Rage Against The Machine Style

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to the first lesson of a new series based on Alternative Metal bands.

    "Alternative metal (or alt-metal) is a style of alternative rock and heavy metal that gained popularity in the early 1990s. Alternative metal bands are often characterized by heavy guitar riffs, unconventional sounds within other heavy metal genres, unconventional song structures and sometimes experimental approaches to heavy music." - Wikipedia

    In this first lesson I will cover the style of Rage Against the Machine. This alternative metal band from Los Angeles, California, has been also labelled as “Rap Metal” and “Funk Metal” and was formed in 1991 by vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk.

    Music Style:
    Their style has influences of heavy metal bands with rap acts such as Afrika Bambaataa, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and Urban Dance Squad. In this lesson I covered their mid tempo style songs where the groovy riffs are combined with some weird effects generated by Tom Morello (guitarist) to emulate the Rap noises.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    This composition is in D minor tonality. Most of their riffs are composed with pentatonic minor scale so that’s the scale that I used to compose the riffs of this lesson. This tune is in D minor and that’s why I used dropped D tuning as Tom does in many of their songs.

    The difficulty in this lesson is not because of the technique, the key word here is GROOVE. Groove is the sense of propulsive rhythmic "feel" or sense of "swing" created by the interaction of the music played by a band's rhythm section. In Funk/Rap oriented style, groove is everything! So that’s what you will have to concentrate on while practising this lesson.

    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 Dropped D tuning.

    175 bpm.

    Ok guys – It's time for groove!
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