Let's take a step away from the lead playing and tackle a typical Steve Lukather style rhythm part. Like a lot of more progressive music of the day, this track modulates between a complex 19/8 time signature to a more standard 4/4! It's a lot of fun to learn and a cool challenge!
This cool rhythm track uses a variety of time signatures to achieve that classic prog rock style sound. In this section, we will take you through all the riffs, including working out how to play in crazy time signatures like this! Your first task is simply to listen, so play the entire song a few times before starting to tackle the lessons. When you've done that, move onto the next lesson.
To kick-off, we will look at the first half of this riff. The riff is all based around the key of E minor, and predominantly uses the E blues scale as well as the odd chromatic note. The scale shapes can be found in the fretboard diagrams.
This riff is in a 17/8 time signature... which doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds! Remember that the number on top of the fraction means 'how many' and the number on the bottom of the fraction means 'of what?'. So 17/8 means you play 17, 8th notes. As Ollie makes clear, you're not expected to count through this riff! The best practice is to break it down as shown and get the melody in your head, just as you would with most solos.
To complete the riff we will tackle the second section, which once again uses the same notes as shown in the last lesson. As Ollie suggests, try to drill the rhythm and melody into your head rather than worry too much about being to count through the bizarre time signature. Use the drum looper set at around 70 or 80BPM to really master the riff.
The next riff pulls us straight back into a normal 4/4/ time signature and is the riff that the solo will eventually be over. This riff uses a combination of the E minor pentatonic scale shapes 4 & 5, a few Dorian notes plus a Dsus4, D major, Csus2 and C major... so lots going on! The scales and chords can be found in the fretboard diagrams.
Our final riff is entirely chord-based and a bit of respite from the rest of this intense tune! We are simply using the chords: Esus2, Eadd9, Dsus2 & C#m7. The chords are as shown in the fretboard diagrams and you play through this sequence 4 times round.
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