#1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjfqXdcb2BA

See Kerry at 0:10 - 0:13 how he's alternative picking the E string really fast and then hitting those individual notes in between on the A string? What is that technique called? And does anyone have any recommendations on how to improve that? Or is it the usual "go slow until you're able to go faster"? Have tried to look online for some tips but i'm not sure what the technique is called. As of now, I won't even alternate pick the E string, but i'll just hit the notes on the A string (since it's bloody difficult for me to pick back and forth between strings really fast.)

EDIT: And oh, I was always taught that when you pick individual strings or want to pick one string really fast you rest your wrist on the body of the guitar and just move your hand and not your whole arm, but sometimes i've noticed other people don't do that and they'll alternate pick really fast by moving their whole arm up and down. Which do you recommend? Again, i'm referring to the technique in the video. My hand gets really sore if I just use my hand, where as if I use my whole arm to go up and down really fast i'll miss some notes but I won't feel as sore. 0:50 - 0:53 is a perfect example of what i'm talking about.
Last edited by Granata at May 2, 2015,
#2
Hard to tell looking at the video, but if you use economy picking, then the notes played on the A string are easier. E.g can hit the F with an up stroke (8th fret) and continue through the same motion to catch the next open E.

Usual story ... play very slow to play very fast, and watch every tiny hand motion.

Using whole arm is not efficient ... that's a lot of weight moving around compared to just hand, so you're at a disadvantage doing that for speed.

cheers, Jerry
#3
Quote by jerrykramskoy
Hard to tell looking at the video, but if you use economy picking, then the notes played on the A string are easier. E.g can hit the F with an up stroke (8th fret) and continue through the same motion to catch the next open E.

Usual story ... play very slow to play very fast, and watch every tiny hand motion.

Using whole arm is not efficient ... that's a lot of weight moving around compared to just hand, so you're at a disadvantage doing that for speed.

cheers, Jerry


Hmm, you can't see what I mean? He's picking the E string alternatively really fast and then hitting the A string's notes individually. He's going back and forth from E to A. Look at his right hand.
#4
Quote by Granata
Hmm, you can't see what I mean? He's picking the E string alternatively really fast and then hitting the A string's notes individually. He's going back and forth from E to A. Look at his right hand.


I am, but without slowing the video down, I'm not 100% sure he's alternate picking all the time (moving between the E and A strings).
#5
It seems to me that he is doing economy picking. He alternate picks the E string and when he changes to the A string, he does a downstroke. When he changes to the E string again, he does an upstroke.

But I may be wrong, as Jerry said, it's difficult to see without slowing down the video.
Last edited by DanyFS at May 3, 2015,
#6
That isn't it's own technique, it's just generic thrash metal down picking. There isn't a name for it.. pretty much every thrash metal song in existence does what he's doing.

In fact, if somebody asked me to define thrash metal I would start by saying it's a style of music that originated from 80s bands such as Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica which typically incorporates fast tempo and aggressive down-picked riffs. This song is exactly that.

Want to improve at it? Start down picking and playing lots of thrash metal
Last edited by vayne92 at May 3, 2015,
#7
Quote by vayne92
Start down picking and playing lots of thrash metal


Kind of a broad suggestion. Is he doing like everyone in this thread has stated, which is he picks the E string up and down really fast and when he goes to the A he does a down stroke and then an up stroke to the E and so on?
#8
Quote by Granata
Kind of a broad suggestion. Is he doing like everyone in this thread has stated, which is he picks the E string up and down really fast and when he goes to the A he does a down stroke and then an up stroke to the E and so on?


You're overcomplicating things..

It is a generic down picking riff on the E and A string. There is absolutely no alternate picking going on here, thus the term down picking. He never once picks up. Aside from the fast tempo this is an incredibly easy riff. One of the easiest you can possibly come across in thrash metal. It may just look impressive because his picking hand is going fast.
Last edited by vayne92 at May 3, 2015,
#9
Quote by vayne92
You're overcomplicating things..

It is a generic down picking riff on the E and A string. There is absolutely no alternate picking going on here, thus the term down picking. He never once picks up. Aside from the fast tempo this is an incredibly easy riff. One of the easiest you can possibly come across in thrash metal. It may just look impressive because his picking hand is going fast.


Now that I look better at it, I think you're right. It did seem that there was some economy picking going over there the first time I saw it though.

TS, if you want to play exactly like Kerry, then just downpick that riff. But if you find it easier to play that riff with economy or alternate picking, then I see no reason not do it.
#10
Quote by vayne92
You're overcomplicating things..

It is a generic down picking riff on the E and A string. There is absolutely no alternate picking going on here, thus the term down picking. He never once picks up. Aside from the fast tempo this is an incredibly easy riff. One of the easiest you can possibly come across in thrash metal. It may just look impressive because his picking hand is going fast.


except the part where he does pick up, granted it's just to do a gallop. stop being condescending, we all started somewhere

it's just down-up-down-down, repeat. you could call it economy picking on paper, but there's a reset of form and accent on the non-palm muted notes.

keep slowing it down and you'll get it. in a month or two, once it "clicks" you'll realize how easy it is even at full speed, but if you tense up and use poor picking technique you're just gonna tear your hand up.

if it helps, pretend instead of galloping he's hitting a single note on the E string, then work your way up to 2-note gallops, then threes. once you get that technique down you can handle 80% of slayer's catalog, as the rest is the occasional ecclectic alt. picking riff and mindless shredding and whammy abuse
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#11
Quote by Hail
except the part where he does pick up, granted it's just to do a gallop. stop being condescending, we all started somewhere


Maybe I need to give it another listen when I get home to hear the gallop.

Not trying to be condescending either. He said my suggestion of playing thrash metal was a little broad, but it wasn't really. I feel the direct manner of my response was justified.
#12
Quote by vayne92
You're overcomplicating things..

It is a generic down picking riff on the E and A string. There is absolutely no alternate picking going on here, thus the term down picking. He never once picks up. Aside from the fast tempo this is an incredibly easy riff. One of the easiest you can possibly come across in thrash metal. It may just look impressive because his picking hand is going fast.


There's no way it's all down picked. It is way too fast. It definitely is alternative picking.

Quote by DanyFS
or alternate picking, then I see no reason not do it.


Which is where I'm confused on how to practice, because it is insanely confusing. He goes up and down on the E string really rapidly like 6 times, hits the A string once, and goes back to E six more times, then hits A once again, etc. I tried it but I think there's a simpler way to understand how to do this technique, because the way I do it sounds sloppy and my right hand messes up tons of times. So yes, how would I practice the technique?
#13
Quote by Granata
There's no way it's all down picked. It is way too fast. It definitely is alternative picking.


Absolutely not. That's not even close to the fastest downpicking riffs of the 80s thrash metal days.

Anyway, the first part, about :10-:13, is the riff in a straight chugging rhythm, using all downpicks. It may look like he's hitting the string on the way up, but if you listen close, he's not. Just resetting for the next downpick. The spot you pointed out later on, about :50 through the end of the solo, is a very similar riff, with mostly the same notes, but he's doubling the speed of the low notes between the notes on the A string, by alternate picking/just aimlessly fast shredding.

And to play like that, or rather, to play that style, more cleanly than Kerry King does, you just need smooth alternate picking and downpicking technique, and start slow. Definitely don't move your whole arm. If just using your wrist hurts, make sure you're using good hand positioning, and a smooth motion. Watch youtube videos. Above all, relax. Don't tense up. And it'll come. Like Vayne said, once you get to a certain point, where that thrash style of fast picking riffage just kind of clicks (which happens for everyone eventually when you try to play that music), you'll realize how easy that riff is.

I'd also recommend learning Master of Puppets. The main riffs of that song are pretty much a downpicking exercise which is crazy fun to play, and kicks ass. That song, along with the rest of that album, taught me how to play metal.
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#14
Watching it again it sounded down-picked, but listening to the album version i definitely noticed there is indeed a small gallop. I don't know if it's my shitty laptop speakers, his tone or his sloppy playing, but it's definitely easy to miss. Probably just laptop speakers having no low end

It's nothing too difficult to practice though. Just practice Slayer / Metallica etc. The advice you need has already been given by others. The band that helped me with down-picking / galloping oddly enough was Parkway Drive. Most people get in to it with Metallica and recommend Master of Puppets (which is for sure an excellent recommendation), but i think Parkway Drive for sure have more technical riffs for when you've improved.

This riff at 0:40 is one of the ones that for sure helped me a lot:



This one at 0:45 too:

Last edited by vayne92 at May 4, 2015,
#15
I've just slowed the video down. It is all down strokes at the beginning (around 10 secs in).

To see for yourselves,
1/ install VLC (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html) and run it.
2/ Media menu > open network stream. Enter URL to video (e.g. htps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjfqXdcb2BA) ... I've deleted a "t" from https to stop this message actually showing the video.
3/ Playback menu > Speed > Slow down.


cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at May 4, 2015,
#16
Follow the advice given above. Other songs that are very good to train downpicking are Battery, Creeping Death and Fight Fire with Fire (all by Metallica). I never had many problems with fast downpicking, but I did struggled a lot with alternate picking. I saw John Petrucci's videos about alternate picking and spent a couple of weeks playing scales with a metronome. Now I am quite comfortable with alternate picking too.
#17
^^"Fight Fire with Fire" is alternate picked. Just sayin'.
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#18
Quote by KailM
^^"Fight Fire with Fire" is alternate picked. Just sayin'.


I believe I saw once Hetfield playing it downpicked only, I might be wrong though.

But Master of Puppets and Creeping Death should put TS on the right track to fast downpicking.
#19
Quote by DanyFS
I believe I saw once Hetfield playing it downpicked only, I might be wrong though.

But Master of Puppets and Creeping Death should put TS on the right track to fast downpicking.


There is no humanly possible way to downpick Fight Fire with fire. Please prove me wrong, lmao.

Battery uses gallops for the triplets. Though there is that breakdown before the solo that's all down picked.

Master of Puppets is all down picked, good luck. I still can't downpick fast to save my life.
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#20
Quote by Xerosnake90
There is no humanly possible way to downpick Fight Fire with fire. Please prove me wrong, lmao.

Battery uses gallops for the triplets. Though there is that breakdown before the solo that's all down picked.

Master of Puppets is all down picked, good luck. I still can't downpick fast to save my life.


I must be thinking about other song then! Thanks guys for the insight
#21
Quote by jerrykramskoy
I've just slowed the video down. It is all down strokes at the beginning (around 10 secs in).

To see for yourselves,
1/ install VLC (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html) and run it.
2/ Media menu > open network stream. Enter URL to video (e.g. htps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjfqXdcb2BA) ... I've deleted a "t" from https to stop this message actually showing the video.
3/ Playback menu > Speed > Slow down.


cheers, Jerry



Will check when I get home, but I really find it hard to believe it's all down picked. That song is just as fast as Fight Fire with Fire! The main riff is just as fast. Either Kerry has been using that right hand all his life for more than just down strokes on the guitar or its alternative picked. Let me find a cover of the song for now. When I get home I'll slow it down.

EDIT: Damn, you guys are right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTjw4Fu9kuI

Holy hell that's fast. I will check out the songs you guys mentioned so I can be on the right track for down picking improvements. But anyways, you guys reminded me of Fight Fire with Fire. Forgot about that song. See how the main riff is open E alternative picked really fast until he goes and hits notes on both E and A? Well imagine he didn't hit the E string but just the A. Hopefully you guys understand what I mean... Imagine he alternative picked the open E string fast and then hit a note on the A string and then back to alternative picking, while doing all that at super fast speed. How exactly would Kirk be doing that? Would he alternate pick the E and then when he needs to hit the A string he'll do a down stroke and go back to E alternative picking by starting off with an upstroke? Suck there's no name for this technique. I can't find any lessons on YouTube.
Last edited by Granata at May 4, 2015,
#22
Quote by Xerosnake90
Battery uses gallops for the triplets.

Repeat after me: a triplet is three notes spaced evenly over a beat. Evenly spaced. A gallop is not a triplet.


Now with that cleared up, let's clear up something else:

The standard technique for this kind of playing is to make sure that you down-pick every 8th note beat, so for something like Master Of Puppets where the riff is phrased in straight 8th notes it's all played with downstrokes. This keeps your picking hand moving in a consistent rhythm and if you want to gallop (that is add a 16th note in to the rhythm) you simply hit the string using the up-pick motion that you're already making.

This means that for that rhythm part, since the notes on the A string are 8ths they're played with a single downstroke, then the next note on the E string is also played with a downstroke, to keep the picking hand rhythm going.

Again, this is really a key part of most fast metal rhythm playing and has been since James Hetfield first saw The Ramones playing, it's part of the reason for the aggressive sound of the playing and is part of what enables those really fast galloping parts you hear in so many metal songs. Some people have managed to push it insanely fast; I've heard from reputable sources that The Berserker have sections in some songs that push up to 280bpm downpicked, can't remember any of the titles though, sadly.

Edit: corrected since jerrykramskoy pointed out my massive derp
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at May 5, 2015,
#23
Honestly dude, Vayne is right. The reason you're not finding YouTube lessons on that technique is because it's not really anything special. It's just very simple picking patterns played fast. If you can't play it that fast, just start slow and work at it. And make sure you're using a proper picking motion. You mentioned moving your whole arm earlier. Definitely do not do that. You will never get even half of that speed without using a proper wrist based motion.

And regarding the slayer song you've been referencing, there are multiple versions if that riff used throughout the song. The faster version is far too fast to downpick, as you've said, and it is alternate picked, like main riff of fight fire with fire. But the opening version, right at the start of the song, is all downpicking, and isn't even very fast, for thrash metal. Master of puppets is way faster.
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#24
Quote by the_bi99man
Definitely do not do that. You will never get even half of that speed without using a proper wrist based motion.

While it's definitely a bad idea... this statement is demonstrably wrong. Hanneman himself did it when he was alive and I've seen plenty of other people do it. Again, this is bad, very very bad, but let's be honest about this: it's still perfectly possible to play fast with bad technique.

Quote by the_bi99man
And regarding the slayer song you've been referencing, there are multiple versions if that riff used throughout the song. The faster version is far too fast to downpick, as you've said, and it is alternate picked, like main riff of fight fire with fire. But the opening version, right at the start of the song, is all downpicking, and isn't even very fast, for thrash metal. Master of puppets is way faster.

Again, just wrong. That version of the riff follows the standard metal rhythm blueprint of downpicking all the 8th notes, but it also has gallops that definitely use up strokes; there are clearly 3 notes on the E string between the higher parts that are definitely alternate picked, each group of three starting on a downstroke.

Way too many players oversimplify how these rhythm parts work with "it's all downpicking" without realising that this is extremely misleading to new players who don't understand this mainstay of metal rhythm playing.
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#25
Quote by DanyFS
I believe I saw once Hetfield playing it downpicked only, I might be wrong though.

But Master of Puppets and Creeping Death should put TS on the right track to fast downpicking.


I watched him play it with alternate picking in person, so yeah, I'm pretty sure it's alternate picked.

Anyway, for strict downpicking, yes, MOP and Creeping Death should put TS on track. I actually find Creeping Death harder to maintain than MOP. However, I'm here to point out that alternate picking makes a whole lot more sense than strict downpicking in many cases, regardless of how those guys originally played it. Both can sound heavy if you learn how to use them correctly.
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#26
Repeat after me: a gallop is three notes spaced evenly over a beat. Evenly spaced. A gallop is not a triplet.


Hi Zaphod ... I don't get the above. AFAIK, an eighth note triplet would evenly fill the time occupied by a quarter note. (2 eighth notes and an eight note triplet both have same total duration)

cheers, Jerry
#27
Quote by jerrykramskoy
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Repeat after me: a gallop is three notes spaced evenly over a beat. Evenly spaced. A gallop is not a triplet.

Hi Zaphod ... I don't get the above. AFAIK, an eighth note triplet would evenly fill the time occupied by a quarter note. (2 eighth notes and an eight note triplet both have same total duration)

cheers, Jerry

That would be because I wrote it at about 3 in the morning and didn't write it down clearly, apologies!

It should say: a triplet is three notes spaced evenly over a beat, a gallop is not a triplet since it's an 8th and two 16ths, or in the case of Slayer's style it's a reverse gallop where you have two 16ths and an 8th.

Entirely my bad!
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#28
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Repeat after me: a gallop is three notes spaced evenly over a beat. Evenly spaced. A gallop is not a triplet.



Thanks for the clarification up top because this is just downright nonsense. Triplet is three notes evenly spaced. A gallop is two 18ths and an 8th? Would the main riff for Painkiller be considered a galloping riff then?
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Last edited by Xerosnake90 at May 5, 2015,
#29
Quote by Xerosnake90
Thanks for the clarification up top because this is just downright nonsense. Triplet is three notes evenly spaced. A gallop is two 18ths and an 8th? Would the main riff for Painkiller be considered a galloping riff then?

No because the riff is just straight triplets. It's three even notes per beat, thus, triplets.

And apologies for the confusion, I really shouldn't try and post at that time of day after like 5 hours of public transport travel.
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#30
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
No because the riff is just straight triplets. It's three even notes per beat, thus, triplets.

And apologies for the confusion, I really shouldn't try and post at that time of day after like 5 hours of public transport travel.


I'm sorry you have to be subjected to 5 hours of public transport as well. Haha, ok makes sense then.
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