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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.

I'm a Staff Writer at Guitar World. I've played guitar for 15+ years and have a degree in Music Technology (Mixing & Mastering). I suppose that makes me qualified to talk to you about this stuff? I'm into all genres of music, but first and foremost I love all things rock and metal.