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Identifying Songs From A Riff?

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So, I was fooling around practicing on my guitar earlier and had one of those moments. You know, the ones where you come across a serendipitous combination of notes that sound absolutely perfect--until you realize you're pretty sure you've heard it somewhere before? Heck, I'm pretty sure I even know the band. Problem is I can't for the life of me remember the rest of the song or it's name and that riff is stuck in my head like a gorram virus.
What do you do when you're in that situation? Any suggestions for tracking it down? I know there are supposed to be sites that can identify a song if you hum part of it but after trying a few I'm not impressed with their accuracy.
I'm fairly certain it's a Metallica tune, probably one of their older/less ridiculously overplayed ones judging by my difficulty in finding it. It's not one I'm familiar with off the top of my head and I've already spent several hours combing through songs with no luck. All I've got  is the same fourteen notes stuck on loop in my brain:
E  E
B  D  Bb
A  Bb Bb
A  Bb A  G
E  E
I know it's kind of hard to convey rhythm like that. Don't know enough about sheet music to transpose it but I could probably get it down in guitar tablature if that would help.
Edit: Here it is in tab form, also I fixed the notes above since I apparently wrote "Ab" originally instead of "Bb"... :sweatdrop:






The timing may not be exact, I think there's a few fractional note rests I left out but that's about as close as I know how to write it. Should be able to get a feel for how it's played from this at least.

Edited by SmokeyJoe
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If you are putting into tab, use the tab bbcode:




There is chord bbcode too to create chord boxes and chord boxes over lyrics... I know you don't really need either of those just now, but as a guitarist I figure it's handy to know you can do that on the forums :)

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That's super useful John, thanks for telling me about that!


Still trying to figure out where I know this riff from. I can recall that segment clear as day, but nothing else about the song. Simply maddening.


Anyway, I'll edit the tabs into my original post. Don't know how much it will help, but maybe seeing the notes in that form will jog somebody's memory. Still welcoming any suggestions on sites/methods of tracking down a song based on a handful of notes. Even if I get this one figured out, I'm sure it will happen to me again sooner or later. :P

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Kinda lacking in recording mediums at the moment. My computer's a 5+ year old laptop that got run over by a truck (along with my left arm) a few years ago so it has--issues--with it's microphone jack. And as far as my budget is concerned a phone that can make recordings is  fancy. :tt2:


Might have an old digital recorder left over from college in a box somewhere though. I'll take a look. Worse comes to worse I could try re-creating the riff in Fruity Loops. Any advice on where to upload the file to?

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Sorry....my bad making assumptions. Under the circumstances, mine wasn't the best of suggestions.

Given my age, you'd think I'd know better.  :thumbsup2:



well you beat me to it.


I havnt used tab in 25 years. sound would be easier.

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Yeah, I could swear it's the main/opening riff for one of their songs, but I can't figure out which one. I'll see if I can get some kind of recording put together and post it up here.


Heh, that could be one way to figure out what song it is: Record the riff, upload it to youtube, and see who hits me with a takedown notice. :rolleyes:

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