Sick Riffs: Myke Penney teaches you the low-string thunder of The Jailbirds' The Black River

Sick Riffs #59: If you're a fan of grunge, but also love a bit of classic rock, you may have just found your new favorite band in The Jailbirds, who blend fuzz-laden tones with monstrous riffs.

One such example is the title track from the band's 2019 EP The Black River, which boasts a particularly crunchy low-string riff. Fortunately for you, guitarist Myke Penney joins Guitar World to teach it to all you aspiring riffers.

Penney plays a 2003 Gibson Explorer '76 electric guitar fitted with Sheptone pickups, which runs through a Morris Custom XSii amp head and an '80s Marshall JMP. He uses a relatively simple pedalboard setup, with just an MXR Phase 95 [phaser] on the Marshall chain. Each amp powers 2wo Vox AD412 cabs, mic'd with Shure SM57 dynamic mics

"Coronavirus has affect The Jailbirds by swiftly and mercilessly canceling our shows and plans to finish our EP!" Penney says. "We had to cancel some of the best gigs we've ever gotten, major bummer. Not to mention the self-isolation and time away from loved ones! But we will use this time to work on our craft and come out of the gate swingin'!"

Support The Jailbirds

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.