Thrash Course with Revocation's Dave Davidson: Using Fast Down-Picking to Execute Powerful Riffs and Signature Parts
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An essential technique aspiring thrash metal guitarists must master is the ability to perform fast single-note riffs and power-chord figures using only downstrokes.
Two classic examples immediately come to mind: Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” and Megadeth’s “Hanger 18,” and there are, of course, many more great examples of relentless downpicked fury to be found in the world of metal.
This month, I’d like to focus on the primary riffs I play on the opening track from Revocation’s new self-titled release, “The Hive.” The song is built from an array of primary riffs performed with fast consecutive downstrokes, combined with some tremolo picking and other very specific pick-hand techniques.
To me, a relentless downstroke-driven pick attack is the only way to get certain riffs to jump out of the guitar with the aggressiveness necessary to make them sound as heavy and menacing as possible.