Metal Chops 8 – Death Metal Riff & Singha

Latest Album Heavy Metal Workout II

Welcome to episode 8 of my Metal Chop series. This is a metal rhythm guitar lesson and tutorial series I’ve created. The goal is simple. To show you some metal chops and riffs that you can practice, build on, and make your own. For this metal rhythm guitar lesson, I have created a Death Metal Riff.’

Guitar Tab:

Metal Chops 8 Death Metal Riff tabs

Guitar Tutorial Starts at: 0:39

Beer Tasting Starts at: 3:33

Death Metal Riff

I’ve been listening to a lot of Amon Amarth over the past few months. As you’ve probably read on a couple of recent blogs, I saw them in concert here in Tampa at The Ritz in Ybor City, in April (2016). And this death metal style has been coming out in the music I’ve been writing. This of course is something I’m embracing.

You’ll notice in the beginning of the video I have a full track for this metal rhythm guitar lesson. This consists of 2 rhythm tracks hard-panned, a bass track and drums (I just threw in a double bass loop from EZ Drummer’s Metal Machine pack). I felt like putting in the full track was necessary to capture the true nature of this death metal riff.

Now let’s get into the death metal riff I have for this metal rhythm guitar lesson! There are 2 primary guitar techniques I want to talk about with this riff. Speed picking and palm muting.

Metal Chops 8 Death Metal - Jason Stallworth

Speed Picking Death Metal Riff

Speed picking is pretty much the same as fast alternate picking. It’s up and down strokes with your picking hand. I find this to be one of the core elements of playing death metal.

Death metal music is fast, extreme, and aggressive. Speed picking metal rhythms almost force you to have that type of attack with the pick.

There’s one thing with speed picking that I want to point out, and that’s the importance of clarity in your notes. Often times clarity is lost when playing super fast metal guitar rhythms. And I hear this is countless songs.

You want to make sure that your pick-timing is on, especially when recording more than one rhythm guitar track. More importantly, your rhythms need to be in sync with the drums and bass guitar. Everything in the death metal style of music is moving fast. One slip up, and it can throw the entire song off.

In saying this, I encourage your to practice your speed picking of metal rhythm guitar to either a metronome (click track) or throw in a drum loop. Of course playing with a real drummer is the best practice if you’re in a band. Not only do you need to be tight, but you need to be tight as a metal band.

Metal Chops 8 Death Metal Riffs

Palm Muting Metal Rhythms

It seems like I talk about palm muting in most every metal rhythm guitar blog and video I release. Palm muting is probably the most widely used guitar technique for metal music in general. It’s often called the ‘djent.’

With death metal music, palm muting and speed picking are often integrated together. And I’m displaying both techniques for this Death Metal Riff in my Metal Chops series 8.

Playing fast metal rhythms with some palm muting gives you a very distinct sound. There’s a lot of attack and aggression. It’s also accompanied by some hardcore bass riffage. And you can’t escape the heavy double bass drumming that drives the tempo. It’s all brought together so beautifully and this style of metal music can take you to some far away places in your mind (I tend to take a dive into the fantasy realm more than once a day!).

Light Palm Muting

One last point I want to make for this death metal riff is a special type of palm muting I do. If you go back to the beginning of the video where I’m playing the full recorded track, you’ll hear some slight variances in the palm muting parts.

I don’t keep my palm firmly on the bridge the entire time. Here and there, in no particular order, I lift my palm just enough to take the edge off. I go back and forth with this. It’s sort of difficult to explain and there’s no true method to it. This is completely by feel.

As I pointed out in the video, this creates some interesting nuances to the metal rhythm guitar track. It adds a more raw and live feel to the song. Don’t get me wrong, we want a tight sound but at the same time I don’t want my music to sound overproduced or too polished. There’s a fine balance.

Singha, My Favorite Brew – Metal & Beer

Here I am again talking about one of my favorite beers in the whole world. It’s the number one beer in Thailand (and my household), Singha. Well, Chang is up there in the competition as well. But I believe Singha is still at the top. At least to me it is.

Singha is a lager but on the lighter side. It’s full bodied and has a nice full flavor. The taste is extremely unique, like nothing I’ve ever tried before. At the time of posting this blog, I’ve been drinking Singha regularly as one of my go-to beers for over 6 years now. My father-in-law turned me onto this stuff back then.

Metal Chops 8 Singa Thai Beer - Jason Stallworth

I also chat a bit about my interest in the Thai culture, and Thailand in general. My wife is Thai, as many of you know. And I’ve been studying Thai language. I hope to be fluent by the end of this year. Fluency in Thai and another album will be a huge accomplishment for this year!

Keep it Metal,



5 Comments on Metal Chops 8 – Death Metal Riff & Singha

  1. I hope you can release the backing tracks for all of your exercises. I’m a huge fan of melodeath and this sounds so fun to play.

    Thanks a lot for the lesson!

    • You’re welcome! I’m actually thinking of putting together an eBook with audio that will have the recorded riff with tabs.

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