How to Play Thrash Metal Rhythm Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to play thrash metal rhythm guitar in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.

I want to talk to you a bit about thrash metal rhythm guitar. You know when metal started it wasn’t all fast, some of it was very slow and driving. Groups like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest who were pioneers for this style really laid the groundwork, but it was later on in the 80’s groups like Motor Head, early Metallica, Megadeath, Slayer, and many more.

They doubled the tempos, they doubled the picking speed, so whereas a standard heavy metal rhythm in the 70’s might have been something like. When that became thrash it became more like. All right. But a thrash rhythm is not just about picking a low E string as fast as you can. It’s a matter of alternating it with certain chords. For example you can alternate it with power cords.

Alright, so there I’m just throwing in simple power chords sometimes I’m sliding from one power chord to another. You can also alternate between single note patterns. Here’s a rhythm incorporating the low E string with single note patterns.

So, there’s really a combination of low chugging, power chords, and single notes. Learn as many rhythms as you can and try to do your own variations. Hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson on thrash metal rhythm guitar.