Greetings, guitar engineers. I’m Desi Serna. In this free guitar lesson, I have another installment of How Does This Song Work featuring “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring. I will go over the main sections of the song, and you will get to know the key, chords, progressions, scales, and modes used in the music. If you want to learn how to actually play this song, you can use the information I provide here along with the tablature which can be found online.
To get my sound for this song, I’m using a Telecaster-type guitar made by Bluesman Vintage Guitars in Spring Hill Tennessee. They call this model the “Coupe.”
For my amp, I’m using the Kemper Profiling Amplifier and a Fender Tweed Deluxe profile from Tone Junkie.
Twilight Zone Riff
“Twilight Zone” begins with a guitar riff in B minor that makes use of the root, minor 3rd, and 4th out of the minor scale. This riff is worked into the next chord, Em. For the next chord, F#m, you play a slightly different version of the riff transpose to F#. I like to use my thumb to play this part.
If you find this riff too difficult to play, you can simplify it by leaving some notes out.
Twilight Zone Chords
The chords in use here, Bm, Em, and F#m, fit together in the B minor scale. B minor is relative to D major, so you might think of the chords in the D major scale first. Bm, Em, and F#m are chords vi, ii, and iii in the D major scale. But since the music centers on Bm, it’s best to think of the scale as starting on B. When you count B as 1, then Em and F#m are chords iv and v. So this is a 1-4-5 chord progression in a minor key. In minor keys, chords 1, 4, and 5 are all minor.
You continue to play a minor 1-4-5 chord progression uring the song’s verses. I’m going to play the same chords up here in the 7th position. For a slight change midway through the verse, and to lead you into a repeat, you play a Bmsus4 chord. The 3rd of Bm, D, on the string three is replaced with a 4th, E.
Next, in the chorus, you play a chord progression that follows a descending B minor scale and features a major V chord from harmonic minor. Normally, the F# chord is minor, but here you make use of the raised 7th from B harmonic minor to change the F# chord from minor to major. This creates a strong dominant push back to your tonic chord, Bm.
The chorus finishes with a strong vocal hook. The chords in use here are G and Em before returning to the tonic chord, Bm. The E minor chord is played with a surprise syncopation on the “and” of beat 4. While the music is on Bm, you hear the lead guitar play a very common pentatonic lick that involves you alternating between a bend on the third string and a root and 5th double stop on strings 2 and 1.
Twilight Zone Guitar Solo
The guitar solo makes use of the B minor pentatonic scale. It sounds like most of the solo is played using pattern 1 here in the 7th position and a little bit of pattern two above it. You can look up the tab to learn how the solo is specifically played, or you can simply improvise using B minor pentatonic scale patterns. The nice thing about this music is that you really can’t hit a bad note if you stick with the pentatonic.
So that’s how the song “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring works. If you’d like to learn more about music theory for guitar, or maybe back up and fill in gaps in your playing so you can play better at this level, check out the instruction available at this website.