Silversun Pickups

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my new lesson in the style of Silversun Pickups, an alternative rock band from Los Angeles that was formed in 2000. The band is currently composed of Brian Aubert, Nikki Monninger, Christopher Guanlao and Joe Lester.

    Music Style:
    The band is considered Alternative Rock, but it is also related to styles like Indie Rock, Shoegaze and Dream Pop. Their songs are full of layers created by tasty guitar melodies and riffs that reminds to bands like Smashing Pumkins and My Bloody Valentine, among many others. If you get into my Indie Rock and Grunge lesson series, you’ll find many of these elements analyzed and applied. In this lesson I’ve tried to re-create their most popular side that is a mix of all those influences and styles listed.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    Most of their tunes are in minor keys and that’s why their music has a melancholic feel. This composition is in C#m key and the progressions are all the time around the Im, VII, III and VI. The only exception is the introduction riff which is major with a very mixolydianish feel. This riff is a mix of Smashing Pumkings with Janes Addiction, but at the same time it’s very Silversun Pickups style.

    Techniques:
    This lesson is great for beginner students that want to feel into a real music situation. You’ll have to switch from riffs to melodies, and from melodies to octave chords. These arrangements are what a lead guitarist would play in an Indie Rock band. If you like this tune, check out Silversun Pickups music as well as some music from Sonic Youth, Cage the Elephane, and Yo la tengo.

    Sound:
    I used Fractal Ax8 with a JCM800 amp emulation with the following settings:




    I used Cubase to record audio and midi, superior drummer for drums and Trillian for bass.


    Tuning: Standard Tuning

    Tempo: 120 BPM


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