Using Open Strings as Pedal Tones

Open strings are often neglected by some upper level players. They feel that open strings are something that is more simplistic and for beginners.  But that is definitely not the case.  Today we will look at a way to incorporate some open strings into our playing by using them as pedal tones while we change chords.  A pedal tone, in the sense that we’re using it, is a sustained note that is continuously sounded while chords underneath it move from dissonance to consonance.  I’ve got 4 examples for you.

Limelight- Rush

This part starts at 1:00 into the video.  We use the B string as a pedal.

Trial of Tears- Dream Theater

This part starts at about 5:27 into the video.  Once again we use the B string as a pedal tone.

Welcome Home Sanitarium- Metallica

This part starts at about 20 secs in.  We use the G string as a pedal in the first half of the riff. In the second half the D string is a pedal.

Jet City Woman- Queensryche

This riff starts at 44 secs into the video.  Once again, the B string becomes a pedal tone.

If you have any questions or comments please email me at

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One Response

  1. Dream Theater is in the studio again, and I can’t wait to see what magic they produce!

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