This question got me all jazzed up about Collective Soul again, so I was spinning through my iTunes library and I hit "Heavy" off Dosage. I have always wondered how to play the beginning riff of that song. I have tried many times to figure it out, but to no avail. I think he's using a kill switch, pinky volume knob voodoo, or perhaps some studio trickery. It's not a tremolo--I have a Diamond, which will do almost any trem sound possible, and I still can't emulate it properly.

Has anyone figured that one out or is there a reputable article out there with some tips? Internet tablature does not count as a reputable source unless you can convince me otherwise.

  • 1
    That intro is killer. I hope you get a good answer. Apr 2, 2011 at 2:04
  • Every time I've seen them live Dean Roland has triggered the intro from a keyboard he keeps near him.
    – Ian C.
    Apr 3, 2011 at 23:51

3 Answers 3


Here it is live, but that part seems to have been sampled for the performance.
Collective Soul- Heavy Live

The intro tone sounds like Tremolo with studio editing.

Edit: Tried it out on my Line 6 Flextone Plus. It's definitely a fast Tremolo and you alternate open E with 12th fret E I cant write tab very well so I'll put a little note and if someone wants to edit go ahead

0 12 12 0 12 12 0 12 12 0 And you have to time it with the tremolo. the trem has to be fast, I didn't get the BPM, but I set the trem to be quite fast. Live, if you watch the vids, they play it as a sample, so it may be something they cant replicate too easily then go into the rest of the song.


I have a trem on my old Zoom 4040 which sounds very like that, it's almost a square wave trem, but with a very slight slope on the verticals. Most tremolo pedals are too gently with the slope.

I'll try to replicate it on my Line-6 - if I can I'll pop the settings up here this weekend.

p.s. Delighted to have been introduced to a band I hadn't heard of. Need to choose which of their works to buy now :-)

  • Pick up dosage first, it's the ubiquitous Collective Soul album.
    – Jduv
    Apr 2, 2011 at 13:52

I use whats called a slicer on my BOSS GT10, and it works just fine. Very close without the studio dressings of course.

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