How to Play Down With The Sickness by Disturbed (Guitar Lesson)


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Dennis Hodges

Down With The Sickness

Here is a lesson from Dennis Hodges on Disturbed's most well known song, "Down With The Sickness". The song is a concert staple and the album was certified platinum. Dennis breaks down all the parts and even shows you how to play the hard to hear, but very cool clean, overdubbed part in the verses.

Taught by Dennis Hodges in Metal Songs with Dennis seriesLength: 26:00Difficulty: 2.0 of 5


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Member Comments about this Lesson

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TOMMIXXTOMMIXX replied on August 26th, 2016

EXCELLENT!

sham609sham609 replied on September 13th, 2013

oh, but I just realized a couple of the harmonics would be out of tune. But for just messing around it is close enough!

sham609sham609 replied on September 13th, 2013

Hey Dennis, I hope this is not a stupid question, but I don't understand why you would need to tune your guitar down to Drop C# tuning to play this. Could you not just play it in drop D, and play your transcription one fret down? When I watch the official video of the song, it looks like to me that is what they are doing.

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on September 14th, 2013

well, IF you play with the recording, any open string chords would sound terribly wrong (being a half step off), and as you pointed out, harmonics would be wrong as well (again, a half step off). That's only if you're playing with the recording. When I play a song alone, I never detune other than Drop D. That is a habit I have from my teenage years, since I liked bands that ranged from standard tuning to Drop B, so I just figured I'll stay in one tuning and not play with recordings!

outshinedoutshined replied on August 4th, 2013

What kind of tones/setting are using on your guitar?

mblaidemblaide replied on June 20th, 2013

Nice Job !!!

craigjames4craigjames4 replied on June 19th, 2013

Dennis, if I were to change tunings from standard to the recommended tuning for this song, will my intonation be off? And normally if someone were to drop-tune would they want a heavier gauge string set?

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on June 20th, 2013

I used to tune up and down a lot as a teenager (with this guitar, actually) and I never had any huge problems unless it was tuning to Drop B (down 1 1/2 steps and THEN dropping the low E another step). For this tuning, I also wouldn't worry about heavy strings unless you're using 8s or 9s. I only use 10s and they hold up even in Drop C. Anything lower than that though, especially if it'll be permanent, and it would be worth going to 11s or some of the special DDT strings, though those are pretty thick so they might warrant a set-up

craigjames4craigjames4 replied on June 24th, 2013

I was thinking of having my guitar set up two steps down and then using a spider capo to achieve standard and multiple drop tunings on the fly. I don't know anyone who has tried this though or if it would even work

nate_thegreatnate_thegreat replied on May 2nd, 2014

That's actually an interesting idea. Spider capos are very easy to use on the fly, so you could potentially do some pretty crazy stuff.

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on June 25th, 2013

wow, well that would work. I've never heard or thought of it. You would lose a number of frets if you chose to go to standard from that approach, but if you're not soloing than it should work fine.

tim1tim1 replied on June 19th, 2013

hey, nice vid! what guitar did u use, pls? do you think a dean z would fit nicely with that song (i know it wasnt made for that kind of metal but anyway)...

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on June 19th, 2013

that's my Hamer Vector, it's my default "tune-down" guitar. As far as the Dean Z, a guitar is a guitar. I wouldn't get hung up on what kind of metal a guitar was meant for. It would certainly look a lot sillier at a number of other gigs (blues, jazz, country) than playing this kind of song!

Metal Songs with Dennis

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

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Lesson 2

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Lesson 4

Toxicity

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Walk

Off their 1992 album Vulgar Display of Power, this Pantera song redefined "respect".

Length: 32:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Inside The Fire

"Inside the Fire" is the first single from Disturbed's fourth studio album, Indestructible. Dennis teaches all parts of this song including the solo!

Length: 33:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Waking The Demon

Dennis Hodges teaches Bullet For My Valentine's "Waking The Demon" off their Scream Aim Fire album.

Length: 41:54 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Hammer Smashed Face

This is the title song from Cannibal Corpse' first EP. Released in 1993, this is the bands most popular song mainly due to an appearance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Length: 33:05 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)

Dennis Hodges shows you how to play this Judas Priest classic, which is actually a cover of a Fleetwood Mac song.

Length: 30:06 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

Achilles The Backbreaker

Released in 2008 on The Showdown's third record, Back Breaker. This song features pummeling rhythm guitar and a tricky solo.

Length: 35:47 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

(sic)

Learn how to play "(sic)" by Slipknot in this lesson.

Length: 20:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Metal Rudolph

Dennis puts a heavy metal spin on this classic Christmas song.

Length: 18:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Future Breed Machine

Dennis Hodges teaches this pummeling metal song from the band Meshuggah.

Length: 56:12 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

3 Libras

Dennis Hodges teaches an acoustic only version of this hard rock song by A Perfect Circle.

Length: 20:15 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Trust

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Length: 39:39 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
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Tornado Of Souls

Learn this Megadeth classic from Rust In Peace.

Length: 53:39 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Sweating Bullets

Learn this Megadeth classic from the Countdown To Extinction album.

Length: 36:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

À Tout Le Monde

Learn this great ballad from the Youthanasia record.

Length: 36:32 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Blackened

Dennis Hodges teaches this Metallica classic from the band's 1988 album ...And Justice For All.

Length: 69:02 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Quintessence

In this lesson, you'll learn how to play "Quintessence" by progressive metal band, Mastodon. The song is on the critically acclaimed album Crack the Skye, which was released in 2009. Dennis Hodges...

Length: 33:01 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

In My Dreams

Dennis Hodges teaches this Dokken classic note for note. From the signature riffs to the blistering solo, Dennis breaks it all down for you in this lesson.

Length: 41:39 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Caprice No. 5

Here is a lesson on this devastating piece of classical music written by Niccolò Paganini in the early 19th century. The lesson is aimed at shred guitarists because of the high level of technical proficiency...

Length: 49:14 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Cowboys From Hell

Learn how to play "Cowboys From Hell" by Pantera, the song that made them a household name. The song has an instantly recognizable guitar riff and showcases what Pantera is all about: groove metal.

Length: 40:00 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Down With The Sickness

Here is a lesson from Dennis Hodges on Disturbed's most well known song, "Down With The Sickness". The song is a concert staple and the album was certified platinum. Dennis breaks down all the parts and...

Length: 26:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Cemetery Gates

Dennis Hodges teaches all the parts to this power ballad by heavy metal band Pantera. At over 7 minutes, this is the longest Pantera song ever recorded. This song has one of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's...

Length: 65:30 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 34

I'm Broken

Learn one of Dimebag Darrell's most famous riffs with this lesson on "I'm Broken" from Far Beyond Driven. This song is a "must-learn" for metal students.

Length: 31:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

Mouth For War

Channel your inner hate and turn it into something productive with this lesson on "Mouth For War" from the metal band Pantera. This song is from the record Vulgar Display of Power, which was released...

Length: 30:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

This Love

Learn "This Love" by the metal band Pantera. Released on Vulgar Display of Power in 1992, this ballad has both haunting clean parts and brutal distorted riffs.

Length: 50:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Dennis Hodges View Full Biography For better or worse, Dennis Hodges cannot stop playing music, and (he hopes) will never stop playing music.

Growing up in Flint, Michigan, Dennis had a tremendous passion for drawing. He couldn't stop copying moves from bands he saw on MTV, though, and it didn't help that his parents filled the house with Santana, Stevie Ray, and Allman Bros. (on real records, no less!) so it wasn't long till he got his first guitar. It was junk. Within a few weeks his parents traded in a poor acoustic for a less junky 3/4-size electric.

Dennis started lessons right away at the age of 8. He still remembers hating it for awhile, and not taking it seriously until he was 12. He is thankful his parents forced him to practice early on and kept paying for lessons, even though rational thinking should have stopped them after a year.

Around this time drawing became less important, and guitar consumed all his attention. After 6 years of lessons he parted ways with his teacher and, after trying out two others with no results, decided to continue alone. His nerdistic tendencies paid off, as he put in hours working on picking and left hand exercises and learned as many Randy Rhoads and Kirk Hammett solos as he could.

Luckily, there were playing opportunities at school talent shows and church. Dennis was playing bass at his church when he was 13, helping to hone his performance skills in a group setting.

In high school, Dennis joined the marching band on sousaphone for all 4 years. It was as awesome as you could expect. He was also fortunate enough to be in several different metal bands, still play at church, and get the incredible opportunity to play guitar for many local community theaters. This kept his sight-reading in shape and gave him an appreciation for different styles of music (and paid pretty well, from a high schooler's perspective).

In 2001, Dennis came to Bexley, Ohio to study guitar at Capital University with Stan Smith. His studies emphasized jazz and classical guitar. Here his metal past merged with a deeper understanding of the instrument and music in general, and the basis for most of his teaching style was set in motion.

Dennis now plays guitar for Upper Arlington Lutheran Church every Sunday, for St. Christopher in Grandview, Ohio, with the youth group, and also plays for touring Broadway shows that stop in Columbus. Occasionally, he plays weddings and private parties, and he is starting a new cover band with some friends, called Dr. Awkward. He is blessed to have his understanding and supportive wife Kate, and is glad to be at JamPlay!

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