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Fast Heavy Downstroke Strumming Is Used On Metal Bass Chords With Speed Licks

Playing metal bass is fun and not just for those bassists who are only interested in the metal style of music.  The heavy sound and fast playing is a hallmark of metal which has a variety of variations from classic metal, nu metal, hair metal, etc. 

Metal bass riffs are used over metal chords and can be made up of chords themselves. For example, power chord riffs are often used in metal. The bass picking method used for the lead playing may be alternate picking for scales, and sweep picking on arpeggios for example. While chords are picked in various directions, one method is repeated, rapid fire down strokes, in one direction without alterations that makes the sound heavy and characteristic of the thrash metal style.  Metal chords are also alternate picked many times as well, depending on the style that you want to emulate and your own personal preference.

While some metal chords may seem like easy bass chords, executing them properly and with precision is an art that takes practice and dedication to the style. Often times, the chords may be some form of a power chord, whether b5, +5,(diminished or augmented) straight power 5 or other type of chord.  A common technique used when playing these chords is palm muting which can be added on and off to create a different tone while playing the same chord, at the same speed, in the same song.  The type of distortion and the quality of your technique will create a heavy, percussive rhythm sound which must be able to be maintained throughout the length of a standard song.

You will find that as you practice some of these rhythms whether with consistent down strokes or alternating up and down pick strokes, you will have to have your hand and forearm relaxed because if you get too tense you picking hand will start to lock up on you and you will not be able to maintain your speed or accuracy.

The speed bass licks and riffs that are played over metal chords need the energy of the heavy chord rhythm to have a solid sound background to play the solo over.  Whether the licks are played with alternate picking or economy picking, one thing is for sure, they will not be played with all down strokes.  A chord riff could be played that way depending on how it is constructed.  The real secret to metal bass chords and chords of all types is to learn your bass in a way that is going to give an intensive education on the bass. For bass players from beginner to advancedScience Articles, and all styles including jazz it is best to learn the bass with a serious software program.

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