How To Play A Guitar Riff With Irregular Time Signature

Welcome Back! In this article I wanna show you a new way to learn guitar riffs.

Guitar riffs are very popular among guitar players; we always try to add them to songs, even if it
is just for one little section or as the main motif of a composition. Usually we play them with a bit
of distortion, if not a lot.

What I am about to teach you is something that open up my mind a long time ago and helped
me compose a whole new world of guitar riffs. It all began when I was 16 years old and started
listening to Dream Theater (you know where this is going to). I was amazed, I mean their music
was very different; complicated but yet pleasant. At the time I had no idea what it was, but by
reading more about them and learning to play their music, I understood that they were using
irregular time signatures, composing very awesome musical riffs.

We as musicians tend to use 4/4 in every composition we come up with; it just feels very natural
and it’s very danceable and enjoyable. But irregular time signatures also exist and they are
really cool so why not use them? Let’s grab a 7/8 as an example. It’s almost a 4/4, but not
really. A 7/8 has it’s own groove; it’s own color. Check out the following riff I made using a 7/8
time signature. Distortion welcomed!


Sounds awesome right? At the beginning it might be kinda hard to follow it but once you get into
it, you totally feel the uniqueness of a 7/8 time signature and it becomes very natural to you.
There are plenty of other irregular time signatures. Another one that is widely used is the 5/8 . A
5/8 almost feels like an incomplete 6/8 so it’s very easy to follow. Check out the next riff I made
using a 5/8 time signature:


And of course, you can combine different time signatures in one big riff, like the next one:


This one is particularly good because you setup the listener with a common and very familiar
4/4 and then suddenly you surprise them with a 7/8 . Try it out, drummers love it.
Well this is all for today! I hope you enjoyed this lesson and please remember to check out our
entire collection of videos at:

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