Let's take a step away from the lead playing and tackle a typical Steve Lukather style rhythm part. Like a lot of more progressive music of the day, this track modulates between a complex 19/8 time signature to a more standard 4/4! It's a lot of fun to learn and a cool challenge!
This cool rhythm track uses a variety of time signatures to achieve that classic prog rock style sound. In this section we will take you through all the riffs, including working out how to play in crazy time signatures like this! Your first task is simply to listen, so play the entire song round a few times before starting to tackle the lessons. When you've done that, move onto the next lesson.
To kick off we will look at the first half of this riff. The riff is all based around the key of E minor, and predominantly uses the E blues scale as well as the odd chromatic note. Here are those scale shapes:
This riff is in a 17/8 time signature... which doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds! Remember that the number on top of the fraction means 'how many' and the number on the bottom of the fraction means 'of what?'. So 17/8 means you play 17, 8th notes. As Ollie makes clear, you're not expected to count through this riff! Te best practice is to break it down as shown and get the melody in your head, just as you would with most solos.
, so highlight that part in the full tab below and use the slow down feature to really make sure you are getting the technique perfect. Have fun!
To complete the riff we will tackle the second section, which once again uses the same notes as shown in the last lesson. As Ollie suggests, try to drill the rhythm and melody in to your head rather than worry too much about being to count through the bizarre time signature. Use the drum looper set at around 70 or 80BPM to really master the riff.
, so highlight that part in the full tab below and use the slow down feature to really make sure you are getting the technique perfect. Remember this riff is played through 4 times in all before moving onto the next section. Have fun!
The next riff pulls us straight back into a normal 4/4/ time signature, and is the riff that the solo will eventually be over. This riff uses a combination of the E minor pentatonic scale shapes 4 & 5, a few dorian notes plus a Dsus4, D major, Csus2 and C major... so lots going on! Here are those scales and chords:
Check out the full tab below and use the slow down feature to really make sure you are getting the technique perfect. , so highlight and loop that section. Have fun!
Our final riff is entirely chord based and a bit of respite from the rest of this intense tune! We are simply using the chords: Esus2, Eadd9, Dsus2 & C#m7. The chords are as shown below and you play through this sequence 4 times round.
We can now try and bring this entire tune together, so check out the full tab below and use the slow down feature to really make sure you are getting the technique perfect. Have fun!
When you are ready, the backing track and full solo are here to play along to. It is worth trying to play with just the backing track, as you will not be 'hiding' behind the recorded guitar part; it's all up to you to make it sound awesome!