#1
Hi!

I play black metal and up until now I've been writing all my riffs for one guitar only. Now I would like to bring things to the next level and arrange my riffs for two guitars to give them some added depth.

As far as I know Darkthrone have been writing many of their riffs for multiple guitars. Fenriz has stated that Transylvanian Hunger was recorded with two guitars and I can hear that the two guitars are playing slightly different things.

Do you have any tips for expanding these simple single guitar riffs to two guitars? Is it done the same way as melodic death metal riffs are harmonized?

Most of these tremolo black metal riffs are built from two-string chords, so I suspect that it's a bit different than single-string lead lines. Also, the two-string chords used are mostly not simple root-fifth power chords, but harmonically more meaningful ones (root-third, root-fourth etc.).

My question is a bit open, but any thoughts are welcome.

Thanks,
j
Last edited by johnsmith1261 at Sep 16, 2014,
#2
THe better your ear, the better your intuitive understanding of music, the more you're likely to find you can hold more complex ideas in your head. That can include multiple voices. I sometimes now hear harmony parts in my head for stuff I'm composing, for example.

So the good way to do this is to develop your ear/intuitive understanding of music to get to the point where you can hold two guitar parts in your head at once.

The hacky way to do it is to get a looper, lay down one riff, and then listen to it until you get an idea for a complementary riff. Then lay down the complementary riff in the looper, listen to it, tweak the first riff, repeat until you're happy. I suspect this will tend to have worse results than method one, however.
#3
Thanks for the response.

Well, for composing not even a looper is necessary as parts can be layered easily with a computer... my question was more related to composing the parts themselves.

Basically, I've never seen a Darkthrone tab that was arranged for two guitars, even though I can clearly hear on the records that there are at least two guitars many times (think Transylvanian Hunger or Ravishing Grimness)...

These songs can be played on one guitar and you will be able to recognize them, but by arranging them for two guitars, they added more depth and feeling to the tracks.

I want to achieve the same effect, but with not much success so far... also I have no idea what they are really playing on the records, just hear that the two guitar riffs are not exact copies.
#4
Well, a fairly common technique is to compose a riff in 3rds or 4ths. For example, suppose we have a simple pedal tone riff:

Gtr. 1
e-----------------
B-----------------
G-----------------
D-----------------
A-----------------
E-0-0-0-0-3h5-0-0-

Gtr. 2
e-----------------
B-----------------
G-----------------
D-----------------
A-0-0-0-0-3h5-0-0-
E-----------------


Since the A string is a 4th higher than the E string, Gtr. 2 is playing the same riff in 4ths. Obviously, this is a very simplistic example, but I think it shows my point in an obvious manner.


You can do similar things in 3rds. So, for the above riff, in 3rds:
Gtr. 1
e-----------------
B-----------------
G-----------------
D-----------------
A-----------------
E-0-0-0-0-3h5-0-0-


Gtr. 2
e-----------------
B-----------------
G-----------------
D-----------------
A---------2h4-----
E-3-3-3-3-----3-3-


Again, very simplistic. But now guitar 2 is playing in 3rds.

In this case, I would tend to think of Gtr. 1 as Riff 1a and Gtr. 2 as Riff 1b.


Anyway, does that all make sense?

Edit:
Btw, a good practical example of playing in 4ths is Metallica's "Fade to Black" bridge section.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Sep 16, 2014,
#5
Sam's idea is pretty common in that genre, but I would add the following warning:

Not EVERYTHING needs to be harmonized. The effect, while awesome, can also backfire horribly if every note is treated as such.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#6
Quote by Jet Penguin
Sam's idea is pretty common in that genre, but I would add the following warning:

Not EVERYTHING needs to be harmonized. The effect, while awesome, can also backfire horribly if every note is treated as such.

YES! Please listen to this. Don't become like Synyster Gates, where you harmonize EVERY damn lead line you write for...like 3 albums. It's annoying if you do it too often.
#7
Nothing screams "I play at a high school level" like A7x style dual leads. Gross.

Or you could do it ironically, and just sweep horrendously while people strum that low D string behind you.

#shotsfired
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
Last edited by Jet Penguin at Sep 17, 2014,
#8
a few random thoughts on the subject:

1) learn what other bands in the genre have done. U say none of that particular bands songs have been tabbed in 2 parts...find other bands in that genre that HAVE been tabbed in 2 parts etc

As far as writing stuff yourself, if you can write a riff/song for 1 guitar then it shouldnt be too hard to expand it for 2 guitars. for learning purposes u can just start by doubling most of the parts and then start adding in a different part here and there. if there is a riff then it can be harmonized as others have mentioned. Obviously a band like Iron Maiden has dozens of examples. The riffs can also be played in octaves...one guitar plays a low octave then the other guitar doubles it higher.

On chords its very easy to add a second part. if u have a chord like this 02245x then obviously the 2 guitars can just split the chord up like 022xxx, xx245x etc

if u use basic chord theory its easy to come up with 2 parts same as shown above by splitting the chord up. for example an Amin7 chord is really just a C chord with an A in the bass. or a C chord on top of an Amin chord Amin7th = aceg Amin=ace C=ceg. Obviously one gtr plays 1 part the other takes the other part. one guy plays an A power chord and the other guy plays a 2 or 3 note version of a C chord higher up and the listener more or less hears the Amin7 sound

example:

gtr 1 plays x022xxx, gtr 2 plays xx1098x or xxx12 13 12

u can also do stuff like deconstruct a sus2 chord. for example an Dsus2 chord is typically played like this. x57755 notes being DADEA. So basically that is a D power chord an an A power chord together. Break them up for 2 guitars like this gtr 1= x577xx gtr 2= xx79xx Def Leppard was doing that 30 years ago

if u want to experiment while recording u could do this. Record one part where the gtr plays a pedal tone like an A or E note then throw chords in. Have the second gtr double the pedal tone but then experiment with the 2nd gtr playing different stuff over the 1st gtrs chords

if I remember correctly, at the beginning of Teslas song "Hang tough" one gtr plays an E power chord constantly, while the other gtr changes to a C chord etc
#9
Thanks for the replies.

JohnProphet, the Dsus2 stuff was a prime example for the info that I was looking for, thanks for that! If you can think of any similar tips, it would be hugely welcome.
#10
yeah, its pretty much just up to your imagination.

lets say GTR 1 does a plain jane F-G-A power chord sequence. gtr 2 can do a lot of different stuff...lets just say he wants to play something on each of those 3 chords

for example:

b---1--3--1
g---2--4--2 thats just outlining the F-G-am

or

b---1--0--1
g---2--0--2 another way to do F-G-Amin

or

b---1--3--2
g---2--4--2 that would be going F-G-Amajor. thats a useful idea to explore...gtr 1 plays power chords (neither minor nor major) and gtr 2 changes them from minor to major or vice versa.

octaves are very useful also since they work great with distortion. Lets say gtr 1 plays the same F-G-A power chord...gtr 2 can do this stuff:

D-----10----9-----7
A-----x-----x-----x
E-----8-----7-----5 thats still just hitting chord tones for F-G-A but coming down instead of going up...(contrary motion)

Another basic idea is gtr 1 plays a power chord, gtr 2 plays the 7th note of the chord using octaves. Gtr 1 plays an F5 chord, gtr 2 plays an E octave to make it an Fmaj7th chord. or gtr 1 plays A5 and gtr 2 plays a G octave to make it A7th


Bluesy sound? ok

gtr 1 ------A5--D5--E5
gtr 2 G----6----5----7
gtr 2 D----5----4----6 thats making each of the chords a 7th chord. very similar to Zeps "Rock and Roll"

or near the end of Rock and roll there is something along these lines...where you expect the gtr 1 to go up to the D chord but it stays on the A chord but gtr 2 does its normal change. So u get:

gtr 1 ------A5-------A5
gtr 2 G----6--------5
gtr 2 D----5--------4 So instead of getting an A7 and a D7 u get an A7 and an Aminor variation

(yes, for all the purists, I understand that those arent the exact parts in the Zep song)


a similar example:

gtr 1 ------A5-----A5
gtr 2 G----6------5
gtr 2 D----6------5 thats going from an Amaj7th to an Amin7th sound


one more, lets say gtr 1 is going to do a standard A-G-F power chord sequence. Gtr 2 can just follow along until the F chord where he can divert and play the B note using octaves. So he is emphasizing a #4 sound over the F chord giving a characteristic and instantly recognizable lydian sound. for example

Gtr 1 -------A5-----G5----F5
Gtr 2 D-----7------5------9
Gtr 2 A-----x------x------x
Gtr 2 E-----5------3------7

also check out "unison bends"...all the same ideas can be played with gtr 2 using a unison bend, for example on that last one gtr 2 plays a unison bend on the B note 12th fret b string etc...over the f chord

Also of course gtr 1 can play various power chords and gtr 2 can throw in the open b and e string at appropriate times


peace, JP
Last edited by JohnProphet at Sep 17, 2014,
#11
Very inspiring, thank you! I'm off to experiment

But there are some parts that I'm not sure about:


Quote by JohnProphet
also check out "unison bends"...all the same ideas can be played with gtr 2 using a unison bend, for example on that last one gtr 2 plays a unison bend on the B note 12th fret b string etc...over the f chord

I looked up on unison bends (haven't heard about this technique before), but not sure if I understand it correctly.

Would gtr2 play this?
Gtr 2 e--------------------8
Gtr 2 B--------------------12 (bend)
Gtr 2 G----------------------
Gtr 2 D-----7------5-------
Gtr 2 A-----x------x--------
Gtr 2 E-----5------3--------


Quote by JohnProphet
Also of course gtr 1 can play various power chords and gtr 2 can throw in the open b and e string at appropriate times

Could you please give me an example (or a song reference where this is used)?

Thank you,
j
Last edited by johnsmith1261 at Sep 18, 2014,
#12
unison bend = playing one note on a higher string, then bending the lower string up to match it. So if u r holding the B note on the high e string 7th fret, u bend the a note on the 10th fret of the B string up to match the B note

IMO its lots easier if u hold the note on the B string and bend the G up to match it. for instance hold the B note 12th fret B string and bend the A note at the 14th fret of the G up to match it.

Im not even going to google it because I know there will be approx 2.3 million examples. Wait, I lied https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOJHXwN5O_E

here about 1:35
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLF_WNF3qp4

here 1:08 etc behind the vocal. clearer at 2:43
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBN3BtdIr0Y

Fairly famous example, starting around 7:32ish
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9TGj2jrJk8
#13
Quote by johnsmith1261

Could you please give me an example (or a song reference where this is used)?

Thank you,
j


Im not sure of an example where this is done on TWO guitars, though I probably have several on old 4 tracks lol.

here is an obvious example that pops in my head. This is a cover...the open e and b string are used liberally thru the song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_6asVSjq2w

here in verse
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riYO3QGXvIM

youll find that the open e and b works well on top of most of your typical rock power chords