Drop D Rock Riffs - Fundamental Changes
Drop D Rock Riffs
Drop D Rock Riffs
When it comes to rock guitar playing, tuning to Drop D (D A D G B E) is incredibly
satisfying. It provides a darker sound favoured by rock artists such as Rage
Against The Machine, Billy Talent and Avenged Sevenfold. In this lesson, I am
going to show you four Drop D riffs to add to your rock guitar playing arsenal. By
combining power chords, palm muting, a Hendrix style chord voicing and pulloffs, you can create some show-stopping ideas. Let’s get started!
Example 1 – Drop D Chunky Riff
One of the main advantages to using Drop D tuning is it allows access to play a
power chord shape using only one finger. In example one I have demonstrated
this power chord shape on the 6th, 5th and 4th strings using the D Blues scale (D
F G Ab A C). Watch the video and look at the notation to see where I add in palm
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Example 2 – Mixed Powerchords
Now that you have mastered power chords using one finger, you can add in the
traditional power chord shape from the 5th string root, and add a droning D bass
note. This creates a Metallica style rock rhythm pattern, very popular among
modern metal bands.
Example 3 – Hendrix Goes Drop D
Example three uses the “Hendrix” chord of D7#9 with some fills in the D Minor
Pentatonic scale (D F G A C). The double-stops seen in bar two will require some
attention to get them feel natural at the required speed of 90 beats per minute, so
as always make sure you start off slowly and only raise the tempo when you can
play each phrase correctly.
Example 4 – Pull-Offs
The final riff in today’s lesson uses pull-offs on multiple strings to create an
effective dark sounding rock riff. Use the slowed down version on YouTube to see
how I fret each note in this example.
My personal favourite modern rock band that favours Drop D tuning is Billy
Talent. Try listening to the album Billy Talent II, my favourite song being Red
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