Kiss Style

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my new lesson covering the style of one of the biggest rock and roll bands ever, You Wanted The Best You Got The Best, The Hottest Band In The World KISS!
    This legendary hard rock band former in NYC in 1973 by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons has become very popular, not only because of their amazing songs, also because of their incredible live shows full of features like pyrotechnics, fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, rockets, flying drums and many other things that make their concert are real “show”. In this lesson we will focus on their musical side but Kiss image has always been as important as music so please pick up your girlfriend’s make up and cover your face with white before you start with this one!

    Music Style:
    Kiss is a hard rock band with classic heavy metal influences that incorporated some elements from 80’s pop which make their music powerful but also catchy and commercial. Once upon a time they have been defined as the “American Black Sabbath” and I have to say that I find this definition at least funny. They had a period without make up when they become more “glam metal” but before those years and also starting in the early 90’s they played mostly hard rock and classic metal with heavier vibe. In this lesson I tried to recreate their heavier side based on songs like Detroit Rock City, Shout it out loud and Love Gun. In this song you will find big walls of simple but effective guitar chords and riffs, very tight drum grooves and catchy bass lines. It would be very helpful and interesting to pay attention to what drums and bass are doing to fill the overall track while the guitar plays long chords during the verses. This is a great example of the overused phrase “less is more”.

    Kiss music as happens in most of classic rock music is around minor, major and Mixolydian tonalities. This composition is in D minor and both scales and chords belong to this tonality except on a riff where there is a very short modulation that I will mark in the slower video parts. The classic Im – VI – VII progressions appears here and it’s one of the most used ever in metal bands from Judas and Maiden to the newer ones like Mastodon and Sabaton.

    This lesson combines chords, riffs and melodic lines so you will find it a good exercise for your timing, as well as to master strumming, muting, legato, vibrato and alternate picking. Beginners should take special attention to make the changes smooth and avoid silences between chord changes when it’s not required.

    I used LePoin plugins to design the guitar tone. These are free amp emulators that are extremely recommended. The head used for this guitar tone is Poulin HyBrit which is a Marshall Emulation. Check out the settings:

    Click HERE to download my Patch.

    I used Cubase to record audio and midi, SSD 3.5 for drums and Trillian for bass.

    Tuning: standard EADGBE tuning

    Tempo: 155 BPM
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