First off I know everyone hates Creed, but it's just an example, and I'm fairly new to guitar. Been playing for about a year.

In a lot of tremontis riffs in creed (take "Beautiful" for example or "Torn") he has clean verse riffs and then uses power chords for the chorus' and heavy parts for the bridges. How do I mix the clean and heavy riffs together? I can write a solid clean riff and a solid heavy riff, but I can never figure out how to incorporate them. Thanks
Do the clean and distorted riffs have anything in common with each other? If not, how are you expecting them to sound good played one after the other? Not all riffs are going to work in the same song.

I don't think your problem is about clean vs distorted riffs. It has more to do with coming up with good transitions and making the song sound coherent. Even if you removed the distortion from your distorted riffs or added distortion to your clean riffs, I'm pretty sure it would still not work.

But yeah, the most "generic" way would be basing both riffs on the same chords. A good example would be Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

I would also suggest writing some other parts than just guitar riffs. A song is not just a guitar part, and actually two very different guitar parts can work really well in the same song if what the other instruments play makes it sound coherent.

If you want to know how to connect ideas, just listen to music and analyze it. How do your favorite bands do it? How are the different sections connected? What is the transition from one section to the other like? Does something stay similar between the sections?

I think it's usually easier to come up with a new idea than to try to connect two separate ideas. So maybe just repeat the first idea until you hear something in your head that would sound good after the first idea.

One thing that may help you with connecting different ideas to each other is to find the basic "groove" behind the idea. Usually the basic groove of the song stays the same pretty much all the time. So it has to do with rhythm. If you use similar rhythms in all of your sections, it will usually sound pretty coherent. An obvious example that comes to my mind would be "Mr. Brownstone" by Guns N' Roses. All of the riffs in that song are based on the same 3 + 2 clave rhythm.

But yeah, remember that a song is more than a collection of guitar riffs. Actually, most of the time the most important part of the song is the vocal melody, and for some songs it's the groove. But it's rarely just the guitar riffs.

(If we start with the basics - is the key, tempo and time signature of your clean and distorted riffs the same? If not, start with that. Of course a tempo/key/time signature change can sound cool, but if you don't know what you are doing, it will most likely just sound out of place.)
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 5, 2017,
Thread was moved to forum: Musician Talk
Actually called Mark!

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