The Captain Learns To "chugg", It's more complicated than I thought
Todd Simpson
Jul 4 2020, 02:39 AM
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I recently saw this video about OLA ENGLUND showing THE CAPTAIN from Andertons Music and DANISH PETE how to CHUGG!!!! I was taken aback at how hard it seemed for them to get a good Chugg going.



To witt!! Let’s review the basics.

The Captain is mostly a blues player, granted. Still, he is by all accounts a fine guitar player. To watch him struggle like a newbie with technique that is second nature to anyone that plays any sort of heavy music was a bit of a shock to be honest. The technique itself is simply not that complex. Or at least I didn’t think it was. Until I watched this. It made me realize I’d bee taking for granted that folks can do chuggs and gallops and muted triplets without a second thought. This clearly is not the case. Let’s start at the start.

1.)THE BASIC DOWN STROKE CHUGG

First, apply the palm of your pick hand to the bridge of your guitar. This provides the “MUTE” needed to create the chugg sound. The mute is key to making this entire thing work. You need to try to mute as many strings as you can with the palm. This is where many folks falter. Just muting the low strings makes playing open string licks nearly impossible without extra string noise. So finding the right position is crucial. Move your hand around until you find a spot where you can leave your palm planted on the bridge and still hit the highest string and lowest string by simple changing the angle of your hand, but not moving it, or moving it as little as possible. Try to leave your hand in this primary position when playing your chuggs and anything that needs muting. Try not to move your mute hand up and down the bridge as you ascend and descend scales, is possible. Some movement is unavoidable, but too much movement will create a scraping sound at high gain which you do not want. Practice this and then work up the speed on it. It always sound heavier to down stroke than to upstroke. Which is why so many metal players focus on the down stroke. It’s a “tone thing”. This is what Ola tries to show them first. Watch them struggle as if he is showing them 9 string sweeps. A classic example of downpicking is anything played by JAMES HETFIELD of METALLICA. He prefers the downstroke if at all possible. Here is in full glory.



2.)THE BASIC UP AND DOWN STROKE CHUGG / GALLOP
Once you get the hang of the down stroke, one can add an up stroke. The upstroke is crucial for a traditional technique known as the “Gallop”. This gets it’s name from sounding a bit like a horse galloping along. It’s done by simply playing triplets E.G. Three notes in a row with a short pause at the end before playing the next set. Bands like IRON MAIDEN helped to cement this technique in the Canon of Metal Playing. A fine example of the technique is the classic Maiden track “THE TROOPER”.



It was then taken further and taken to the next level by bands like MESHUGGAH. MESHUGGAH is infamous for creating the insanely fast triplet passages that have come to typify Modern Metal in songs like “BLEED”.



OLA ENGLUND uses a slightly different technique than is typical. He shifts his picking position as shown in the video to a nearly reverse approach to the typical hand position used in typical muted triplet. MARY FRIEDMAN takes this approach even further and curls his entire hand when playing rhythm or lead. It’s a unique approach and works well for Marty. However, I would not suggest this technique for anyone else. I’d actively discourage in fact as it prevents the picking hand from being able to play many licks that require proper hand position. That said, MARTY is a GOD of a player despite this. Still, his technique limits his ability to mute and play at the same time. So much so, that in this video he admits to have to have another player help him mute the strings so that he can get a good take.



Thus, i’d say try to avoid this approach and keep the same pick angle for Galloping as you use for your Down Stroke Picking and keep your palm on the bridge so that you can mute your own playing without having to call for help or use fret wraps at the first first. I’m sure you’ve seen many player with fret wraps on Fret 1. This usually means they just need help in keeping a clean mute. It’s possible to keep a good mute with some practice.

Here is an example of a hyper focused version of alternate picking while palm muting. In this example, I’m not using any wrist or (God forbid) elbow. I’m just articulating the pick with my finger/thumb and leaving my palm planted on the bridge. Of course, I’m only playing one string for this demo. As you play songs/solos, you will integrate more wrist/hand motion to allow you to play various licks. But, at it’s most basic, up and down strokes while muted looks about like this.

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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Jul 4 2020, 02:41 AM
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PosterBoy
Jul 4 2020, 12:55 PM
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The gallop bit reminds me of the treble notes in Irish fiddle tunes

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Phil66
Jul 4 2020, 07:17 PM
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Pete Honoré is no slouch either, and he has trouble. He's toured with Tom Jones. Lionel Richie, Joss Stone, Il Divo and many more and is a respected session guitarist, he struggled too, maybe not as much as the Captain though wink.gif

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Todd Simpson
Jul 5 2020, 10:03 PM
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Yeah, the captain really had a hard time at first. Then when OLA threw some fast triplets at them, their heads almost exploded. A lot of Metal guys work on these types of technique before they even learn scales or before they can even tune the instrument. It become just an instinct. I never thought of it as something people would struggle with but then again, I'm sure there are Jazz Chords that Jazz guys learn during week one of playing that I would stumble over like crazy and find nearly impossible to play.


QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jul 4 2020, 02:17 PM) *
Pete Honoré is no slouch either, and he has trouble. He's toured with Tom Jones. Lionel Richie, Joss Stone, Il Divo and many more and is a respected session guitarist, he struggled too, maybe not as much as the Captain though wink.gif

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