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Chuggin' n Skippin' (Guitar Lesson)


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Kris Norris

Chuggin' n Skippin'

Kris covers right hand techniques such as palm muting, tremolo, palm muted string skipping, and upstroke accents.

Taught by Kris Norris in Kris Norris Artist Series seriesLength: 13:26Difficulty: 3.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:38) Introduction Welcome back to the Phase 2 Artist Series with Kris Norris! Kris kicks off lesson 5 with a demonstration of his punishing rhythm style. In the upcoming scenes, Kris demonstrates some technical exercises that will help you play riffs that are characteristic of the metal genre. Typically, metal riffs feature either single note lines or power chords played on the low strings. Riffs frequently include techniques such as palm muting and rapid alternate picking. Both of these techniques are addressed in detail throughout the lesson.
Chapter 2: (07:09) Palm Muting Note: Some of the following information about palm muting is taken from lesson 18 of Jim Deeming's Phase 1 series.

The Mechanics of Palm Muting

The key to successful palm muting technique is proper positioning of the picking hand. The thumb muscle and palm area must rest slightly off the bridge towards the pickups. Keep the palm at a straight angle. If you rest your palm on the bridge, the string will continue to ring normally. If you move your palm too far towards the neck, the string produces a choked, dead sound. Watch Mark at 06:33 in the lesson video for a clear demonstration.

It may take some experimentation in order to find the perfect palm position. Remember to let your ears guide you when learning a new technique. Listen to your favorite players, and imitate the sounds you hear. If what you are doing sounds bad, make some adjustments and try again. When palm muting is applied, the vibration produced by the string is not muted altogether. Rather, the tone is slightly muffled to create a chunkier, more aggressive sound.

Degrees of Palm Muting

There are various degrees of palm-muting. Some situations call for a heavy, drastic palm-mute. Other musical situations call for a much lighter form of muting. Let your ears guide you. A string sounds increasingly more muted as more hand mass is placed on the string. The volume diminishes more on acoustic guitars with increased levels of palm-muting. If you desire a loud tone with heavy palm muting, you must pick the strings with more aggression.

Palm Muting All Six Strings

Typically, the three bass strings are palm-muted the most. However, you can palm-mute any of the six strings. Often, melodies and solos are palm-muted to create a different texture. Due to their smaller size, it is much more difficult to palm-mute the three treble strings. Spend extra time practicing with these strings if necessary.

Palm Muting Upstrokes

Palm muting with an upstroke is slightly more difficult than palm-muting with a downstroke. The palm must be resting in place before the pick makes contact with the strings when performing an upstroke.

Gripping the Pick

Gripping the pick too tightly will negatively affect your speed, endurance, accuracy, and your tone. In order to play fast and accurately, you need to grip the pick with just enough force so that it does not fall out of your hand.

Picking Exercise 1 Guidelines

1. Perform a basic alternate picking pattern on the sixth string while palm muting.

2. Monitor your right hand as you practice this exercise to ensure that muscle groups such as the forearm and elbow joint are not used. All of the picking motion should come from the wrist.

3. Play the exercise along with a metronome set to a moderate tempo.

4. At first, pick the string in quarter notes. Then, repeat the exercise in eighth notes, triplets, sixteenth notes, and sextuplets at the same tempo.

5. Perform the exercise on all six strings. Do not palm mute the treble strings.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 as you gradually increase the speed of the metronome.

7. Repeat the exercise once again. Now, add an accent to the downbeat of each measure. Also, begin the alternate picking pattern with an upstroke.

Varying the Rhythm

At 04:25, Kris demonstrates how various rhythmic patterns can be used to develop picking technique on a single string. Adding this creative element to your technical practice will help keep you focused. Experiment with your own rhythmic patterns as you practice this basic exercise. Use rhythmic patterns from your favorite metal recordings as a source of inspiration.
Chapter 3: (03:08) Tremolo Picking Sample Exercises

Kris demonstrates the exercises from the previous scene without the palm muting technique. Notice how drastic the difference in sound is. Repeat all of the exercise discussed in the previous scene without palm muting. First, practice tremolo picking with an open string. Then, add variety to the rhythm. Next, add accented notes to the downbeats.

Also, apply tremolo picking to all scales that you know. Kris demonstrates a G major scale with tremolo at 02:10 in the lesson video. While ascending, he applies six sextuplets to each note. While descending, each note is picked for three sextuplets.

For additional practice apply tremolo picking to any melody line. Compose your own basic melodies. Then, add tremolo picking to the melody line. Watch and listen as Kris demonstrates this idea at 02:40.

Rhythm

You must be aware of the rhythm that you are playing while tremolo picking. Tremolo is typically performed in sixteenth notes, sextuplets, or thirty second notes at any given tempo. Rhythms such as eighth notes and eighth note triplets are not fast enough to generate the tremolo effect. Use whichever rhythm is appropriate based on your speed abilities. For example, you may not be able to perform sextuplets or thirty second notes in higher tempo ranges. In this case, tremolo pick in sixteenth notes.

Proper Technique

When tremolo picking, the majority of movement comes from the wrist. However, some slight extra movement is generated by the elbow joint. Some players generate the picking motion from the thumb and index fingers. Kris does not recommend this method. His thumb and index fingers remain stationary as they hold the pick. Do not let the thumb and index finger pull the pick through the string. You need to control the pick. Do not let the pick control you!
Chapter 4: (02:24) Palm Muted String Skipping Exercise Overview

All previous exercises feature movement between adjacent strings. However, many metal riffs incorporate string skipping. In this scene, Kris demonstrates a basic exercise that incorporates string skipping into a basic metal riff. Begin by playing a consistent sixteenth note rhythm on the sixth string. Then, begin to vary the rhythm. Insert accented notes on the downbeats. Feel free to get creative and explore some new ideas. You just might come up with the next great metal riff. Periodically, play a note from the E natural minor scale on the fourth or third string as an accented note. For now, place accented notes on metrically strong beats.

Picking Pattern

Vary the picking pattern as you practice the exercise. Begin the alternate picking pattern with a downstroke as well as with an upstroke. Due to the force of gravity, the downward pull of the downstroke can slow you down. Beginning the alternating pattern with an upstroke will help you overcome this natural predisposition. Keep in mind that the accented note must be played with an upstroke when this picking pattern is applied.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


mario.mmario.m replied on October 19th, 2014

very good leesons for Metal intro. Those riffs actually give me ideas to create my own melodies. Thanks Kris.

kimberajkimberaj replied on February 4th, 2010

the intro was sick man

kevinkevin replied on November 24th, 2009

how so fast

gone workingone workin replied on February 17th, 2009

Thanks. It's nice to hear a practice routine that sounds so cool. I appreciate the tips on making up my own drills. That way it aims it specifically for what I want to do and vary.

SylviaSylvia replied on February 16th, 2009

Hey Kris: I hear a lot of pick clicks when you play the faster notes... is that because you use a lighter pick?

mercenarymercenary replied on February 15th, 2009

nice t-shirt!

sbryantsbryant replied on February 14th, 2009

Thanks Kris. I like your style man!! Show and apply!! Very nice.

joemc74joemc74 replied on February 13th, 2009

Awsome lesson. Thanks.

brno32brno32 replied on February 12th, 2009

6:35 holy crap if you thought that up on the spot.... amazing do a lesson on song writing!

Kris Norris Artist Series

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Kris Norris kicks off the JamPlay.com Artist Series with a wide array of ideas and lessons; from changing strings on a floyd rose, to advanced sweeping / legato techniques and soloing applications.



Lesson 1

Changing Strings - Floyd Rose Style

Kris Norris demonstrates how to install new strings on a guitar equipped with a Floyd Rose tremolo system.

Length: 13:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Warm-up Exercises with Kris

Kris Norris shows you his favorite warm-up exercises. These exercises will prepare you to play the guitar from a physical and mental standpoint.

Length: 12:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Scalar Exercises: Left and Right Hand Synchronization

Kris covers chromatic and scale pattern exercises. Also, he explains some variations on these exercise and provides you with the knowledge to create your own variations. Now you don't have any excuse...

Length: 20:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Scalar Exercises: Legato

Kris shows you the in's and out's of legato playing. These examples will benefit beginners and and advanced players alike. The patterns Kris uses in this lesson are based on the examples shown in "Scalar...

Length: 11:01 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Chuggin' n Skippin'

Kris covers right hand techniques such as palm muting, tremolo, palm muted string skipping, and upstroke accents.

Length: 13:26 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Advanced Sweep Picking Applications

Kris covers the right and left hand components of sweep picking separately. Then, he shows you how to synchronize the two. Three string arpeggios and five string arpeggios with hammer-ons are both included...

Length: 35:40 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Remaining Foolish: Arpeggios & Scalar Lines

Kris presents excerpts from his song "Remaining Foolish" from Icons of the Illogical. He explains the arpeggio patterns used in various parts of the song and also talks about alternate picked arpeggios....

Length: 17:40 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Sweep Exercises Based on Canon in D

Kris uses Pachelbel's "Canon In D" as a way to practice arpeggio sweeps. He shows how to sweep and alternate pick arpeggios.

Length: 10:08 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Counterpoint: A Shift In Normalcy

This lesson is about the concept of counterpoint and harmony. Kris explores contrapuntal examples from his song "A Shift In Normalcy" off of his solo record Icons of the Illogical.

Length: 8:52 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

A Closer Look At Pick Thickness

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the differences in pick thickness.

Length: 32:24 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Lesson 11

Satriani Inspired Tapping

Kris Norris explains how to play a Joe Satriani inspired tapping etude.

Length: 11:13 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Extending Your Musical Reach With 8 String Guitars

Kris Norris takes a look at 8 string guitars and their possibilities. He demonstrates the versatility of an 8 string with jazz and metal applications. Kris also performs a short improv jam at the end.

Length: 10:34 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Neoclassical Inspirations

Kris teaches neoclassical examples from three of his favorite guitar players.

Length: 29:17 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Rock & Metal Chicken Pickin'

Kris displays some adventurous ways to use chicken pickin' in a rock and metal environment.

Length: 15:25 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Exotic Embellishments In The Style Of Marty Friedman

Kris teaches arpeggio examples that use notes outside of a scale. He also demonstrates an example using the Chinese scale.

Length: 12:19 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Connecting Scale Patterns

Kris shows you how to connect the patterns of a G major scale together.

Length: 15:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Mastering Modes: Basic Scale Theory Primer

This is the first lesson in the "Mastering Modes" mini series. Here Kris explains the fundamentals of scale basics.

Length: 19:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Mastering Modes: Ionian

In this lesson, Kris explains the history behind the modes and then explains the Ionian mode.

Length: 9:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Mastering Modes: Dorian

In this lesson, Kris covers the Dorian mode, which is the second mode of the major scale.

Length: 13:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Mastering Modes: Phrygian

Kris explains the basics of the Phrygian mode, which is a minor sounding mode of the major scale.

Length: 7:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Mastering Modes: Lydian

In this installment of the "Mastering Modes" mini-series, Kris covers the Lydian mode. This is the fourth mode of the major scale.

Length: 9:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Mastering Modes: Mixolydian

Kris explains the basics of the Mixolydian mode, which is a major sounding mode of the major scale.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Mastering Modes: Aeolian

Kris explains Aeolian, which is the 6th mode of the major scale. This is also known as the natural minor scale.

Length: 7:32 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Mastering Modes: Locrian

Kris covers the Locrian mode, which is the 7th mode of the major scale.

Length: 5:48 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Song Workshop Experiment

Aaron Miller sits down with Kris in the JamPlay studio to discuss songwriting techniques.

Length: 78:38 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Song Workshop Experiment - Finale

Kris Norris and Aaron Miller are back to finish up what they started. Get ready for more songwriting, playing tips, and inside information. Enjoy

Length: 32:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Picking Practice With Drum Rudiments

Kris shows how some drum rudiments can be used to make exercises for your right hand.

Length: 18:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Sliding Arpeggios

Kris teaches how to use sliding techniques with arpeggios. He uses an example in the Lydian mode and also plays over a backing.

Length: 15:11 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Left Hand Finger Independence

Kris teaches exercises focused on getting the left hand fingers to be more independent.

Length: 26:19 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Building Triad Arpeggios

Kris explains root triad arpeggios and their first and second inversions.

Length: 25:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Practicing Triad Arpeggios Chromatically

This lesson focuses on sweep picking major, minor, and diminished triad arpeggios chromatically.

Length: 16:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Re-voicing Progressions with Inversions

Kris shows you how inversions can be used to create smooth voice leading within a progression.

Length: 14:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Dual Tonality Pentatonics

Kris shows how to combine pentatonic scales from different keys to form new and interesting sounds.

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Betcha Can't Scale This

Kris shows you how to learn scales vertically and horizontally on the fretboard.

Length: 16:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

The Neapolitan Chord

Named after the "Neapolitan School" from the 18th century and not ice cream, this chord is a major chord built on the lowered 2nd scale degree.

Length: 7:13 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Diatonic Chords In G Major

Kris shows the diatonic chords of G Major.

Length: 19:42 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Diatonic 7th Arpeggios

Kris teaches you how to play diatonic 7th arpeggios and their inversions in the key of G major.

Length: 15:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Tapping 7th Arpeggios

Kris shows you how to play seventh arpeggios with tapping, legato, and string skipping.

Length: 7:45 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

Popular Chord Progressions

Kris shows some common major and minor chord progressions.

Length: 27:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Quick Connect EMG Active Pickups

Kris installs these new EMG pickups into his guitar.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Workshop With Chodypth

Kris Norris sat down with Chodypth, aka Cody, and this video is the result of a day of jamming and practicing.

Length: 77:35 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only

About Kris Norris View Full Biography Mr. Kris Norris was born August, 31 1978 in Canton, Ohio. He began playing around the age of 14. Early on the self-taught guitarist took an interest in metal and began playing in a local Virginia metal band. Kris' early influences were rooted in Swedish metal, bands include In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Edge of Sanity. Norwegian Black metal also played a part in Kris' interest including early Mayhem, Emperor, and Ulver. Kris started Disinterment with future Darkest Hour bandmate Ryan Parrish. Disinterment lasted over 6 years and developed a local following in the Virginia metal by being some of the first players to incorporate Swedish metal and 3 guitar players.

College Days
When Kris was 17 he attended Virgina Commonwealth University School of Music (VCU). He studied Music composition and focused on film with world renowned composer Dika Newlin. Kris also studied classical guitar with John Patykula, prize student of Jesus Silva who was the prize student of Andre Segovia. Kris left the University after 6 years of studies. After college, he began his teaching career instructing private students and giving lessons at Mars Music. Kris' teaching career would eventually be put on hold to join Darkest Hour.

Darkest Hour Days
Kris' first album with Darkest Hour ,Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation, the 2005 release was recorded at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden with producer Fredrik Nordstrom. Ironically, the same studio facilitated many of Kris' influences 10 years prior.

Darkest Hour's next release, Undoing Ruin allowed Kris to stretch his wings and show what he could truly do on the instrument with the addition of several solos. The record was produced by Canadian metal mastermind Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Steve Vai). Townsend was a big part of pushing Kris to his own musical potential on Undoing Ruin and even more so on the follow up record, Deliver Us.

Deliver Us was released in 2007 and debuted at 110 on the Billboard Chart. This would be the last Darkest Hour record with Kris as a member. The album like its predecessor was also produced by Devin Townsend, who was able to take a bigger hand in its production. Devin pushed Kris to experiment with his own playing and to hone in on his strongest abilities.

Kris' career with Darkest Hour spanned 6 years, 23 countries, 4 continents, countless tours, 3 albums, near 200,000 album sales, and many lifelong friendships made along the way. With the birth of his son in 2008, Kris felt he needed to take his career closer to home while still focusing on music and guitar. In order for Darkest Hour to devote 100% to their music and touring, Kris came to the decision to amicably part ways with the band.

His Future:
As of early 2009, Kris has full sponsorships from ESP, EMG, Peavey, DigiTech, InTune, and Morley. Currently, Kris is producing and mixing aspiring metal acts while also working for Final Symphony Studios out of Charlottesville, Virgina. Kris also edits records for James Murphy (Testament, Obituary, Death) at Safehouse Productions. Kris has released his first solo record through Magna Carta Records, entitled Icons Of The Illogical. His solo effort was recorded at Karma Productions with Cory Smoot (GWAR) and features vocals from Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe.

Kris is excited to be an addition to the JamPlay Instructor Roster. Lending his metal chops and thorough education to his lessons make him a valuable teacher. Kris is excited to be making lessons for JamPlay and just as stoked to learn new things from our other instructors. Check it out and stay Metal.

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