#1
When i listen to songs of Aerosmith or be it Led Zeppelin i wonder how those guys really came up with such innovations !
im playin guitar for almost about 4 years, i know intervals, have basic good knowledge on chord formation and stuffs like that but when i want to write riffs they don't sound outstanding really.
now you guys would tell me to learn play those guys' song and study their playin, but that really doesn't help me in the context of riffs because i think riffs come naturally, that's what they say in interviews. can you guys please help !?!
#2
You already said it brother, good riffs just happen. It helps to be 'in the mood', or have a long time to just sit down and play, but in my experience writing a riff is more like 'finding' a riff.
#3
They do come naturally.

They didn't really write those riffs, they discovered them. And that is something no one can learn
#5
Quote by nileflows
now you guys would tell me to learn play those guys' song and study their playin,


This will only improve your chances

Quote by nileflows
but that really doesn't help me in the context of riffs because i think riffs come naturally, that's what they say in interviews. can you guys please help !?!


You need time. The more you write, the more often you'll write something "good".
#6
i havent been playing for that long but i would love to write good rock riffs someday. Practice practice practice and hopefully you'll get there.
#7
but there should be an approach for different guitar players. goin up and down the scale wouldn't help me making a nice sounding riff. what i want to know how do you guys approach in writing, interval or any other musical theory wise.
#9
Quote by nileflows
When i listen to songs of Aerosmith or be it Led Zeppelin i wonder how those guys really came up with such innovations !
im playin guitar for almost about 4 years, i know intervals, have basic good knowledge on chord formation and stuffs like that but when i want to write riffs they don't sound outstanding really.
now you guys would tell me to learn play those guys' song and study their playin, but that really doesn't help me in the context of riffs because i think riffs come naturally, that's what they say in interviews. can you guys please help !?!


First of all, those guys were playing for a lot longer than four years by the time they came up with some of their signature riffs.

Secondly, develop your ear. There is music in the world all around you. There's a riff in the sound of a train rumbling by, a car's break squealing before a crash, a crowd marching down the street ...

... but you have to develop your ability to hear it. If you can't hear something and quickly play it on your instrument, then you're "writing" riffs just by stumbling around the fretboard, hoping to get lucky. Sometimes you do, but by developing your ear you can get to the place where you discover the riff in your head first, and then translate it onto the guitar.
#10
^ what he said

People seem to come here wanting a simple, easy answer... or a magical formula to great writing... there isn't one, otherwise almost anyone would be able to write epic riffs and songs... what you gotta do is go out and play, jam, listen, play some more, listen again, try... no other way to go about it
#11
thanks for all the suggestions. i think i just need to be calm and keep playin and playin. surely hard work will lead to something someday . thanks again guys.
#12
also can you guys suggest me some more great riff players who are relatively not well known or mainstream at all?
#13
Quote by nileflows
also can you guys suggest me some more great riff players who are relatively not well known or mainstream at all?

What do you want to write? Classic rock? Metal? Dubstep? I think Jori Haukio from Mors Principium Est is a great songwriter, for example, but if you're trying to play grunge, listening to MPE probably won't be very helpful.
#14
I've got some advice that might help you out..

1. Keep it simple! As Ozzy himself said: "I don't want to play me a riff that's going to impress Joe Satriani; give me a riff that makes a kid want to go out and buy a guitar and learn to play". Create something you can hum. Just look at Tony Iommy! Neither "Iron Man", "Paranoid" nor "Children Of The Grave" is anything near difficult. But they are arguably some of the best riffs in rock & roll history.

2. Make it easy for yourself. Use the minor pentatonic scale. It's easy, simple and awesome sounding for everyone. A riff in harmonic minor will just attract af lot of Iron Maiden fans (awesome band, but please get the point).

3. Maybe just write more than the riff. If you're able to put it into a song it's great! One that you or your band (if you're in one) have written. A riff might seem slightly boring itself, but add some drums, a rythm guitar, and a bass and it might be awesome. The Crazy Train intro riff is actually quite boring if you part out the drums and bass, but played in the right context it ****ing rocks!

4. Try to be less picky about what you want to hear. You might make up lots of great riffs without even realizing it!

Hope it helped in some way!

Ps. Sorry for all the Ozzy/Black Sabbath talk, but Ozzys/Black Sabbaths music have just involved so many great guitar riffs!
No gear.. Just tits.. And some gear.. Mostly Fenders.. And tits.. A Takamine acoustic.. An Orange tube amp.. A shitty Fender amp.. AND TITS! And a big fuckload of pedals that i don't know how to use..
Last edited by rasmusschulz at Nov 17, 2011,
#15
Keith Richards was another awesome riff-making machine.

You know what Black Sabbath, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin all had in common? Drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. I suggest smoking a giant fatty or possibly eating some shrooms and start playing. Just make sure to record yourself because there's no way in hell you'll remember any of it afterwards.

:p
#16
One way of writing a rhythm guitar riff is to evolve it. Get into a groove you like on a particular chord and put in chord changes - seemingly at 'random' (but actually some kind of subconscious processes are at work; this is where your personal style comes from). If you like it, keep it; if not, ditch it and try again. But keep the beat of the riff going, and the tonal centre, and things will start to flow.

There are many other ways to write a riff. Use them all.
#17
Quote by stratdax
Keith Richards was another awesome riff-making machine.

You know what Black Sabbath, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin all had in common? Drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. I suggest smoking a giant fatty or possibly eating some shrooms and start playing. Just make sure to record yourself because there's no way in hell you'll remember any of it afterwards.

:p


That dude is speaking the ****ing truth!

Thats EXACTLY how i came up with the best riffs i have ever played! But to be honest i liked 'em better when i was high...

Sooooo i just kept getting high! That way you'll always think that the music you're playing is awesome. Wanna play Wembley Stadium when you're high? Close your eyes! Wanna play Wembley Stadium when sober? Work for several years, find a band, and become one of the best guitarrists and songwriters in the world!

Nr. 2 seems pretty awesome, but just remember! Nr. 1 is just a walk down the street! No hard work.. Just weed... And weed... And shrooms...

And weed...


REMEMBER! Heaven in life, hell in afterlife!
No gear.. Just tits.. And some gear.. Mostly Fenders.. And tits.. A Takamine acoustic.. An Orange tube amp.. A shitty Fender amp.. AND TITS! And a big fuckload of pedals that i don't know how to use..
#18
Quote by nileflows
but there should be an approach for different guitar players. goin up and down the scale wouldn't help me making a nice sounding riff. what i want to know how do you guys approach in writing, interval or any other musical theory wise.



Knowing theory would help, because, in my case, I can analyze a riff and tell you what the cool note was, why it worked etc. Knowledge is power.

Walk this Way riff for example, uses the b5 in E as a passing tone which gives tension and resolution to the riff. The use of the octave in the riff, bolsters the tonality.

I could go on all day analyzing what they did and use that to form my own mental pallete of cool ideas without copying their results or sounding like them, instead just understanding the tendency of motion, and with that insight, I can be more deliberate into how I write a riff, and instead of only letting my fingers or a familiar scale pattern being the basis, I can add more to that now, like the use of a tritone for tension and release.

Best,

Sean
#19
Quote by nileflows
also can you guys suggest me some more great riff players who are relatively not well known or mainstream at all?


Well, rather than go listen to Led Zeppelin and the like, why not go back and listen to the guys they were listening to:

Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, and so on.

What those guys did was take blues riff and make them their own, and then channel them through the instruments they had at their disposal.

If you go listen to Robert Johnson's "Crossroad Blues" you'll have to stretch pretty hard to hear the signature riff to Cream (Eric Clapton's) "Crossroads." I'm not saying it's not there, rather ... it's clearly been digested and transformed into something different. And no two people will transform it in the same way. So rather than say "I wanna be like Jimmy Page" and try to copy Jimmy Page, if you want to write like Jimmy Page listen to what Jimmy Page listened to ... and see where that leads you.

Obviously, at this point, you won't be able to escape the legacy of what Page and others did with that music - but by going back to the source you give yourself a chance to re-create it in YOUR image.