#1
Hery there!

Lately I've been working on my downpicking, aka the art of all-downstrokes metal rhythm guitar

I was searching for some bands or particular riffs making extensive use of the technique, so to differentiate the practice time along different material and keep it interesting

I'm thinking Metallica, obviously, but also stuff like some Black Sabbath or Rammstein, not necessarily hyper-fast but big and tasty.
I've found it useful also to downpick phrases that one would usually play differently, like the power chords / single note parts in Porcupine Tree's songs like Shallow, Blackest Eyes, Muzak...

So I was thinking that a good list of stuff to pick from could be a lot useful in applying the technique in a number of different contexts and become very efficient at it. If anyone's interested, we can build it here!
Any specific band or riff that you've found particularly useful (or beautiful!) in your experience? Thank you
#2
Ever since I learned to alternate pick, I quit worrying about the "all downpicking" sound. Yes, it can sound a bit heavier for certain chord progressions, but once we're talking about REALLY fast rhythms it becomes quite silly to attempt all downpicking.

And just an FYI, a lot of the fastest Metallica riffs were alternate picked. It's not all downpicked as some would believe. Examples include the opening riff to "Fight Fire with Fire," "Battery," "Disposable Heroes," some of the stuff at the end of "One," and I'm sure I'm missing some more.

The reason I say all this is that there was a time that I was led to believe that in order to play metal rhythm properly, it had to be all downpicking, so that's all I worked on.

That was a waste of about 10 years of playing/practicing. Just my $.02, others may feel differently.
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#3
Pretty much every thrash metal band will have used it at some point but it's not essential. I too had (mistakenly) believed that James Hetfield only played with down strokes and spend ages trying to get up to speed but never could.

Pantera are a good example and Dimebag often mixed fast alternate picking with slow down picking to get that 'chugging' effect.

The opening riff to Avenged Sevenfold - Unholy Confession is also a good riff to play with just down strokes
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#4
The band that helped me improve my downpicking and metal chops in general the most back in the early days was definitely Parkway Drive.

Idols and Anchors was definitely the most impactful song I ever learned in regards to improving my metal rhythm technique etc.

This guy does a pretty sweet cover:



The riff at 0:50 demands some real solid right hand technique. It showed me how important economy of motion was when playing faster down-picked riffs like this one.

This song is also a really good one for downpicking:




Another song that just comes to mind would be Treacherous Gods by Ensiferum:



Downpicking the intro riff is definitely a good exercise. The pattern is very consistent unlike some Parkway drive stuff so it's probably a better place to start. The rhythm guitar is also at a decent tempo and incorporates some power chords as well.
Last edited by vayne92 at Sep 3, 2015,
#5
I actually compiled a list kind of like this a while ago, I tried to cover a decent amount of different skill levels and contexts, and you can find it here:https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1091788
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#6
Dude it's like writing a book on the swimming doggy paddle. The great thrash bands all use alt picking mainly, and downpicking for slower chunkier sections. You'll wind up with only a sore wrist and slow playing if you focus on down picking. If you have time to practice that, much wiser to spend it learning scales and modes, legato, arpeggios, string skipping, etc.
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#7
Quote by 21GunSalute
If you have time to practice that, much wiser to spend it learning scales and modes, legato, arpeggios, string skipping, etc.


Why should he do this? He wants to improve his down-picking. How do you justify that these other techniques are more valuable to learn for him? He wants to learn down-picking, why suggest him to learn something else. There is nothing wrong with wanting to down-pick. He'll get to those other things when he wants to.

Quote by 21GunSalute
You'll wind up with only a sore wrist and slow playing if you focus on down picking.


#8
@ KailM & Matriani. Of course I don't want to downpick everything, far from it, but there's still stuff that benefits greatly from that approach. In mixed alt picked / downpicked phrases I've noticed my wrist's approach totall changing between the two techniques, and with that the sound; maybe it's just my way of doing it, but I'm working to emphasize it even further and get it under control without straining my muscles and hamstrings, and that inevitably takes some dedicated practice time. But no further than something like, let's say, triplets at 170bpm, maybe even less

@ vayne92 & Zaphod, thanks a lot! That's exactly what I was looking for. Never got much into Parkway Drive btw, but I guess I've been missing. That dude's downpicking's pretty fast and accurate too, though by the way his arm looks I can't decide whether he's really efficient or that forearm is tense like a bridge cable. Must be the former if he's still playing

@21Gun, I'm not actually writing a book, you know. But say you were really into swimming doggy paddle: woldn't you buy a book about it? I totally would
#9
It's a valid project.

I was just listening to Iron Maiden's Running Free in the car and it sounds like there's a middle eight that's downpicked with a shuffle or swing feel.