Hardcore Punk: Dead Kennedys

by Gabriel Leopardi

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    THE PROFESSOR When you think of Punk Rock you usually think of Power Chords and Pentatonic Scales. But, as Gabriel rocked out in this lesson, you might be surprised to see different modes of the major scale used in Punk Riffs and guitar solos. While some punk bands used purely power chords and pentatonic scales, many such as Green Day, Minor Threat and others dug deeper into modal territory with their riffs and solos, when there were solos. 

    Learning how to build and play each of the modes of the major scale may not sound like a very Punk thing to do, but it will allow you to write your own Punk Rock Riffs in the style of your favorite band such as Misfits or The Dead Kennedy’s.

    Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my new lesson in which I start covering Hardcore Punk bands. Let’s start defining what is called “Hardcore Punk”. It’s a punk rock genre that started in the 70’s and the difference with punk is that it’s generally faster and heavier. In the early 80’s, there were many underground scenes in the United States, particularly in Washington, California, New York and Boston. In this first lesson I will start with one of the most important bands that were part of that scene. I’m talking about “The Dead Kennedys”, an American Hardcore band formed in San Francisco, California in 1978.

    Music Style:

    They have every characteristic that defines Hardcore Punk, they are fast and loud but they also have influence from Surf Music, Spaghetti western, Psychedelic, Garage and Rockabilly. This means that their style is so unique and that’s why I decided to start analyzing them.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:

    This tune starts in D major and then modulates to A minor. I used D major scale, A minor and some triads to create the different melodies. You can find the chord progression in the main video and also over the guitar tabs. We will basically use power chords and triads in the rhythm sections.

    Techniques:

    This is basically a rock rhythm lesson so we will use strumming and palm muting. There are also some melodic sections where the technique that you have to use is alternate picking.

    Sound:

    I used my Pod HD 500 to record this lesson. I used the Brit J-45 Amp Model with a 4x12 Greenback 25 Cab Model.
    My guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Studio. I gave the overall mix a tape saturation effect to make it sound vintage as The Dead Kennedys albums.

    Click here to download the PO HD500 Patch.

    Tuning:
    I used standard 440 tuning.

    Tempo:
    190 BPM

    Homework included - check out last video part.

    Ok guys – let’s start rocking!



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