Disclaimer Before Reading: the following article introduction is best read with Billy May’s (the Oxyclean guy’s) voice shouting in your head.
Hi, BILLY MAYS here!!
If you’re having problems with rhythm playing, including:
Then you need NEW LAMB OF GOD RIFFS!
New Lamb of God riffs can help your rhythm playing in a way that other boring riffs can’t!
Learn Lamb of God riffs…and your rhythm playing becomes considerably tighter!
New-and-improved Lamb of God riffs are even more challenging and badass than other bands’.
Listen to how Lamb of God riffs outperform their leading competitors, hands down!
They’ve got the power to get your hand moving all over the FRETBOARD!
Put the slaying back in your playing with new Lamb of God riffs!
Other riffs don’t demand much from your technical abilities; but not new Lamb of God riffs! They work out multiple techniques in a few short measures!
Use them to rock out in your bedroom or impress your friends with the utmost accuracy and speed!
The concepts you’ll learn with new Lamb of God riffs can be used in all KINDS of musical situations and they keep your rhythm chops razor sharp!
They even have the power to attract REAL females!
Bad habits and laziness can build up in your rhythm playing; Lamb of God riffs attack them easily in one lesson, without needing to memorize a zillion notes and without struggling through overly complicated passages!
New Lamb of God riff concepts can be applied to all KINDS of metal and rock!
Shred Lamb of God riffs all around your house!
Listen to how the riffs demand precision, making sure you can’t fake your way through them!
These concepts can even be used to spice up your own riffs with new, creative ideas!
Use them in your everyday playing and watch your sloppiness disappear!
New Lamb of God riffs tackle your toughest technique problems inside and out without being too difficult!
Read below and you’ll learn not ONE, not TWO, but THREE brand-new Lamb of God riffs off the new album, plus tips on how to make them sound JUST LIKE THE RECORD!!
Learn these Lamb of God riffs and watch your average rhythm playing go away!
[End Billy Mays voice]
Phew! I’m tired typing all that.
As Mr. Mays just informed you, you can’t afford NOT to give your rhythm chops a good fine tuning with Lamb of God riffs. Today’s lesson will dive into three riffs from the latest Lamb of God record, VII: Sturm Und Drang.
As Billy mentioned (shouted), these riffs aren’t complex in the sense that you have to commit to learning alien scale patterns and change time signatures every measure. However, these riffs can be quite challenging and in order to play them like Mark Morton and Willie Adler, you have to attain a certain level of technical precision between your fretting hand and picking hand.
Lamb of God riffs are generally fast, fluid and clean. They usually cover a wide area of the fretboard and apply techniques like alternate picking, palm muting, hammer-ons and pull-offs.
These techniques are blended with a horizontal approach across the fretboard instead of the more common vertical playing across multiple strings. In other words, Lamb of God likes to play riffs along one or two strings up and down the fretboard, instead of across multiple strings in one position.
While you could play Lamb of God riffs in a more conventional and “efficient” manner, you’ll find that the fluidity and tone of the Lamb of God sound is largely due to this horizontal approach.
You’ll hear the difference as we get started.
Don’t get intimidated, though. These are not impossibly difficult riffs; rather, they are realistic-yet-considerable-challenges.
But they do require some attention and practice and because of the synchronization needed between your fretting and picking hand, you’ll find that faking your way through them is nearly impossible.
I used to fake my way through the riffs I’d learn all the time, which was a habit that ultimately left me embarrassingly underdeveloped in my rhythm playing. Once I started learning and perfecting Lamb of God riffs, my rhythm playing saw a huge change in terms of speed, accuracy, stamina and fluidity.
Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a metal player, you can still gain some great insights that will significantly tighten up and intensify your guitar playing.
Trust me. And trust Billy Mays too.
Plus, when you can play these riffs up to speed, you can jam along to the record, which is always my favorite part of learning new songs.
So grab your nearest guitar, tune your low E string down a step (all of these riffs are in Drop D tuning), and start learning.
You can watch the video below for a breakdown of each riff. You can also read below to decipher each riff with instruction and accompanying TAB/music notation.
“Torches” – Middle Section Riff
The middle section riff in the album’s final track, “Torches” demands uninterrupted palm-muted and alternate picked 16th notes on the low D string at 136 beats per minute (bpm).
At this tempo, executing flawless 16th notes might be pretty tricky for your picking hand.
Before tackling this riff, you’ll want to find a tempo that allows you to chug 16th notes with comfort and ease.
Set a metronome to a ballpark tempo you think you might be good at. If you can pick comfortably for over a minute, you’re golden. If you start falling behind the beat, flubbing notes or your hand starts tensing or cramping, try backing the metronome off by 5-10 bpm and try again.
Keep lowering your metronome until you’re able to pick those sixteenth notes accurately, without interruption, speeding up, or slowing down. Once you can do that and your picking hand is comfortable, then you’ve found your tempo.
Don’t skip ahead on this. It might seem pretty fundamental and wholly unsexy like Ron Jeremy trying to sweet talk an eighteen-year-old, but if you are honest with your ability to pick consistently and you find a tempo that’s not too fast for you, you will get more accurate with these riffs.
In terms of the left hand, you’ll notice that all of the fretboard real estate takes place on the 12th, 13th, and 17th fret of the sixth string. Use your first finger on the 12th and 13th frets and your fourth finger on the 17th. This is a bit of a wide stretch, but it’ll be great for strengthening your pinky.
You’ll see that all open D notes are palm muted and the notes on the upper part of the guitar neck are unmuted.
The riff itself isn’t complex musically, but it’s HOW it’s played that makes it such a tricky riff to get down and play accurately.
Pay attention to the quick alternate picking passage in measures 2 and 4. You might want to practice it by itself and get it clean and then incorporate it into the entire riff. Your hands might be naturally tempted to speed up when this lick comes up, but practicing it slowly will help avoid that.
Always try to stay in time and be consistent with the muted and unmuted notes.
I’ll be honest and tell you that this riff was the trickiest out of the bunch to record for the video, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a little bit to work up to speed!
“Overlord” – Middle Section Riff
This riff, taken from the middle section of “Overlord,” is similar to “Torches” in the sense that you have a fast 16th note pattern throughout, only this time, it’s much faster at 152 bpm, and instead of straight alternate picking, you have the added challenge of incorporating quick hammer-ons and pull-offs and a dramatic position shift.
Like “Torches,” you’ll play entirely on the sixth string.
You might wonder why there needs to be such a wide shift down to the 5th fret when you could play the riff’s upper notes on the fifth string instead.
Well, if you try it that way, you might realize that skipping the string makes the picking more difficult to keep clean and in time. This leaves more room for error regarding your picking hand and can interrupt the fluidity of the riff. Hence, the real work is given to the left hand, even though it might not be as “efficient” as playing in one position. Textbook Lamb of God concept.
When you shift down, make sure to fret the 5th fret with your third finger, which helps you comfortably execute the 6-note legato phrase.
Like “Torches,” all the open D notes are lightly palm-muted and all fretted notes are unmuted.
This one is fun when you work it up to the album’s tempo! Refer to the video to hear how it should sound and don’t be afraid to practice it SLOWLY.
“Nightmare Seeker” – Post-Chorus Riff
At a slightly slower tempo (113 bpm), the chorus outro riff to “Nightmare Seeker” is a little groovier than our previous two riffs and involves power chords and some vibrato.
This riff also involves playing on the 12th – 17th fret on the sixth string and shifting down to the guitar’s lower register.
For the most part, you’ll play sixteenth notes, but there are a few instances of a dotted eighth note, which gives some nice grooviness to the riff. Give those dotted eight notes a steady vibrato.
In measures 2 and 4, you’ll see a position shift down to the 3rd – 6th frets. There, you’ll play power chords barring the sixth and fifth strings with your first finger (3rd fret), third finger (5th fret), and fourth finger (6th fret).
The position shift happens quickly, so you’ll need to be accurate shifting down to the 3rd fret.
Unlike the previous two riffs, you don’t need to worry about palm muting so feel free to pick those strings hard!
Now That You’ve Learned These Riffs…it’s Time to Practice
So how did these riffs treat you?
Impossible? Challenging? Easy?
Now, simply learning the right notes is one thing, but practicing these riffs and getting them tight is where the real work comes in. If you do that work, I promise you’ll see an improvement in your rhythm playing.
Like I mentioned before, I used to fake my way through the riffs I’d learn, figuring they were “good enough.” That approach left my rhythm chops grossly underdeveloped and I got quite self-conscious about my playing abilities.
I’d rather you don’t make the same mistake I did. I want to help you out to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
So here are a few tips for practicing these riffs that I’ve found helpful over the years.
- Practice with Guitar Pro files – Guitar Pro is a fantastic learning tool, particularly with the “speed trainer” function, which lets you play along to any passage of music and gradually have the speed increase. You get the benefit of practicing slowly and in-time and can build up your speed, accuracy and stamina. (I have no affiliation with Guitar Pro – I’m just a longtime user and fan).
- Practice with Guitar-Only Audio Examples – jamming along to a record is one of my favorite parts about learning songs, but when you’re learning, it can be hard to really hear what the guitar is doing when it’s mixed in with the rest of the band. Practicing with a guitar-only audio clip can help you closely listen to the nuances of the guitar part so you can better emulate it. You can usually find guitar-only stems on YouTube or through guitar instruction websites.
To help you master these Lamb of God riffs, I have guitar-only audio examples and Guitar Pro files for each riff available for free on my website.
But because my sales skills pale in comparison to Billy Mays, I’ll let him do the honor of telling you how you can get these bonus lesson files.
[Resume Billy Mays voice]
…But wait…there’s MORE!
Fill out the form below and I’ll supersize this already incredible offer to include Guitar Pro files of each riff, guitar-only practice files with slow and fast metronome examples, plus Zach’s FREE in-demand e-guide, “How to Learn Songs as Quickly as Possible!”
Plus, stay up to date on upcoming lessons and exclusive content and receive a tub of the world-famous Oxyclean. A HUGE value for only your email address!
Here’s how to sign up!