Metallica: 'Sad But True' Guitar Solo Lesson with Chris Zoupa

Hi guys check out my step by step lesson to Kirk Hammet's solo in "Sad But True" by Metallica.

Ultimate Guitar
Tuning: D G C F A D ("D" Standard)

I've always loved this solo as it has more of a rock feel than just straight metal. There's nothing too tricky to deal with as the solo consists mainly of pentatonics with a bit of triplet action and some fast pulloffs here and there! As usual I've left a link to my YouTube lesson and tabs at the bottom of the article and broken up this solo lesson into possible problematic sections.

Section 1 Tips:

The first section opens with a sliding chord into a basic "E" minor (if we were in standard tuning) pentatonic then works through a few different scales with a bit legato and slides. Let's take a look at the most problematic part of section 1. (See excerpt below)

The interesting thing about this is that Kirk jumps from an "E" Mixolydian scale to a "D" Mixolydian scale. So he's basically shifting from an "E" Mixolydian to an "E" minor. (See diagrams below)

The legato, phrasing and timing in this section is relatively simple, but modally speaking I found that this section really messed with my ear. Take your time getting used to hearing a jolly Mixolydian turn sad/evil and sour.

Section 2 Tips:

The 2nd section deals with some pretty fast pull offs within a "E" minor pentatonic shape. (See excerpt below)

There's a couple of quick bends in this phrase that can really throw your rhythm. As you can see the bends are demiquavers (or thirty-second notes) and are as fast as the majority of other notes in this phrase. Just don't take too long getting a long sexy bends and try and get fast and smooth pulloffs happening on the 2nd/"B" string.

Section 4 Tips:

This is my favourite section of the solo as we're working through some really "rock" sounding pentatonic triplets over an "E" minor pentatonic shape. Keep in mind you've got 7 semiquaver triplets in a row so keep in consistent, rolling and jolly. (See excerpt below)

This run has a really cool bounce to it if you nail the feel and timing. It's also an excellent way to climax to the end of the solo. You may possibly want to implement this climatic idea into your own solo endings when writing or improvising. There's also something very old school rock about the way this solo ends. I'd liken the feel and sound of it to Led Zeppelin, KISS, Thin Lizzy or even AC/DC. Always keep pentatonic triplet runs as a "go to" in your rock soloing and chops arsenal!

Have fun with this one guys! Happy shredding!

Download tab here.

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By Chris Zoupa

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    You have taught me more than you will ever realise. Thanx Chris!! You rock man! \m/ \m/
    would luv to see you teach the solo from black star by yngwie other than that ur a great help man, just about got tornado of souls solo down