In the first metal
we learned the essential down strumming rhythms used in many of the
heavy metal subgenres. Now it's time to build on that foundation,
adding in upstrokes and building up our speed.
As with the first
part, there'll be drum tracks to jam along to and help nail your
Make sure you download them so you can use them as and when
Building up your metal strumming speed
Obviously if you only rely on down
strumming you'll struggle at higher speeds, so it makes sense to add in
an upstroke and make more efficient use of your pick hand.
In the following exercise, with our down strokes timed as "1 2
4", then we can effectively double
our timing by adding in an up stroke between each count - "1 and 2 and
3 and 4 and..."
a look at the video below for an example of this. I'm simply strumming
a power chord using that constant down-up-down-up alternate strumming...
Observe the pick hand action. Most of the movement is in the wrist. Try
and keep it
relaxed so you can brush over the strings without unnecessary
obstruction. Quick, sharp strokes.
Start slow and gradually build up your speed using a metronome.
basic 4/4 rhythm is our foundation. Once you're confident with
maintaining this strumming pattern, it's time to
move on to more complex variations...
More complex alternate metal strumming patterns
first "rule" is to ensure you can keep a constant down-up motion with
your strumming hand. As we'll see in a moment, it's important to keep
this motion constant even
if you're not hitting the strings. It's all
Take a look at the pattern below. All we've done is skip a few strokes
(marked in red). On these skipped
strokes, the strings are not being strummed, but the
up/down action remains in place...
Let's try something a little less... conventional. The below pattern
uses a constant pattern of up and down strokes like before, but the
timing is different. The gap between some of the
strokes has changed. Take a look and listen...
instead of a consistant gap between the up and down strums, we have a
"jump" on two strokes. This gives it a galloping effect. Listen to the
example over the drum track below
for a typical use of this pattern.
is an exercise in what many guitarists refer to as "power strumming".
We're using exactly the same down-up alternate strokes as before, but
in quicker, staccato bursts. When played at high speed, under high
gain/distortion, this creates a "wall of sound". Great over blast
I can't show you every possible strumming pattern, but please do
the ideas we've looked at over the course of this series, using both
down and alternate strumming. You now have a good library of drum
tracks to practise over. I hope you've found these lessons helpful