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An Interesting Exercise

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Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 12
Topic starter  

At the end of my guitar lesson last night, my teacher pulled out a tape.
He said that the tape consisted of 3 greatest ever riffs/licks by the greatest guitarist in the world.
I was not allowed to listen to this tape.
My job was to come back next week and have learnt the 3 best riffs in the world and play it to him.

A little history.
I have played 6/12 string acoustic for about 18 years as a bit of fun (mainly 'camp fire' sing-a-long stuff)
A few months ago I decided I wanted to learn more so bought a new guitar and have been having lessons to improve my solo work.

So, having only had a few lessons, we have been practicing pentatonic scales etc, so I guess these 3 riffs have to be confined as such.

I have figured out a few ways to tackle this, but would be interested to hear what anyone else would do.
Also, it is very probable that other beginners (at a similar standard) would find this exercise useful and would also be good to see what they come up with.

Hopefully I will for-fill this ‘test' with distinction, if so I will post the riffs a week later…


Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 879

he said by "the greatest guitarist" - not "guitarists" yeah?

did out your Hendrix. I feel a little Hendrix based lesson coming on next week....


Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

You first move them from tape to digital format so that you can use them ;)

After that, i'd tackle it by playing them a couple of times to get the melody in my head.

Now, I'd pick up my guitar and I'd try and find the first note. Once I got that, I'd listen to the riff again and hear the melody to make sure it was still in my head.

Now I'd play as much of the melody as I could.

I'd write down what I did. Check it against the riff, and repeat.

Transcribing is great training. It really works out all the musical muscles. You have to hear, you have to read, you have to write, you have to play ... good stuff!

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST

Estimable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 141

100 Greatest 'Rock' Guitar Solos

Good luck.....and let it rock!!!!

Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459

Well if they truly are of the greatest riff variety I would think that when you hear them they would be instantly recognizable...with that said KP has given you the right advice as to how to figure them out yourself after that.

Just reread your post and I missed that you couldn't listen to them..I assume that meant you couldn't listen to them at the lesson

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 418

Well, my guess is that the tape is blank - it's just the teacher's device to make you compose three great riffs.

(The great thing about this tape is that he can use it with all his students, regardless of their style or musical preferences.)

Next week's lesson will be "the best riffs are YOUR OWN riffs"....

Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 12
Topic starter  

The tape was just the 1st thing he picked up, it could have been a CD anything....

I'd guess its his way of sparking the creativity of his students

Yes It was The Greatest Guitarist.
No, I would NEVER be allowed to listen to the tape.