Sick Riffs: Jacob Duarte teaches you the grungy drop-tuned riffs of Narrow Head's Hard to Swallow

Sick Riffs #129: Hailing from the Texan underground rock scene, five-piece Narrow Head have gained a considerable following during their seven years in the game, largely for their open-hearted approach to songwriting and their killer riff-writing ability.

The group's sophomore release, 2020's 12th House Rock, channels '90s alt and hard rock with its cornucopia of gain-driven monolithic riffs, and solidifies their position as one of modern rock's most promising bands.

Guitarist Jacob Duarte joins us today to teach you how to play the album's fifth track, Hard to Swallow. This one's tuned to drop C#, although you'll also need to tune the B string down even further to G#. This allows the three highest strings to ring out harmonically together. 

He plays a Gibson SG standard electric guitar through a Music man HD 150 amp, a Boss DS-1 distortion pedal and an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff fuzz pedal.

“Coronavirus has affected me in many ways,” Duarte says. “I feel less lazy than I was before. Maybe it's because I'm forced to be bored and forced to find ways to entertain myself and be productive. It's helped me with writing a lot and figuring out what's going on in my head. So there's some positives but overall corona sucks.”

Support Narrow Head

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.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

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.