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Online Rock Guitar Lessons
December 18, 2006 11:21 PM   Subscribe

The Riff-O-Matic will help you learn to play rock & roll guitar, or at the very least, will help you play several of the most famous riffs in rock & roll history. Using a combination of sheet music, tablature notation & embedded (flash) audio & (windowsmedia) video, the site will get you up & playing the intro to Stairway to Heaven in the guitar store in no time. If you don't have time to learn whole songs, there's even an abridged list of the 10 Greatest Rock Riffs of All Time.
posted by jonson (35 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
heh, I'm mining this same seam for my hobby software project. . .

It's a damn shame that people spend hours playing a fake Guitar Hero when they could be actually getting into a real instrument.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:50 PM on December 18, 2006


The problem is that instead of taking you step-by-step, they throw every single thing at you at once and make it overly intimidating. This is pretty much for people who already know how to play.
posted by GavinR at 12:07 AM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Stairway to Heaven is a sacred American tradition... it's meant to be mangled past the 16th note. It's a gift that Jimmy Page has given to us all.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:46 AM on December 19, 2006


Heywood, in my more cynical moments I've thought the same about Guitar Hero, but after talking to a number of friends who play GH a lot more than I do I cannot dis the Guitar Hero. A good number of them have been so inspired by the game they're getting back into instruments they've put down for years or are heading to pawn shops to pick up one for the first time. Yeah, the time could be more constructively spent, but the overall effect I've seen is a net positive in terms of getting people into music.
posted by barnacles at 12:46 AM on December 19, 2006


That guy's "Back in Black" is way off in the video.
posted by bardic at 1:06 AM on December 19, 2006


"riiff-o-matic"

When I read anything "o-matic" I think ease. I think robots doing something I can not. This link is horrible. Flagged.
posted by sharksandwich at 1:07 AM on December 19, 2006


It's a damn shame that people spend hours playing a fake Guitar Hero

Do not diss the mighty Guitar Hero (or, for me, the best PC port - I haven't played the actual console game)! Sweet lord it's big fun (particularly if you can get all the songs from Guitar Hero 1 and 2, exported in a format FretsOnFire can read, from your friendly local p2p site). Woo followed by yeah!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:08 AM on December 19, 2006


"riiff-o-matic"

When I read anything "o-matic" I think ease. I think robots doing something I can not. This link is horrible. Flagged.
posted by sharksandwich at 4:07 AM EST on December 19


"More like Shit-Sandwich."
posted by bardic at 2:58 AM on December 19, 2006 [3 favorites]


How can they have the first guitar solo from "Comfortably Numb" but not the second? What's even the point?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:05 AM on December 19, 2006


Cool, I never could figure out "Smoke on the Water"

Seriously, combine tab with audio, well you can do that on your own. If they could highlight the tab and notes in time with the music, now that would be helpful.

My favorite tab site - loads o Sleater Kinney
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 3:18 AM on December 19, 2006


It's a damn shame that people spend hours playing a fake Guitar Hero when they could be actually getting into a real instrument.

Riiight. That's what the world needs: more guitarists. You might as well complain about people playing Need for Speed or SimCity. Hey, why don't you become a real illegal street racer? Or, why don't you become a real city planner. It's a game. Games allow us (among other things) to that which we would otherwise be unable to do.

Playing guitar is hard. Playing guitar hero is easy. Well, until you get to the hard level, anyway. Furthermore, playing GH is actually really good for you if you do play guitar. It allows you to work on your dexterity and rhythm for hours on end without tearing your fingertips apart. It also forces you to use your pinky finger.
posted by jaded at 4:23 AM on December 19, 2006


Where's Keef? I call shenanigans.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:40 AM on December 19, 2006


Cool, I never could figure out "Smoke on the Water"

Heh. This stuff is pretty fun but not really very useful. I spent the first ten years of my guitar playing life (ages 9-19) just playing shit like this and not learning how to play through a whole song. In order to start playing in a band, I pretty much had to unlearn all this guitar hero/music store showoff crap, and learn how to structure a song and play through it. Although I managed to become a pretty fine guitarist, I still will never play a solo as I have a mental/emotional block about it.

Weird.
posted by psmealey at 4:46 AM on December 19, 2006


Btw, are tabs back up these days? I was searching through tab crawler and a few places about a month ago, and all my favorite tabs were down. Was this a short-term thing, or is it that it's impossible for any kind of legislation to keep this kind of thing off the 'net?
posted by psmealey at 5:02 AM on December 19, 2006


So What constitutes a 'riff'? 5 notes? Six? Is a melody a riff? Stairway is more melody than riff. What about the opening notes to Aqualung? Da da da dee dum dum...
posted by Gungho at 5:10 AM on December 19, 2006


psmealey, I find that interesting. You don't play solos, or just "note-for-note" solos?

Most guitarists talk about the players that influenced and inspired them, and playing something "just like" your role model is a typical phase most players go through. You learn a lot of technique that way, but to develop your own style, you have to move past that point.

Good artists borrow, great artists steal.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:14 AM on December 19, 2006


Where's Keef? I call shenanigans.

My thoughts exactly.... Sweet Child O Mine? Enter Sandman?
posted by peewinkle at 5:27 AM on December 19, 2006


Gungho, I actually said to myself that the "Proud Mary" tab wasn't a riff, technically, chords with some relatively tricky shenanigans thrown in.

"Iron Man"? That's a definite fucking riff.

Kind of an interesting divide among guitarists I think. The Beatles? Definitely worked out chord progressions before anything else, usually, probably because lots of the song-writing was done on piano. The Stones? More interested in riffage (and yeah, please point out to me the various exceptions that prove the rule).

When I used to try and write songs, I would come up with lyrics and chord progressions, and then be envious of the dudes who just came up with the easiest, most basic riffs. Maybe it worked both ways on ocassion, but I think those guys got laid more after the death of folk music.
posted by bardic at 5:29 AM on December 19, 2006


(Then the "Sweet Child of Mine" lick -- a lick being something between a riff and a chord progression -- that's a riff, but it's arpeggiated, which is a fancy word for playing single notes out of a pretty straight-forward and, dare I say it, kick-ass chord progression.

It's cool though. After guitar-rock died I've been listening to nothing but Merzbow and Hillary Duff, so suck it hatas.)
posted by bardic at 5:34 AM on December 19, 2006


psmealey, I find that interesting. You don't play solos, or just "note-for-note" solos?

When I get to the break in a song, I mostly play a lot of arpeggiated chords and economized riffs up the neck with open string voicings, but I don't do any two-string bending, hammer-on type stuff. I can play note for note solos if I'm doing a cover of a Hendrix, Clapton or AC/DC tune, but for whatever reason, I just can't make it happen in my own songs. Feels like falling down the stairs when I try, so I don't.

Similar thing happened when I took French. I took 6 years of Spanish in middle school and high school and scored very high on both the achievement test and the AP exam. But, when I went to college, I started taking French (ended up majoring in it), and went there to live for three years. I speak French fluently, and can't speak a word of Spanish anymore.

I wonder if they two phenomena are related (I must have a FIFO brain when it comes to storage).
posted by psmealey at 5:49 AM on December 19, 2006


A riff is a stylized repetition notes, usually based off of one chord. The opener to "Whole Lotta Love" is a perfect example of that kind of thing. Also, pretty much everything Keith Richards ever did can be classified as a riff. It's just that he used some pretty funky tunings on his guitar to get to some of his more interesting ones (like the riff on "Happy").
posted by psmealey at 5:52 AM on December 19, 2006


You might as well complain about people playing Need for Speed or SimCity. Hey, why don't you become a real illegal street racer? Or, why don't you become a real city planner

I don't know about that. When Super Mario Brothers came out, I wasted a lot of time in the living room, getting fat and pasty-skinned, when I could have been outside stomping on turtles for real.

I won't even tell you what Dig Dug did to my skills with a bicycle pump and neighborhood pets. Right out the window, that's for sure.
posted by sourwookie at 6:04 AM on December 19, 2006


That's what the world needs: more guitarists.

Reminds me of a description of Austin. "Dammit, they still get of the plane with their hats and their Strats."
posted by eriko at 6:25 AM on December 19, 2006


Your favorite riff ... nah, too easy.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:29 AM on December 19, 2006


Actually, as a 100% "by-ear" player who's too cheap to pay for lessons, this could be a handy learning tool.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:43 AM on December 19, 2006


Re: Guitar Hero - I'm a guitar teacher and I've had at least 3 new students who started playing Guitar Hero and decided they wanted to learn the real thing. And they've got a much broader range of songs they want to learn than most kids their age. (Downside: explaining that it's going to be a while before they're ready to tackle YYZ.)

Re: useful ways to use computers to learn music - don't bother with this site. Download PowerTab which shows you tab, standard notation, and plays it for you in MIDI at whatever speed you're ready for. Just about any song you'd want to learn available if you know how to use Google.
posted by straight at 8:37 AM on December 19, 2006


I can’t play Guitar Hero. I get to “My Generation” and I destroy the console.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:00 AM on December 19, 2006


Why is the embedded video trying to install unknown plugins just to play an mpg? It looks like I need some activex crap, which my Firefox no speaky.

Looks like it could be cool after I've manually DL's the clips.

And speaking of Austin...No Paul Leary??!!
posted by dozo at 9:29 AM on December 19, 2006


Just wait until the guys at Guitar Center get a load of me now!
posted by malocchio at 10:23 AM on December 19, 2006


kingfisher, thanks for that S-K link. I think I might dust off the old axe and have a go at some of those tonight.
posted by SBMike at 11:43 AM on December 19, 2006


Just wait until the guys at Guitar Center get a load of me now!

Mygod. It's all I can do to hustle in there, grab a patch cord & scramble out witout asploding. WTF is it with lously players trying to empress chain-store employees? It's relentless.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:45 PM on December 19, 2006


I think it's retaliation for the level of customer service, particularly in the guitar department. (The recording and keyboard guys are generally pretty good to me, though, maybe because that's more my element.)

At least I have the courtesy to turn way down, even when I'm looking at amps. I know I suck, I don't need for you to know as well.
posted by malocchio at 1:03 PM on December 19, 2006


You guys shouldn't be at Guitar Center anyway.

Friendly Local Music Store 4evah!
posted by sourwookie at 1:11 PM on December 19, 2006


Friendly Local Music Store 4evah!

Funny... as much as I agree with that sentiment, it doesn't pertain to two stores I can think of in specific: American Music in Seattle and Matt Umanov's in Greenwich Village. In both of those places I have been roundly ignored by the "sales" staff (guess you have to be a recognizable start to get service) after trying to get someone's attention for nearly 15 minutes. I mean not even a hello. At least at Sam Ash and Guitar Center they treat everyone more or less the same. /OT rant
posted by psmealey at 2:43 PM on December 19, 2006


"I've been a guitar owner for 20 years now. As required by law, the first ten of those years were spent learning Van Halen intros while high."

Truer words were never spoken.
posted by arto at 9:03 PM on December 19, 2006


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