And now for something completely different: Since this month’s classic sixties “mystery riff” is so dang easy to play, it will be presented entirely by word of mouth, and can only be revealed by assembling and solving the following series of clues. Get these two bars of classic rock history right and you should feel very satisfied!
CLUE #1: The fuzz-toned riff in question is in a modal key of E (Mixolydian), encompasses two bars, and was designed to be accompanied by a second guitar playing the three chords diagrammed in Ex. 1.
CLUE #2: The riff is based on the two-bar rhythmic motif shown in Ex. 2a.
CLUE #3: Though many seem to think so, the three single notes in Ex. 2b—E (the root), F# (the 2), and G (the b3)—are not the ones used to play the riff.
CLUE #4: Ex. 3a’s refined version of the rhythm from Ex. 2a features three strategically placed eighth-rests and a subtle slide between eighth-notes on beat three.
CLUE #5: The three single notes illustrated in Ex. 3b—B (the 5), C# (the 6), and D (the b7)—are indeed the correct ones used to play the riff.
CLUE #6: The bass riff is not the same as the lead guitar riff. Ex. 4a sketches out its substantially different rhythmic framework, while Ex. 4b provides four suggested bass notes—E (the root), F# (the 2), G (the b3), and A (the 4).
CLUE #7: Keeping all of the previous clues in mind, assemble the guitar and bass riffs by applying the following formulae:
Chords = 3 x E + 1 x A + 3 x D + 1 x A. Guitar riff = 3 x B + 1 x C# + 3 x D + 2 x C#. Bass part = 3 x E + 1 x F# + 1 x G + 3 x A + 1 x G + 1 x F#.
Still mystified? Well hey, hey, hey! That’s what I say!