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Category: Riffs and Songs (page 1 of 19)

The Trooper Guitar Tutorial

The Trooper Guitar Tutorial

The Trooper Guitar Tabs

Nate Richards here – let’s jump in to this The Trooper guitar tutorial with tabs linked below, as well as tabs on screen.

How to Play Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty


In this lesson, I’ll teach you how to play Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty – rhythm guitar parts. I’ve made a combination of lead and rhythm guitar parts so you can play smoothly through the recording and get the most out of your performance, which is also a great way to make a song happen if you are the sole guitarist in a band.

Tom Petty actually does some pretty impressive soloing at the end of this song – he totally shreds a few E minor pentatonic licks. He really is an underrated guitar player, and an amazing songwriter.

To play this song on guitar effectively, you’ll need to follow these tips:

  1. Follow the picking – as always. In the main riff, the upstrokes play the open E string and the downstrokes play the fretted notes. This way, you feel the beat where it should be, keep time with the band, and make nice heavy accents on the downbeats. The scale is a descending E Blues scale, and is a straight-forward rock guitar riff.
  2. The chorus catches you off guard. When you reach the chorus (Section C), you might get caught off guard. The verse (Section B) really doesn’t have much movement, and is comprised of mostly tied whole notes. So, the chord changes in the chorus really feel fast. Practice this section the most. You might even want to start there during your practice session so you get the feeling and are prepared mentally and physically for when that section arrives.
  3. watch out for the transitions into the interlude (Section D) and Outro (Section E). You are going to need to jump off of the main riff and into the 3rd fret C5 chord mid-riff. So, you won’t actually complete the main riff – you’ll move into the interlude and outro 2 notes early. Use your ears on this one.

– Nate Richards, Owner Richards Guitar Studio and Richards Rock Academy

Drill of Week #50 – Bach Electric Guitar Excerpt


This post is not a tutorial or lesson. The Bach electric guitar excerpt here is from Invention No. 4 in D minor, and I give you advise in the video about how to approach practicing and performing this piece. You must spend a lot of time diligently practicing the tabs linked above, and focus intently on fingerings and the picking “rules” I lay out for you in the video. If you work this piece the way I recommend, I guarantee that your picking and scale fluidity/control will improve dramatically.

In college at West Chester University, I spent my summers living alone and taking classes since I was a double major with a performance minor and needed to pile on the credits to reach my 190 required (Major in music education, Major in music theory / composition, minor in classical guitar performance). One summer (I believe it was 2002 or 2003), I had no internet and no cable – can you imagine that! I would take a morning class, do my assignments in the late morning / early afternoon, take an afternoon class, and complete assignments by dinner. I would go back to my dingy apartment, make a delectable home-cooked dinner, possibly enjoy a few beverages responsibly, and play the hell out of my guitar into the wee hours of the morning.

One night in early summer, I had an idea to follow up on a Bach piece I once learned on the electric guitar (anything by Bach sounds amazing on electric guitar, in my opinion). I found 2 two-part inventions by Bach in one of my music theory analysis anthologies – numbers 4 and 8. There are 15 two-part inventions, and they are essentially short piano pieces with only two melodies working together (one melody in the right hand and one in the left hand) and Bach makes these incredible pieces with only a two-part format. So, no huge chords, no overly-complex inter-weaving of 4 or more parts (such as a soprano, alto, tenor, bass structure) – just two independent single-line parts in harmony or in dialogue. This works perfectly for electric guitar duo. Naturally, I had to see where this could go.

So I learned both hands separately of number 4. Then number 8. I transcribed everything an octave higher than written, as the guitar is a transposing instrument sounding one octave lower than written. Then I decided to notate them on my music publishing software I was using (and still use) called Sibelius. I wrote out fingerings for every single note, picking when needed, and rhythmically notated each and every ornament/embellishment indicated in the score. For those of you familiar with classical music, you might appreciate the incredibly tedious detail-work of researching and interpreting the abundant variety of Baroque keyboard ornamentation and performance practices, and then notating the exact rhythms and pitches of each and every ornament in all 15 of the inventions. I found a book in the School of Music Library on keyboard ornamentation with old facsimile copies of some manual on how to perform each ornament, made some copies, and used them as reference when I came across an ornament I was not familiar with. Yup – I am REALLY persistent.

I had two pieces completed, so I walked to Taylor’s Music Store on the main drag in West Chester, bought a cheap Schirmer copy of the complete 15 Two-Part Inventions, and decided that I would keep going down this rabbit hole. I started from page 1, learned each hand as a separate guitar part, and marked up my score pretty good with notes and fingerings, etc. I got into a groove of learning, practicing, and notating – rinse and repeat. I work best and produce the most content between the hours of 8:00pm and 1:00am – I’m a night owl for sure, and always have been. I would usually stop playing at around 10:00pm, and do the grunt computer work of notating from 10:00 until about 12:00-1:00am, depending on how much I had transcribed that day.

I wouldn’t make a final written draft until I could play the piece in tempo, since many times fingerings will change based on how fast or slow a passage is performed. So, I couldn’t actually write anything down until I could play it perfectly. I kid you not, in those 3 months my technique EXPLODED into a whole new dimension.  I had complete control over my scales, arpeggios, notes on the fretboard, key signatures, intervals, triads, altering fingerings in real-time, picking fluently across strings with no hesitation or excess noise, stamina, synchronization, and so on.

After 3 months, I had completed well over 100 pages (I think about 125 due to the 4-line staff of guitar notation and tab for 2 guitars, and another 20 pages when, after completed the 15 inventions, I completed Solfeggietto by C.P.E. Bach and Caprice No. 5 by Paganini – coming soon to the blog), with a fingering for every single note, notated ornaments for every ornament in the score, picking, and alternate passages when necessary (ossia measures).

THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN DO IF YOU TURN OFF YOUR PHONE, COMPUTER, TV, AND VIDEO GAMES. This was definitely one of the most productive summers of my life, although each summer at WCU was very productive with practicing and preparing for the next semester of performances. Now I can say that I understand how the classical masters accomplished so much in their lives – they didn’t have as many distractions and they were able to focus like a laser on their craft.

That’s the story. One of my prouder moments as a guitar-content-creator.

– Nate Richards

Owner, Richards Guitar Studio and Richards Rock Academy, Aston PA

Your Betrayal Guitar Lesson and Guitar Cover

CLICK HERE for Tabs!

In this post, we’ll go through a Your Betrayal guitar lesson and guitar cover by Bullet For My Valentine. This song is a great starting point for someone who is an intermediate player, and wants to push into heavier music. The guitar riffs are fast, and sometimes a bit complicated, but they are straight-forward enough to grasp mentally so that you can focus on the technique, tone, rhythm, and ultimately a guitar cover performance.

A few tips:

  1. Listen carefully to your articulation, tone, and rests. This song is TIGHT rhythmically. This means that your articulations (picking, palm muting, hammer ons and pull offs, slides, etc) – the manner in which you play the notes – needs to be very precise and clean, yet at the same time aggressive and intentional.  The pal muted notes and accented chords should have a stark contrast between them without any blurred lines. Listen to the tone of your guitar, especially during palm muting, and really dial in your sound. Rests should be tight, rhythmic cut-offs that leave the listener hanging.
  2. Pull-offs in the main lead – part C – should be pulled DOWN towards the fretboard and adjacent string for a quality open-string tone. Sometimes, the pull-offs in section C are not executed in the right angle, and the guitarist loses the effect of the pull off. Basically, you hear the fretted notes but not the pull offs. Be sure your tip joints are CURVED and “bite” at the string. If your tip joints are flat, you will lose leverage and the pull off will be weak and the open string will be essentially unheard.
  3. Diligently practice section I (as in, “Irene”), as it is a great example of varying articulations and rests to create interest and contrast on a single power chord.

Check out the Your Betrayal GUITAR COVER here!

Nate Richards is the owner of Richards Guitar Studio and Richards Rock Academy in Aston, PA.

How to Play Since U Been Gone on Guitar


In this lesson, I show you how to play Since U Been Gone on guitar, a pop-rock hit by Kelly Clarkson. This is a classic pop-rock song, with a surprisingly heavy guitar riff. Some of the chords in the riff are reminiscent of the legendary intro in the Master of Puppets opening track, “Battery.” Yes, that’s right. I just compared a Kelly Clarkson song to an old-school Metallica song.

Here are a few tips to help you learn this song:

  1. Practice counting eighth notes – “One and Two and Three and Four and” – in the verse riff (section B of the tabs). When there are a lot of repeated notes, it is even more important that you count, as you’re going to want to know when the chords change. For example, the verse riff in Since U Been Gone has 12 G chords, then 3 Am, then 12 E5 etc. Rather than counting these high numbers, it is best to know on which count does the chord change. So, the first chord changes on beat 3, then the next on “4 and.” So, all you need to do is count eighth notes and change chords on the correct count. This is a much easier and effective approach than a kind of random counting of sheer number of chords.
  2. Use rest strokes with the pick to avoid hitting too many strings. A rest stroke is when the pick cuts and lands into an adjacent string. For example, pick the low E string and land the pick on the A string, and it “rests” on the A string, which stops the pick in place. Your articulation and tone will be much better this way, and the overall sound will be cleaner.
  3. Try the stretched fingerings, and only do the optional ones if you become too sore.  Go for the challenge – the advanced version with the stretched-out chords in the chorus. You got this! Lower that thumb on the neck, reach back with that index finger and open up the hand. Go for it!

Richards Guitar Studio offers guitar lessons in Aston, PA.

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