Weekend riff: Blue Öyster Cult - Don't Fear The Reaper (intro/verse)

Learn the killer guitar riff that's guaranteed to prompt cries of 'More cowbell!' from your listeners

This classic riff is based around just three guitar chords, played as arpeggios: A5, G and F5. Technically, the chord names are more complicated than this -thanks to extra open string notes- but keep the three basic shapes in mind and the riff will be easier to remember.

Your main aim should be to perform the arpeggios smoothly and steadily, following the eighth note rhythm tightly. Chord changes must be swift, without any gaps between notes. Use your second and third fingers for both the A5 and G chords, but use your first and fourth fingers for the F5.

Picking-wise, a 'down up' style alternate approach feels like the best option to us; it gives you most control, allowing you to 'feel' the rhythm and make sure every note is just the right volume. That said, an all-downstrokes approach minimises your picking movement so, if it suits your style, try it out.

Click here to download the '(Don't Fear) The Reaper' preset for the Peavey Vypyr VIP-2

'(Don't Fear) The Reaper'
© 1976 Blue Öyster Cult

Tutor: Chris Bird
Videographer: Martin Holmes

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