How To Make an Electric Guitar Sound Like Rock

Electric Guitar Sound

In this article I will go over some tricks you might want use to make a electric rock guitar song intro of your liking. The difference in making an song intro opposed to a verse, chorus or bridge is not all that much. An intro is by definition a introduction to a song and that is what I will be aiming for.

There are probably endless ways to make an intro to a song, the possibilities are so many that it’s probably a good idea to limit them a lot. In rock music an intro can consist of throwing your guitar to the floor or from you balcony and recording it, that is a bit extreme but so is rock n’ roll.

The Context of a Electric Rock Guitar Intro

The best starting point is to notice the context of the song. Is the song an aggressive one, hard, fast, slow, mellow, floating or whatever. Another option is that the song has not been made or though of at all in your mind. In that case feeling and state of mind will lead the way.

The rock guitar intros I will present here are all written without prior though about the song context that they might end up supporting. I just use my gut feeling and some very simple chords to lay the intros down, in other words, it’s all improvised.

How to Compose a Electric Rock Guitar Intro

I have always though that a intro should be simple and catchy, but that’s just me. When most people listening to music for the first time, they turn it off or change the tune at the intro, so it’s quite important if you want people to listen to your songs to make good intros.

The intro is no different from a introduction to a movie. A movie intro will show some relevant images and play the movie theme music. From the musical intro in a film you can tell much about the contents of the story and the feeling of the film, most of the time there’s no difference for a rock song intro.

Electric Rock Guitar

A good idea when starting any rock composition is to limit the notes used in the chords i.e. to use double stops (just play two notes at a time). Double stops simplify song construction significantly and allow you to get a better feeling for the flow of the song or construction. As for the intervals of the two notes you play, it is a choice you make for your own interest and sound.

NOTE on the sheet. The sheet for the intro has just the chords for the intros but not the rhythms that are presented in the mp3 files.

Harmonic Content of the Song Intro

Electric guitar intro lesson

Sometimes I find it the easiest way to use just major and minor double stops. In the case of the first into, it is just major and minor intervals. By using just major and minor intervals you soon find out that they tend to want to travel to certain places i.e. the chord progression structure tends to want to write it self, but you do not have to restrict you’re self to that though process. Try to find better sounding alternatives.

A prime example of this are the first two chords. The second chord E minor interval is a very logical step from the A major interval before it. It sounds harmonically correct. This may or may not be what you want, but the point is valid. What mostly happens when intros are “harmonically correct” is that they fit in to a single scale.

The first chord, A major, and the second chord, E minor, fit into the scale of D major with the A major as the 6th chord or VI and the E minor the 2nd or II chord.

This is repeated three times until we arrive at a D# major chord with a D major chord following. The D# major chord is outside of the D major scale and can be considered a guiding/connecting chord to the root chord of the scale that follows and nails down the chord circle.

Getting Started With a Song Intro, The Method of Attack

1. Find a starting point of the song intro i.e. find the starting chord.
2. Vamp/hold the current chord (progression) until you hear a change coming up in your head.
3. Stop playing and listen in your head what you would like to come next.
4. Try to find the notes that you hear in your head. An easy way to find it is by using a single note.
5. Start again from the top and repeat from 2. until you have your intro.

Another Method

1. Find a starting point of the song intro i.e. find the starting chord.
2. Move to another random chord at a random place on the neck.
3. Check if the two chords fit for your taste and keep the new chord in the progression.
3.1. The new chord does not fit, remove it and start again at 2.
4. The new chord fits. Play from the top and repeat from step 2. until you have a intro.

A Note on Rhythm and Harmony

Rhythm can change very much how a chord sequence want’s to travel i.e. the same chord change may work with one rhythm but will not work with another.

Rhythm and Harmony

Experiment with different rhythms while working on the chord change. Also play the chord and let it ring, this will give another perspective. Use different time signatures, try 4/4, 3/4 or even 7/8. Think of your instrument as something new i.e. like you are played it for the first time.

Now I showed you how to use double stops as an effective tool to construct electric rock guitar intro. In this article I will introduce another electric rock guitar intro using double stops but adding an open string to spice up the chord progression.

By adding a open string to double stops, using a total of three notes, a modal chord progression is created. Have a look at the intro.

how to make rock guitar intro

By using simple double stops forms like major and minor, and adding a open string, you can make a modal sounding chord progression. Try to find simple two note chords and try them with a open string. Move the chord form up and down the neck to test it’s harmony against the open string.

Some will not sound good at all but there are many that will do. Learning the guitar is an trial and error. You should be able to find some nice chord forms with this method.

Exercise

Use the chords from the intro and come up with a different rhythm for the chord and/or try to rearrange the chords.

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