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#1
Hey guys

I want to be like James Hetfield, a solid thrash metal rhythm guitarist rather than another "shredder" (not knocking shredders though, props for the skill). What would everyone say are the main skills and theory ideas I need to be able to play like this? I know I need fast alternate picking and strong downstrokes, but can anyone suggest other techniques I can work on? Thanks
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#2
That's me, solid rhythm. I can find 8375683427524 lead guitarists who can shred better than me(I can shred riff pretty ****in well) but can't find anyone to write a decent SONG. Writing wit the intent of having a vocalist over top is best.
#3
It depends on exactly what genre you're going for. I think something that is really important for any rhythm player is being able to "lock in" with a drummer and play "chugs" and "gallops" and all that good stuff at a fast speed while keeping a solid rhythm.

If you're into -core genres (like me) and plan on playing breakdowns, It's a good Idea to get used to different "chugging" patterns and rhythms that don't necessarily make sense to your inner musical mind. Odd time signatures and coming in on up beats and stuff like that. That's something that I personally have some trouble with
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#4
Quote by QuantumMechanix
It depends on exactly what genre you're going for. I think something that is really important for any rhythm player is being able to "lock in" with a drummer and play "chugs" and "gallops" and all that good stuff at a fast speed while keeping a solid rhythm.

If you're into -core genres (like me) and plan on playing breakdowns, It's a good Idea to get used to different "chugging" patterns and rhythms that don't necessarily make sense to your inner musical mind. Odd time signatures and coming in on up beats and stuff like that. That's something that I personally have some trouble with

I think I'm into the former category, I'm not really a -core fan. Chugging and stuff is what I'm after.

I want to write songs like Metallica, Slayer, all of those old thrash bands. Are powerchords and chugs too generic?
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#5
Quote by lfcagger
I want to write songs like Metallica, Slayer, all of those old thrash bands. Are powerchords and chugs too generic?


yeah, but don't let that stop you.

you want some good thrash rhythm? listen to dave mustaine. and i mean really listen. i might even go so far as to say he's the best thrash rhythm guitarist. but that's a matter of opinion.
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#6
One of the biggest assets you can acquire is really understanding rhythm. Take some drum lessons. The goal isn't to be a drummer (noooo not that!!! haha) but to have a deeper knowledge of rhythm. Rhythm guitar is kind of like percussion instrument. The more you know about rhythms and syncopation the stronger you will be. I love playing rhythm guitar. It's not easy to be a great rhythm player. To clock it tight is a skill.
#7
Quote by lfcagger
I think I'm into the former category, I'm not really a -core fan. Chugging and stuff is what I'm after.

I want to write songs like Metallica, Slayer, all of those old thrash bands. Are powerchords and chugs too generic?

Power chords are generic. Nothing wrong with them, but throwing in a triad of some lower voicing never hurts.

Above all rhythm player must be able to play without unwanted jumps in tempo and dynamics - constant, steady (not necessarily slow) rhythm
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#8
If you want to play like those thrash bands i´d give you a short list.

Palm muting
Galloping ( Try learning doing down stroke gallops "Down up down" and Up stroke gallops "Up down up". Mixing them gives a great effect)
Playing with pedal tones. (Blackened main riff anyone?)
Power chord variations. (Megadeth are great at this.)
Arpeggiating riffs.
Getting familiar with the diminished fifth (Slayers trademark)
Different tone with your pick. (You can get different effect depending on the angle of the pick, smooth like "Symphony of Destruction"s chorus or agressive as hell like Exodus often does.)

I recommend you to lissen to the 5 first metallica albums (+ Death Magnetic), Megadeth from KIMB to Youthanasia ( and The system has failed to endgame), Slayers first 4 records, Exodus let there be blood, tempo of the damned and shovel headed kill machine (Check out the tune Raze, real agressive.) Most Testament records. Then also all the other ones like kreator, destruction etc.
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#9
Quote by Sickz
If you want to play like those thrash bands i´d give you a short list.

Palm muting
Galloping ( Try learning doing down stroke gallops "Down up down" and Up stroke gallops "Up down up". Mixing them gives a great effect)
Playing with pedal tones. (Blackened main riff anyone?)
Power chord variations. (Megadeth are great at this.)
Arpeggiating riffs.
Getting familiar with the diminished fifth (Slayers trademark)
Different tone with your pick. (You can get different effect depending on the angle of the pick, smooth like "Symphony of Destruction"s chorus or agressive as hell like Exodus often does.)

I recommend you to lissen to the 5 first metallica albums (+ Death Magnetic), Megadeth from KIMB to Youthanasia ( and The system has failed to endgame), Slayers first 4 records, Exodus let there be blood, tempo of the damned and shovel headed kill machine (Check out the tune Raze, real agressive.) Most Testament records. Then also all the other ones like kreator, destruction etc.
All you need can be found there.

Thanks very much for that, exactly what I'm looking for. I'm a Metallica fanboy, so I've got all the Metallica, and I've listened to some of everything else. I'm ashamed to say I had a lot of them down as bands with awesome leads, and I guess I ignored the rhythm. I'll definitely go and listen to them, and work on what you gave me.

Thanks as well to everyone else who posted!
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#10
Quote by lfcagger
Thanks very much for that, exactly what I'm looking for. I'm a Metallica fanboy, so I've got all the Metallica, and I've listened to some of everything else. I'm ashamed to say I had a lot of them down as bands with awesome leads, and I guess I ignored the rhythm. I'll definitely go and listen to them, and work on what you gave me.

Thanks as well to everyone else who posted!


They sure have awesome leads, especially megadeth. (In my opinion)

But yeah, all those bands have great rhythm guitar in them.

For Metallica if you want something real hard to dive into (depending on how good you are, i dont know how good you are ) try the And justice for all album. Real tricky stuff, and in my opinion their best aswell.

Then by megadeth the Rust in Peace album is great, so is peace sells. Any rhythm from early megadeth does the job really.

Slayer is pure endurance and you´ll have to learn to relax your hand, tensing up at those speeds aint good for you. Reign in blood and hell awaits or 2 great albums.

Then aswell of the ones i listed i´d say take a good look at tempo of the damned by exodus, loving the rhythm work on that album.

Good luck!
#11
Quote by Sickz
They sure have awesome leads, especially megadeth. (In my opinion)

But yeah, all those bands have great rhythm guitar in them.

For Metallica if you want something real hard to dive into (depending on how good you are, i dont know how good you are ) try the And justice for all album. Real tricky stuff, and in my opinion their best aswell.

Then by megadeth the Rust in Peace album is great, so is peace sells. Any rhythm from early megadeth does the job really.

Slayer is pure endurance and you´ll have to learn to relax your hand, tensing up at those speeds aint good for you. Reign in blood and hell awaits or 2 great albums.

Then aswell of the ones i listed i´d say take a good look at tempo of the damned by exodus, loving the rhythm work on that album.

Good luck!

That's given me a lot to go on haha.

I'll definitely have a go at AJFA, especially Blackened. I've also decided to have a go at some stuff from Kill 'Em All, because it's the fastest album probably.

I've got quite a few old Megadeth albums lying around, so I'd better dig them out and get going!

Slayer terrifies me, but I'm never gonna be able to do it if I don't try it, so that's another project.

I love Exodus too, and I've got a lot of their work.

Thanks so much for all these suggestions man, it's really helpful.
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#12
Quote by lfcagger
That's given me a lot to go on haha.

I'll definitely have a go at AJFA, especially Blackened. I've also decided to have a go at some stuff from Kill 'Em All, because it's the fastest album probably.

I've got quite a few old Megadeth albums lying around, so I'd better dig them out and get going!

Slayer terrifies me, but I'm never gonna be able to do it if I don't try it, so that's another project.

I love Exodus too, and I've got a lot of their work.

Thanks so much for all these suggestions man, it's really helpful.


Your welcome man!
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#13
The separation between "a good rhythm player" and "a good lead player" has never really made sense to me. Techniques that make you a good rhythm player will make you a good lead player, and vice versa.
#14
Personally, I think if you want to be a serious metal rhythm player you must -

1) Have excellent timing. Practice to a drum machine or click track, always.

2) Have excellent picking - you want speed, aggression, and attack.

3) Have excellent palm muting - there's a lot of different sounds you can get by palm muting in different places. Experiment!

4) Have excellent muting technique - metal rhythm relies on precision. Open strings ringing out sound like ass. You need to be 100% clean - no open string noise, ever. As few unwanted squeaks and slides as possible.

5) Have an excellent understanding of simple minor and major key harmony - you need to know what notes and powerchords are going to fit melodies or work together as riffs.

If you lack any or all of those five, get to work, they're all incredibly useful. Personally I see myself as primarily a metal rhythm guitarist, and I spend at least half my practice time on those skills.
#15
Quote by lfcagger

Slayer terrifies me, but I'm never gonna be able to do it if I don't try it, so that's another project.


A relatively easy Slayer song that also really helps with alternate picking is World Painted Blood. For the Rhythm it's mostly chugging and gallops on the E, with the rest being mostly powerchords, but it really helps you get used to the speed of Slayer songs (Not quite Raining Blood level, but it's a good start)
#16
Listen to all the old thrash songs and learn them. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer.
and also Bullet For My Valentine's rhythm parts
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#17
Quote by jurnag12
(Not quite Raining Blood level, but it's a good start)


Raining Blood is neither the fastest nor the hardest Slayer song, not by quite a way.


TS: Try checking out a few of the newer thrash bands as well like Lazarus A.D. and see a more modern take on the old thrash ideas; not the modern "revival" bands who are just rehashing the past. It might not have the same "classic" status as the older first wave bands but in terms of the stylistic quirks of the rhythm playing it doesn't get much more sort of... honest than that, it's a real crystalisation of the sound if you see what I mean.
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#18
The same things that make a good lead player I assume. A good lead player will also be terrible without most of the things listed in this thread.
#19
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Raining Blood is neither the fastest nor the hardest Slayer song, not by quite a way.


TS: Try checking out a few of the newer thrash bands as well like Lazarus A.D. and see a more modern take on the old thrash ideas; not the modern "revival" bands who are just rehashing the past. It might not have the same "classic" status as the older first wave bands but in terms of the stylistic quirks of the rhythm playing it doesn't get much more sort of... honest than that, it's a real crystalisation of the sound if you see what I mean.

I've been looking for newer thrash to listen to anyway, because a lot of the market seems to be -core now, and I really want to hear what modern thrash is like for inspiration. I can see how it's going to help me, so thanks.

Quote by Freepower
Personally, I think if you want to be a serious metal rhythm player you must -

1) Have excellent timing. Practice to a drum machine or click track, always.

2) Have excellent picking - you want speed, aggression, and attack.

3) Have excellent palm muting - there's a lot of different sounds you can get by palm muting in different places. Experiment!

4) Have excellent muting technique - metal rhythm relies on precision. Open strings ringing out sound like ass. You need to be 100% clean - no open string noise, ever. As few unwanted squeaks and slides as possible.

5) Have an excellent understanding of simple minor and major key harmony - you need to know what notes and powerchords are going to fit melodies or work together as riffs.

If you lack any or all of those five, get to work, they're all incredibly useful. Personally I see myself as primarily a metal rhythm guitarist, and I spend at least half my practice time on those skills.

Thanks, this is sort of what I was looking for. All of the things there I can definitely work on, especially my muting, because it's awful. Thanks again.
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#20
I love metal and rock, but the thing that made my rhythm playing so much better, tighter and more confident was learning some funk. I dont like funk, or really enjoy playing it, but it made me so much better at playing rhythm guitar.

Also, when learning a rhythm part, try singing it or clapping it so that you get the rhythm nailed in your head.

Also, I find it helps big time if you make sure you pick down and pick up in all the right place.

So with a sixteenth note rhythm I will pick

1 - e - & - a - 2 - e - & - a ....... Like
D U D U D U D U and so on

And it will also be like that, even you do the 'Iron Maiden' gallop which is like:

1.........& - A - 2 ........ & - A -
D........D....U...D.........D....U

So you keep the hand moving but with the strings, just like with strumming. I do this for all single note rhythm lines/ riffs and it helps to keep it so much tighter.


In funk you have to be sure when to strum and when to miss, which beats are up strums and some down strums and you have to keep the hand moving, but relaxed.

Obviously when picking the movement has to be smaller though.
Last edited by jkielq91 at Aug 9, 2011,
#21
I've been looking for newer thrash to listen to anyway, because a lot of the market seems to be -core now, and I really want to hear what modern thrash is like for inspiration. I can see how it's going to help me, so thanks.


If you want newer thrash bands aswell i can recommend:
Warbringer
Bonded by blood
Evile
Toxic holocaust
Fueled by fire
Whiplash

Also forgot one of the older ones that is a MUST!

Annihilator.

Once again, best of luck!
#23
Quote by fishmike
whats a chug?


Depends who you talk to. A good few people will tell you it's basically the same thing as a gallop or reverse gallop whereas another group of people will tell you it's a downpicked bit of rhythm. Both cases end up with "chugging" being a riff that rides a low note and adds other notes or figures on top.
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#24
Quote by fishmike
whats a chug?


There's no pure definition, but it is usually used to refer to palm-muted fast riffing on usually lower-register chords.

The fast "da-da-da da-da-da da-da-da" palm muted gallops at the intro to Slayer's Raining Blood, for example.

Also think of the palm-muted downpicking in a lot of Metallica's songs, the beginning of Master of Puppets, for example.

I don't think it necessarily has to be galloped riffs, just palm muted, percussive style riffing.
#25
Quote by lfcagger
I've been looking for newer thrash to listen to anyway, because a lot of the market seems to be -core now, and I really want to hear what modern thrash is like for inspiration. I can see how it's going to help me, so thanks.

I bumped into this band a good while ago, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVFR7uKYA6A
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#26
Quote by Freepower
Personally, I think if you want to be a serious metal rhythm player you must -

1) Have excellent timing. Practice to a drum machine or click track, always.

2) Have excellent picking - you want speed, aggression, and attack.

3) Have excellent palm muting - there's a lot of different sounds you can get by palm muting in different places. Experiment!

4) Have excellent muting technique - metal rhythm relies on precision. Open strings ringing out sound like ass. You need to be 100% clean - no open string noise, ever. As few unwanted squeaks and slides as possible.

5) Have an excellent understanding of simple minor and major key harmony - you need to know what notes and powerchords are going to fit melodies or work together as riffs.

If you lack any or all of those five, get to work, they're all incredibly useful. Personally I see myself as primarily a metal rhythm guitarist, and I spend at least half my practice time on those skills.


But, those 5 would also fall under things a good lead guitarist would have. I don't really see any difference to be honest. Fundamentally it's the same thing!
#27
But, those 5 would also fall under things a good lead guitarist would have. I don't really see any difference to be honest. Fundamentally it's the same thing!


Yep, there's some stylistic differences, but at the end of the day there's a helluva lot of overlap.

As my littlest sister once said -
"Guitar is easy, you just put your fingers on the strings and plonk plonk plonk".

She was young at the time but her insight was extraordinary.
#28
Quote by Freepower
As my littlest sister once said -
"Guitar is easy, you just put your fingers on the strings and plonk plonk plonk".

She was young at the time but her insight was extraordinary.


Noooo, you can't admit things like that, that would make a group of chavs I got shit off about 4 years ago right...
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#30
Quote by Freepower
Hey, if you spot Shawn or Guthrie doing much more than putting his fingers on strings and plonking away, give me a holler.


R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#33
If you're interested in something other than metal I'd recommend checking out some of the older 70s rock bands. Zeppelin, Sabbath, ACDC and Aerosmith are all great examples of bands with fantastic rhythm and songwriting sections. Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones are required listening, too. Another band that really shows how a single guitar can take up a lot of space and keep a really groovin' rhythm is the Stone Roses - check out their tune "Driving South" and listen to the way he tosses in those relaxed, really swinging rhythmic riffs.
#34
Quote by fixationdarknes
FP stop playing so much SC2 and start doing more than plonking!


Now why would you want to do that?
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#35
I actually need to play a bit more sc2, I've got a Boards.ie league match soon and I suck atm.

And I'm doing plenty of guitar practice atm. Although I hate cloudkicker and his endlessly rotating time sigs.
#36
Quote by Freepower
I actually need to play a bit more sc2, I've got a Boards.ie league match soon and I suck atm.

And I'm doing plenty of guitar practice atm. Although I hate cloudkicker and his endlessly rotating time sigs.


Hmmm, you suck at the moment eh... might have to take you up on that match then

If ever there was a band/musician that could be described as "Gosu" I think Cloudkicker would probably be the one
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
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#38
Quote by Freepower
Hey, if you spot Shawn or Guthrie doing much more than putting his fingers on strings and plonking away, give me a holler.


So Shawn and Guthrie are plonkers...
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#39
Quote by Freepower
I think you have my tag man, just add me and if I'm about I'll play ye.


Yeah, I still have all the needed info hanging around, I'll take you up on it some time when I feel like getting completely roflstomped by a diamond leaguer

Quote by Prophet of Page
So Shawn and Guthrie are plonkers...


I have a feeling Guthrie would probably be the first to admit to that
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#40
Quote by AeolianWolf
yeah, but don't let that stop you.

you want some good thrash rhythm? listen to dave mustaine. and i mean really listen. i might even go so far as to say he's the best thrash rhythm guitarist. but that's a matter of opinion.

He is probably the best guitarist of all time, in my opinion. What does Dave do that almost no other guitarist in his genre can't? He is the absolute best rhythm player around. Could it get better? Yes. His leads are face melting.

Once again, that's my opinion. I love Metallica to death. But MegaDave is the best of his generation.
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