Wednesday Question: Weirdest Guitar Riff?

Name the weirdest riff you've ever heard.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
33

So some time ago we've delved into the domain of complex riffs, listing the most intricate pieces the rock world has ever produced.

This time around, our weekly Wednesday Question will revolve around a similar, yet quite different matter. What we have in store for you is:

What is the weirdest guitar riff of all time?

Plenty to chose from here, and many different factors to take into consideration, one of them being complexity. But that's not the only element of the weirdness formula, nor is it a key to that weirdness magic.

Same rules as always apply - only one suggestion per comment, vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG Top 10. May the weirdest riff win!

352 comments sorted by best / new / date

    CliffBurton321
    Weird as hell, but I love it.
    akasinan
    Personally, I would have chosen this:
    Fun fact: The video was banned on MTV for disturbing imagery.
    veinsofmosquito
    The Fall of Troy - Dirty Pillow Talk
    VJPaczek74
    Primus - Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
    leo4sf
    Primus is the right answer, but Groundhogs Day is the song. Quite a catchy little ditty.
    robo37
    Nine Inch Nails - The Becoming
    N-D
    Sorry, but it's too strange that nobody didn't mention Tool Tool - "Schism"
    Seedling132
    I think of everything Tool has to offer, the guitar riffs are the least unusual.
    Krieger91
    A.D.I.D.A.S by Korn is a weird-ass riff. It's like..three noisy notes, or something.
    evanfurillo
    I was thinking Ball Tongue (for the verse riff). It sounds like someone wailing. Pretty creepy and weird
    Zaqq
    FoT has many weird dissonant riffs played with cool effects, but I think there are weirder songs than that one.
    ETID666
    Def a weird riff should make the list I vote brand new vices that solo is awesomely weird
    wsamuel92
    i can't believe I've never heard such an interesting sound before. I downloaded it off itunes. Thomas Erak is such an innovative guitarist
    TryTheKetchup
    This weird sh-t!
    matteo cubano
    if we're talking weird QOTSA riffsQueens of the Stone Age - Keep Your Eyes Peeled
    CrazyAce#7
    YES! It's a bass riff so simple but very powerful. Great opening track and sucks you in!!
    magarez
    probably more weird than 'designer'
    toasty333
    Cage The Elephant - Free Love
    archangels
    There is absolutely nothing weird about the Free Love riff. It's just too brilliant for most people to handle is all.
    BigBi
    Oh, by the way, I love this remix :
    ZPinkZeppelinS
    Citizen Erased by Muse
    stratomaiden
    aqualung jetrho tull sitting on de park bench ehhh aqualung!!! wierd riff
    real182
    SWANS!
    bonjidonk
    I think the vocals and the video are much weirder than the guitar...
    peachesenregali
    Weirdest guitar riff? The weirdest you can think of? Eh? It's very slightly odd. That aside, this is one of my favourite QOTSA tunes.
    solexhn
    Wow! QOTSA! That band is all over this place. What do you guys think? Is this band over-rated?
    akasinan
    You make me an offer I cannot refuse...
    uncletobycolour
    TaV0
    Sonic Youth - The Burning Spear Just listen to it, I know (in theory) what Thurston is doing, jamming drumsticks in the guitars neck but I cannot replicate it. And Lee Ranaldo, I have no idea what he does here:
    iommi600
    Don't know about the studio version, but live Ranaldo just... ****s his guitar up with drumsticks as well.
    TaV0
    It sounds as if he's running an electric drill through a distortion pedal. I love these guys.
    Niamorg
    pjn7000
    Buckethead-Nottingham Lace Its at about 22
    entropicxdisson
    Jordan though, Buckethead pretty much made dance music on a guitar.
    a7xrocker201
    I don't think that riff is that weird. It's just really modulated and synthesized. I would like to hear it with just distortion.
    ParkerThisIs
    He actually is only running through distortion. He's tapping out the notes, and muting the attack with his kill switch.
    phidias13
    King Crimson - 21st century schizoid man
    travislausch
    Ladies Of The Road is my pick for the Crims. Schizoid is practically their Nickelback riff by this point. I've only ever seen one correct transcription, and boy does it not make any actual sense. Rhythmically AND melodically. Fripp was just entirely on a different level than other guitar gods.
    bangbang!!
    A lot of Tom Morello stuff can be pretty weird. Not saying it's not great, of course.
    #t=47
    entropicxdisson
    that's a solo not a riff, "Ashes In The Fall" is an actual riff though, gotta love the police siren. The intro is weird enough but then Tom goes full weirdness.
    this list could be all Tom Morello riffs,
    metaldalz
    Anything by Protest The hero... Weird riffs!!
    guitarist.akito
    Floyd Phoenix
    YYZ - Rush Last one I promise
    full.stop
    Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Moonlight on Vermont
    tonello
    Let's just go ahead and nominate everything Primus does. No but seriously Jerry Was a Racecar Driver.
    killaudio666
    Take the veil cerpin taxt- the mars volta
    Mack888
    A lot of King Crimson riffs are pretty weird by most standards.
    cmvideo
    And unless I missed it, I can't believe no one has posted Jesus Christ Pose... super weird and not even using effects to achieve it. A lot of Soundgarden riffs probably qualify for this poll though...
    cmvideo
    I should clarify and say any crazy effects to actually play/create the riff... the guitar sound is pretty effected though.
    Lyrax
    I love the instrumental part of Limp Bizkit, especially Wes Borland`s riffs. This song features his weird tapping technique.
    Campion95
    the outro riff from 6:41. It's like the guitar is getting untuned as the riff is being played
    velcrozombie
    That's exactly what's happening. Someone (the producer) was detuning the guitar string by string as it was being played.
    jackskarma
    #1 Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Helpless Corpses Enactment
    #2 King Crimson - Elephant Talk
    #3 The Dillinger Escape Plan - 43% burnt
    curly-d23
    Pixies - Vamos
    TomM96
    killaudio666
    Sugar-system of a down
    bevski208
    How about the start of Fossil Genera by BTBAM? A lot of their music is weird, but this is something else:
    TSParallax
    I love this band and that isn't that weird - sounds like Donkey Kong - which is awesome.
    N7Crazy
    Radiohead - Pulk/Pull revolving doors
    OddRotGut
    javdoc
    On a related note, is there somewhere to submit suggestions for questions? Was thinking, with the Mastodon CD coming out next week, Top 10 Mastodon Songs might make for a good question....
    N7Crazy
    Allright, a serious answer, also some honorable mentions which I think deserve a bit recognition. My nomination: Queens of the stone age - Sick sick sick Other good answers: Queens of the stone age - Keep your eyes peeled Radiohead - My iron lung Soundgarden - Head down/Limo wreck Mastodon - The last baron/Divinations Nine Inch nails - The downward spiral/Eraser Them crooked vultures - Elephants Sonic Youth - Any god damn song in their discography
    third(-)eye
    My Iron Lung is a good pick. That chorus is pretty ****in weird. "Just" is another bizarre one (it's tuned a quarter step down, I think?)
    Maiden95
    I might have to go with Rusty Cage by Soundgarden because of not only the pattern, but the tuning.
    titoprog
    The riff from 3:41 to 4:36
    will.d9
    Jesus Christ Pose - Soundgarden
    Floyd Phoenix
    There's Such Thing As a Jaggy Snake - Biffy Clyro First one I could think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure their early stuff has even weirder...
    MrTee
    Literally thought the same thing. Infinity Land is a great album!
    velcrozombie
    Sorry for the repost... Butthole Surfers - Lady Sniff The riff actually sounds diseased
    TSParallax
    Blue by A Perfect Circle is also bizarre.
    entropicxdisson
    Pantera - Becoming, gotta love the Whammy Pedal
    TSParallax
    The first little interlude in Milk Lizard by The Dillinger Escape Plan.It's around 0:30
    qrEE
    Let's just say almost any Dillinger Escape Plan riff lol.
    moody git
    Woah no! - Devin townsend
    veinsofmosquito
    The Doors - The Spy
    TaV0
    System of a Down - Suite Pee
    Nuclearcrayon
    The spider riff in raining blood
    Elderer
    DanielN
    The main riff of "Money for nothing" by Dire Straits is pretty weird to me. It's an amazing riff but really how do you come up with that?
    Jhachey22
    "Weigh" by Phish.
    bahast
    The Doors - Not To Touch The Earth
    dronedaily