Children Of Bodom: 'Downfall' Guitar Solo Lesson with Chris Zoupa

Hey guys. Enjoy my step by step tutorial of Alexi Laiho's classic solo from "Downfall" by Children Of Bodom.

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Ultimate Guitar
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Tuning: D G C F A D I've always loved the way Finnish and Swedish people "plays the guitars." I was particular fond of Alexi Laiho's guitar work on Children Of Bodom's 2nd album "Hatebreeder." This album was a massive influence on me when I was growing up and coming into my own as a guitarist and as a gentleman. Without further adieu, let's take a look at "Downfall" then! As per usual I've broken my lesson into sections that may be problematic.

Section 1 Tips:

This section begins with a few leading notes into some full tone bends. The shred run that follows is made up of semiquavers (or sixteenth notes) working through 2 string Aeolian and Locrian shapes. Nothing too fancy, just keep thinking fast semiquavers!

Section 2 Tips:

The start of this section starts off pretty simple, but then it leads into some pretty fast diminished arpeggios. The arpeggios are basically straight semi quavers using a combination of pulloffs and sweep picking. Let's break down this run into 2 simple arpeggio shapes.
Get comfortable with these two 5 note diminished shapes. When you're feel more confident and ready, try using them in the ridiculous diminished sweep passage in this solo.

Section 3 Tips: MAKE DIAGRAMS!

The start of this section is identical to the start of the 1st. After that we work into a building/ascending semiquaver run that works in groups of 4 till we get to the little group of 6 semi quavers that's played 4 times.
Once you get your head around the placement of this little passage and repeat it 4 times, the whole section becomes way easier manage. The end of section 3 is a relatively predictable semi quaver run descending diatonically.

Section 4 Tips:

The majority of this section is played in straight quavers/eighth notes. It does use some interesting string skip arpeggio ideas, but the melodic content of the arpeggios is pretty standard 1st, 3rd and 5th triads.
If we were in standard tuning the arpeggios above would be a basic "A" minor and "E" minor arpeggio. Get your head around these shapes before you attempt putting the whole section together. String skipping can feel a bit awkward at times, but these arpeggios are played in relatively manageable quavers. The rest of this final section is made up of some pretty "meat and veg" diatonic runs. Hope this has helped! Enjoy the Finnish Win!
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13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    morbidguitar
    That's great but way over complicated. Ive been able to play this song by ear for years, its not that hard. Reading this article, really overcomplicates things. I don't think Alexi himself even put that much theory behind the song.
    Chris Zoupa
    If I write an unthorough article UG sends it back and says it needs to have more information. If you think this solo as easy then you're probably a pretty advanced player to not need too much of an in depth explanation... But the noobs... They need love too.
    morbidguitar
    You did a fine job, and I am an advanced guitar player (due to time playing - 20 years), but I have to say in response to your last comment, I GUARANTEE that the "noobs" that your referring to, along with myself, have no idea what you are talking about. That article is something out of a music college theory book. I have never heard of a semi quaver and still don't know what it is.No disrespect, just saying.
    Elintasokas
    [Edited] Ignore this comment. He did specify in the article that semiquavers are sixteenth notes.
    mattjamesrenn
    I find it's good to work out songs that way and play what you hear but it is also good to understand the theory behind it so you can apply it in different ways. Also I hope Chris is being paid well to do this he really is a good teacher.
    Chris Zoupa
    All my Ultimate Guitar articles are free. I do it because I love music! I'm not getting paid.
    Sir_Taffey
    When are all of these going to get banned? Or are we trying to tack up as many downvotes as possible?