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Metal Rhythm Guitar Domination pt.3

Well, here it is, June already and we are back with more rhythm guitar antics. Hopefully you’ve taken a little time off all the shredding, grew a pair of balls, and learned some rhythm guitar. This month, the lesson will be extremely short and basic, but worth your time. Sometimes it is the simple ideas that produce the most results. This lesson is all about “growing a pair,” for lack of a better saying. Were going to teach ya how to make your rhythm guitar riffs sound like they’ve got a pair of big ol balls. So, how can we take your average riffs and add some testosterone? Let us get started.

Beefing up your chords
The most commonly used chord in rock/metal of all time has to be the power chord. It is a simple root and dominant combination. The reason this chord sounds so dang powerful is that you are using the 2 strongest tones in your scale. Now, how can we make this chord heavier? Well… there are tons of things we can do. My personal all time favorite is to add a fifth on the bottom of the chord. If you want to get technical, you could call it the first inversion of a power chord. So lets take a B5. Our notes are: B and F#. Throw another F# on the bottom. So we get F#, B, F#. Play it. Let it ring. Feel the power! Here is the tab.

Grab your axe and play it. Sounds a lot bigger doesn’t it? We us this sort of chord in Dark Shift so much that as a joke we call it the “Dark Shift Chord.” Using this simple chord tastefully can liven up your riffs and give them a much needed heavier sound. When you double track your rhythm guitar parts, play a regular power chord in one channel, and play this heavier chord in the other channel. It will add some weight, with out sacrificing clarity. If you overuse this chord, you’ll find that your riffs will begin to sound muddy! 7 Stringers out there, you especially have to be cautious! Remember, use it tastefully. Here is an example from “The Last Door” by Dark Shift. This is the transition riff from the slower part to the more aggressive part. We play it with regular power chords 4 times and then when the drums pick up, we use the heavier chord to make it drive more.



Listen to it

See how easy it is too add some testosterone to your playing. Another thing I love to do is add a 9 on top of power chords. You can get really heavy doing that! Throw a 9 on top and a 5 on the bottom and…. well lets just say it really fattens up your basic power chord. Have fun with this. I know it is a really easy concept, but its something good that you can apply to your playing! Have a good one.

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