A blues-rock riff so heavy and industrial that is almost falls into the realms of Black Sabbath's proto metal territory, this hard-hitting, cement mixer of a musical hook is simply unforgettable.
The great thing about this is that as the riff is so driving, it allows Jimi Hendrix to lock in with bassist, Billy Cox, and drummer, Buddy Miles, to create a groovy yet menacing wall of sound that he can strike and solo over freely without the arrangement losing momentum.
Despite its heavy overtones, the riff does supply the song with a groove and with the use of a passing blue note, it gives the riff that quintessential blues-rock edge. This riff is the beating heart of “Machine Gun,” and its unmistakable sound matches the song’s theme down to a tee.
How to create a sweltering blues-rock riff
Creating a head-turning blues-rock riff comes mostly down to feel, trial and error—which is the very reason improvising with a drummer and fellow guitarist or bassist (depending on what you play) is beneficial to developing your idea further. That said, you can sit at home in a quiet room and achieve an amazing result, nonetheless. You know, one that will turn into a prolific song or hook that will make people stop in their tracks and say, "wow".
Before you start attempting to carve out a barrage of epic blues-rock riffs, you should first try and get to grips with the blues scale on your bass or guitar, as this is set of notes you’ll be basing most of your work on.
Once you’ve got to grips with this basic scale, here are three steps you can take to develop rocking blues-rock riffs for your songs and jam sessions.
To demonstrate, I’ve created three sound samples using my bass though my Spire Studio. In these clips, I’ve used the Bass Amp sound effect with the drive slightly rolled off.
1. Build the bones