Coheed and Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez teaches you the tricks behind his best-known tracks in latest Gibson Riff Lords episode

Claudio Sanchez
(Image credit: Gibson TV/YouTube)

Gibson has released the latest installment of its Riff Lords series, this time putting the spotlight on Coheed and Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez.

Armed with a white Gibson Explorer, the prog-rock maestro spends the 47-minute episode breaking down an array of tracks he wrote for the band – including The Dark Sentencer, No World for Tomorrow, Everything Evil and more – and offers up a series of tasty tidbits for those looking to emulate his tone and feel.

He also showcases the first “song” he ever wrote, which he once pieced together using nothing but open strings. It doesn’t sound like much, though truth be told no-one's first song ever does, does it? 

It’s an episode of Riff Lords featuring Claudio Sanchez, so of course there’s a whole load of tasty electric guitar skills to unpack, though equally impressive is the insight we get into his compositional process and approach to writing on the guitar, which focuses on imagination and creativity.

Ever the six-string storyteller, Sanchez first breaks down The Dark Sentencer from 2018’s The Unheavenly Creature and No World For Tomorrow from 2007’s album of the same name. Fans of Coheed will be well-accustomed to Sanchez’s note-skipping riff style, which appears throughout the episode.

A deep-dive into Everything Evil follows a run-through of Fuel For The Feeding End, with the former showcasing another aspect of Sanchez’s playing style – his open-string, hammer-on and pull-off approach to riffing.

Last but not least is a note-by-note tutorial of Coheed and Cambria’s best-known fan favorite Welcome Home, which puts on display yet another skill from Sanchez’s six-string arsenal by way of his chordal raking-slash-sweeping technique. 

And, as a bit of lasting advice for those who have watched to the end of the video, Sanchez breaks down his approach to writing, saying, “What’s really important is having an imagination, and creating however you see fit.

“I don’t think you need to learn all the rules to create,” he continued, before playing his open-string masterpiece. “My dad had a guitar sitting in the closet and I was just like, ‘I’m going to play guitar.’

“I grabbed it and I remember being so excited about it that I called my friend who I wanted to be in a band with and I was like, ‘Check it out, I wrote our first song.’ That was it. That’s how I started. I started writing songs.

“That was what I wanted to do, and it didn’t matter how I was going to get there. I was just going to do it. That’s all you have to do.”

Earlier this year, Sanchez's Coheed and Cambria dropped Shoulders, their first new release in almost three years.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.