Fast Crunchy Just How I Like It

Ever wanted to know how to play up-beat thrash rhythms or vintage-style metal. If so, then this is the column for you!

7
Sorry for the limited information. I had the entire lesson planned out, but only had about an hour to do this so I had to kind-of summarize the lesson and take some of the examples out, but I still put in enough information for you to understand it. This is my first lesson, five days after I established my account, so don't be too critical. Hope you enjoy! If you're an 80's thrash/speed metal fan like I am, and you just can't get the right kind of sound you want out of your riffs, then you're like I was about 7 months ago. In this lesson, I am going to teach you how to gallop like Metallica, crunch like Slayer, and cut like Megadeth. First off, you need to get a good, heavily-distorted rhythm sound that will give a nice "cutting" sound when you dampen your strings. If you're into boss pedals then you could use a Mega Distortion pedal or (my personal favorite)a Metal Zone pedal. I, myself have a Roland Cube 20x, in which I put on "Metal" or "Metal Stack" setting(depending on what sound I want at that time) with the gain cranked up all the way. Once you do that, mess with your EQ settings to find a combo you really like and want to stick with. I have a "scooped" sound on mine, which is where I turned up the hi's and low's and completely phased out my mids. This gives a nice fat, hollow sound. Ok, once you do that, then we're ready to get started. we're going to start off with a basic low-e string with a palm-mute.
A---------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-------------------------------------------
This may sound extremely simple and dim-witted, but this is how a lot of thrash riffs are created. Remember; No matter what the tempo, always use downstrokes when playing a riff like this. The only time you should be using upstrokes is when picking sixteenth "gallop" notes, which we will get to later. The downpick just makes it sound more even and that much harder. Now we will experiment by dropping chords and single-notes in random places in the riff.
A---5/7---5/7-----------------3/4-------------------------------------------
E-0-3/5-0-3/5-0-0-0-0-0-0-1-0-1-2-------------------------------------------
Sounds a lot better now, doesn't it. Like I said, you can build virtually any riff off of a basic 16-note open-string palm-mute. Now we are going to look at sixteenth-note riffs. You use the same tempo, you just pick twice as often (alternative picking). Look at it this way; you just put a zero between each zero on the first tab you seen above. Here is an example from Metallica's "Damage Inc." from the famous Master of Puppets album.
D-----------7/8---7/8---7/8-------------------------------------------------
A-----------7/8---7/8---7/8-------------------------------------------------
E-0-0000005-----5-----5-----------------------------------------------------
Pretty cool, huh? You now have knowledge of how to create a simple 8th note or 16th note metal riff. Now if your wondering what I think they might be, you should be thinking "what would I get if I mix these two?" Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a cornerstone of which the world of metal was virtually built off of: The Gallop Pick. A gallop pick, or as called by some people I know, sounds just like it's name; like a horse galloping. What you do to amount to a gallop pick is you play the basic eigth-note rhythm figure, like in the first tab. The only difference is that between the 2nd and the 3rd note, you up-stroke an extra note. It will look like this.
A---------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-0-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-----------------------------------------
when you pick, it should be like this;down down,up,down down,up,down. If you get it going, it sounds extremely cool. You can also do it like this:
A---------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-------------------------------
The reason why you'll hear some people call this triplet picking is because it's like grouping three notes together at one time. Out of all of the tecniques that I've learned on the guitar, this is definitely one of the top two. It will take you awhile to get your speed up on this, so don't get frustrated with yourself, like it did. I would cuss my guitar out when I couldn't get a damn triplet going. My advice to you would be to buy a metronome and set it to a speed that you can easily play this at and play one of the two tabs above for an extended period of time, increasing metronome speed a little every day. If you've ever heard "Raining Blood" by Slayer, or "Battery" by Metallica, you'll know what I'm talking about.
"Raining blood"-Slayer

D---------------------------------------------------------3-2---------------
A-------------------------------------------------------4-----3-2-----------
E-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-000-0-2-4---------------------

"Battery"-Metallica

D---------------------------5-5-4-5-----------------------------------------
A-----------8-8-7-----------7-7-6-7---------8-8-7---4---5---5---6-2---------
E-0-000-000-6-6-5-0-000-000---------000-000-6-6-5-0-2---3-0-3---4-0---------
Both of these are great songs to practice your gallop-picking speed and accuracy. A lot of Metallica's older songs have gallop-picking in them, which is why James Hetfeild is considered by many to be the best rhythm player of all-time. I hope that this lesson helped you guys out with your metal riff-writing and again, I'm sorry for not putting all of my information in here, but like I said I had a limited time to do all of this. Expect to see some more lessons by me, some relating to this topic, and some being as different as blues guitar soloing, which I am a big fan of. Fell free to send me comments if I made any mistakes or you just want to tell me something about this that would make it better. Later.

35 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    MetalHead916
    Metal_chick1 wrote: This could possibly be the only thing that actually helped me out. I'm sixteen, and can play just about any song you name, yet I couldn't begin to tell you many exercises or chords, but I figured if I could find some exercises, it would make me alot better, and faster. &I actually found someone who made sense, and had good taste in music. Thank youu!
    Wait, you can play just about any song I name, but you didn't know how to gallop pick before you read this lesson? Anyways, good job bro.. nice lesson
    NihilistD
    maybe the dude meant to cut it on your pedal or amp >_> you have a sound guy and mixers and all that shit up on stage plus (like my gear for example) you have like ten different EQs with certain stuff idk but either way it depends on the rest of the band if your mids even matter, if you play loud enough you WILL be heard no matter the mix xD just my 2 cents before I pass out,oh and this little lesson's not that great, but I suppose some begginers might like it. bye guys
    ninjafrets
    Dave Mustaine can barley play. And James H is amazing in the first couple of Albums (And DM i spose). Anyway, good lesson. +1 to MetalHead916, btw!
    Belsebubb93
    is hetfield one of the best rhytm player because of galop rythm?? what a ****.. Maiden have played galopp rythm before metallicas existens...
    Belsebubb93
    is hetfield one of the best rhytm player because of galop rythm?? what a ****.. Maiden have played galopp rythm before metallicas existens...
    el_capitan_666
    James is an amazing guitarist. And in two weeks i will be in an arena moshing out when Metallica play in Brisbane. Fuck YEAH!!!!!
    RIPTheRev
    well personally i would see Synyster Gates and Corey Beaulieu(of Avenged Sevenfold and Trivium respectively) as 2 of the greatest lead guitarists probably ever... but then again...those are my two favourite bands... oh and thanks for the lesson! helped alot!
    jared420
    I can't believe what i just read! James H better than Dave Mustaine?!? I think i might cry. That is an ill conceived notion. But you cant compare the style because they play two different styles. One lead, the other rhythm. James is good at rhythm and singing but Dave is amazing at lead. You cant compare two.
    jared420
    scratch that my brother just was on my profile. hes an idiot. sorry. but i think Dave is better, by far. haha
    TravuhsWree
    He didn't say "barely," he said none, I like cutting mids too but face it... 0 mids is kind of stupid.
    hicmic54
    Listen to pantera, his tone has barely any mids and I consider him to have one of the best tones to come out of the 90's and james hetfield is a great rhythm player, the best... not likely considering dave mathews and many other players talented playing, depends on the type of music your into I guess, every good musician has his/her strong techniques that he knows hes good at and he/she capitalizes on that.
    Eastwinn
    I get improve your metal effects sound by turning on your Wah pedal but keeping it closed.
    TravuhsWree
    WOW, this guy is so pro. FAT HOLLOW. Not at all redundant. And you're an idiot, if you have no mids at all you won't be heard in any mix.
    thelonesoldier
    Ugh. What if I said Herman Li was the best guitarist ever because he's so good at sweeping and whammy bar? I'd get ripped to shreds. (I don't actually care about him either way) I know it's not actually a big deal... I just thought it sounded silly.
    liam177lewis
    thelonesoldier - i would say this is a fair enough comment. opinion is intrinsically justified, no need to be a messy baby.
    thelonesoldier
    "A lot of Metallica's older songs have gallop-picking in them, which is why James Hetfeild is considered by many to be the best rhythm player of all-time." HAHAHA. Yes. That's all that's used to judge guitarists... being able to alternate pick in a three-note galloping rhythm. Seriously, it's a bad idea to make "considered by many to be the best" generalizations in any circumstance... ten times worse when you use such foolish reasoning.
    7footman
    Yeah, you guys are right, because, in my opinion I'm the best guitarist ever... Opinions are like @$$holes, everyones got one and they all stink. but, thanx for explaining gallop picking. ]>
    JohnnieDarko
    TravuhsWree, You can have Fat and Hollow at the same time. Fat stands for a higher amount of upper bass, around 200-300hz. Hollow means a lack of mids, somewhat higher around 500hz. The opposite of fat sound is thin sound, which is something else than hollow sound. Also you are wrong about the mids comment.
    TravuhsWree
    Uhhhm, Johnnie Dorko, no? If you have no mids (ZERO) you will not be heard, I agree with cutting the mids but not zero, that's just f***ing stupid, sorry, I doubt you have ever played with more than two instruments on stage around you, trust me, at zero, you won't be heard. As far as your timbre argument, I've done research and I can't find anything, hollow in my book is the same a thin, which means lower mids, fat means more mids, not bass. Show me where you got this timbre info and I might believe you until then, no.
    a7xrocks02
    If you cut your mids completely, thats 75% of your guitar's sound down the drain.
    TravuhsWree
    Honestly I think those results would vary depending on if you had a tone-stack EQ, or WHERE the mids were on your EQ. But I digress.
    xphrygianx
    im with great grandpa maiden=king of the gallop, and i just recently started turning my bass and treble up and my mids down it makes a hell of a lot better thrash sound.
    professorlamp
    to the lonesoldier , he is a good rhythm player and not only can he play quite challenging rhythms but he can sing over them , when you can do them both i will agree until then STFU
    Metal_chick1
    This could possibly be the only thing that actually helped me out. I'm sixteen, and can play just about any song you name, yet I couldn't begin to tell you many exercises or chords, but I figured if I could find some exercises, it would make me alot better, and faster. &I actually found someone who made sense, and had good taste in music. Thank youu!