Grunge II: Alice In Chains

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Welcome to the second lesson of my new series based on grunge style.

    “Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle sound) is a genre of music originating in Seattle that lasted from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. It is a sub-genre of alternative rock that emerged as a fusion of punk, alternative, and heavy metal. Inspired by hardcore punk, metal, and indie rock, grunge is generally characterized by heavily distorted electric guitars and contrasting song dynamics, and the grunge aesthetic is stripped-down compared to other forms of rock music. Lyrics are typically angst-filled, often addressing themes such as social alienation, apathy, frustration, sadness, fear, and depression.” - Wikipedia

    This time I'm focusing on the music of one of the most popular bands in this style, I’m talking about Alice In Chains, an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley. The initial lineup was rounded out by drummer Sean Kinney, and bassist Mike Starr (who was replaced in 1993 by Mike Inez).

    Music Style:
    They have been asociated to Grunge but they ave strong elements from Metal and Hard Rock. If you explore my lessons archive you surely noticed that I already covered Alice In Chains style in a lesson. That lesson shows the rocker side of Alice In Chains. Check it out here). In this new one I decided to illustrate their darker and calmer side.

    Tonality & Chord Progression:
    Alice In Chains uses minor tonalities in their music as most of the other popular grunge bands and that’s the reason why Grunge is associated to sad and depressed feelings. This lesson combines E Aeolian and E Phrygian modes. The chord progressions can be found in the main video and also in the tabs. I composed the solo using E Pentatonic minor scale.

    Techniques:
    Jerry is a very skilled rock/metal guitar player and composer. We will explore his riffing style and also some solo rock phrases used in his solos. The techniques used in this lesson are Struming, Palm Muting, Alternate Picking, Bending and Vibrato.

    Sound:
    I used my Pod HD 500 to record this lesson. I used the Treadplate Dual Amp Model with a 4x12 2001 Treadplate Cab Model. If you want the tone you can ask for it at my personal board. My guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Studio.

    Tuning:
    I used standard 440 tuning.

    Tempo: 
    120 BPM

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