Aspects of Prog Metal

by Nicholas Llerandi

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  • Hey Guys!

    I'm really excited about this lesson because there are several different dimensions to it:

    -Rhythm and Chords
    -Arpeggios/Intervallic playing (Although more angular than your standard 1-3-5 arpeggio) and economy picking
    -Modal soloing

    And although the lesson is called "Aspects of Prog Metal", these are still just a few of the many many concepts you can use to play and write this kind of music.

    Rhythmically, this lesson is mostly a triplet feel until towards the end where we imply a modulation (I explain a bit more about this below). The phrase is 47 beats long, however, and looks like this: 3, 2, 1, 2, 4, 1, 3, 1, 3, 2, 2, 3, 1, 2, 2. With 1 beat in between each group.
    The chords are mostly Minor11 chords with the exception of the first and third ones. Harmonically it's very simple, but it sounds really nice. When it comes to Minor chords, you can practically put them anywhere in any order and it will sound good; sometimes without even considering good voice leading. They're just very playful, fun and easy to use chords.

    For the middle section we'll be doing some very controlled economy picking while jumping around to some intervals in an almost random fashion. You will catch on to the pattern shortly though once practicing it.

    And for the last section - although this isn't in the original song by Ever Forthright - I added some soloing ideas to this progression. I tried throwing in a combination of lyrical-long tones, some more pattern based playing, then some lick based ideas.

    I'd also like to point out that for the arpeggiated/economy picking middle section, I went with an Aeolian sound. Aeolian is a darker sounding mode than Dorian, which is why I saved the Dorian sound for the solo section. Something as subtle as approaching your minors differently throughout a song can make a huge impact on the listener. So notice how, even though the chords are the same, the solo section will feel slightly brighter and "up" as opposed to the middle section.

    When writing your own stuff, have fun with all of these things! Try a different rhythm and some modal chords, angular arpeggios that you're not so comfortable with right off the bat, and always challenge yourself when it comes to soloing and improvising.

    Thank you for watching and learning, and as always, let me know if you have any questions or need any help!


    Skervesen Raptor (Bareknuckle Aftermath Pickups)
    M-Audio Firewire Solo Recording Interface
    Cubase Digital Audio Workstation
    Peavey Revalver (6505+ amp model, Mesa Rectifier cab)


    Standard: E, B, G, D, A, E

    Backing Track Progression

    [:Dmaj7, Ebmin911:] Cmin911 | Bmin911
    Although it feels like the chords are changing on 1, they are actually changing after every 47 beats (48 beats would be 3 bars of eighth note triplets - so it just falls short - however, over the span of three cycles, this actually creates a 3/4 bar just before the long, 47 beat phrase starts over again on 1. However, it's so close to being in 4/4 that if you were to improvise over this you could easily get away with just treating the chord changes as if they are happening on 1.

    Backing Track Rhythm

    You will notice that at the 5th chord change the time will feel as if it fluctuates. This is called an implied modulation. The reason it is an "implied" modulation is because the tempo is actually still the same and we are still subdividing the quarter note by triplets. However, the two most important things controlling the time - the hi-hat and snare drum - are now playing around groups of 4 triplets. In other words, instead of the hi-hat hitting with the click on every quarter note, the hi-hat hits 1 of every 4 triplets, creating the feeling of a tempo change and a now, sixteenth note subdivided quarter note at a slower tempo... MATH!


    The Main song tempo is 150 bpm. There are also backing tracks available at 135, 120, 105, 90, and 75 (50%)

    Scales Used




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