Rhythm (X) scratches in rock and metal riffs

Discussion in 'Music, Theory, Tab and Such' started by Paul1985, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Paul1985

    Paul1985 Squier-Meister

    Jun 25, 2019
    this is an area of my playing that is really really lacking , I usually just miss them out
    But obviously you loose the feel of how it should be.

    So I am starting to practice them

    In the tab below is what I guess could be considered an easy one
    In bar 19 I will play the first scratch by holding my 3rd finger lightly over the A and D string as the 4th finger
    Is positioned nicely to take care of those strings.

    For the second scratch I have been using the 3rd finger and just releasing the pressure off the D and G string

    In bar 21 we have a similar idea but with only a scratch on the A

    Am I approaching playing this the right way ? It has always seemed to me I am having to think about two things at once so I have mostly avoided it. A riff without scratching that I could play with no trouble at all suddenly becomes extremely complex when having to add in that extra percussive scratch .

    I tend to play more surgically , than strumming wildly .

    I am assuming if I practice riffs /songs like this the scratching will get easier whichever rhythmic pattern or adjacent strings they are on. I really need to sort this as it is a major handicap in my playing .

    As always is it best to start slow and be accurate with each scratch played precisely on the prescribed strings or go for a looser approach as long as there’s a scratch sound there.

    The riffs are from ‘ pour some sugar on me ‘ as I like Def Leppard and it seems a good way to practice this technique that is holding me back .

    Thanks in advance .....Paul
  2. otma

    otma Squier-holic

    Nov 4, 2012
    Owen, Wisconsin
    I'm not really sure what you mean by scratching. Is it something like the guitar in this track I recorded?


    Skip ahead to 4:30 for the start of the guitar riff.
  3. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-holic

    Jul 12, 2016
    I think I know the technique you’re talking about. In my experience, these elements aren’t exactly written, but they are “natural artifacts” of the rhythm or a kind of rhythmic punctuation of the progression or melody. As such, if I’m on your page, I’d say playing looser and really exaggerating the groove is probably a way to get at it. It’s okay if it’s sloppy at first I’d think, but once you have that internal sense of what they are and why they’re there, then timing up the attacks/mutes, etc is just a physical process.

    EDIT: I went and listened to that song and I’m not sure that’s what I’m hearing. I’ll have to hear it in the studio to know more certainly. In any case, TABs always frustrate me and now I treat them like an art student’s sketch of a painting: there’s useful information but I can’t remember even a single “official” one nailing it. Anyways, I’ll just follow up with “trust your ears”.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  4. IronSchef

    IronSchef Dr. Squier

    Jun 18, 2012
    Flew here on my Dragonfly
    When I think of "scratches", I think of Brain Stew by Green Day -- this video does a good job of showing that technique :)

    rbh32 likes this.
  5. IronSchef

    IronSchef Dr. Squier

    Jun 18, 2012
    Flew here on my Dragonfly
    A5 G5 F#5 F5 E5
  6. Paul1985

    Paul1985 Squier-Meister

    Jun 25, 2019
    Hi guys, thanks for your input , ones like the brain stew one are not really a problem for me as they last for quite a bit longer and are quite uniform and can be dealt with a lot easier plus they are a lot easier to do after power chords played like that.

    It’s more like when they are part of a riff that involves double stops and single notes , or a solo , scratch was a bad term to use I guess ,it’s more like a percussive mute that makes a scratch just for a short period between a series of notes and partial chords . Thanks all for all your input ,it is much appreciated
  7. Paul1985

    Paul1985 Squier-Meister

    Jun 25, 2019
    Yes thanks you have grasped what I mean , exactly , it is not so much audible as to stand out, you sort-of feel it more
    It is very difficult , I would compare it to when I’m learning to sing a melody over a different rhythm , your brain is doing two things at once , a rhythmic and a melody , but not quite as it’s all built in tothe melody line
  8. Roccobagadonuts

    Roccobagadonuts Dr. Squier

    Sep 8, 2010

    When I was growing up this guy in the neighborhood ended up marrying this smokin hot model who came over from Sweden. Looked like a young Christy Brinkley. They had 2 daughters. And both of them ended up just crazy fine as well... Every guy in the neighborhood spent years drooling over those 2 girls. They were so smokin hot that 1 of them 1 day decided to go to the Def Leppard concert. And even the guys making the Pour Some Sugar On Me video couldn't resist drooling either... Always made me laugh just so hard. Only 1 minute and 19 seconds into the video and their cameras were like every guy I ever knew while growing up... Zooming in on one of the Scanlan sisters heh...

    Paul1985 likes this.
  9. Paul1985

    Paul1985 Squier-Meister

    Jun 25, 2019
    Man that’s the best story ever
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