James Hetfield

Learn to play like Hetfield.

10
The Basics Of Hetfield You will first need to build a strong arm for Hetfields Rhythm Guitar style, as it is fast and tricky. You will notice in songs such as Master of Puppets, Battery, Fight Fire with Fire and Creeping Death etc. To do this takes time and patience. Practice other songs by other bands and try to build up your right hand. Like Raining Blood by Slayer, a great song for practicing triplets. Or Downpicking On Painkiller By Judas Priest. Then Start Metallica's great riffs. This is from Master Of Puppets try playing slowly and then speed up. Remember Downpicking only on this song.
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------4------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------4------|
|-----2-----3-----4-----3-----2-2-----2-----3-----4-----3-----2------|
|-0-1---0-1---0-1---0-1---0-1-----0-1---0-1---0-1---0-1---0-1--------|
Once finished you can either try some more parts of the song or move onto the main riff from creeping death. This is tricky and again use Downpicking
e|---------------------------------------||
B|---------------------------------------||
G|---------------------------------------||
D|-----2-----2---2-----2-----------------||
A|-----2-----2---2-----2---2-3-2h3p2p0---||
E|-0-0---0-0---0---0-0---0---------------||
Lets Take a break from that and try this exercise to speed up or left hand(or right hand if your lefty). Use all 4 fingers corresponding to the frets and go down and back up. Practice this to stretch out your fingers.
|-----------------------------------------||
|--------------------------------1-2-3-4--||
|-------------------------1-2-3-4---------||
|-----------------1-2-3-4-----------------||
|---------1-2-3-4-------------------------||
|-1-2-3-4---------------------------------||
Practise your basic scales as there used in almost every Metallica song Here is an Example in Fade to black
|------------------------|---------12-13-15-12^13^15---17--|
|------------------------|-12-13-15------------------15----|
|------------------12-14-|---------------------------------|
|----------12-14-15------|---------------------------------|
|-12-14-15---------------|---------------------------------|
|------------------------|---------------------------------|
And a cool scale type riff in Jump In The Fire
1|-----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
2|-----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
3|-----------------|----------------|----------------|x-5-----x-3-----|
4|---------3-------|--------3-------|--------3-------|x-5-----x-3-----|
5|-----3-4---5-4-3-|----3-4---5-4-3-|----3-4---5-4-3-|x-3-----x-1-----|
6|-3-6-------------|3-6-------------|3-6-------------|x-------x-------|
Keep Practicing These. Next I know this has nothing got to do with Rhythm, but you should also practice some solos to get your hand moving. Try this solo from Master Of Puppets
|----19-15----17-14-------------17-14----15-12-----------------------|}
|-17-------17-------15-15-15-15-------15-------13-13-13-13-----------|}
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*2*Play Top And Bottom Together Twice*2*
|-15-12----14-12h14p12-11-------------------11-12-14-----------------|}
|-------13----------------13-12-13-15-13-15--------------------------|}
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|----------------15----15-17----19-15-12-----------------------------|
|-17-17-17-17-19----19-------19----------13ZYABLA~HUYABLA------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
|---------15-14----15-14---------------------------------------------|
|-15b-15b-------12-------12----------15------------------------------|
|---------------------------12-14-12-14b-14-12-----------------------|
|----------------------------------------------14ZYABLA~HUYABLA------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-12-------12-12h14p12-11----14-12-11--------------------------------|
|----14-12----------------12----------10ZYABLA~HUYABLA---------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
|----------------------------15-11/12-11-------12//19----------------|
|----------------------------------------12-11-11//17----------------|
|--------------------9-10-12-----------------------------------------|
|-7-9-10ZYABLA~HUYABLA-7-9-10-12-------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
|----19-15----17-14-------------17-14----15-12-----------------------|}
|-17-------17-------15-15-15-15-------15-------13-13-13-13-----------|}
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|}
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|}
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|}
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|}
*2*Play Top And Bottom Together Twice*2*
|-15-12----14-12h14p12-11-------------------11-12-14-----------------|}
|-------13----------------13-12-13-15-13-15--------------------------|}
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|}
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Thats it for this lesson, I will be making a second part to this hopefully. With a few more advanced riffs. Like the Darkness riff from One. Battery and Master Of Puppets, etc.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    SaBlackLabel24
    i started to play because of james i wanted to be a rythem guitarist but it changed im looking up to kirk i know alot of there solo's but its still fun to learn rythem tech... from james
    BABY_N1CK
    James can play fast with only downstrokes. Having a strong arm is crucial for this but I found that when I was learning Master of Puppets and Creeping Death, it also helps keeping your fingers close to the neck of the guitar. What I mean by keeping your fingers close, is by not lifting them far from the guitar. If you are trying to build up speed, I found that keeping my fingers close to the guitar at all times really helped me build up the speed to play these songs.
    ironwolg
    BABY_N1CK wrote: James can play fast with only downstrokes. Having a strong arm is crucial for this but I found that when I was learning Master of Puppets and Creeping Death, it also helps keeping your fingers close to the neck of the guitar. What I mean by keeping your fingers close, is by not lifting them far from the guitar. If you are trying to build up speed, I found that keeping my fingers close to the guitar at all times really helped me build up the speed to play these songs.
    very true, i have an exercise for that. it's a chromatic exercise where you anchor all of your fingers(of your fretting hand) to the low E and then with all fingers still anchored on that string, you move your first finger over to the A string and keep that finger down, then you move your second finger to the A string while keeping all other fingers down. repeat that with all fingers all the way across the neck and back again. if that's confusing, check out my lesson on practicing, i have it tabbed out there i think. awesome lesson on the hetfield style, you definitely have to build up forearm strength to get that downpicking right. papa het is a beast at it
    metallica-#1
    Next I know this has nothing got to do with Rhythm, but you should also practice some solos to get your hand moving. Try this solo from Master Of Puppets
    ...thats not the solo.. its the interlude -.- wicked lesson other than that!
    maidenfan15
    I know he's a rhythm player, but maybe post a couple of the solos he's written/performed. He's only performed a couple, but his solos are usually tastefully done.
    Zero_Soomdrag
    Call of Ktulu should have been in this lesson, that's a very great and tricky song... but thanks for the art.
    metallica200
    yeah i know i like Call of Ktulu and Suicide and Redemption, James solo is awesome, I could of added more but ill save it for another lesson maybe, when i started guitar it took me along time to master downpicking fast and i couldn't play puppets or creeping death.
    Metalligirl
    he is my main influence when playing actually it was for him that i even started playing, he is a great musician =D And you're very right about the scales in metallica's songs too XD nice lesson man~
    caseharr33
    nice lesson, i really enjoyed it going to bookmark this one for later though, everything seems rough after 12 hour shift at the County Lockup
    MetaMegaMagic
    Good call on Painkiller with downpicking, but you should add more of his phrasing. Suicide and Redemption would be a good way to introduce his use of pentatonics.