set of notes, as as has been rightly mentioned before, some "riffs" you get if you take the mathematical approach will just be rubbish.

also, we are forgetting that guitarists are influenced by other guitarists. you are more likely to have created a riff which is similar sounding to a guitarist you admire and you are unlikely to be the only person to be inspired by them, so riffs within subgenres are likely to revolve aroung the same notes/time signatures.

finnally, if you have a riff in standard tuning and somebody else plays the riff in eb (same frets, so the notes are one semitone below), its still the same riff, right? so you cant just work out the number of possible note combinations and call that the number of possible riffs. there are simply too many provisos.

funny i was actually thinking of this yesterday evening when i stumbled on a catchy riff
#17
Quote by -Rodion-
Your math doesn't work. It's just nonsense.

Actually, on a 24 fret guitar you have 4 octaves. Let's say that you may be using dropped tunings so that's about 40 different tones available.
Let's say you won't be going faster than 32nd note (but you are allowed to use slower notes as a combination of more than one 32nd). Also, let's say you only write in 4/4 measure.
That's 32^40 without considering all kinds of bends, vibratos, harmonics, triplets and similar possibilities. Of course, majority of those riffs are absolute nonsense but they are possible. And that's for just one-bar riff. For every added bar, you multiply this number with itself.


What i was meaning is there are 24 frets, and across 6 strings, therefore any combination would work.

Then you would have to multiply that by the different notes, like you said 32 and below in this instance.
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#18
Quote by avenge the rage
What i was meaning is there are 24 frets, and across 6 strings, therefore any combination would work.

Then you would have to multiply that by the different notes, like you said 32 and below in this instance.


Where you're going wrong in your math is that:

(on a 24 fret guitar)

# of fretted notes on guitar (164) =/= # of different notes on a guitar (49)
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#19
If there are 49 different notes on a guitar, then (assuming you don't play the same note consecutively), you have...

49*(48)^(n-1) possible combinations where n is the number of notes that you have in said riff.
#20
Where I agree there are was notes, you might play one note at a higher octave during the riff, thus making that different than someone else's with that one note difference
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#22
I actually already figured out all the possible riffs. If I catch any of you chumps playing my riffs without paying me royalties we're going to have a problem.

#23
the short answer is yes not only is it possible but very likely. c'mon i'm sure i'm not the only one that has dicked around and found a riff that sounded cool only to discover that it is from a song that you might have forgotten about (until someone points out that you stole it).
#24
Quote by avenge the rage
Where I agree there are was notes, you might play one note at a higher octave during the riff, thus making that different than someone else's with that one note difference
You need to learn to count.

A 24 fret guitar with 6 strings covers 4 full octaves yes? How many notes in an octave? 12. Four octaves, 4*12 plus that high E on the 24 fret guitar. That's 49 notes....

So when I say taht you don't play the same note consecutively, I meant that you don't play the same note in that same octave. If you do play the same note consecutively, you have 49^n where n is the number of notes you have in the riff. I have no clue where you got 24^24 from.
Last edited by al112987 at May 2, 2011,