Sick Riffs: Tom Peters teaches you a math-rock finger-twister - Alpha Male Tea Party’s Happy As Larry, Larry Is Dead

Sick Riffs #10: As a self-described “(fucking) loud instrumental band”, Alpha Male Tea Party are one of the UK’s most beloved math-post-whatever-rock outfits - and for today’s playthrough, we are truly fortunate to have guitarist and sonic architect Tom Peters onboard to show us the right way to play one of the band’s most-covered tracks: Happy As Larry, Larry Is Dead.

This one’s a bit of a brain-teaser, since Peters used the riff as an opportunity to challenge himself to use as much of the fretboard as he possibly could - and as anyone who attempts this math-rock monster can attest, he certainly succeeded.

Tone-wise, you’ll want to employ liberal use of a pitch-shifter for these phrases - Peters uses an Electro-Harmonix Micro POG, along with a Fender Classic Player Triple Tele, running through Boss ES-8 and Paul Cochrane Tim pedals, into Victory Sheriff 44 and Soldano Astroverb 16 amps.

At the end of the video, he even shares a peek at his formidable rig, located at Liverpool, UK’s Trapdoor Studios (opens in new tab), which has sadly fallen upon hard times as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Since the tighter social measures have come in, I've taken the decision to close my studio,” explains Peters.

“I had a long hard think about my responsibilities and decided that it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. It means my income stream has completely stopped for now – thankfully, I'm in a position where it won't hurt me as much as it could, so I'm hoping I can ride out the storm and open again once all this is over. In the meantime, I'm going to try and do as much work as I can from home.

“It's also heavily putting the brakes on the next Alpha Male Tea Party album release. We were on course to start tracking next month, but frustratingly we'll have to hold tight on that.

“In light of everything, these are fairly minor issues. The primary concern right now is staying safe and not putting anyone and our NHS at risk. If I lose out on a couple of months of work but it means I don't get sick and get others sick as well, it's a sacrifice worth making. That may not be as easy for some people, of course, but for me it's the right course of action.”

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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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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar (opens in new tab), Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as the best part of 20 years performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe (opens in new tab).