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Cheap Vodka
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:32 am
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:40 am 
 

I'm curious about how the other guitarists here play riffs like this in terms of picking:

Code:
e:---------------------------|
b:---------------------------|
g:---------------------------|
D:---------4-----5-----------|
A:---------2-----3---------2-|
E:-0-0-0-0---0-0---0-0-2-3---|
   x x x x   x x   x x


Do you alternate pick the notes on the low E string? Down pick the whole thing? Lately I've been alternating on the E for the palm-muted notes and then using down strokes for everything on the A string. But yeah, I'm wondering what you guys do and your reasoning behind it. Does it depend on the speed of the passage? I can post more examples if need be. Hope I'm being clear.

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awheio
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:00 am
Posts: 286
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:47 pm 
 

I think the only answer here should be: It depends on how you want it to sound. People have debated the following before, but I think whether you down- or alternate-pick makes a big difference in how it sounds. So just go by the feel/sound you intend.

But, that aside, in this case I would likely downpick everything up until the last three notes, where I would alternate, just because it tends to give a smoother sound, which would go nicely with the non-palm-muted notes. But yeah, it depends on the speed of it.

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somefella
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:54 pm 
 

For me, not really the speed but the feel and context of the riff. If it's more natural to alternate pick then that's how it's gonna be.

Lots of players love the downpick only mentality (I myself suffered from this during my first 2 years of playing the guitar) because of Metallica. While James Hetfield is a fantastic player and fast, consistent downpicks are an important tool in your arsenal, don't practice it at the expense of other techniques. Meaning, you are so used to downpicking everything that your muscle memory for alternate picking is weakened. Most people I observe doing this can only downpick, and tremolo pick (which is basically them downpicking strings hard and fast enough and allowing the force of the downstroke to 'bounce' back up, rather than a true upstroke). What you want is to be able to do controlled alternate picking at any speed. This is why midpaced playing is sometimes the hardest. Rather than let fly at the strings with all you've got, you have to be in full control of the tempo and the feel of the riff.

EDIT: tl;dr, maybe I'm preaching a bit here cos everyone's obviously got their own styles, but I feel it is very important to be able to play that riff in the OP in a variety of ways. 90% of metal is in the riffs and to be a true riffmaster, you mus have all types of riffing at your disposal. Downpicking is just one .44 magnum in an arsenal of cannons.
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Anal Enforcer
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:04 pm
Posts: 19
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:21 pm 
 

When I look at that tab, I hear it as all downstrokes. So I would try to downpick everything in that example, but probably fail (I alternate-pick by reflex, so I'm sure my hands would be tempted to do that automatically). The speed would definitely matter. If I took it at a manageable tempo I could probably do all downstrokes but above a certain speed I'd probably revert to alternate picking.

It's funny, when I first started playing guitar -no teacher, no instructional books, no one to show me anything- I naturally downpicked everything. Didn't know any better, and it just felt right. But after about a year of fooling around I finally took a couple months of lessons from a guitar teacher and the one thing he taught me in that time was how to alternate pick. And unfortunately I practiced that so much at an early age that now the technique is pretty much locked-in and hard to change. It did help a lot with my lead playing but I don't like what it did to my rhythm playing. Who knows, maybe I could have been the next Hetfield without that teacher's interference, haha. But now I have to try really, really hard if I want to do strict downpicking.

P.S. What are the "x"'s supposed to represent on that tab? (I'm not a big tab guy)

P.P.S. King and Hanneman used alternate picking on Slayer's fast stuff back in the day, right? At least it always sounded that way to me, and it's how I do it when I play those songs.

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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:22 pm 
 

Am I the only one that doesn't have an idea on what the tempo is with that. it might be the way I write my tabs and how I've read some others... but to me this could be anything from Vader-esc blastathon or Evoken styled doom. So without knowing that I couldn't make any sort of judgement on how I would or what would be a properly way to play it.
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somefella
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Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:57 pm
Posts: 2595
Location: Singapore
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:09 pm 
 

Anal Enforcer wrote:
When I look at that tab, I hear it as all downstrokes. So I would try to downpick everything in that example, but probably fail (I alternate-pick by reflex, so I'm sure my hands would be tempted to do that automatically). The speed would definitely matter. If I took it at a manageable tempo I could probably do all downstrokes but above a certain speed I'd probably revert to alternate picking.

It's funny, when I first started playing guitar -no teacher, no instructional books, no one to show me anything- I naturally downpicked everything. Didn't know any better, and it just felt right. But after about a year of fooling around I finally took a couple months of lessons from a guitar teacher and the one thing he taught me in that time was how to alternate pick. And unfortunately I practiced that so much at an early age that now the technique is pretty much locked-in and hard to change. It did help a lot with my lead playing but I don't like what it did to my rhythm playing. Who knows, maybe I could have been the next Hetfield without that teacher's interference, haha. But now I have to try really, really hard if I want to do strict downpicking.

P.S. What are the "x"'s supposed to represent on that tab? (I'm not a big tab guy)

P.P.S. King and Hanneman used alternate picking on Slayer's fast stuff back in the day, right? At least it always sounded that way to me, and it's how I do it when I play those songs.


I hate tabs too, but it probably just means they are palm muted.

Alternate picking can only help your rhythm playing. I can show you about six million metal riffs that you will be unable to play if all you did was Hetfield style downpicking.

EDIT: @shaolin, I felt the same way, hence I said it depends on both the context. I'm going to guess it's a typical mid to fast paced generic melodeath thing though.
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Anal Enforcer
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:04 pm
Posts: 19
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:30 pm 
 

somefella wrote:
Alternate picking can only help your rhythm playing. I can show you about six million metal riffs that you will be unable to play if all you did was Hetfield style downpicking.


Well yeah, I think you're right about that. I guess if a person's got to have a default picking style, it's probably better to have that default setting be alternate picking.

I still would like to work on my fast downpicking, though, just as something to add to my bag of tricks. Cause right now there ain't much in that bag. : )

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somefella
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:44 pm 
 

Try Iced Earth's The Hunter. And downpick every single note except the lead melody. Once you can nail that, you can try playing Sepultura's Arise with all downstrokes too.
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Anal Enforcer
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:04 pm
Posts: 19
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:48 pm 
 

Thanks, I'll try those.

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CF_Mono
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 pm
Posts: 1459
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:15 am 
 

Not enough information here. First off, unless you're not noting your note lengths right, I'm assuming there are 13 distinguishable beats in this riff, meaning at some point I'm going to want to break an alternate picking pattern if I'm going to use it (though I'm guessing the stuff on A is supposed to be held for twice as long, leaving us with 16 discrete beats. That also sounds more like a metal riff.) Sometimes changing strings is enough of a reason to do that anyway, but sometimes it's not. Tempo also makes a difference. If it's slow enough I'd palm mute it, but if it's faster, then Alt Picking is the obvious option. There are tempo's in between though where either is acceptable, in which case everyone else is correct, it depends on how you want it to sound.
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Cheap Vodka
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:32 am
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:55 am 
 

Thanks for the replies so far. I realize you don't get the proper rhythm or tempo from tabs so that's my bad. It's a riff from Sepultura's Show Me the Wrath (40 seconds in if the link doesn't work).

I totally agree with those of you who are saying it'd be best to be able to play that riff or any riff with a variety of different picking styles. My curiosity was sorta rooted in what you guys would do instinctively.

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