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Michael Johnson >> Sounds of Metallica >>
Lesson Subject: Metallica Style
What you learn: Lead/Rhythm
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This lesson will teach you how Kirk Hemmitt (Metallica) applies lead licks in between his rhythm patterns. The rhythm patterns are basic, but adding runs and licks between the patterns can be quite a challenge. Kirk used these methods in many of Metallica's earlier recordings (Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, And Justice for All,...). These techniques are crucial to helping you play many Metallica songs and solos and will help you with basics to developing a heavy metal sound of your own. Sample some of the patterns and licks you'll learn in this lesson:

Paul says: Did you find some of the styles of Metallica chord progressions where Kirk and and James arppegiate .

Michael: Paul I found a few. I know they use a muted chord to create that style this lesson will focus on the style of Metallica's earlier albums and the style and scales they used. Kirk uses the key of E minor quite a bit, but used other modes as well, such as the Dorian:  
E Minor - E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
E Dorian - E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

Michael: Here's the E Dorian.

Michael: Here's the first jam track in E minor.


Michael: Try jamming on the scale over the jam track to warm up. Kirk also uses the E Dorian mode and many others as well. Notice the subtle tone difference between the E minor scale on our last lesson. Ok let's work on a run in the E Dorian mode. Here's the first run:

Michael: This is a descending run in the E Dorian that resolves on the "E." You can take a portion of this run starting from the 3rd string and then incorporate the rhythm pattern I sent earlier. Here's the tab:

Michael: Now we'll take a few of the chords and use an isolated section of the last run. Notice how these parts all interplay. In this next lick I also play the low E (6th) string and let it ring while I play the higher lick.

Michael: OK this next one is in E also but taken from the style of Ride the Lightning. Here's the jam track.

Paul says: Are those open position chords or barred power chords? On the rhythm

Michael: Open for the E and power chord G.

Michael: You can jam in the E minor and Dorian scales over that, the last tab is pretty much power chords. Now let's try some lead licks over the rhythm pattern. Our first licks uses the E minor scale:

Michael: The last lick is a standard pull off on the 12th fret, but you have to stretch a bit. Notice how I barre my first finger on the 12th fret 1st and 2nd strings. This allows my other fingers to play the pull-off notes quickly. The next lick is basically the same as the last pull-off, but different order of notes.

Paul says: Notice how I use the 4th finger for all the pull-offs. This is a great lick to develop the strength in your little finger (4th).

John says: It helps my speed too.

Michael: This is an excellent practice lick to develop your pinky. Here's another lick Kirk often uses in his solos influenced by Jimmy Page:

Michael: Notice how I use my 2nd finger to bend the 3rd string note, with the 1st finger barred on the 1st and 2nd strings (12th fret) and pull-off on the 2nd string note with my 3rd finger.

John says: Cool, I recognize that lick from Dazed & Confused and several Metallica solos! You can really see how Page influenced Kirk!

Michael: You bet, like all guitar players, we grow up listening and being influenced by our heroes, we later take these licks and develop a style of our own, that's the secret of any great musician! Spend a lot of time on these licks and rhythms! See you next lesson!


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