System of a Down Style

by Cosmin Lupu

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  • Hey there GMC mates!

    It is time for another 'In the style of' lesson and what better choice than the American supergroup called System of a Down!

    They are bizarre, yet extraordinarily catchy, achieving an enormous success in the last 10 years, so let's find out a bit about them and then let's see what makes their music tick:

    System of a Down, also known by the acronym SOAD and often shortened to System, is an Armenian American rock band from Southern California, formed in 1994. It currently consists of Daron Malakian (guitar, vocals), Serj Tankian (lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar), Shavo Odadjian (bass, background vocals) and John Dolmayan (drums).
    The band achieved commercial success with the release of five studio albums; from which three debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. System of a Down has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, and won the award in 2006 for Best Hard Rock Performance for the song "B.Y.O.B.". The group went on hiatus in August 2006, but reunited in November 2010, embarking on a worldwide tour in 2011 and 2012.

    Due to their many influences, notably because their Armenian roots, the band has used a wide range of instruments, including electric mandolins, baritone electric guitars, acoustic guitars, ouds, sitars and twelve string guitars. According to Malakian, he would often write songs in E? tuning, which would later be changed to drop C tuning in order to be performed by the band.[44] Malakian states that "For me, the drop-C tuning is right down the center. It has enough of the clarity and the crisp sound—most of our riffy stuff is done on the top two strings, anyway—but it's also thicker and ballsier."'
    - (Wikipedia)

    After mastering this lesson, the following skills should be improved:

    - Tight rhythm skills
    - Orchestration in the style of System of a Down
    - Riffing
    - Articulation elements usage - bending, slides, vibrato
    - Strumming
    - Inside picking

    Homework included - check video part 9

    Tempo: 120 BPM

    Scale: D minor (1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 -> D E F G A Bb C D)

    Tuning: D Standard - D G C F A D

    Time signature: 4/4

    Tone settings:

    Riffing - AMT SS20 Lead Channel, having the Bass at 11 O'clock, the Mids at 11 and the Highs at 1 O'clock, while the gain is somewhere around 1 O'clock.

    Same setting for the lead, the only difference being made by the fact that I have added the Suhr Shiba Drive pedal on top to boost the tone a bit.

    Clean - AMT SS20 Clean Channel, having the Bass at 10 O'clock, the Mids at 9 and the Highs at 12 O'clock, while the gain is somewhere around 12 O'clock.

    Crunch - AMT SS20 Crunch Channel, having the Bass at 11 O'clock, the Mids at 11 and the Highs at 1 O'clock, while the gain is somewhere around 8 O'clock.

    Guitar: PRS Paul Allender

    For a wider modern rock/ metal experience, I invite you to check out my modern metal based lessons here -> My other modern metal oriented lessons

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