Axe of Creation: Odd Time Riffs of Soundgarden Part 2

What’s going on everyone!? Welcome to another installment of Axe of Creation here at the wonderful Gear Snobs. Part 2 of our look into the Odd Time Riffs of Soundgarden. We will be looking at two more riffs; The Day I Tried To Live and Limo Wreck.

The Day I Tried To Live

     The tuning of this riff is what some would describe as…extreme. Yes, you are seeing that correctly down there, it’s E E B B B B. Now we’re not going to really tune it that way as all we are playing is a descending, chromatic line from E (12th fret) to A (5th fret). This is a great example of how you can make something musical out of a simple chromatic line. Why is that simple? You’re just playing every fret 12 ,11, 10 , 9, etc… Let’s take a look at those time signatures. The first measure is in 7/8, which is just one eighth note short of a full 4/4. This gives us two things to practice. First, clap and count eighth notes, breaking it up in this manner, accenting (snare drum) the bold notes; 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 – 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4. Once that’s comfortable, change the second measure to a slower four count; 1 2 3 (your backbeat).

gs_soundgarden pt2_1


Limo Wreck

Out of all the examples we’ve covered, this one might provide the most challenge to play. I only say this because we’ll be playing chords covering a lot of the fretboard which could be difficult for our future guitar heroes. The tuning is another hurdle to overcome when attempting this riff. I tried to be conscious of that. We are dropping the 6th string two steps to C and the 5th string one step down to G. Harmonically it’s not that complex, essentially Sus chords and Power chords. I prefer to play each harmonic individually rather than barring it as a chord. Rhythmically we’re in 6/8 time, giving a nice three pulse (1 2 3, 1 2 3). They extend their phrase by adding in another beat, creating a 9/8 feel.

gs_soundgarden pt2_2



That wraps up our look into Soundgarden and some of their Odd Time Riffs. It doesn’t take a Doctorate degree to use odd time. Just a few alterations bring a whole lot of groove. As always, let me know what you come up with. Until then, I’ll see you next time.  


Gregory Arthur is Axe of Creation, a Gear Snob, and a Father of Two. He challenges you to become uncomfortable with yourself in attempts to gain a new perspective. Never give your energy away to what you’re not. Focus on what resonates within you and bring forth in creation. 

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