Sick Riffs: Chad Peck teaches you the shoegazey, whammy bar-heavy lines of Kestrels' It's a Secret

Sick Riffs #138: Kestrels' latest album Dream or Don't Dream leaves no shortage of killer guitar tones to digest. From the stomping fuzz-driven hook of Vanishing Point to the upbeat melodies of Feels Like the End, this wondrously eclectic collection of shoegaze rock will have you entranced throughout.

Utilizing a beautifully dialed clean tone overlaid with pan-heavy sound design, It's a Secret – one of the record's standout cuts – embeds itself in your head right from the off.

Chad Peck – guitarist for the Halifax, Nova Scotia trio – is your teacher in today's episode of Sick Riffs, as he shows you how to play It's a Secret in full.

To add character to the track's diverse array of chords, you'll be using your whammy bar heavily. Though don't worry: if you don't have one, it's not essential. Oh, and dig out your guitar tuner, as this one's in the unusual alternate tuning of D-A-D-E-A-C#.

Peck plays a vintage Fender '65 Jazzmaster electric guitar through a plethora of effects, including three fuzz pedals: a Keeley Loomer, a Union Tube and Transistor Tsar Bomba and a Wren and Cuff J Mascis Garbage Face. Other stompboxes in his signal chain include a Chase Bliss Mood delay/looper pedal and a Eventide H9 Max multi-effects.

“Coronavirus squashed all of our touring plans,” Peck says. “There was a brief moment when it seemed like we'd get to do a hometown release show, but it didn't happen. It was disheartening to not play this record live (yet), but better safe than sorry! 

“One positive benefit has been time to demo the follow-up to Dream or Don't Dream in my home studio. It's sounding pretty good so far. The idle time has led to some impulse gear purchases which are shaping the sound of the new record, some of which are in this video.”

Support Kestrels

Sick Riffs is a Guitar World video series designed to help guitarists affected by the coronavirus. Self-isolating players around the world have each filmed a lesson where they teach you one of their own guitar riffs, up close and personal. If you dig the lesson, we encourage you to buy music and merch from the artist or stream their music.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.