Fast Crunchy Just How I Like It

author: abice220 date: 12/11/2008 category: music styles
rating: 6.4 / votes: 27 
Sorry for the limited information. I had the entire lesson planned out, but only had about an hour to do this so I had to kind-of summarize the lesson and take some of the examples out, but I still put in enough information for you to understand it. This is my first lesson, five days after I established my account, so don't be too critical. Hope you enjoy! If you're an 80's thrash/speed metal fan like I am, and you just can't get the right kind of sound you want out of your riffs, then you're like I was about 7 months ago. In this lesson, I am going to teach you how to gallop like Metallica, crunch like Slayer, and cut like Megadeth. First off, you need to get a good, heavily-distorted rhythm sound that will give a nice "cutting" sound when you dampen your strings. If you're into boss pedals then you could use a Mega Distortion pedal or (my personal favorite)a Metal Zone pedal. I, myself have a Roland Cube 20x, in which I put on "Metal" or "Metal Stack" setting(depending on what sound I want at that time) with the gain cranked up all the way. Once you do that, mess with your EQ settings to find a combo you really like and want to stick with. I have a "scooped" sound on mine, which is where I turned up the hi's and low's and completely phased out my mids. This gives a nice fat, hollow sound. Ok, once you do that, then we're ready to get started. we're going to start off with a basic low-e string with a palm-mute.
A---------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-------------------------------------------
This may sound extremely simple and dim-witted, but this is how a lot of thrash riffs are created. Remember; No matter what the tempo, always use downstrokes when playing a riff like this. The only time you should be using upstrokes is when picking sixteenth "gallop" notes, which we will get to later. The downpick just makes it sound more even and that much harder. Now we will experiment by dropping chords and single-notes in random places in the riff.
A---5/7---5/7-----------------3/4-------------------------------------------
E-0-3/5-0-3/5-0-0-0-0-0-0-1-0-1-2-------------------------------------------
Sounds a lot better now, doesn't it. Like I said, you can build virtually any riff off of a basic 16-note open-string palm-mute. Now we are going to look at sixteenth-note riffs. You use the same tempo, you just pick twice as often (alternative picking). Look at it this way; you just put a zero between each zero on the first tab you seen above. Here is an example from Metallica's "Damage Inc." from the famous Master of Puppets album.
D-----------7/8---7/8---7/8-------------------------------------------------
A-----------7/8---7/8---7/8-------------------------------------------------
E-0-0000005-----5-----5-----------------------------------------------------
Pretty cool, huh? You now have knowledge of how to create a simple 8th note or 16th note metal riff. Now if your wondering what I think they might be, you should be thinking "what would I get if I mix these two?" Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a cornerstone of which the world of metal was virtually built off of: The Gallop Pick. A gallop pick, or as called by some people I know, sounds just like it's name; like a horse galloping. What you do to amount to a gallop pick is you play the basic eigth-note rhythm figure, like in the first tab. The only difference is that between the 2nd and the 3rd note, you up-stroke an extra note. It will look like this.
A---------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-0-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-----------------------------------------
when you pick, it should be like this;down down,up,down down,up,down. If you get it going, it sounds extremely cool. You can also do it like this:
A---------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-------------------------------
The reason why you'll hear some people call this triplet picking is because it's like grouping three notes together at one time. Out of all of the tecniques that I've learned on the guitar, this is definitely one of the top two. It will take you awhile to get your speed up on this, so don't get frustrated with yourself, like it did. I would cuss my guitar out when I couldn't get a damn triplet going. My advice to you would be to buy a metronome and set it to a speed that you can easily play this at and play one of the two tabs above for an extended period of time, increasing metronome speed a little every day. If you've ever heard "Raining Blood" by Slayer, or "Battery" by Metallica, you'll know what I'm talking about.
"Raining blood"-Slayer

D---------------------------------------------------------3-2---------------
A-------------------------------------------------------4-----3-2-----------
E-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-0-2-4---------------------

"Battery"-Metallica

D---------------------------5-5-4-5-----------------------------------------
A-----------8-8-7-----------7-7-6-7---------8-8-7---4---5---5---6-2---------
E-0-000-000-6-6-5-0-000-000---------000-000-6-6-5-0-2---3-0-3---4-0---------
Both of these are great songs to practice your gallop-picking speed and accuracy. A lot of Metallica's older songs have gallop-picking in them, which is why James Hetfeild is considered by many to be the best rhythm player of all-time. I hope that this lesson helped you guys out with your metal riff-writing and again, I'm sorry for not putting all of my information in here, but like I said I had a limited time to do all of this. Expect to see some more lessons by me, some relating to this topic, and some being as different as blues guitar soloing, which I am a big fan of. Fell free to send me comments if I made any mistakes or you just want to tell me something about this that would make it better. Later.
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