Learning About Guitar Riffs and Some Tricks Around Them

By  //  November 17, 2021

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

Guitar as a musical instrument has global appeal. Whether someone plays jazz, rock, classical, or some other genre, you can instantly connect with the guitarist through the sound. It is so influential. Is it why you have picked this? It can be great to learn this instrument whether you look at it as a hobby or career choice.

During training, you will come across many elements about it, which can appear new and surprising. For example, have you heard the word “riff” before? In guitar, riff stands for the repetition and sometimes continuation of the sequence of the notes, which remain the mainstay for other instruments and vocals in a musical track. For ease of understanding, you can consider musical theater that follows a theme. 

Riffing can happen on any musical device, melodic or non-melodic. But it is more popular on the guitar. If you listen to famous guitarists like Alex Lifeson, Dave Grohl, and Jimi Hendrix, you will have some idea about it.

People recognize them for this style particularly. As a beginner, you can start with a slower riff and then graduate to intricate pieces. However, before getting there, gaining some more insights on this part can be helpful. So here is a quick view of the same.

The significance of guitar riff

Any opening guitar line that repeats throughout the song is the riff. Do you remember “I can’t get no satisfaction” rendered by the Rolling Stones in 1965? Those five notes touched the whole world. Technically, a riff features more than five notes, but some of them can be repetitions. When you start to play guitar, you will try your hand at this also.

However, look for an experienced instructor first by searching for ‘guitar tutor near me’ online. When you go for formal training, your concepts become crystal clear. You can also proceed with your learning with total confidence. 

Tips for playing riffs

You can create riffs once you get a grip over the diminished, pentatonic, major, and minor scales in guitar. It will allow you to jump from one note to another smoothly. Experts suggest that one can also experiment with modes after scales. The Major scales consist of seven Modes, such as Aeolian, Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, Lydian, and Locrian.

Those comfortable with modes can move across the guitar neck hassle-free because of their understanding of the scales and chords. Many jazz artists like John Coltrane and Miles Davis used Modes in their riff compositions, ditching the scales.

When you play riffs, you don’t have to hit all the chord notes simultaneously. You can create individual notes with a rhythmic pattern. If you wish, you can listen to the arpeggio-based riffing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” once. Some people believe that riffs have to be single notes, while jumping from one note or chord to another can make things more interesting. You can go back to “The Wind Cries Mary” and “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix for inspiration.

Sometimes, players concentrate more on notes than the rhythm. But the key to creating a catchy riff lies in following the rhythmic pattern. When you vary the timing of the notes, things become more melodic to the ears. Still, it doesn’t mean you have to play continuously. Maintaining pauses between notes can be an excellent trick to keep everything exciting. 

Easy examples of guitar riffs

You can initially try songs with easy riffs if you have gained decent knowledge and experience in guitar playing. The choices are numerous, but you can start with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Smoke on the Water,” and “Come As You Are.”

If you prefer blues music, songs like “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Forty-Four” can be the best pick. In Rock ‘n’ Roll, you again have many options, such as “Back in Black,” “The Trooper,” “What Would You Say,” and “Purple Haze.”

It is necessary to remember that you don’t become a guitarist by just picking it up. Devoting yourself to the instrument is a must. There can be many ups and downs in the learning journey. But a few things can keep it fun and engaging. Of them, the riff is one element. You can improve your riff playing skills by focusing on scales, timing, fretboard, hand coordination, etc.

Although everything has a technique and depends on the learner’s ability, your instructor can play a crucial role in familiarizing you with the nitty-gritty of this musical tool. So, find out the right music school in your neighborhood first and choose your trainer carefully. 

On certain occasions, your mood can be down, or you may lack the motivation to continue your classes. A trainer will ensure that you don’t procrastinate, no matter what. Hence, before doing anything, find out a recognized place and start your learning process. As you unlock one milestone after another, your confidence will rise, and you will enjoy your lessons more.