Just The Riffs is me, Jack.

I’m a bass player with over 30 years of playing and transcribing experience, I’m a music nerd dedicated to exploring the Riff.

The Music

In Rock and Metal, more than perhaps any other kind of music, the riff is king.

From the advent of Rock ‘n’ Roll this type of music moved away from the more jazz and classical inflected chord progression forms of songwriting and became much more about a 2 or 4 bar motif that got inside your bones. It rapidly became the foundation of Western music with some musicians literally becoming synonymous with their riffs forging abilities (Tony Iommi, I’m looking at you…)

But the riff is prevalent in many forms of music from across the years and across the world. In classical times they called it a “Motif”,

Superstition, Walking on the Moon, I Want You Back, Psychokiller, Money For Nothing, Heard It Through The Grapevine and more besides all have that riff, that hook that you can’t deny.

I’m a nerd and I love understanding riffs, learning how they work, transcribing them and ensuring that you get to play it right.


Using a combination of software, some decent headphones, coffee, isolated stems (when available), coffee, my trusty basses, coffee and enough patience to see out the end of time, I work my way through the riffs and down into the weeds, going bar by bar, note by note, to pick out the details and explain what’s happening and how to play it.

A variety of artists

I’ll be covering the work of a variety of different artists across the genres and across the years.

For the most part they will be artists whose work I love, whose work has enriched my life and enhanced my playing, understanding and love of music.

It will cover everything from Motown to Metal via Funk and Soul through Pop and beyond. I’ll cover big names and more obscure acts; with luck examining the more obscure ones might turn you on to them 👍🏽

Essentially, if the riff kicks ass, it’s got my attention.