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Metal Rhythm Guitar Lesson:
How To Play Heavy
Metal Gallop Rhythm
by Greg X

I have created this lesson to help beginner metal guitarists who struggle with the metal gallop rhythm technique. This trademark technique of 80's heavy metal and trash metal bands was mastered by the greats of the genre. Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica and Pantera are all very good examples!

The rhythm itself for more advanced players seems very easy but it is really hard to get to grips with when you are just starting to learn this technique and don't understand exactly what your right hand should be doing.

This lesson will guide you step by step on how to practice and apply gallop rhythms in practice and I am sure that very soon you will be able to use these rhythms in your own playing.

Gallop Guitar Lesson Video

What the Metal Gallop Rhythm is Not

The metal gallop rhythm is not about playing 8th note triplets per beat. If you do this all three notes per beat are equal, which is not the case in a metal gallop. The truth is although we play three notes per beat we don't play all of these notes one after the other consistently. For an example of what I mean listen to the sound clip of the 8th note triplets below all using downstrokes for heavier sound. Make sure you palm mute the notes of the chords and practice with the metronome or drum machine.

8th Note Triplets - Guitar Tab

The Metal Gallop Rhythm

The metal gallop rhythm originates from the 16th note feel. To create the basic gallop we need to allocate four 16th notes per beat and tie the first two of them to create the sound of the 8th note. In the example below we have two beats with the first two 16ths tied together and the other two beats notated, which gives us the rhythm of how the gallop rhythm is played.

Metal Gallop Guitar Rhythm

The Metal Reverse Gallop Rhythm

Another cool rhythm is the 'reverse' gallop where we tie together the last two 16th notes of the beat instead of the first two. Very similar, however the gallop technique is initiated in a different place.

Metal Reverse Gallop Guitar Rhythm

Metal Gallop Rhythm Example

See the example below and listen to the sound sample of the gallop rhythm. Make sure that you palm mute the notes of the chord and stop any unwanted string noise by muting the top strings with your left hand. Using the very tip of your pick with a slight angle to reduce the friction while playing through the strings, is also a key aspect of executing this technique.

Metal Gallop Example

Metal Reverse Gallop Rhythm Example

See the example below and hear the sound sample of reverse gallop rhythm.

Metal Reverse Gallop Example

8th Note Power Chord Progression

Now I want you to learn this next chord progression that we will to apply these gallop rhythm ideas.

8th Note Metal Chord Progression

Gallop Metal Chord Progression

And here's the gallop rhythm version of this chord progression

Gallop Metal Chord Progression

Gallop and Reverse Gallop Example

In the example below you have a mixture of two gallop rhythms that create a new cool sounding rhythm. Make sure you practice this at a slow tempo first and work your way up to speed.

Gallop and Reverse Gallop Example

Go to my Wimbledon School of Guitar website where you can also download a free PDF and Guitar Pro version of this article.

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Other Guitar Lessons by Greg X

Guitar Fretboard Secrets - How to rip up and down the guitar neck effortlessly
Heavy Metal Gallop Rhythm - Learn this essential metal guitar rhythm
Chord Tone Guitar Soloing - Break out of playing the same old guitar licks

About Greg X

Greg X

Greg X is a professional guitarist and guitar instructor based in London, UK, He specializes in 80's rock and metal as well as neoclassical metal.

He is currently working on his 80's rock album featuring many accomplished musicians from USA and Europe. Greg X studied music at Goldsmiths College in London, UK.

He is being mentored by the World's top guitarist and music business coach Tom Hess. He has taught over a thousand of students. He is also a founder of Wimbledon School of Guitar in London, UK

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