Let's take a break from all the lead guitar we have been working on, and take a look at how to riff like Dimebag and how to get that Pantera style sound. This bad-ass riff contains chunky palm muting, pinched harmonics and massive powerchords!
Take the time to watch the riff being played by Dion in the video. As always with our riff studies, your first job is to listen! You may want to run through the video 5 or 6 times until you are able to hum along to the tune, thus ensuring you have the basic rhythms in your head before you start learning it properly.
The main theme of the riff uses the inverted powerchords we spoke about in the Trickbag section. We also are using palm muting with the right hand and a little bit of the blues scale on the low E string. Notice also how much vibrato we are adding to the whole riff, to really 'pull out' the aggressive metal sound. The chords and single notes we are using can be found in the fretboard diagrams.
As we hit the second bar we bring in a cool F powerchord and some lovely chugging riffs! Bear in mind that those 'x' notes on the tab mean that you hit the strings but mute them with the fretting hand. When you then hit the single notes you are using the 6th fret of the A string, which is the approach note (out of the scale), then the 5th fret D string and root note on the A string to resolve the lick. Check out those notes in the fretboard diagrams.
For the next part, we return to our main theme, remembering that the previous lick has run ver into the 3rd bar. We, therefore, lose the first chord in beat 1, and instead just let the single note play in its place. Also, we add a pinched harmonic to the 3rd fret of the E string.
In the final part of the riff, we see the usage of the tritone in a low, very metal, style. The tritone simply means you take notes that are 6 semitones apart (3 tones) and sounds very dissonant. However, this is a deliberate sound and really helps bring out the metal! Take a look at the fretboard diagrams for notes on the fretboard.
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