When it comes to guitar riffs, more often than not, the power lies in simplicity. When you have less notes, you end up creating interests out of rhythm. And rhythm is the most primal element of music, music with interesting rhythm is always interesting. This finger-picked riff is so simple yet addictingly groovy, as you can tell from my head swinging like a maniac. This riff can take anything on top — a long, flowing melody, a scream, or spoken word.
Dave Grohl said that he plays the guitar like a drummer — well, I play the guitar like drums. No, I’m not banging here (other times I do) but imagine my thumb being a kick drum and the other fingers a snare — can you feel the swing? The notes on top have wide intervals (5th or tritone) and the harmony is Dorian here, which makes this sound open, airy and mysterious. Makes you wonder what it’s building up to, doesn’t it?