Watch the Riffs: Techniques online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from RhythmCraft
Single note riffs can be derived from any scale or arpeggio quite honestly but a great source for cool riff ideas is the minor pentatonic scale. These ideas are typically quite easy to articulate and sound great. You can't argue with that!
In my example I'm using the E minor pentatonic scale. I'm using two patterns of the E minor pentatonic scale for the main riff and you can see the fingerings for those patterns on the diagrams we've provided for you.
Playing the same riff line an octave above always sounds really good, so I've demonstrated how you could do that from another two E minor pentatonic scale patterns further up the fretboard. You may have noticed that the bass is also playing the riff and that means we have the melodic riff pattern played in three octaves. Our track should sound really full with those three parts locked together, especially if you manage to nail the timing.
Playing these riffs with a Wah-Wah or a voice box sounds really good. If you have access to those pedals give it a try. Watch the faces you'll pull when using the Wah!
I wanted to also show you some chords that you could use underneath your riff as well. This riff is very powerful without any harmonic support but this should give you some ideas on how to create a supporting part if you'd like to. I like to create these ideas by listening first and then playing along with the track to find some options. I never do this theoretically, I prefer to find the music with my senses first.
The part I've created supports the riff by holding down the E tonalities with an E power chord. You'll hear me accent the D chord to match the accent in the riff and on the final section of the riff I use a G, D/F#, G and an A.
Here's a project for you, find out why those chords work underneath the final part of our riff. I've just visualized it in my head but you guys have the transcriptions, so take a look and figure it out!