Trivium: 'A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation' Guitar Solo Lesson with Chris Zoupa

Hey guys. Enjoy my step by step tutorial of the solos to Trivium's "A Gunshot to the Head Of Trepidation." Difficulty: Intermediate - Advanced.

Ultimate Guitar
Tuning: D A D G B E (Drop D)

I got Trivium's "Ascendancy" album shortly after it came out and this song just floored me. The solo sections in this song are so win and so, so delicious. It's pretty massive.

Keep the video (YouTube link at the bottom) and tabs on stand by so we can tackle this beast section by section.

Section 1 Tips:

This solo starts with a pretty mean Ebmaj7 arpeggio across 2 octaves. (See arpeggio shape below)

Get your head around this shape till you're comfortable descending then ascending. You'll want to eventually add hammer ons and pull offs to assist the speed and phrasing of the arpeggio.

Section 2 Tips:

The second section starts with a very shreddy run using an "A" Locrian scale with semi quaver triplets. Let's get comfortable with the shape first, then you can add the shred pattern. ("A" Locrian shape below)

Once you have the shape down, the shredding style is relatively straight forward. It kinda reminds me of "Scarified" by Racer X. It's stylistically and technically very similar to Paul Gilbert's shredding style.

Section 4 Tips:

The 4th section is very manageable with the exception of a very difficult "E" Locrian run. ("E" Locrian shape below)

Once you're comfortable with the scale shape, the ideas behind the run are relatively simple but played/phrased quickly. Initially the run has 2 triplet semi quavers for each string ascending up, then descends with a straight semi quaver pattern when the run slows down a bit. Once you get this up to speed it's pretty satisfying and delightful.

Sections 5 & 6 Tips:

The 5th and 6th section work through some pretty simple harmonised melodies. There's nothing too fast or out the ordinary due to the melodies being made up of a couple of arpeggios and notes from the "D" minor (or Aeolian) scale. If you're playing this song with a friend, or jamming to a backing, the main thing you'll need to concentrate on is to get all the harmonies and accents locking in. You'll want to make sure that vibratos, bends, slides and slight pauses are identical in order for these sections and harmonies to sound their best!

Section 7 Tips:

The final section is pretty simple. A couple of times when I played it I almost felt this section had a bit of a Kirk Hammett or BFMV vibe. Let's take a look at the pull off emphasis on the excerpt below.

You'll notice the emphasis on the first 4 note group is pick, pulloff, pick, pick which happens 4 times in a row. The next little chunk is a 6 note groups which is pick, pulloff, pick, pulloff, pick, pick twice in a row then a repeat of the first 4 note pattern (pick, pulloff, pick, pick) once. This works over 2 pretty simple 2 string arpeggio shapes.

The final run is a combination or a "D" minor and an "A" minor pentatonic harmonising in fifths. Below is a diagram for the "D" minor pentatonic box shape then the "A" minor box shape.

As you can see, we're working with those simple box shapes played exactly the same on either harmony. Just add a few little pulloffs here and there, followed by a sexy bend and we're done!

There's a link to my YouTube video of this lesson and a tab below. Have fun with this guys and enjoy the win!

YouTube preview picture

Download tab here.

By Chris Zoupa

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This solo is one of the main reasons i picked up guitar, which was like 9 years ago. I should properly make an attempt...
    Am I the only one who thinks this sounds a bit like December Flower's solo by In Flames? (Chris did a lesson on that too) I prefer that to this one, this just drags on too long for me... Solid lesson as always!
    Ive known how to play the majority of this song for so long now, definitely going to learn it 100% after seeing this! great post!
    is it just me or did he forget to do the vibrato when letting notes ring out? other than that... awesome job and lesson
    All I can think of when I see the thumbnail is "I'm extremely photogenic." Super solid lesson though! Love what this guy does.