Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters have a knack for creating infectious rock hits that somehow sound a little bit different than your typical rock band. They are always coming up with clever rhythmic hooks and interesting yet catchy melodies to drive some of their greatest songs.
In my opinion, one of their greatest songs in "The Pretender", their first single off their 2007 album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace.
In this The Pretender guitar lesson video I will demonstrate how to play every section of the song including all guitar overdubs.
"The Pretender" starts with a quiet introspective arpeggio picked intro that is quite beautiful. The trickiest part of this riff is the rhythm. It can be a bit awkward to feel the rhythm about halfway through the riff when the bass line starts to ascend and you have to alternate that with some quick upward strums of the A min chord. Pay close attention to my picking hand during this section since it is the key to making this riff make sense rhythmically.
From there we make it to the verse which contains a couple of simultaneous guitar parts. The little melody part in this section moves quite fast and can be difficult to get under your fingers comfortably. I suggest practicing that quick little two string barre over and over until you can make it nice and clean.
The rhythm guitar part for this verse is pretty fun to play. I think Dave Grohl is one of the greatest rhythm guitarists in rock music (what can't this guy do!), so make sure you follow the exact strumming pattern that I do to make it sound very tight.
The chorus is once again a guitar layer. The main part here employs the same A min. triad we used in the intro along with the moving bass line. However, this time we play that chord with a full 8th note strumming pattern instead of picking it in a arpeggio style. You may want to concentrate on bringing the moving bass line out here since it should be prominent over the A min. chord shape.
Then only other major section of the song would be the bridge. It starts with kind of a Chuck Berry style riff that develops into a more melodically sophisticated riff. This riff, even though it is quite fast is pretty straightforward in the picking hand. However, the fret hand shifts can be a quite a challenge, especially when trying to get the rhythmic groove right towards the very end of the riff.
All in all, "The Pretender" is an excellent workout for the intermediate level guitarist. In contains a multitude of techniques and requires strong rhythm guitar skills to pull off effectively.
So I hope you enjoy learning this super cool modern rock masterpiece. Good Luck!
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The Pretender Guitar Lesson - Foo Fighters