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Michael Johnson >> Sounds of Metallica >>
Lesson Subject: Metallica Style Exercises
What you learn: Palm-Muting & Rhythms
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: There are many basics you can learn to recreate the sound Metallica. One key technique used is called "palm muting" which can be used for both rhythm and leads. Here's an example of the exercises you'll be using in this lesson:

Lesson Sample Video

Michael:  Here's an example of the difference in sounds you can create using palm-muting:



Michael: You basically rest your picking hand upon the strings while you strum the chords, notice the hand position in this picture:



Michael: Notice the base of the palm resting on the strings. You might need to adjust the amount of pressure on the strings to get the desired sound you're trying to achieve.

Palm Mute - Example  

Michael: Now let's try a few exercises to help develop your palm- muting technique. In exercise 1 we'll play 4th intervals in a descending pattern:





Michael: Here's another exercise for palm muting:





Michael: Now try adding licks between the palm-muted rhythm patterns.





Michael: Now try playing a rhythm pattern where you mute the single notes licks as well. You need to adjust your palm to cover the single strings as you play them.





Michael: Now let's get down to the real meat of the Metallica speed sound. Try playing the muted E5 chord using muted alternate picking, we'll build on the speed later.



Palm Mute - Exercise 5

Michael: Try to rest the palm on the strings and use the wrist as your pivot point for moving your hand. Also angle your pick slightly to get a better attack on the strings. Slowly build up your speed, it takes time, but believe me it's well worth the time you practice! It'll make all the difference in you playing. Here's a few jam track you can practice over. I'll give you 3 speed variation so you can build up over time.

looping exercise - slow

looping exercise - medium

looping exercise - fast

Michael: Now remember, be patient! It takes time, try practicing as much as possible and at various speeds. I use to watch TV or listen to the stereo and practice with my guitar unplugged all the time. Try to focus on other things outside of what your hand is doing, this will help your hands develop muscle memory and your picking will become more automatic where you can focus on what your fret hand is doing.

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