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Storm Stenvold >> Seattle Grunge Style >>
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Jam Track 1

Teacher: Soundgarden mixes classic Metal influences like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and classic Rock like Hendrix and Cream with a touch of punk and avant-garde styles.

Teacher: Soundgarden features Kim Thayil on lead guitar and Chris Cornell on guitars and vocals. And a great rhythm section of Matt Cameron on drums and Ben Sheppard on bass.

Teacher: Let's look at the first riff.

Lick 1

Teacher: A simple single note line. Keeping everything on the 6th string for maximum heaviness

Teacher: The 1/4 step bends in the phrase are reminiscent of Tony Iommi's guitar playing

Teacher: The same riff is then doubled by a guitar with distortion and wah. Wah just sounds like Seattle I think

Example 2

Teacher: A power chord riff is almost mandatory.

Lick 2

Teacher: Here the riff uses inversions. Meaning the root note is not the bass note. Notice the easy barre shapes. This allows us to play chord moves that we couldn't get to otherwise.

Teacher: Taking this further, Soundgarden often employs tunings other than standard. The reason for alternate tunings is to make things easier to play or to get chord voicings or tones you cant get otherwise.

Teacher: One of their favorites, and for grunge and alternative in general, is 'Dropped D' tuning. The 6th string is lowered a whole step from E to D providing even more grunge and low end. Here are the tuning notes for those that want to experiment.

Drop D tuning notes

Teacher: the chord at the end of the tuning notes is nice to check if you are in tune. It is a nice big D major

Teacher: Here is the same power chord riff in Drop D tuning.

Lick 3 (Drop D tuning)
Lick 3

Notice the easy finger shapes.

Teacher: Soundgarden uses all sorts of tunings. Dropping the E and A strings to D and G respectively. Even tuning all the strings to two notes like: E, E, B, B, B, B

Teacher: Here is how you could play the opening riff in Drop D.

Lick 4

Teacher: Moving a riff to Drop D is not hard. Simply move every note on the 6th string up two frets from standard tuning.

Teacher: Here is a repeating single note 'ostinato' figure on top. Also notice how the notes ring together slightly on the 1st and 2nd strings, for a typical Soundgarden dissonance.

Lick 5
Lick 5

Even something as simple as a single note has its place. I love Soundgarden's use of space and dynamics. Then they just hammer the heavy stuff home

Lick 6

Teacher: Here is our other looping track, moving to a pedaling D bass note.

Jam Track 2

Teacher: Here is our first riff on top of that

Lick 7

Teacher: Soundgarden makes good use of open strings. Then open D string rings under the moving notes along the 3rd strings. Gives almost a middle eastern effect. Zeppelinish

Teacher: To take advantage of this sound, learn your scales along a single string. Here are notes and pattern I am using on this riff.

D Mixolydian


Teacher: Play with this idea over the looping track. Here is another riff out of the same scale

Lick 8

Teacher: Make up your own. Again, this is idea used often.

Teacher: And try other patterns, same idea. Here is another riff using just one different note for a minor sound

Lick 9

Teacher: And if you did tune down to Drop D, try that as a drone

Teacher: The last riff used some bends and legato to contribute to that eastern sound, slides too.

Teacher: Here is the scale used, the Dorian Mode.

D Dorian

Teacher: The root note is highlighted on each occurence. This is important to find along the moving notes as the open string will make that note sound like 'home'.

Teacher: One last riff tonight.

Lick 10

Teacher: Here is the 'parent scale', the jazzy Lydian mode.

D Lydian

Teacher: Check out some Soundgarden albums and hear some great Seattle sounds.

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