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Five Metallica Riffs to Turn You Into a Downpicking Monster

(Image credit: Michel Linssen/Getty Images)

In this lesson, which was created earlier this summer, guitar-centric YouTube channel axeofcreation presents five Metallica riffs that will help turn you into a downpicking monster.

The clip focuses on "Seek & Destroy," "Creeping Death," "And Justice for All" and, well, be sure to check out the video for the rest.

As any Metallica fan knows, it's all about the downpicking.

You can build a respectable arsenal of Metallica-style riffs by establishing a straight eighth-note downstroke pattern on the open low-E string and dropping selected root-5 or 5-root power chords into various beats. The modus operandi here is to use downstrokes for all eighth notes regardless of tempo—upstrokes are introduced only as necessary to play sixteenth-note upbeats.

As James Hetfield told Guitar Player, “That’s the key—downpicking. It’s tighter-sounding and a lot chunkier.” And Metallica progressions, Kirk Hammett points out, “usually have a lot of half-step motion, like Bb to A to G to F#, all with the open low-E string below it.”

For more about axeofcreation and his lessons, head here.