Heavy Power Chord Rhythm Playing in the style of James Hetfield, Scott Ian

In this Guitar Control video we’re going to talk about “Stabbing the Hell out of these Strings”, down picking the whole way. Scotty and James Hetfield are the “Kings” of this kind of picking.

I was very fortunate enough to be part of Joey Belladonna’s band for a long time and I had to learn all these ridiculous Anthrax songs. Scott, this guy is just ungodly when it comes to right hand picking down.

I don’t had to learn a whole different format of playing. I’m used to be
more of a right-hand triplet picker. So I had to learn how to start from scratch, like we’re going to do together.

We’re going to start talking and hammering it “Hammer of the Gods” kind of picking. Basically you’re going to use your E again. I know why it goes back to E is because it’s a basic structure for all songs. “Iron Man” is
all about that E. So we’re going to talk about down picking.


The most important thing about down picking, it has to sound like it’s very tight. It can’t be sloppy when you’re playing, it’s got to be straight down all the way. It’s like your throat has got to be like a sore nonstop machine gun.

Let’s try this pattern. We’re going to down pick it, straight down. Every eight bars you can stop, take a breath, then two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Now, we’re going to walk it like “Painkiller”.


A lot of bands will do this really straight ahead down picking. We’re going to use some notes inside. We’re going to use a D and an E, just to show you the pattern. We’ll put an F in that one, a little trill, like a hammer-on. Let’s
try that together real slow. That’s the pattern, now bring it up. I’ll skip around to show you how it goes, but the whole pattern is just straight ahead.

I never change my picking pattern. It’s all down, it’s all in my left hand going with the trill and my left hand making the movement up and down the neck, real slow up to speed. There’s a whole pattern of using this picking technique. I do a couple of pitch harmonics on the E and the F to give it a cool vibe.

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