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Watch the Riffs online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from Guitar Interactives


Riffs are repetitive chord progressions, single note lines or a combination of both.

These musical ideas are prevalent in pop and rock music and typical examples would be ‘Whole Lotta Love’ ‘Smoke On The Water’ ‘ Cocaine’ ‘Gonna Go My Way’ and the list goes on!!!

Lot’s of great riffs are very simple in concept and can be derived from almost any scale, arpeggio or chord. A great place to start writing riffs is with the major/minor pentatonic scales. I derived my single note riff from the E Minor Pentatonic scale.

I decided to create a chord riff first that would be the perfect bed track for a single note riff overdub part using a wah wah. If I were to play the single note part without the underlying guitar part I would probably double the line and also have the bass play the same part an octave lower.

I’ve also created an alternate part to show how you can create multiple ideas over one progression or groove. The ideas are endless once you get a creative flow going!

Check it out!