How To Play Heavy Metal Gallop Rhythm

I have created this lesson to help beginner metal guitarists who struggle with the metal gallop rhythm technique.

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I have created this lesson to help beginner metal guitarists who struggle with the metal gallop rhythm technique. This trademark technique of 80's heavy metal and trash metal bands was mastered by the greats of the genre. Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica and Pantera are all very good examples! The rhythm itself for more advanced players seems very easy but it is really hard to get to grips with when you are just starting to learn this techique and don't understand exactly what your right hand should be doing. This lesson will guide you step by step on how to practice and apply gallop rhythms in practice and I am sure that very soon you will be able to use these rhythms in your own playing. What the metal gallop rhythm is not. The metal gallop rythm is not about playing 8th note triplets per beat. If you do this all three notes per beat are equal, which is not the case in a metal gallop. The truth is although we play three notes per beat we don't play all of these notes one after the other consistently. For an example of what I mean listen to the sound clip of the 8th note triplets all using downstrokes for heavier sound. Make sure you palm mute the notes of the chords and practice with the metronome or drum machine. The metal gallop rhythm originates from the 16th note feel. To create the basic gallop we need to allocate four 16th notes per beat and tie the first two of them to create the sound of the 8th note. In the example below we have two beats with the first two 16ths tied together and the other two beats notated, which gives us the rhythm of how the gallop rhythm is played. Another cool rhythm is the reverse' gallop where we tie together the last two 16th notes of the beat instead of the first two. Very simlar, however the gallop technique is initiated in a different place. See the example below and listen to the sound sample of the gallop rhythm. Make sure that you palm mute the notes of the chord and stop any unwanted string noise by muting the top strings with your left hand. Using the very tip of your pick with a slight angle to reduce the friction while playing through the strings, is also a key aspect of executing this technique. See the example below and hear the (sound sample of reverse gallop rhythm) Now I want you to learn this next chord progression that we will to apply these gallop rhythm ideas. (sound sample) And here's the gallop rhythm version of this chord progression In the example below you have a mixture of two gallop rhythms that create a new cool sounding rhythm. Make sure you practice this at a slow tempo first and work your way up to speed. (you can hear the sound sample of this rhythm here) Now to watch the video bonus lesson go to my Wimbledon School of Guitar website where you can also download a free PDF and Guitar Pro version of this article. Greg X is a professional guitarist and guitar instructor based in London, UK, He specialises in 80's rock and metal as well as neoclassical metal. He is currently working on his 80's rock album featuring many accomplished musicians from USA and Europe. Greg X studied music at Goldsmiths College in London, UK. He is being mentored by the World's top guitarist and music business coach Tom Hess. He has taught over a thousand of students. He is also a founder of Wimbledon School of Guitar in London, UK

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    rickyj
    adj209 wrote: I hope this helps me learn disposable heroes (Metallica) and She-Wolf (Megadeth) . Those gallops have been giving me hell.
    i still cant play that ****ing intro riff in she wolf... hard as hell
    Paul Tauterouff
    adj209 wrote: I hope this helps me learn disposable heroes (Metallica) and She-Wolf (Megadeth) . Those gallops have been giving me hell.
    Yeah, She Wolf is pretty ripping. Just work it slow at first and increase the speed. Pick it the way he has gallops in this article DDU and you will get it!
    rickyj
    18th_Angel wrote: It'd be more metal if it wasn't alternate picked like that
    itd also be impossible to do it fast
    David Blackbird
    Good beginner's article, but I think that you could have added some syncopated gallops, like sixteenth-eighth-sixteenth (intro to Desire by Ozzy) or straight eighths with an accent on the offbeat of the second beat (Odin's Court by Black Sabbath)
    Vermillion85
    deftools wrote: SFosterS : I practise along with songs using my thumb on my steering wheel while I drive. hahaha i love doing that but i always end up playing full blown air drums, and then nearly crashing because my cruise control doesnt work i try and do double kicks with my feet instead of not crashing into the guy in front of me, i just hope i crash into a metal head, and i can just blame "battery" btw will my insurance cover that?
    I thought I was the only one! Now my mrs is doing it too! cw
    Alex Soliz
    niejel wrote: metalmoll wrote: I just say.... The Four Horsemen or. also The Mechanix Agree. How about Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow?
    W00t Bullet! Oh and, in what part of Suffocating is there galloping? Just curious, because I've always just downpicked the whole song.
    trussrodking
    Shor-T Zero wrote: "Bleed" by Meshuggah. That is all.
    +1 that song is just ****ing insane, consistent death and pain for your right hand loooool
    Alex Soliz
    Great guide,It took me awhile to get my galloping technique down aswell. My two favorite songs to practice my galloping on were Metallica's "Battery" & Slayer's "Raining Blood".Where the galloping came in on Battery I used to get so pissed off that I couldn't do more than 5 sets without messing up(either hitting one more or less notes, or my hand started hurting =D) but eventually I just said, "Alright, i'm gonna do this". Three days later I had the whole song down by heart.
    niejel
    metalmoll wrote: I just say.... The Four Horsemen or. also The Mechanix
    Agree. How about Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow?
    syke5
    Zeletros wrote: Was always easy to me :/ my rhythm guitarist struggles with it though.
    fail. but good article on galloping. i thought it was over done but if you learn raining blood by slayer and play it enough than im sure youll have some form of a gallop down. just my advice.
    livewire76
    deftools wrote: SFosterS : I practise along with songs using my thumb on my steering wheel while I drive. hahaha i love doing that but i always end up playing full blown air drums, and then nearly crashing because my cruise control doesnt work i try and do double kicks with my feet instead of not crashing into the guy in front of me, i just hope i crash into a metal head, and i can just blame "battery" btw will my insurance cover that?
    Im not alone! LMAO I play rhythm on my gear stick! No, not THAT gear stick.. that one KEEPS rhythm. :p
    adj209
    I hope this helps me learn disposable heroes (Metallica) and She-Wolf (Megadeth) . Those gallops have been giving me hell.
    Joowst
    My way of learning this is just practice a song with it and slow it down. something like battery
    SFosterS
    I practise along with songs using my thumb on my steering wheel while I drive.
    snakesson
    The correct way to spell it is "thrash metal", not "trash", thrash as in means to thrash around, like a mosh pit. Look it up mate.
    Agent_Shagwell
    Useful article Greg, I use alot of galloping in my playing and this has given me a good practice exercise.
    ExOblivione
    Most thrash is trash anyways. Just gotta say, bands like Iced Earth perfected it and Dark Tranquillity uses it so beautifully in songs like New Build. Now that's a song for your right hand to hate you over.
    deftools
    SFosterS : I practise along with songs using my thumb on my steering wheel while I drive.
    hahaha i love doing that but i always end up playing full blown air drums, and then nearly crashing because my cruise control doesnt work i try and do double kicks with my feet instead of not crashing into the guy in front of me, i just hope i crash into a metal head, and i can just blame "battery" btw will my insurance cover that?
    Zeppelin Addict
    KerNeL_KLuTcH wrote: Learn Barracuda by Heart
    +1 great band great song, but try talking some of the 'serious metal heads' into that one
    aCloudConnected
    I know it's not "metal" but Wapakalypse by The Devil Wears Prada has an awesome galloping riff. Also almost every Trivium song. Very nice with the correct picking, I remember my problem when learning gallops was that I was trying to strictly alternate pick everything.
    elleild
    aCloudConnected wrote: I know it's not "metal" but Wapakalypse by The Devil Wears Prada has an awesome galloping riff.
    And i hate buffering!
    MRoby
    I learned all of my heavy galloping from learning Kreator songs. Now I can pull of really fast gallops.
    palm mute
    Zeletros wrote: Was always easy to me :/ my rhythm guitarist struggles with it though.
    Not much of a rhythm guitarist then is he? Didn't learn anything I don't already do, but good article for beginners
    Leather Sleeves
    ExOblivione wrote: Leather Sleeves wrote: Yeah, about Iced Earth, that's metal rhythm perfection. Very useful if you're getting into the faster stuff, look up the "Stormrider" album, or the rerecordings off "Days in Purgatory". Seriously, if you can get through the first three songs on NotSR, you basically have your right hand technique down.
    Also stygian, quite the work-out.
    Kanthras
    I'm surprised you managed to fill a whole article with stuff about galloping, it's pretty basic stuff. Nice for beginners, though!
    Leather Sleeves
    Yeah, about Iced Earth, that's metal rhythm perfection. Very useful if you're getting into the faster stuff, look up the "Stormrider" album, or the rerecordings off "Days in Purgatory".
    ExOblivione
    Leather Sleeves wrote: Yeah, about Iced Earth, that's metal rhythm perfection. Very useful if you're getting into the faster stuff, look up the "Stormrider" album, or the rerecordings off "Days in Purgatory".
    Seriously, if you can get through the first three songs on NotSR, you basically have your right hand technique down.
    the_unforgiven6
    deftools wrote: SFosterS : I practise along with songs using my thumb on my steering wheel while I drive. hahaha i love doing that but i always end up playing full blown air drums, and then nearly crashing because my cruise control doesnt work i try and do double kicks with my feet instead of not crashing into the guy in front of me, i just hope i crash into a metal head, and i can just blame "battery" btw will my insurance cover that?
    i do that too with my feet