Slipknot: 'Psychosocial' Guitar Solo Lesson with Chris Zoupa

Hey guys. Check out my step by step article and tutorial on the manly beast mode solos in "Psychosocial" by Slipknot.

Ultimate Guitar
Tuning: A E A D F# B

Level: Advanced

I drift in and out of enjoying the music of Slipknot every few years. It's relatively dependant on my current level of rage, self worth and who I'm dating at the time. One of my students asked me to learn "Psychosocial" and I thought it'd just be your standard binary riffing (100010101101101 etc) for 3 to 4 minutes. Little did I know the solos were shredtastic and dangerously win. There's some great trade offs and different techniques such as some pretty ridiculous alternate picking and a cool legato run as well displayed by both Mick Thompson and Jim Root in this song. As usual we'll break the solo down into problematic sections. I'll leave a tab for the solo and a link to the YouTube lesson at the bottom of the article. 

Section 1 (Mick) Tips:

This is entirely alternate picked and is almost a shred exercise. Let's get the scale shape down first and then deal with the pattern.

There's a few weird notes. It's like a Lydian and Locrian scale had a yucky baby. Anyway now that we have the scale shape we can put the shred pattern with it (see excerpt below).

As you can see each bar of shred only spans across 3 strings. They all use a similar pattern of string changing and emphasis, and the whole lick uses semiquaver triplets. This lick in itself is a great shred exercise and to me has a slight Racer X/Paul Gilbert vibe... It is frickin' fast though, so for the love of Gandalf's beard be patient with it and build up the speed and confidence to play it at a gentleman's pace. 

Section 2 Tips (Mick):

The second section continues the aggressive shred of section 1 by doing little couples of 2 triplets over 2 strings. Let's take a look at the lick (see excerpt below).

We are still playing this idea at the same speed as section 1 (as we're still using semiquaver triplets). Practice these sections separately until you're comfortable enough to join them as thought process and pattern is a little different from section to section. Keep in mind that sections 1 & 2 of this solo aren't particularly melodically driven, but more a show case of smug technical proficiency. I would practice these sections the same way that I practice an exercise or scale i.e. get out your metronome and play like a robot and increase speed when you're ready! 

Section 5 Tips (Jim):

I wanted to skip forward now to Jim's solo as his legato run is particularly challenging and adventurous. Let's have a quick squiz at said legato run (see excerpt below).

If I were in standard tuning I'd think of the positioning of this lick to be using a "G" minor Aeolian shape leading from the 10th fret of the "A"/5th string. I think of this part of the run using somewhat of a rolling legato feel, in that we roll backwards and forwards with 5-7 notes per pluck per string. Due to the nature of the shapes and the scale involved this lick, you'll need to work on strength and improving your relationship with you ring and pinky finger. The more you do it, the faster you'll see desired results. 

Have fun with this guys! Happy shredding!

Download tab here.

YouTube preview picture

By Chris Zoupa

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    In the first three seconds of the solo I thought a plague of wasps was about to attack me.
    Just a question. Have you tried recording by using the DI or some line in system for your guitar? Someone may get the impression that your tone does not sound good since (I assume) you just using the camera mic. But clearly, your tone would not be shit since you play awesome. Gnarly lesson again. Thank you.
    Chris Zoupa
    Just a condenser. It's better than the camera by miles but It's not quite as good as having a camera man and sound crew
    Was about to say he's prob using a condenser, but he commented before me =P. I'm getting an Sm57 myself for recording, as the sound of a valve amp > Logic's amp modelling through a DI box. Logic is pretty sick for practicing though.
    He seriously took the time to learn that garbage note for note? Damn.....
    you seriously took the time to write an asinine comment? Damn... on topic - from a fellow Aussie, thanks Chris! Always loved the solo on this song! Both Mick and Jim are seriously underrated
    Hey, just a thing. I was watching a video of Slipknot playing live, and Mick plays lower frets but higher strings, same notes, different position. Just pointing it out. Phenomenal tutorial as always. I always to to your videos for help. Keep up the good work \m/
    Sometimes Mick plays stuff in a different way. He's a bit like Jim, they don't like to play the songs exactly like they're in the album. Besides, playing in higher strings and lower frets he steches more the fingers
    What I've noticed is that Mick takes more artistic liberties when playing those solos live whereas James stays a bit more true to the original.