Indie Rock III: Pixies

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hello guys!

    Welcome to the third lesson of this series based on the genre “Indie Rock”.

    “Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others.” - Wikipedia

    In this lesson I will cover the style of the band Pixies, which is one of the most influential indie rock bands. They are an American band that is also associated to the Alternative Style. They were formed in 1986 and the current line up is Black Francis (vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, vocals), and David Lovering (drums).

    Music Style:
    Their style is unique but as they has been one of the most influential bands for the 90’s Alternative explosion, you will hear the grunge essence on Pixies albums. Kurt Cobain (as well as many other 90’s famous alternative musicians) always used to say that they were one of his favourite bands. Their noisy/overdriven sound, simple and repetitive melodies, retro/vintage sound, bass grooves and chord progressions are some of the most distinctive characteristics. I tried to recreate all those things in this tune, mostly concentrated on get the feel of their tune, the atmosphere that their music transmits.

    Tonality & Chord Progression:
    The tune is in G major but I used mostly power chords on this one. Their chord progressions are very simple and repetitive. The songs frequently has only a bass and drums section in the intro or verse. This is something that Nirvana used to do a lot in their songs. The chord progression is G5 – D5 – B5 – C5. The scale used to create the melodies is also G major.

    The guitar job is very simple in their music and the secret is in the feel and the tone. You will find power chords and only down strokes melodies. That’s why this lesson is a good choice for beginners but it’s also a good way to understand the roots of alternative rock for every guitar player.

    I used a Pod HD 500 emulating a Marshall JCM 800 connected to a Marshall Cabinet with Celestions and with a small quantity of drive. If you want the tone you can ask for it at my personal board. My guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Studio. The drums are Ez Drummer and the bass sound is from the Hyper Canvas.

    I used standard 440. 

    Ok guys, let's start rocking!

    Don't forget to check the previous Indie Rock lessons: The Strokes style & Artic Monkeys style.

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