UG Weekend Riff: Part 12

Ultimate Guitar


Metallica - Fade To Black. While not strictly metal, due to being played on a classical guitar, the haunting introduction to Fade To Black is the beginning of an epic which shows, especialy in the early days, how eclectic America's biggest metal band really were.


The chord structure is reminiscent of the introduction to Stairway To Heaven in the classical section as the chords remain similar while the bass note changes to alter tonality of a repeated passage. It's best you fingerpick this section, using the guide provided and this key.

  • T: Thumb
  • I: Index
  • M: Middle
  • A: Annular

    The first four bars repeat under an electric guitar solo and then the last two bars accompany a 16th note run around the 12th fret leading in to the first verse.

    Gear Info:

    As for equipment, failing a classical acoustic or classical electro acoustic (this will aid you as you are less likely to mute the strings with your fingers as you fret the notes) a strat's neck pickup with no distortion and the treble turned up should sound great and is a similar setup to what Metallica often use to recreate the sound live (both guitarists are very protective over equipment and settings they use).

    Look out for the electric intro solo that accompanies this section in upcoming columns.

    Audio & Tab:

    Use these links to get a tablature and a midi file of this song.

  • 38 comments sorted by best / new / date

      i quite frankly cant stand stairway... maybe solos were novelty before, but SOLOS HAVE PEAKED and theres nowhere more for them to go... and stairway was voted best song of the TWENTIETH CENTURY, not all time. if it was all time itd be a classical composer EASILY. and to dot, WHO GIVES A FU*K if a song isnt "hard" to play??? both of your arguements are fallible. and please, radioheadfreak, it doesnt take anything to be open-minded about stairway to heaven. it takes an 11 year old kid that just heard who led zeppelin is via some tab site and found out that theyre cool to be into.
      slash_620: what do those black dots mean on the tab?
      They are repeat bars. unless otherwise stated you repeat the enclosed passage 2x, or in this case, 5x
      guitarman0389: geldof do you have an accurate tab on fade to black? the entire thing i mean. i really want to play the whole damn thing and i've seen loads of tabs online that are inaccurate or just suck. [POSTED: 18 September 2004 - 13:56]|
      ' I've said it many times before, and i'll say it again POWER TAB EDITOR it is a free program that gives you tabs & standard notation, plus at there is thousands of accurate tabs for mountains of stuff, especially metallica, over 200 tabs containing almost every song.
      The Jin
      how bout some aerosmthi!!! like Walk This Way. Its not exactly hard but its fun to play and listen to right?
      d0t.: uh... there stupid, recommendation on how to play it? the intro is the easiest ***in part.. its like as easy as adams song, and thats like the easiest song ever...amd its easy to play with a pick... but in any case, fade to black is awesome, but the verse is 10 million times better thaan the intro. next weeks entry should be something by opeth, they kick the shit out of any other band, especially there accoustics ps stairway to heaven is a peice of shit, its waaa..y overrated, its not even hard and its not even a good song
      way to be open minded about stuff, first of all Stairway is one of the greatest songs of all time i mean it didn't get voted that way for no reason, if u don't think so thats fine and thats ur opinion, and second one specific song might be easy for one person, whereas for another it might be challenging, these riffs aren't for the experts, if they were there would be 20 people capable on this whole site. Thats all i have to say, but agree the verse is better and this song isn't a lot w/o the lead
      KevinHallX: whatever happened to the bass riff thingy? i though that was going to be a weekly feature too.
      exactly, i'm baffled myself.
      i agree excellent selection with the song keep them coming the weekend tabs are appreciated
      good choice, but doesn't just about every metallica fan already know how to play this ingenious classic? Anyways good selection and keep 'em coming
      awesome dude but we seriously need some slayer tabs how bout Raining blood that has a kick ass section after the break
      METALLICA RULES!!!! GnR are GAAA..YYY... fade to black is probably best metallica song after one and maybe nothing else matters...really hard to choose what their best songs are though...
      Isn't the dude on holiday? I am sure he posted something in last weeks or the week before about it.
      I am not saying you don't work on it, I just prefer it where I can copy and paste the stuff to word not have to save a picture and print it. :-/
      I prefered the old method of tab, not this new stuff taken from a tab program :-/
      nice song whats next week? howbout some gnr or clapton
      as he said, very nice... but gnr sucks
      loo u say gnr sucks...u r teh suck! lol jk, but seriously, they already did gnr...and that was easy....they should do say...slayer or something...
      AWESOME SONG!!!! in my 5 favorites song of metallica, everything in this song goes perfectly with the lyrics and thats why its an amazing song, to play and listen to...
      whatever happened to the bass riff thingy? i though that was going to be a weekly feature too.
      Geldof the Grey
      Next week is the Eric Clapton special... suggestions to the SUGGESTION BOX in R&R... now!!! And it's not like I steal the tabs from the tab program. I still need to work on it, it's a much cleaner way of tabbing out the songs and means I don't have to spend ages fretting about timing and how to establish that you're meant to slide up to the 5th, bend the note one tone and then play a pinched harmonic... and it's better for printing. The black dots, by the way, show which bit of the tab to repeat and the number shows how many times (so 5 reapeats = 6 times of those 4 bars!)
      geldof do you have an accurate tab on fade to black? the entire thing i mean. i really want to play the whole damn thing and i've seen loads of tabs online that are inaccurate or just suck.
      these weekend riffs just keep getting better and better never really got into metallica maybe i should >:X ty geldof
      Great song and great idea to finger pick it, makes it way easier to play. Keep em comming!
      the fendernator
      yeah not sure bout that midi file. fade to black on a keyboard sounds crap. get windows media version so u hear the actual guitar/ awesome song