Ive been practicing music for some years now and I listen to alot of heavy guitar music. I am looking for some tips on descending riffs maybe some bands that use alot of descending low hanging riffs. I notice this technique in alot of pantera and lamb of god but find the technique quite hard to grasp. I can easily achieve the feeling of a song climaxing by starting on the low e or a string and diagnally moving up through scales towards the body of my guitar but have not found the proper direction for them lingering "getting low" riffs. Any good songs or artists that repetively use this technique or any other advice would bw greatly appreciated. Perhaps a good saying or words musicians use to describe the feeling im after so that I can accurately search these type of riffs
Last edited by wbt1988 at Nov 26, 2014,
I think I know what you are talking about. But I'm not sure.

Avoid the tonic chord. For instance, if you're playing in D minor, avoid D minor and variations. If you're playing in F major, avoid F major and variations. Usually, songs feel like they are ending when the tonic chord is played and resounded. Force the listener to make the non-tonic note chord resolve their musical following on that non-tonic chord.

So, for example in D minor, the 4th of the scale is G minor. Resolve on that chord. In F major, you could resolve on the 5th, which is C major. Use your individual lead notes to emphasize and "dirty-up" the chords.
Last edited by Will Lane at Nov 26, 2014,
I think it may help you to look into the concept of cadences (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_(music)). I'll help you out a bit to start off. What I think you're referring to are riffs where the "cliffhanger" note/chord is not what is expected. Frequently, when this happens we call it a "Deceptive Cadence" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_%28music%29#Interrupted_.28deceptive.29_cadence). One thing of note is that metal/hardcore musicians often create "false Deceptive Cadences" (aka Irregular Resolution), by using something other than a V-vi resolution.

Ok, so...how does this relate to Pantera-esque riffs?

Well, first off, one thing to note. A cadence, by definition means the ending of phrase/section/piece. Riffs are constantly repeated; they are not supposed to end. As such, I pointed you to the concept of cadences because a lot of musicians use "cadence-like" behavior in their riffs and progressions.

Back to Pantera-esque riffs...a lot of bands like this use riffs that don't end on the V or IV. Because it's so common now to have a riff/progression that ends on the V or IV (or even the bVII or ii/V), most of us are thrown off slightly by the use of tones that don't force a direct resolution to I. Every chord wants to push to I, of course; but a riff/progression such as I-IV-V (or variations) is so common that we expect it.
If you want to nail this technique, look into riffs that don't end on the IV or V. Due to the repetitive nature of riffs, it's very easy to do a I-IV or I-V at the end of the riff. Those two "endings" force a behavior similar to either a Plagal Cadence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_%28music%29#Plagal_cadence) or Half Cadence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_%28music%29#Half_cadence). Again, remember I'm just using cadences as a reference to how these riffs behave. Because riffs repeat, we don't really have a true resolution situation.

I know I threw a lot at you there, so go ahead and look up cadences yourself. Then, come ask any questions you have.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Nov 26, 2014,