Guitar Riffs or Pick Exercises?

By fearzero Guitar Lessons Comments Off on Guitar Riffs or Pick Exercises?

Guitar Riffs or Pick Exercises


Hey everyone, this week we tackle some really neat intros to songs.  These riffs not only sound great, but they are great exercises to master alternate picking.  Let’s get started.

Figure 1 is from the amazing Rush song “Spirit of The Radio.”

In this riff we have a combination of pull offs and picked notes.  The key here is to keep the pick moving, even when a pull off is occuring.  This makes for a more even sound.

Figure 2 is a riff made famous (Wasted Years) by Iron Maiden and written by their amazing guitarist Adrian Smith.  This riff is great for syncronizing hands and learning the E natural minor scale on a single string.  People always think of scales as having to be in a position but a great way to gain more mastery of the guitar is to practice scales in a linear fashion (on a single string) as well as in position.  Just keep the pick moving the entire time, down, up, and you are good to go.

Figure 3 is from ACDC and it is called “Thunderstruck.”  This one starts on an upstroke.  Seems counter intuitive, but the reality of 16 note patterns is that you want the stronger sounding attack to be on the beats.  Since this riff starts with a pickup on the 4th 16th note of bar 4 (which is a weak point), we pick that note with an upstroke.   Once the downbeat of 1 happens, we are back to alternate picking for the duration of the riff.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson, check back soon for more free lessons!


  • Share: