Combining the distorted crushing sounds of heavy metal a la Black Sabbath with the angst and irony of punk, Soundgarden kept hard rock alive in the alternative world. One of the seminal Seattle bands, Soundgarden had the largest local following prior to Nirvana‘s kicking down the music industry doors in the early 90s. Soundgarden’s 1991 release, Badmotorfinger, marked a high point for the group and remains a signature statement. One of Soundgarden’s most accessible and accomplished records, it is distinguished by more varied textures, tempos and tangents than its predecessors; the primal guitar riffs of Kim Thayil; and the much-touted track Outshined.
Drop D Tuning. Lower the 6th string one whole step to D.
Outshined makes use of an odd meter, 7/4, throughout the song in the intro, verses, interlude, and outro. The time signature of 7/4 designates that there are seven beats to the bar and each of those is a quarter note in value, seven quarters. Count “1-2-3-4-5-6-7″ for each measure of 7/4. Odd meters with more than four beats to the bar are often grouped in smaller, usually accented, units – for example, groups of two, three or four beats (or the equivalent in eighth-notes) adding up to the larger number. In Outshined, you can perceive the 7/4 time signature as three groups of four eighth-notes and one group of two eighth-notes [Fig. 1]. This is particularly helpful when you realize that the main riff. Rhy. Fig. 1, is constructed primarily of straight eighths with some tied eighth-note rhythms [Fig. 2]. By basing the 7/4 meter on eighth-notes, it’s easier to place the accents specifically on certain beats, and to comprehend the time span of the riff in general. This becomes more apparent when dealing with a syncopated rhythm in 7/4, like the Outshined motif in the 10th measure of the chorus [Fig. 3]. The pre-choruses, majority of the choruses, and the outro are in standard 4/4 meter. Note the mixed meters in the outro in measures 9-11. Here, the phrase changes time signatures every measure, from 4/4 to 6/4 to 5/8 and back to 4/4. Again it is useful to apply an eighth-note reference point behind the meter changes to see how the rhythms line up against the basic pulse [Fig. 4].
The Drop D tuning facilitates the power chord movement found in Outshined. Notice that with the tuning the power chords of the main riff are not only heavier, but also can be fretted as single-finger barres on the 5th and 6th strings [Fig. 5]. This is also true of Rhy. Fig. 3 in the chorus. In Rhy. Fig. 2, the Drop D tuning simplifies the fingering of the pre-chorus progression considerably. In standard tuning, a difficult stretch would be required to play the Gmaj7 form [Fig. 6].
The interlude functions as an atmospheric transition to the second verse. In it, Kim Thayil adds some grinding lead licks a la Tony Iommi over the main riff. Notice the scale combining in the section. He begins with double stops in the first two measures followed by a slippery ascending single-note lick, both based on the D Mixolydian mode (D-E-F#-G-A-B-C). Notice how Thayil leaves certain scale notes, like the E and В in the first octave and the F#, B, and С in the second octave, out of the run to make it more intervallically interesting. In the next phrase, he changes gears with a bluesy line in D minor pentatonic made of hammer-ons and pull-offs (very much in the Iommi vein) and string bends.
It’s a part of Soundgarden Outshined guitar lesson.
Below you can download PDF guitar tabs and sheet music of
Outshined with backing track
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