Metal Gallop Rhythm

Hi All,

Over the last month I have been working through the Metal Rhythm Techniques DVD with Andy James from Lick Library, but I am really struggling with a gallop (eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes, or a quick “down-up-down”) that is inserted in between rapid eighth note down strokes.

The particular riff I’m struggling with is actually played in the promotional video for the DVD and can be found here:

The riff is being played from time 1:25-1:31 in the video.

In addition that specific riff, I also tend to generally struggle speeding up any sort of gallop rhythm.

I’ve been repeating the exercises suggested in the DVD every day for a month using a drum machine, but I am not seeing much progress.

I do not know if my brain simply hasn’t chunked the “down-up-down” movement for the gallop rhythm yet, but it seems to always fall apart as soon as I push the speed past a certain point.

Anyways, here a video of me playing through the gallop rhythm exercise at 80bpm. I slowed down the video from 0:10 - 1:109 and from 1:38 - 2:38 so that you can have a closer look:

I feel as though I have too much of a string hopping movement embedded in my right hand technique, but I am not sure how to practice to correct it. If

Please let me know if you spot any other issues, or if you have any other suggestions on how I can improve. I will gladly take more videos if necessary.


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Slow it ALL the way down, stupidly, stupidly, slow. Slower than you could possibly imagine ever playing it.

What Andy Wood says about “it’s like a whip” (see strumming thread) is probably relevant here.

It’s not so much a downstroke and an upstroke as it is a downstroke which makes another stroke on it’s way back to starting another downstroke, it’s almost like a stretch reflex.

Just, aim to lose the feeling of it being two distinct strokes, rather you want a downstroke that gives you an upstroke ‘for free’.


I don’t have a guitar at the moment but I would pick that with4 strokes as down (up) down up, where the pick moves at 16th note speed.

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Still looking for some more feedback on the actual mechnical motions of my picking technique.


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Can you film yourself doing it at 160?

edit. I know two weeks ago I said to slow it down, just bear with me here. It’s just the only feedback I can give you on that clip is “that’s too slow to really tell us anything”

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Generally your form looks good, so you can work with that!! One thing I notice is maybe (really maybe) a struggle with the upstroke. Does it feel hooked, bumpy and caught or does it feel smooth like the downstroke? In the first case I would try to adjust the pick grip until it feels smooth and try to adjust the upstroke motion and do more of a “sidestroke”. You have a clear downward slant of the pick, so the danger is that the idea of an upstroke let you turn your pick into a “fishing hook” (sorry for this weak metaphor).

I would definetly not do this, because it IS ALREADY slowed down heavily. And it’s too slow. I suggest you to go faster 140, 150 or even 160 bpm, maybe first without a metronome. Even it sounds shitty and inaccurate… this will change very fast and I promise you will in no time find it a pretty easy thing to play. So just try and feel the fast movement and let your body “unconsciously” smooth it out, then you can eventually turn slower/use click to work on timing. Plus: if it is as slow as in your video you are in danger to concentrate too much on the single strokes instead of the rhythmic unit. When you go faster you are forced into the “dum dudu dum dudu dum…”-sound, if you know what I mean :wink:

Then I suggest not to do seven 8th notes and then just two 16th notes per bar (aka bursting). Try the gallop for the whole bar. In addition, to challenge you in the learning process, change direction, so first the two 16th then the eighth notes. And as further challenge play one beat four 16th aka tremolo picking. It mixes up the stuff to learn and it is big fun with already usable rhythms.

Finally, I’d say, go away from the excercise mindset. Do music. Shut the click off and play along some fine metal songs… Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Running WIld… so many good examples for gallopping :slight_smile: Or you could come up with your own stuff WHILE “practising”

of course, what I’ve described and suggested is not gold standard. But imagine how Metal kids in their adolescence learned that stuff before youtube. I can speak for me… piss the adults off BUT NOT with the metronome sound :smiley:


I suggested this because while what he’s doing isn’t fast, it also isn’t SLOW slow.

But also see my response to the request for direct feedback on the video.

Yep :slight_smile: I saw and read it after I had finish and posted my response

Alright, I’ve still been trying to improve on this since my original thread but I still have not made much progress.

As requested, I tried preforming the gallop rhythm as fast as I could. I did not use a metronome, just tried to play the gallop as fast as possible.

There is a ton more tension in my picking hand when trying to preform the gallop this fast, but the motion when playing fast feels more like one distinct motion rather than three pick strokes. It almost feels like a snapping back and forth motion.

When I try to do the gallop at these speeds, I noticed that several times I end up playing two downstrokes and miss the upstroke completely. (i.e. down - miss - down instead of down - up - down) Also, sometimes it feels as though my upstrokes are getting caught up on the strings.

Anyways, I look forward to some more critiques of my technique, and how I can further improve things.

Thanks for all your help!

the 16ths just need to cut through the string on the down-up. No need to make a U-shape picking path for that. Slant right into the next string and then pull back along exactly the same line.


Bump, still looking for more critiques regarding my technique and how to further improve.


Can you play tremolo picking in a relaxed way ?
I know its a no-brainer, but getting a feel for how playing fast feels will help you to find the sweet spot for triplets.

Personally, i used to perform a sort of spastic gallop before developing a more relaxed tremolo and had to unlearn the spasm-approach, better go down the other road.


I am no Troy but still i am about 90% sure that what holds you back is excessive tension. Nothing else can really come into your way when playing just moderately fast downstrokes and triplets on a single string (also your fingers look very clenched in the beginning of your video). I was in that spot, too, where stuff is giving you problems which is so basic that better guitarists seem to scratch their heads. Many people apparently just skip this phase because they intuitively never cramp up as much as i/you/we did.

Everytime you play a note you have to overcome all the tension in your muscles which only allows you to use unprecise and exhausting movements…
If you think “but i AM relaxed”, i would object. We dont realise these cramps. We just think that is the “normal” way it is supposed to feel. Try to play with so few tension that your playing falls apart (strings are no more fretted, pick falls out of your hand, shoulders are completely loose). Then apply a little bit more. That is where most of the really good people started, at least that is my theory.

I am quite sure i still have a lot of unidentified tensions which still hold me back. You need to find yours.

Good luck man!

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