As anyone who has ever experimented with lots of pedals can attest, some of the coolest sounds are created by using two identical or similar effects together. Savvy pedal designers have exploited this phenomenon by developing stomp boxes that place two effects in the same box but provide extra flexibility and capabilities that two individual stomp boxes together can’t match. The Visual Sound Dual Tap Delay is a great example of this approach, harnessing the power of two independent delay units to produce effects that are greater than the sum of their parts.
As much as I love guitar parts built from fast and hyper-syncopated power-chord figures, some of the heaviest riffs I’ve ever heard are built from single-note patterns alone. Legendary metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeth, as well as relatively newer groups like Children of Bodom, At the Gates and In Flames, have used crushing single-note riffs as the centerpieces of their most powerful songs. In this month’s column, I’d like to focus on how to construct interesting, heavy and deceptively complex single-note riffs.
American music—blues, jazz, R&B, country and all the rest—were formed from the blending and reblending of African, Caribbean and European musical elements in the social cauldron of these United States. New Orleans, Louisiana—a.k.a. NOLA—was a crucial first point of cultural contact and cited mainly as the birthplace of jazz, but by the early Fifties, New Orleans was also home to a distinctive style of rhythm and blues. The difference was in the rhythm itself. Records coming out of the city began featuring an unusual blend of ingredients like tresillo, triplets, backbeat, two-beat and second line (or parade beat).
Peavey has become a remarkably diverse company since its ambitious beginnings in 1965, but throughout its history, founder Hartley Peavey never lost sight of his goal to offer musicians great bang for their buck. With the recent introduction of the Session solidbody guitar, Peavey has outdone itself by providing possibly the best value a guitarist can find for the Session’s under-$500 street price. While competition at the lower end of the price spectrum has become incredibly fierce in recent years, the Session’s distinct personality makes it stand out from the wannabe imitations and bare-bones contenders in its price range.