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Old 06-11-2013, 02:44 PM   #1
Tcrumpen
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Need help developing my Metal guitar techniques

Recently i've been trying to play riffs from a few Metallica songs and although i've got the best sound from my guitar/amp as i think i gain for Metal, when it comes to metal specfic techniques i'm having trouble getting them down

In particular the one's i'm having trouble with are

- Palm Muting (i can do it, just sounds muddy / tinny when i do it, unlike the sound you get in most metal songs)
- Fast and Accurate Downpicking
- Alt strumming accuratley (no other notes ringing out) both on one string and multiple strings

Now unfortunatley i don't have any good recording equipment so i can upload some sound samples

What would be appricated is any songs / tips for helping me improving my metal technqiues or even just general technique

I have a scale book if that helps and a metronome

I want to try and get my palm muting to sound as close to Metal sounding as i can, the song i have in mind is Enter Sandman, i know it's cliché but it's the best song i can think of that best illustrates the kind of palm muting i'm looking for, of course i know the sound isn't going to be the same as i would need THEIR gear for that

Gear:

Guitar: Tokai SG - Standard Humbucker Pickups, on the "treble" pickup selector
Amp: Roland Cube 20XL

Amp Settings:

Bass - 10
Mids - 4
Treble - 8/9
Gain - 10
Amp Model - Metal Stack / Metal

^ Gives the best metal sound imo

Effects:

Reverb - 1/2
Solo Mode - On
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Old 06-11-2013, 03:03 PM   #2
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With techniques like this, first of all make sure you're doing everything right. Check that your hand is in a proper position for palm muting, and check your wrist movement and hand placement with picking. And the truth is, the solution to your problem is practice. Just practice, and in a few months you'll be fine.
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcrumpen
Palm Muting (i can do it, just sounds muddy / tinny when i do it, unlike the sound you get in most metal songs)

Bass - 10
Mids - 4
Treble - 8/9
Gain - 10


That will be the main reason it sounds tinny. However, for palm muting, as said before, check that your right hand is in the right position, for down-picking, simply practice it to a metronome until it's faster, same for alternate picking. You need to sort your amp settings out, though, I must say, scooping mids and pushing treble is never the answer, especially in Metal, as it will just sound like a beehive.
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CelestialGuitar
That will be the main reason it sounds tinny. However, for palm muting, as said before, check that your right hand is in the right position, for down-picking, simply practice it to a metronome until it's faster, same for alternate picking. You need to sort your amp settings out, though, I must say, scooping mids and pushing treble is never the answer, especially in Metal, as it will just sound like a beehive.

So what settings do you suggest then?
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:45 PM   #5
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To get very consistent sounding palm muting, use downstrokes as much as possible. Practice alternate picking with a metronome at really slow tempos, focusing on getting the tone as consistent as possible
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tcrumpen
So what settings do you suggest then?


I've not used the amp you use, however, for me, I find that you get better tones if you keep your gain around 6 at the most, mids around 6, with bass and treble at 4 and 5, though, really, I would say the key thing is to not put your gain higher than 6, gain at 10 gives a very poor quality, amateur tone, and for Metal, you want a clear, defined tone rather than a buzzy mess.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
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Don't take out all the mids. Turn the mids up and the treble down a bit.

The very first thing I ever learned on guitar was palm muting. I would just sit there and chug open E doing various patterns of picking until I got good at it.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_W
Don't take out all the mids. Turn the mids up and the treble down a bit.

The very first thing I ever learned on guitar was palm muting. I would just sit there and chug open E doing various patterns of picking until I got good at it.
If he wants a classic Metallica tone, mids are pretty much the enemy.

+1 on the palm muting practice though. Seriously, just follow the pattern in the intro (first 10 seconds) of this song for a few minutes each day. You'll get down those alternating chugs in no time.



Note: They are tuned very low (B standard) so don't expect to be able to get that exact sound in standard E tuning.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcrumpen
Recently i've been trying to play riffs from a few Metallica songs and although i've got the best sound from my guitar/amp as i think i gain for Metal, when it comes to metal specfic techniques i'm having trouble getting them down

In particular the one's i'm having trouble with are

- Palm Muting (i can do it, just sounds muddy / tinny when i do it, unlike the sound you get in most metal songs)
- Fast and Accurate Downpicking
- Alt strumming accuratley (no other notes ringing out) both on one string and multiple strings

Palm Muting:
The secret to good palm muting is being able to apply different amounts of muting effect with your palm to get different sounds. If you're getting too thin a sound, might be that you want to back off on how heavily you're muting the strings and hit the strings harder. Good pick attack is really important, too, so don't be afraid to really dig in when you hit.

Downpicking:
I've never been a huge proponent of down picking. You can get the same sound from alternate picking if you just strengthen your up strokes. If you're dead set on down picking, then practice slowly to a metronome, focusing on relaxation and precision. Increase your tempo gradually and you'll develop the necessary muscle and muscle memory to perform the technique (I've seen people do 10 notes per second down picking before, so the sky really is the limit).
A really standard song to practice on is Master of Puppets. Again, emphasize precision and relaxation and you'll get it down.

Alternate picking:
Again, the secret is in practicing slowly and focusing on precision and relaxation.
Paul Gilbert's Technical Difficulties is a good song to practice alternate picking on. It's a monster work out, so don't expect to get it down any time soon.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:45 AM   #10
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Ok there's lots of things for me to try there, would changing the bridge pickup be of benefit: right now as a student i have a very small budget and never having bought any pickups before no idea what price range i would be looking at for a half decent metal pickup
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:12 AM   #11
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for palm muting
- Make Sure Your Bridge Pickup is Lower Than Your Neck Pick up
- Try and compose your own P.M. riff in your head and play it,
- Try changing your right hand positions and see what kind of sound you want
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcrumpen
Ok there's lots of things for me to try there, would changing the bridge pickup be of benefit: right now as a student i have a very small budget and never having bought any pickups before no idea what price range i would be looking at for a half decent metal pickup


You do not need to change pickups. Again, change your amp settings and pay no attention to people who say "Metallica = No mids", you're playing a midrange instrument, if anything, you need to cut the bass a bit to give the bass room to breathe. Pickups are usually the last thing that one needs to change, realistically, you're using a solid state amp, if you want to change your tone dramatically, save up for a better amp, however, I can happily get a heavy palm mute out of a Roland Microcube. The settings need to change, if they haven't already, and one thing many people overlook is the pick you use. I use a 3mm pick, because it gives a richer sound, if you're using a thin pick, you much have much luck getting the heavy sound you're after.
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CelestialGuitar
You do not need to change pickups. Again, change your amp settings and pay no attention to people who say "Metallica = No mids", you're playing a midrange instrument, if anything, you need to cut the bass a bit to give the bass room to breathe. Pickups are usually the last thing that one needs to change, realistically, you're using a solid state amp, if you want to change your tone dramatically, save up for a better amp, however, I can happily get a heavy palm mute out of a Roland Microcube. The settings need to change, if they haven't already, and one thing many people overlook is the pick you use. I use a 3mm pick, because it gives a richer sound, if you're using a thin pick, you much have much luck getting the heavy sound you're after.


Currently using a 1mm Pick and will fiddle with the settings more and my guitar's RRP was about £400 so ....
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:48 AM   #14
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I'd push your mids to 5 and roll back your bass and gain. It's easy to turn your gain way up but Metallica doesn't use as much gain as you think. Fiddle around with your settings, maybe change your pickup height a little.
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcrumpen
Currently using a 1mm Pick and will fiddle with the settings more and my guitar's RRP was about £400 so ....


Then you'll find it's all in the settings, and don't think that the price of your guitar matters, when I was into Metallica, I played a £300 Ibanez, and it did the job. While my tone has got better the more I spent on it, it was never impossible to get a heavy sound. Is it at all possible to record yourself palm muting some riffs with even a mobile phone camera? That'd help a lot, but, again, it sounds like you're perfectly capable, it's just that your tone is lacking, I don't think you'll need to spend more money until you have enough to get a serious upgrade.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CelestialGuitar
Then you'll find it's all in the settings, and don't think that the price of your guitar matters, when I was into Metallica, I played a £300 Ibanez, and it did the job. While my tone has got better the more I spent on it, it was never impossible to get a heavy sound. Is it at all possible to record yourself palm muting some riffs with even a mobile phone camera? That'd help a lot, but, again, it sounds like you're perfectly capable, it's just that your tone is lacking, I don't think you'll need to spend more money until you have enough to get a serious upgrade.


I'll try and record something, will need to find something to prob my phone up with
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:49 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by BladeSlinger
I'd push your mids to 5 and roll back your bass and gain. It's easy to turn your gain way up but Metallica doesn't use as much gain as you think. Fiddle around with your settings, maybe change your pickup height a little.


I have never changed anything other than strings on my guitar is pickup height something that can be done by a "dummy" or should i get it done by a pro
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:08 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by CelestialGuitar
You do not need to change pickups. Again, change your amp settings and pay no attention to people who say "Metallica = No mids"



Listen the first couple of albums again. There is very little mids. Now, people do say that they are recorded with mids high, but scooped in the mastering. Hetfields voice definetly seems to hint that way, much thinner than in real life. But the end result is the mids are low and if its the sound of the recording is what you are looking for, turn the mids down. Not the Pantera way with all the way down but it is low.

Quote:
I've not used the amp you use, however, for me, I find that you get better tones if you keep your gain around 6 at the most, mids around 6, with bass and treble at 4 and 5, though, really, I would say the key thing is to not put your gain higher than 6, gain at 10 gives a very poor quality, amateur tone, and for Metal, you want a clear, defined tone rather than a buzzy mess.



If you havent used the amp before how would you know what is the optimal setting? Especially gain. With gain monsters like 6505 max is way too much but not every amp has that much gain. And regarding clear and defined tone that depends entirely what kind of metal he is playing. I mean, super clean chugcore tone is not always the desired one, not by far.

Sorry, its just hearing the same sermons about gain and midrange and people spouting it as universal truth really get me...

But anyway, that said yeah your (TS that is) settings do seem rather extreme on bass and treble department.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MaaZeus
Listen the first couple of albums again. There is very little mids. Now, people do say that they are recorded with mids high, but scooped in the mastering. Hetfields voice definetly seems to hint that way, much thinner than in real life. But the end result is the mids are low and if its the sound of the recording is what you are looking for, turn the mids down. Not the Pantera way with all the way down but it is low.


Ah, but for the mids to be taken away in the mix, they have to be there to begin with. If a guitarist scoops their mids, they will be lost in a live situation, and scooping your mids in a studio will most likely result in the mixer having to reamp your guitars, so, if you want a good tone, your mids still have to be there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaaZeus
If you havent used the amp before how would you know what is the optimal setting? Especially gain. With gain monsters like 6505 max is way too much but not every amp has that much gain. And regarding clear and defined tone that depends entirely what kind of metal he is playing. I mean, super clean chugcore tone is not always the desired one, not by far.


I shan't let this topic descend into bickering, however, I must say I find you incredibly rude, I'm a Prog/Power Metal guitarist, I would say that all genres except for perhaps Black Metal demand a very clear, defined tone, not just 'chugcore', especially a genre as riff-based as American Thrash. You want to hear each note clearly, and while I haven't played with his amp enough to know the settings, I know that Roland amps tend to get very fizzy, so I believe that my rough settings will provide a more satisfactory tone. I don't know if it'll be optimal, however, I do know that it'll make it less tinny. If one was using an amp where you must turn the gain to 10 to even approach a Metal tone, then surely they wouldn't have bought it as a Metal amp.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:38 PM   #20
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Ah, but for the mids to be taken away in the mix, they have to be there to begin with. If a guitarist scoops their mids, they will be lost in a live situation, and scooping your mids in a studio will most likely result in the mixer having to reamp your guitars, so, if you want a good tone, your mids still have to be there.



True, but the point is the scooped tone has been desired tone in plenty of albums, mostly extreme kind. See Suffocation, Rippikoulu, Abhorrence etc... Hell, even Death scooped his mids slightly.

Quote:
I shan't let this topic descend into bickering, however, I must say I find you incredibly rude, I'm a Prog/Power Metal guitarist, I would say that all genres except for perhaps Black Metal demand a very clear, defined tone, not just 'chugcore', especially a genre as riff-based as American Thrash. You want to hear each note clearly, and while I haven't played with his amp enough to know the settings, I know that Roland amps tend to get very fizzy, so I believe that my rough settings will provide a more satisfactory tone. I don't know if it'll be optimal, however, I do know that it'll make it less tinny. If one was using an amp where you must turn the gain to 10 to even approach a Metal tone, then surely they wouldn't have bought it as a Metal amp.


I know, and I REALLY apologise for my behaviour. I do speak from a POV of extreme metal fan, Black and oldschool death metal. Dirty and gritty. From your perspective perhaps amateurish but thats the sound I love.

Band situation is different where you NEED to stand up in the mix, but I really have hard time TS problems come from his amp settings if he is playing home.
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