How to Create Chordal Riffs
Creating Chordal Riffs
When you first hear a catchy lick or riff, it may sound so good that you expect it to be a difficult lead technique requiring hours of practice to master. But many of the best licks and riffs are just made up of bits and pieces of easy chord shapes. Hereâ€™s how to use these shapes so you can come up with your own ear-catching riffs.
Deconstruct Chord Shapes
When you look at a simple D chord, you may not see all the potential within that three-fingered shape, but you can find countless great riffs within this chordâ€”the Beatles crafted the instantly recognizable lines to â€śNorwegian Woodâ€ť and â€śHere Comes the Sunâ€ť based on the first-position D chord. Keep this shape rooted in your mind while you explore Example 1, which first shows a D chord, and then shows shapes you can access from this position by moving around just one finger at a time. Many of these shapes have slightly different namesâ€”for instance, the first one to the right of the D chord is a Dsus4. But weâ€™re not worried about the names here; weâ€™re more interested in how we can create interesting-sounding parts by embellishing a chord shape. Strum through each one and practice switching between them.
Excerpted from Acoustic Rock Basics