Metal Riffs 1: Single Note Downstrokes with Jai Alai White Oak

Latest Album Heavy Metal Workout II

Welcome to my new series, Metal Riffs! This is basically a recreation of my Metal Chops series but I just decided to change the name to metal riffs.

Being known as a lead guitarist throughout my life, I’ve come to realize that many of the rhythms in metal music are just as, if not more complex than playing guitar solos. So I focus just as much on metal rhythms as I do leads.

The Foundation of Heavy Metal Riffs

This first lesson in Metal Riffs is based on downstrokes. In the my video guitar lesson, I deem this technique as the foundation of heavy metal music.

A perfect example of fast downstrokes is the Master of Puppets album. I reference this album often because it’s part of the reason I started playing guitar in 1990.

On that note, you’ll never see me put up a video lesson on mere power chords. Those indeed have their place, but let’s be real; they’re easy. I like to see and hear movement on the fretboard with metal rhythms. This leads me to my single-note downstroke riff.

Single Note Downstrokes Riff

This riff is in the key of A minor. I’ve always liked playing in this key because it gives the song such a darker feel. If you’re on a standard 6 string guitar, then you’ll start on the 5th fret of the first string (E string).


Guitar Tabs:

The main technique is of course playing with downstrokes. Palm-muting is also prevalent in this guitar lesson. And rightfully so, as palm-muting, like downstrokes, is another culprit of heavy metal rhythm playing.

You’ll find the metal rhythm has a back-and-forth swing to it, as you’re going from the E to A string with some intermittent palm-muting. There’s a lot of movement here too, which requires your right and left hands to be in sync. Your downstroke picking has to be as fast as your fret-hand (or vice versa).

The riff is somewhat repetitive in nature. I use these types of riffs for lessons because I find most people learn better by repetition. It’s sort of like lifting weights. You don’t build muscle from just one or two reps, or one workout. You have to repeat the process over and over, and be consistent.

Metal & Beer: White Oak Jai Alai Aged

Now for my metal & beer part, which is towards the end of the video. I go to our local Craft Beer Cellar here in Brandon, FL to pick up new brews to try. I came across a unique version of Jai Alai by Cigar City Brewing: White Oak Jai Alai. Of course I’m a huge fan of Jai Alai, and Cigar City in general.

At first sip, I could tell it was an IPA but it wasn’t as bitter as the original Jai Alai. The taste was more smooth and balanced. There’s also a hint of vanilla flavor. Along with that, you also have a mix of coconut, tangerine, and dill all vie in White Oak Jai Alai. It’s quite tasty!

Studio Album Updates

I also mentioned the new album I’ve been working on in my Metal Riffs – Downstrokes video. I have a follow up to Heavy Metal Workout, which was released last year in February 2016.

I’m putting the finishing touches on Heavy Metal Workout II in the studio. This album will be faster and more aggressive than the first album. It still follows the premises of instrumental metal workout music.

I’m hoping to have this album released in March or early April 2017. Stay tuned!

Keep it Metal,


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  1. Metal Riffs II: Using 5th and Octave Notes & Bimini Twist IPA – Jason's Metal

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