Galloping Metal Rhythm Guitar Technique

Galloping Metal RhythmHorses aren’t the only things that can gallop. In heavy metal, the gallop is almost a staple. If you have ever listened to thrash, then you have heard how this rapid fire technique can turn speed into devastation.

Before we dive head first into this thunderous technique, you’ll need to make a mental checklist to assess if you have the skills necessary to learn the gallop.

Your Rhythm

First off the most important aspect of the gallop is rhythm. Gallops are semi broken rhythms, which means the note groupings are odd and can throw you off. It is best you first practice your note values with a metronome if you have trouble maintaining a steady rhythm.

Sixteenth notes are some of the quickest notes in modern music, and the gallop takes full advantage of them. Gallops are groupings of two sixteenth notes paired with an eighth note. While this may sound simple, the note groupings are in fact difficult to pull off, especially at the higher speeds in which they are used within the context of heavy metal music.

If you have trouble with note values and find yourself frequently playing beyond your time signature, take a bit of time to practice before approaching the gallop.

Picking Hand

The second thing you need to consider is your picking hand. If you have a tense picking hand, or you tend to flex your forearm while picking fast rhythms, take some time before approaching the gallop. Gallops are meant to be played fairly fast, and if you play with a tense wrist you will find your wrist locking up and becoming exceptionally sore.

Tense-picking hands are a sign of stress, meaning you are putting too much of your muscle behind your picking due to underdeveloped form. Usually, this also means you pushed yourself too far too fast.

Take some time to backtrack a bit, and really get some fluidity between your forearm and your wrist before learning the gallop. Thrash is all about speed and in guitar, you can’t achieve speed with every muscle taught and at attention.

If you have a nice loose wrist and some descent rhythmic timing, it’s time to approach the gallop. We are going to cover both forms of the gallop; the regular gallop, and the reverse gallop. If you find yourself tensing up during either, take a second to relax, then start over at a slower tempo.

Regular Gallop

galloping metal rhythm guitar technique

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As stated earlier, a gallop is a pair of sixteenth notes paired with an eighth note. In this case, the regular gallop, the eighth note is the first note. When playing, try not to get ahead of yourself, and be sure to let the eighth note play to its full value.

Reverse Gallop

This version of the gallop begins on the two sixteenth notes and ends on the eighth note. This version feels a bit more fast paced, so once again remember not to get too ahead of yourself until you fully understand the technique.

galloping metal guitar technique

Download the .gtp file for the lesson ( Right click and Save As… )

Now that you know how to play the two forms of the gallop, the next step is to practice. Use a metronome when playing guitar. This will help keep your rhythm steady, and better develop your guitar skills. As with all techniques, have fun and be sure to implement them into your playing to get a better feel for them.

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