Making Legit Riffs by Trading Off

By Darren DeFranco


Hey guys,

In today’s lesson we’re going to look at an essential metal riff writing strategy. The idea here is that we’re going to tradeoff between chugging and playing scale tones. Remember, in metal it’s all about the guitar riff, so it’s our job to make it interesting. Trading off parts like this keeps the listener interested and creates this natural ebb and flow that draws people in. Bands like Bullet For My Valentine have used this technique to create some brutal riffs. Remember to come in on time and be careful not to overdo either the chugging or scale tones.

Rock on guys!


First, work to master the example riffs we showed you. Then, put on your creative caps and try to create ten riffs that integrate tradeoffs between chugging and scale passages. Remember, you can mix up the rhythm and timing as well as the keys, so get creative! We’d love to see what you come up with!


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