The Fall of Troy: 'Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles' Guitar Lesson - Part 1

This video is part one of a series detailing how to play "Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles," an epic progressive rock song by The Fall of Troy, off of their "Doppelgänger" album.

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This is a video lesson. You may view the video below. I've included tabs within the video as well as as some quick points I make during each section.

Copyright Notes

I do not own the rights to the song "Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles" that is featured in this educational video. It was written by The Fall Of Troy and we are going off of what is played in their "Doppelganger" album's version of the song. Please don't sue me.
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First thing; this song has a lot of difficult position changes and string skipping. Because of this, I would recommend learning the fingerings without a metronome, at least at first. Go as slow as you have to until you get these parts under your fingers a little bit, then turn on the metronome and work on keeping it even. During the video I go over several learning techniques and apply them.

The Intro

I'd recommend breaking it down into parts. The first thing is the jump from the Cmaj7 to the Emin3. This is a difficult jump on its own, but to complicate matters further, you have a pull-off on the high-E string in between the two so you are jumping from the high E string all the way down to the low E and A strings. Start by practicing just the change, then continue by adding in the first pull-off. It's in the same position, so it shouldn't be too much harder to throw in. The next bit alternates between two legato ideas, a pull-off from the 7th fret to the 5th fret and a hammer-on from the 15th fret to the 17th fret. I would practice each of these separately until they are under your fingers, then work on alternating them like they do in the song. This intro will make your left hand a lot more "intelligent" so to speak, and I would make it part of your daily warm-up until you can play it well.

The Chorus

Eventually the chorus builds up to three guitars. This part covers the first guitar, which I'd consider the main one since it borrows part of the theme from the intro. The riff starts the same as the chorus with the Cmaj7, hammer-on, Emin3rd idea, then after that it alternates between two ideas. One idea features slides and pull-offs to open strings, a pretty common Thomas Erak technique. Start this line with your ring finger as I describe in the video. The next line is a bit difficult; it really helps if you slide into the first note with your ring finger, especially if you can do so and easily reach the E on the 12th position of the high E string with your index finger. The quick slide from the 15th fret to the 17th fret and back should be isolated and practiced on its own at first. As you become more comfortable with it, you can keep the tempo the same and start adding the notes that come before and after that individual part of the phrase. When you make a mistake, go back to using less of the phrase. The turn-around chords can be difficult to nail after the position jump, so you should practice the changes on their own until those shapes feel comfortable under your fingers, then practice them in context, perhaps just isolating those four bars.

The Breakdown

Here I demonstrate a technique to practice chord changes using a metronome that you can also use to practice the chords from the previous section, at least when you are initially learning them. One thing I don't really mention in the video is that you play these chords staccato, meaning you mute them right after you play them. You probably picked up on this with your ears, but if the idea gives you trouble, practice muting just the power chord shape after each pick in a staccato style before you worry about the changes. I mention muting a bit in the video as well - the reason we finger these chords the way we do is so that instead of using your index finger to barre the 7th fret for the Emin7 chord, you use your index finger to mute all the strings below the ones you are using for the chord (i.e. the B and the high E) so they don't ring out as you rock on those chords.

The Verse

The verse is pretty fun to play, especially the sliding bit. The two chords used here are, again, Emin7 and Cmaj7, although the Cmaj7 is voiced differently in the sense it is more fleshed out this time and played in the 3rd position with the root on the A string vs. up in the 10th position with the root on the G string. The sliding melodies feature an iterative (i.e. repetition) melodic idea - each note gets played twice. Thomas slides into each note, then picks it and slides into the next note. It is helpful to slide with a finger other than your index finger because you can then use your index finger to add an additional layer of muting on the B string to help keep it from ringing out while you are flying through those slides. This is a useful technique when just one layer of muting from your picking hand is not enough for a single string idea on the high E string. There is a turn around idea, basically an Amin7 played with natural harmonics. If you are going off the "Doppelganger" recording, the chord is vibrato'd a little bit. Don't have a whammy bar? Never fear, you can press the back of the neck to vibrato it as I demonstrate in the video, just be careful.

Ending Notes

Hope you guys enjoy the lesson, I've taught guitar before but this is the first time I tried recording an actual lessons. I will have the second half of the lesson detailing the instrumental part of the song (as well as the other guitars in the chorus) in a couple days. Thanks for watching/reading!

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