How To Play Metal Rhythm Guitar Riffs That Sound Tight & Clean

Playing tight metal guitar riffs sounds badass and feels amazing.


Too many guitarists don't know how to effectively separate the individual notes in their riffs. Result: Their rhythm guitar playing sounds like a sloppy mess.

Don't end up like this!

Knowing how to use excellent muting technique in both hands keeps your rhythm guitar riffs perfectly tight and clean.

Sound good?

Thought so!

Watch the video below and learn exactly how to do it, so you can start playing badass rhythm guitar riffs right away.

Click on the video to begin watching it.


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Now that you have learned how to improve your rhythm guitar playing, integrate what you’ve learned with these cool lead guitar ideas:

3 Sweep Picking Skills You Must Have Before You Can Play Creatively

It’s much less difficult to play creative sweep picking arpeggios once you have mastered a few key skills.

The following are the 3 skills you need to get better at right now to make playing creatively feel easier:

Skill #1. Finger Rolling Technique

A lot of sweep picking patterns contain segments that require rolling your fretting hand fingers to prevent strings from ringing out together. When you don't develop this skill, the notes of your arpeggios become a sloppy mess.

Focus on improving your rolling technique by practicing a small section on an arpeggio pattern using just two notes on two strings.

Roll your finger back and forth while continually picking the notes to fix your timing and keep the strings from ringing together.

Add another string to the arpeggio pattern once you are able to do this cleanly for 10-15 repetitions.

Skill #2. The Hammer Ons/Pull Offs That Occur On The Lowest And Highest Notes

It’s common for guitar players to rush the hammer ons/pull offs of the highest and lowest notes in their arpeggios.

This causes your arpeggios to sound sloppy.

When you practice sweep picking, make these parts of the arpeggio as clean and articulated as possible. For instance, if you are playing an arpeggio pattern that uses only 16th notes, make it your goal to play every consistently in time.

Skill #3. Using A Picking Motion That Is Smooth

One of the easiest ways to make your sweep picking sound sloppy is to pick each string using individual motions. This is happens frequently when guitarists stop the sweeping motion of the pick at a challenging point in the arpeggio pattern.

This brings your hand away from the strings and kills the momentum you need to sweep smoothly and effectively.

Instead of doing this, push your pick through the strings while ascending and pull your hand back while descending. This makes it so that there are only two motions per arpeggio (one to ascend and one to descend). Watch your hand while performing the sweeping motion to make sure you stay consistent.

Why Directional Picking Is The Shortcut To Awesome Guitar Speed

You avoid the frustration that comes from not being able to play fast and clean when you take a shortcut. That shortcut is learning how to use directional picking.

Directional picking is a shortcut that saves you tons of energy and movement for faster speed.

Shortcuts help you play much more efficiently in order to get a massively beneficial result that improves your guitar playing for the long run. Finding shortcuts in your guitar playing should not be about using incorrect or inefficient playing methods just to get by.

Many guitarists fall into this trap just for the sake of being able to stumble through a guitar lick they want to play. Using shortcuts in this manner creates bad habits that end up slowing down your guitar playing progress.

When you find legitimate types of shortcuts, you make tons of progress fast. Try to find these types whenever you can.

Here’s How Directional Picking Is A Shortcut Compared To Alternate Picking

Alternate picking means strictly alternating pick strokes no matter what. This makes it much harder to play cleanly at fast speeds.

Directional picking saves tons of movement in your picking technique. It works by creating the shortest possible path to the next note you play. Using this approach may require alternate picking or sweep picking depending on the situation.

This makes your technique more efficient and enables you to play cleanly at fast speeds. In contrast, using alternate picking often leads to using an excessive amount of picking motion.

How To Make Huge Improvements To Your Guitar Playing With Small Adjustments

It is possible to improve your guitar playing in a huge way by changing only a few things.

For instance: using a more efficient picking approach, altering the way you mute string noise, adding/removing items from your practice routine, etc.

An amazingly powerful method for improving your playing technique is switching how you pick notes from the common approach of only using alternate picking to using directional picking.

Directional picking takes the shortest path to get from one note to the next. It may use alternate picking or sweep picking depending on the scenario.

Using directional picking makes tiny adjustments that benefit your guitar playing in two BIG ways:

Directional Picking Benefit #1. Your Guitar Practice Becomes A Lot More Efficient

Directional picking commonly uses a sweep picking movement while switching strings. By practicing directional picking, you are simultaneously practicing sweep picking. This means you get the benefit of practicing two skills for the time it takes to practice one.

When you practice with this approach, you save time and get better at guitar much faster. By only practicing with alternate picking, you would miss out on this massive benefit and your practice would be less efficient.

Directional Picking Benefit #2. Your Picking Technique Becomes More Efficient

Directional picking eliminates tons of excess movement that comes from using alternate picking exclusively.

For example, most guitar players use 100% alternate picking to play through a 5 string, 3 note per string scale. This means picking every note by alternating and upstroke and a downstroke for a total of 15 picking motions.

Directional picking uses sweep picking to cut down the total picking motions to 11 while removing inefficient movement. This makes it possible to play at very fast speeds with higher accuracy and less effort.

You should be convinced by these two benefits alone that directional picking is a style you need to adopt. When you master it, you transform your guitar playing and make it easy to play with speed.

Taking guitar lessons with a teacher is a great way to improve your rhythm guitar playing fast. Just ask some of my students:


Want to learn how to combine tight rhythm guitar riffs with creative leads? It's easier than you think! Get started now by taking online lessons for rock guitar.

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