Testament Rhythm and Solo

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my new Thrash Metal lesson! This time I decided to cover another classic one. Testament is an American thrash metal band formed in 1983. They had many lineup changes but the current formation is Eric Peterson (Rhythm Guitar), Alex Skolnick (Lead Guitar), Chuck Billy (Vocals), Gene Hoglan (Drums) and Steve DiGiorgio (Bass). The released 11 studio albums, many of them very successful, achieving with “Dark Roots of Earth” (2012) their highest U.S. chart position so far.

    Music Style:
    Their style is pure Thrash Metal with some Death Metal influences. They are characterized by fast and aggressive songs, full of riffs, groovy sections and extreme blast beats. In this lesson I recreated both their rhythm and solo style in a short but effective lesson full of interesting sections. I get influence by their most popular tracks ever like “Native Blood”, “More Than Meets The Eye” and “Electric Crown”.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    If you mix Thrash & Death, there is no way to compose happy progressions. Their music has a very dark vibe and it’s achieved thanks to the use of minor scales and modes like Aeolian, Phrygian, Locrian, Harmonic minor, diminished, etc. The use of minor 3rds, minor 2nds, and diminished 5th are fundamental if you want to get this sound. This composition is in E minor but I combine many of those scales to create the different riffs, solos and progressions. You will find the theory explanation behind each part below the slow videos.

    As you can see in the main video, this lesson is very complete. We have both soloing and metal rhythm stuff and the techniques covered are palm muting, alternate picking, sweep picking, tapping, bending and only down strokes picking. This lesson is a bit demanding so if you are a beginner/intermediate please check the homework that I assigned in the last part of this lesson.

    I used my Pod HD 500 to create a tone based on Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amps, my favorite for Extreme Metal music.
    The drums have been recorded using SSD 3.5 and the bass with Trillian.

    Click HERE if you want to download the patch used on this lesson for Pod HD 500.

    Tuning: EADGBE

    Tempo: 120 BPM

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