Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • ChatGPT excels in creating diverse and creative guitar riffs, while also offering suggestions on playing techniques.
  • Gemini falls short in comparison to ChatGPT, providing less interesting and accurate guitar riffs.
  • Basslines generated by ChatGPT are solid, showcasing the potential for creative interpretation and improvisation in music creation.

I started playing electric guitar recently and quickly discovered that creating new songs is hard, especially if you don’t know music theory or scales. So, I thought, why not ask someone who knows music theory better than anyone else—AI?

Rocking It With ChatGPT

Let’s kick things off with something simple, such as a rock guitar riff.

Right off the bat, I think that it’s all right. It’s a very simple riff that only consists of power chords, which are very common in rock and metal. Although it’s very short and simple, ChatGPT still managed to cram in four different power chords, and I know several popular songs that use fewer than that.

ChatGPT also made a great suggestion to play it with downstrokes, which I did, but it left out any instructions in regard to the tempo or time signature, so I just followed how it was laid out in the tabs.

For the next riff, I simply asked ChatGPT to make the previous one more complex, which it did, but it didn’t really retain anything from the original riff except for the scale.

This riff has no power chords to speak of, but it does have a quick hammer-on followed by a pull-off, which creates a smoother riff. It was significantly harder to play than the first riff, and you can probably hear that I made a few smaller errors even after practicing the riff several times.

As far as the musicality and quality of the riff is concerned, I think that it’s excellent. I am surprised that a generalized chatbot can create a creative riff because I tried making riffs with ChatGPT last year, and they sounded robotic; they just went up and down the scale.

Let’s now shift from rock to blues with riff #3, which is my favorite one so far. It’s easy to play, as it uses the popular pentatonic scale, which is the foundation of blues, jazz, rock, metal, and pop music.

An odd anomaly is that ChatGPT said the riff contains slides and bends, but there aren’t any indications in the tabs to play them. Slides are usually indicated with a slanted line or the letter “s,” and bends are indicated with a “b.” They’re missing from the tabs, so I chose to omit them as well.

Does Gemini Do It Better?

While this is an okay riff, it doesn’t even come close to what we got with ChatGPT, at least in my opinion. Maybe it could work in the context of a song with other instruments where the riff isn’t the driving force, but in isolation, it’s kind of boring.

The second riff wasn’t much better, but at least I got proper tabs now. However, the description below the tabs says that we’re using E and A power chords, but the tabs show the fifth and seventh fret on the G string, which are the notes C and D, respectively, and they’re not shown as power chords, either.

Considering that these two riffs were the best that I could get after fiddling with Gemini for half an hour, I think that ChatGPT is the better musician.

Let’s Try a Few Basslines

Since bass is my favorite instrument, I had to include a couple of basslines to see how ChatGPT did.

This is a pretty solid bassline. Although it’s not particularly creative, it’s perfectly serviceable. The bass guitar typically sits in the background in most genres and drives the song forward by supporting the chords, so I can see why this bassline would work well in a song.

The second bassline is for a rock song, and I think that it’s pretty good. It’s a bit repetitive, but that could easily be remedied by alternating between lower and higher strings while maintaining the same intervals.

It’s Best to Interpret and Improvise

There’s a lot of room for creativity within these riffs and basslines. If you sit down with your guitar with the intent to make an original song but don’t feel inspired, there’s no shame in asking ChatGPT to get you started with a unique riff. Figuring out the rhythm alone is a massive part of the music creation process; let your emotions dictate how the tabs should be played, just like I did today.

To make it more interesting, constrain yourself to one of the first three riffs that ChatGPT gives you and build on top of it. You don’t even need to know any music theory because you can just fiddle around until you find the groove you like and then check if the notes fit musically by asking ChatGPT. Have fun making new music!

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By John P.

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