Incorporating Pedal Tones Into Your Music

A pedal tone is an note, usually a bass note, that is sustained and forms the background for a melody.  In the case of the guitar though, the note is usually just repeated often.  This technique is used very often in metal music.  It has been used extensively by bands like, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and many, many more.  Often the pedal tone is palm muted, giving a riff an aggressive, driving feel.  Some examples of a pedal tone riff.

Ex. 1

We can also use the pedal tone to separate chords or use the pedal tones as triplets or other rhythms.

Ex. 2


Play through the examples below, see what other combinations you can come up with, and experiment with ways to add pedal tones to your playing.