Experimental: Heavy Rock Riff

This one came to me a few months ago. I got a vocal scratch track to go with it, but it was really raw. :slightly_smiling_face: I know the guitar is really “fizzy” sounding, but it’s a Guitar Rig preset called “Dombag’s Delite1” which did some cool things I really liked. I thought this might really turn into a song, but wondering how powerful this riff is outside my own sphere of influence. What do you think?

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That’s probably a hard question to answer. Would I hear this and think “nobody should have ever turned this into a song”? Nope. Would I hear it and think “This riff is amazing!!!” Also no. But it’s definitely something that could turn into a song that would make me say “Hey, I really like this song.” But that is 100% dependent on how the rest of the song turns out. It’s definitely a good starting point for a song, now you just have to finish it.

this is coming from the guy who can’t write a song. It’s easier to see my own flaws coming through in other people than it is to see them in myself. One thing I always like to keep in mind when I’m writing a song and asking for feedback before it’s done is that nobody is going to listen to the song and listen for its potential. They will only hear what is actually there. You are the only person on the planet that has any sort of vision for the song, so if you don’t physically make it, nobody will hear it.

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Ha, thanks Boz! That BTR critique could have been written by Socrates himself. :joy: It was pretty amazing how the vocal and guitar riff came together on this, and while the vocal was very bluesy and gutsy, it was nearly incoherent and “scat”-like so I’m embarrassed to post it. It has been my intention to try to reproduce that feeling in a more coherent manner, but per the nature of musical inspiration it just hasn’t happened again under re-producible circumstances. I still think it’s worth a try though, and your encouragement may spur me on. :star_struck:

On a geeky musical note :smirk:, the whole thing felt cool to me based on the fact that the guitar was tuned to C# while the bass was in standard tuning. This created an interesting dynamic between the guitar chords and the bass line which never would have come to me under other circumstances. A music scholar might call it an inversion or something like that. I called it “magic”. :grin: The drum pattern was tweaked to at least have that crash cymbal hit at an appropriate moment, and that seemed to make all the difference in terms of the feel. But yes, there’s a lot more that could come from this with some more attention and time. God willing.

Agree with Boz… it’s going to depend on the rest of the song. At the moment it seems really simplistic… but sometimes ‘simple’ makes for an amazing platform. I was feeling Alice-in-Chains vibes from this… and they had a habit of making incredible songs from some really simple riffs.

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I should add that it’s not just fizzy sounding, it actually kind of hurts. It might do some cool things, but it also does some very painful things. Again, people aren’t going to look past the painful to try to hear the cool things it does. they will only hear what’s actually there.

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Hey Stan, I like the sound and the riff, it’s a good package and would work well for further development, obviously you’d have to do some processing to make it ‘radio ready’ but that’s incidental to the real task which is of course to add all of the other parts. And of course, those other parts will be the deciding factor in how successful this is.

Full speed ahead! Report back soon. :smile:

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Woohooo! Nice.

I dare you to add 1200 hz to the guitar bus at the very end of that single chain, boost it by 8-12db with a nice wide curve and repost it! :stuck_out_tongue:

Have you considered adding a parallel chain with an octave drop on those guitars then blending that into the original signal?

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Ah, well that’s a cool observation, and quite complimentary … thank you! I love AIC. Now I guess I’ll have to do the vocal like Layne Staley, RIP.

I didn’t notice the piercing guitar effect until I listened to it on the phone. On the DAW monitors and computer speakers it certainly has some fizz and buzz, but it wasn’t until listening on the phone that is sounded horrible and un-listenable. It’s that particular Guitar Rig preset, which is really cool to play to and with (obviously a nod to the Dimebag tone), but yeah that tone is something way out there. I’m sure I’d record with a different tone rather than “polishing a turd” as they say. That’s the cool thing about amp sims. What I did experience with that preset is this incredible sustain and vibe that made it a pleasure to play, and probably caused that whole feeling to come together in the first place.

One thing I might do is chain parallel amps and blend them to keep that feel, but have more heavy beefy tone from another chain coming through. The best of both worlds, as they say.

As the guitar is already tuned to C#, I think an octave drop would be pretty radical, but it’s certainly something I could try in the parallel chain.

Thanks Ingo! It feels like an accomplishment cementing a solid riff, but then there’s so much more work to be done to actually make it a song. I think is has potential.

Hi Stan. I think those are pretty catchy riffs that can develop into a full song. I would add variations here and there, or add a lead guitar part to go with the main riff. But, as boz pointed out, the guitar tone needs some work to make it easier on the ear.

If you still want to use guitar rig for the song, I suggest you ditch the cab simulation there and use 3rd parties Impulse Responses. I used guitar rig a lot in the past and was never really satisfied with the tone, until I started using IRs. Good luck!

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Hi This kinda riff is the kind I can get into. Not a thousand note a minute shred. ha ha Love the bass as well. Snare sounded a little dry?? I could sing some nasty shit to this. Guitar tone to me was good.
Like to here some awesome drum fills as well. I might just mess with speeding it up just slightly and see if the vibe changes??? This will be fun to follow if I can find the time??? Take care


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Yes, this clip I posted is just the basic tracks. I did vocals and a lead guitar part, but it all came together quite quickly and those elements were rough. I stripped it down just to get what I felt was usable and the intended to rebuild from there. At this point it may be all new tracks though.

Thanks Jonni! So you just power off the Control Room module and then add an IR with another plugin? Someone said they use ReaVerb for this purpose, I think.

Yeah it was a stock drum sound I set up quickly in EZ Drummer 2. Didn’t fiddle with it much at all, I was just trying to capture the ideas quickly. Fills would certainly be part of the finished drum sound.

The vocals that came out were really bluesy and gutsy. I loved the vibe, but it wasn’t proper singing. :smirk: I didn’t even have lyrics, I just did it improv and riffed whatever came out.

I did consider bringing the tempo up just a tad, especially if I rework everything. It’s at 95 bpm right now. The tempo might make more sense with proper bleusy gutsy vocals, to emphasize the gnarliness. :grin: But I don’t want it to drag either. Adjusting the speed to 1.1 (104.5 bpm) gets to a fairly perky finger-snapping pace.

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Yes, disable the control room, then either use the “Reflektor” reverb in GuitarRig or IR loader plugin of your choice. Just remember to max out the wet signal and turn off the dry if you are using Reflektor.

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Awesome, thank you!

I like the riff quite a bit. I like the sparseness and the space. After all, I am a big AC/DC and classic rock fan.

This song would be extremely easy to put a vocal to. Feaker (Paul) mentioned that he might want to do that. Has anyone ever done a contest on this site where forum members compete at creating a vocal for an instrumental? I think that could be a fun exercise/ contest. A few times I’ve found myself improving a vocal when someone throws up an instrumental on this site. I’m sure some others do the same.

My first listen to this was on my laptop speakers. I liked the way the bass came through. Gives it a powerful feel. Now I’m listening to it through my headphones and the bass is still “big”. You’ll probably have to tame the low end somewhat but I think the bass is giving it the feeling of power, so you want to make sure to maintain enough of that.

The guitar is extremely fizzy. It reminds me a bit of when I plug my Marshall combo directly into an interface or standalone recording machines. I think the bass is supporting the guitar very well, but I would definitely try to reduce the fizziness of the guitar.

As far as how good the song can be…Well, I’d say much of that will depend on the vocal melody and groove. If you’re unable to find a good vocal melody for the chorus I would consider altering the chord choices and patterns. Having said that, I think with the chord selection/ pattern you’ve laid down, the potential and probability is there for building a good song.


as it is…nothing too special (fizzy guitar really bad lol), BUT of course it can be built up maybe with strong vocal layering like an AIC thing

or use your imagination and hear a guy like this singing over it:

So i hear it more as something to be built up as more of a background for strong vocals

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That’s one thing I liked quite a bit too. Since I was playing the guitar riff with it tuned to C#, while playing in what would be an E progression in standard tuning, I had to play the bass line completely differently than I usually would. That brought up some really interesting playing dynamics, almost like an “inversion” or counterpoint of the notes being played. It definitely help to feel the groove of the track.

Some of that came immediately and spontaneously, but like I said it was really rough verbally in terms of just improv and scat vocals. I felt like there was something there, so now it’s just to turn it into something usable with full lyrics.

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I do admire Peter Steele. I like that low resonant voice he did, but he also had quite a range as your clip shows. Probably the lower range of my voice is the better part, but I gravitate to higher pitch voice lines and screaming per my Rob Halford complex. :blush: