With the newest release in the Metal Riffology series we take a look back at the history, origin and evolution of this iconic series of guitar lessons.
Way back in the year 2000…
The first edition of “Metal Riffology: The Art of the Metal Riff” was a single CD-ROM which was built like a web site on a disc. It featured 97 riffs and was shot with a grainy web-cam which showed only Sarah’s fret hand. The Mesa Boogie half-stack was scenery, providing a perfect background. The transcriptions were so accurate and the performance so easy to follow that it was a massive success. We still hear from people who loved the disc and often want to know how to replace a lost or damaged copy.
Sarah was working for Metal Method and Doug agreed to produce a two-DVD package of “Metal Riffology” with all-new riffs. Sarah wrote all of the music based on the original 97 riffs from the CD-ROM and created full arrangements with drums and bass. All of the elements taught in the first edition were covered here, including pedal tones, rhythmic displacement, modal mixture, tritones, and special use of open strings. There were many additional topics such as Phrygian, Locrian and Phrygian Dominant riffs, diminished and chromatic riffs, and odd time signatures. The custom-built Moser Spawn guitar made its screen debut, looking and sounding razor-sharp. Sarah wore a matching Moser shirt that a gift from Neal and Earlleen.
2014: Metal Method Goes High-Def and the Course Gets Another Update
When we upgraded to the high-def and widescreen format it was time to produce a new edition of Metal Riffology. This was a three-DVD package, again with additional material including a more detailed study of rhythm and some examples of harmonization. The course was given the bland but SEO-friendly title of “Metal Guitar Riffs”. For this shoot Sarah knew to bring her own drum throne so she did not have to sit in Doug’s enormous wooden chair! The pristine video and audio were a long time coming and what had begun as a DYI project fourteen years earlier was now a highly polished production which maintained all of the metal heart that had beaten so heavily in the first edition.
In the fall of 2017 Sarah was working on a new set of lessons based on the pentatonic scale when she was suddenly inspired to set that project aside and start working on a video of the original CD-ROM riffs. She had actually started this project months earlier but stopped with releasing it as a PDF and Guitar Pro package. Now it was time to shoot two hours of video demonstrating the riffs in high-def video with on-screen animated tab! In what was retrospectively recognized as a possible unconscious homage to the original video, Sarah wore a black leather motorcycle jacket for the first shoot. Unfortunately, the jacket made so much creaking noise that the video had to be scrapped and shot again. A still image survives in the final production. The beautiful guitar strap which is seen in many of the shots was a gift from BFFs “Hott Rokkin’ Donna and Lil’ Mo”.
Deep and heartfelt thanks to all of you who have participated in this ongoing adventure and contributed in countless ways!