Classic Riff – 2 Minutes to Midnight

Classic Riff – 2 Minutes to Midnight

In this lesson we’ll be breaking down the classic intro riff for the Iron Maiden track 2 Minutes to Midnight. The riff was played by Adrian Smith and has a fantastic

The tone used in the video is from the Blackstar ID:Core V3, and the patch can be downloaded here:

It is using the OD1 voice of the amp and is being recorded direct to my DAW via the Cab Rig Lite software over USB. The cab used is the Vintage 412 with a condenser mic.

This riff is a fun rock riff to learn, it combines open palm muted notes with double stops and sounds great on a bridge position humbucker. The riff is fairly straight in its timing which makes it very easy to get to grips with.

This riff can easily be broken up into a pair of 2 bar phrases. Think of this as the front half and the back half of the riff.

In the front half you’re going to be alternating between a pair of open A strings and a double stop on the D and G strings. The rhythm of the first bar is straight eighth notes so you’re playing two notes per beat for the whole bar.

The second bar starts with a double stop but maintains the straight eighth note feel for the first 3 notes of the bar. On the “&” of the second beat you’re hitting the 7th fret double stop but this time it is being held for a whole beat which takes it to the “&” of 3. This is followed by another double stop held for a full beat and then one final double stop on the “&” of 4. These off beat notes are played with lots of vibrato added.

The back half of the riff is the same, except for the second bar of the phrase. Instead of going to the 7th fret double stop, you hit an open A5 Power Chord and let it ring.

Classic Riff – 2 Minutes to Midnight
About The Author

This article was written by Leigh Fuge, a professional guitar teacher who is part of an international community of guitar teachers helping guitarists of all abilities to progress on the guitar. With local guitar hubs across the UK, including Guitar Lessons London and Guitar Lessons Belfast, you can find the teacher who is local to you. To find out more, as well as to arrange lessons with a local guitar tutor, visit our guitar teacher database at