#1
Hi, I've been playing guitar for like 6 years but never felt like trying to write something till I went to warped yesterday and realized im considerably better than the guitarists in all the bands i saw except abr..so question:

I'm not great on music theory. I get the idea of staying in a scale, but if the tonic is the most important and most often played note, I'm wondering if all these metalcore songs that use tons of 0s are supposed to be written in

a.) that key
b.) a key that contains that note
c.) doesn't matter


In other words, if im trying to write a song in drop c#, and im using the 0's on the c# string alot, does it have to be in c# major/minor/w/e or can the tonic be any note as long as c# is in that scale?

The reason I'm asking is because I'm wondering where to start the riffs I'm playing over the rhythm part. So far I've just started playing my guitar and making riffs I think sound cool. How can I take this to the next level?
#2
Quote by bloodandempire
Hi, I've been playing guitar for like 6 years but never felt like trying to write something till I went to warped yesterday and realized im considerably better than the guitarists in all the bands i saw except abr..so question:

I'm not great on music theory. I get the idea of staying in a scale, but if the tonic is the most important and most often played note, I'm wondering if all these metalcore songs that use tons of 0s are supposed to be written in

a.) that key
b.) a key that contains that note
c.) doesn't matter


In other words, if im trying to write a song in drop c#, and im using the 0's on the c# string alot, does it have to be in c# major/minor/w/e or can the tonic be any note as long as c# is in that scale?

The reason I'm asking is because I'm wondering where to start the riffs I'm playing over the rhythm part. So far I've just started playing my guitar and making riffs I think sound cool. How can I take this to the next level?

This, mostly. You can use notes that aren't in that key.

The term you're looking for is a pedal tone. A pedal tone doesn't have to be the tonic but I would think it's good to stay with some of the more common tones like the subdominant (IV) and dominant (V). So you could pedal C# when the key is F# and I would think it would sound fine.
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#3
Whoah i've been playing since since 03' and this is all like whoooosh totally over my head

..damn.

=(
#4
Quote by bloodandempire
Hi, I've been playing guitar for like 6 years but never felt like trying to write something till I went to warped yesterday and realized im considerably better than the guitarists in all the bands i saw except abr..so question:

I'm not great on music theory. I get the idea of staying in a scale, but if the tonic is the most important and most often played note, I'm wondering if all these metalcore songs that use tons of 0s are supposed to be written in

a.) that key
b.) a key that contains that note
c.) doesn't matter


In other words, if im trying to write a song in drop c#, and im using the 0's on the c# string alot, does it have to be in c# major/minor/w/e or can the tonic be any note as long as c# is in that scale?

The reason I'm asking is because I'm wondering where to start the riffs I'm playing over the rhythm part. So far I've just started playing my guitar and making riffs I think sound cool. How can I take this to the next level?

It will most likely be the key if it's the most usually played note. But you can play whatever notes in whatever key. As long as it resolves to the tonic it's in that key. Otherwise you are in another key. But you don't just go and decide the key. The key is defined by the chords you play. You feel some kind of pull to the key center. It's the most "stable" note/chord.

Sounds like you are writing riffs by using your fingers rather than trying to first come up with the sound. I would recommend doing it by thinking first, then playing. Scales aren't just random notes, you should learn how different notes in a scale sound like. That makes it easier to think in sound rather than fingerings. You need to remember that music is about sound, not about fingerings.

You can always change the key or transpose your song so that it's as easy as possible to play on guitar. And lots of open string notes of course makes it easier to play.
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#5
@magarra, that's interesting advice, i'd say you're spot on, so thanks for heading me off early

@sikii theres a guy named lypur on youtube that does a good music theory course/string of videos it's just kinda boring to learn...useful but boring...i only got through a little over half...it's a work in progress

@blade I'm not sure I'm following...I get the part about the fifth and sixth, but wikipedia doesn't have a great description of what a pedal tone is, could you explain it in a way I might understand? please and thank you
#6
A pedal tone is a note that is played repetitively in amongst other melodic notes. Think about Thunderstruck by ACDC where that opening riff basically switches between the open and various fretted notes that make the melody. The open string in this case is a pedal tone. But it doesn't necesarrily have to be lower, like that really popular lick in Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson. The one right before the theme where he alternates between one note & the others.

In metal the low chugs are basically the definition of a pedal tone.

Hope that was clear enough.
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#7
It was and i spent like 2 months learning cliffs of dover last year so good choice of example thanks