Hipsters Out Of Metal!


  • Anso DF


Not you after today

In the past few years, my group of friends has come to include a bunch of fancy-pants musicians-for-hire. They get majorly paid for backing gigs and session work cuz they execute on their instruments with nuclear precision. And it’s great hanging out with them for their big shot habits of picking up every check and throwing exquisite summer parties. You want that — we all do. But maybe you don’t have the time to, say, top your class at Juilliard or grind out a degree from Berklee. Hey, even if you did, you’d just as soon end up posting internet clips of yourself blasting through BTBAM runs and Hammerfall solos unless you move to West Hollywood and starve for two years. Meh.

Well, here’s good news! You can still get chicks horny and sound good enough for Youtube and hold up to passing scrutiny and possibly even land a gig in a million-selling metal band! Unlike violin, for example, guitar isn’t that hard to fake provided you master picking fast and good pitch on bends. To play Steve Vai, you’d have to match his regimen of 23 daily practice hours; for the following face-melters — ear-friendly, multi-leveled solos every one — all that’s required is like 23 total minutes. Let’s call it the Hammett Workout. Not everybody is “Under A Glass Moon” material, but just approximate these imprecise, jabby solos and I swear you’ll look cool! Check it:

Zakk Wylde gets a lot of respect for his playing, but mostly he’s a colorful character and sweet guy. However, he was a certified, frenzied madman on his first Ozzy record, No Rest for The Wicked. Those riffs scream, dude. “Miracle Man” and “Crazy Babies” = ZOMG. But his best solo is on the two-act odyssey of “No More Tears” a few years later. Part of its appeal is the set-up — it’s a seeming eternity before the solo actually commences (above, at 4:15), so the ear is thirsty — and from there, it’s magic. And intermediate guitar players, rejoice. Nearly the entire solo exists in one position on the top strings, and you’ll have to lunge out of blues scale comfort only twice for big bends (at 4:55 and 5:07). Those will take practice, or at least hasty trial and error. Chicks think sexy.

Under the Oxford dictionary definition of “overrated” is Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, whose solos infinitely utilize one Blackmore riff and the same Schenker riff and a whole shitload of tired, poorly-executed blues licks. Even his bandmates overestimate his talents: I remember a Guitar Player interview at the release of the black album in which Hetfield stated a distaste for Hammett’s past use of technical playing. I was like what? When? Cuz when we think Hammett, we think tremelo picking, crappy wah tones, pointless tapping, and stumbling triplets. And that’s good, cuz a virtuoso guitarist would be ridiculous in Metallica. (And he’s still leagues better than Mustaine.) It’s our gain cuz his tastiest solo, “Blackened,” is easily knocked off by the not-there-yet player. You know the solo (above, at 4:08) even before you’ve learned it cuz it’s identical to the other Hammett solos you know — but faster. Don’t fret (ha!) as Hammett bumpers every potentially challenging run with a dive bomb or a vibrato-y one-finger chord, so even a sucky shredder has tons of time to set your fretting hand and get a running start. Chicks get horny!

Okay, by now the horny chick is totally taking your word for it that you rule guitars. So how do ya seal the deal? One word: Overkill. Sure, you don’t equate original Overkill axeman Bobby Gustafson with “scoring babes” or even “professional guitar player” (more like “FBI sketch”), but trust me that “Elimination” solo positively will take you and your woman to pleasure town. It’s sketchy, it’s shrieking, it’s up-and-down, it borrows liberally from Hammett’s library of Guitar 101 blues licks. Oh, and IT RULES. It basically simulates a sexual encounter, beginning with the frenzied pulling off of clothes (at 1:53), to the tender pre-ramming kisses (2:13), to the third-gear banging (2:29), and then sudden, unforeseen climax (2:41). And  the video (above) close-ups on his fretwork throughout the solo! How easy can it get! You are totally so-so enough to guitar your way into her action. Don’t bait her. Eliminate her.


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