A monster riff from Wes Borland

13th May 2008 | 13:33

A monster riff from Wes Borland
A monster riff from Wes Borland
Wes Borland is renowned for his huge riffs
A monster riff from Wes Borland
A monster riff from Wes Borland
Riff 1: If you use fingers 3 and 1 you should notice how this riff is based on two power chord shapes (which appear in riff 3). For the stretch out to the 7th fret C#, you may like to use your 4th finger to avoid moving too far out of position. A little bit of vibrato sounds good on this note, as Wes demonstrates.
A monster riff from Wes Borland
A monster riff from Wes Borland
Riff 2: This is essentially the same riff with a longer C# at the end of bar 2. This helps it fit nicely into a 4/4 groove.
A monster riff from Wes Borland
A monster riff from Wes Borland
Riff 3: You may like to try a pull-off from the final E5 chord to the open C#. Wes does this in conjunction with an up-pick. Strictly speaking it's not a straightforward pull-off, but it can help to synchronise your left and right hands.

Video lesson from the Limp Bizkit star with free tab

If you've listened to any of Limp Bizkit's back catalogue, you'll be familiar with Wes Borland's unique playing style. Filled with snarling drop-tuned riffs, rhythmic tapping licks and moody clean rhythm playing, Wes' style has helped define the hip-hop metal genre.

It's Wes' snarling riffs that are the focus of this video lesson. If you want to play along with the monster riffs Wes demonstrates here, you'll need to detune your guitar a whole tone and a half (three frets).

The first riff Wes demonstrates uses some unusual timing to great effect, but it can be a little confusing at first. The first bar is 4/4 and the second 7/8, but you may find it easier to count in smaller groups of three half beats which all add up by the time you get to the end of the riff.

Notice how Wes maintains an alternate strumming approach throughout this riff. This means that you will begin with a downstroke followed by an upstroke. This can be trickier than an outside picking approach – especially on the first two notes – but the strong downstroke can help you maintain a better sense of timing and groove when playing, which is essential when learning riffs in Wes' style.

Click here for free tab, or check out our tab guide for help with notation.

For more Wes, check out our Wes Borland on two-handed tapping video lesson.

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