How Randy Rhoads’ “Crazy Train” Riff Can Teach You the Power of Scales

January 11, 2017
PHOTO: Paul Natkin | Getty Images
 
Ozzy Osbourne’s 1980 hit “Crazy Train” has one of the most recognizable riffs in metal. Written by Randy Rhoads, the riff is played in straight 16th notes and uses the full minor scale.

“One of the reasons it’s so brilliant is it utilizes every single note in the minor scale,” says Sean Daniel, who deconstructs the riff in this video lesson. Sean notes that the riff is in the key of F# and says its full use of the scale can offer guitarists some insight into how scales work: “I think this is a good lesson in seeing the power of scales and how they can help you memorize riffs.”

Sean first breaks the riff down into its interval numbers, then shows how you can use this information for any riff to reinterpret it in another key or even another scale, such as to change a riff from minor to major.

“It’s a good lesson in how the intervals between major and minor can drastically affect the sound. And it’s always good to know the theory behind some of the most famous riffs out there.”

Take a look, and be sure to visit Sean’s YouTube channel for more of his videos.

 
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