Grunge V: Soundgarden

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my new lesson in a series based on Grunge Style. 

    In this lesson I will cover the style of Soundgarden, one of the most successful bands of the grunge scene.

    “Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron became the band's full-time drummer in 1986, while bassist Ben Shepherd became a permanent replacement for Yamamoto in 1990.” – Wikipedia

    Don’t forget to check my previous Grunge lessons.

    Music Style:

    Soundgarden is one of the bands that make this style popular in the 90’s as well as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. Their style is a mix of punk, hard rock, alternative rock and 70’s rock. They have a very strong Led Zeppelin influence that made them sound very unique among the other Grunge bands. Their harmonies and rhythms have always been very creative, complex but easy to hear. That’s the reason why they had big hits that still sound fresh. In this lesson I tried to capture their more rocker side combining chromatic riffs with exotic melodies and powerful drum grooves.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:

    This tune starts in E minor but then (in the last section) modulates to Dbm. If you check the progressions (over the tabs or in the main video) you will notice the big use of chromatic notes/chords used as passing notes.This is one of the characteristics that create their style. The Aeolian and Phrygian modes are the most used in their songs, and those are the ones used in this tune.


    This lesson combines rhythm guitar job with some melodic ideas that will make you play using alternate picking, bending, legato and some slides.


    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. 


    I used standard 440. 


    170 bpm  (85 bpm)

    Ok guys - it’s time to rock!

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