"Metal Poisoning" (Guitar Lesson)

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Dennis Hodges

"Metal Poisoning"

Written just for JamPlay and his Metal series, this song will allow you to put all your techniques to use in a musical manner.

Taught by Dennis Hodges in Metal with Dennis seriesLength: 28:54Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:56) Lesson Intro In lesson 7, you will learn an original metal song written by Dennis entitled "Metal Poisoning." This song allows you to apply the concepts that you've learned in the first six lessons to a real piece of music. This song includes legato techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and bends. It also features some fast moving power chords and octaves. The rhythms vary from eighth notes to sixteenths, to quarters, so your rhythm abilities will certainly be tested.

Dennis approaches this lesson similar to a Phase 3 lesson. He will break down each part of the song in a scene-by-scene fashion. A complete song demonstration can be found in the last scene.
Chapter 2: (03:28) The Intro The introduction to "Metal Poisoning" features a repeating section that is played numerous times throughout the song. As a result, Dennis has chosen to label it as the chorus.

The chorus / intro riff features a low palm-muted E5 chord punctuated by a pull-off figure. This pull-off combination is a reoccurring motif throughout this section of the song. Next, the same pull-off motif is applied to a G5 chord. Then, the progression shifts up the fretboard to D5. This time around, a different pull-off figure is applied to the chord in order to make a better transition back to the beginning of the section.

What occurs next in the riff is a chord voicing that you might not be familiar with. It is comprised of the notes D# and F#. In the context of this song, this chord is functioning as a rootless inversion of the dominant chord (B). The notes D# and F# are the third and fifth of this chord. This minor third shape is used quite often in the metal genre. It can be heard in songs such as "Battery" and "Orion" by Metallica. The next chord shape is comprised of a major third. This time around the root and the third of the B major chord are included in the voicing.
Chapter 3: (03:34) The Transition The section labeled "Transition" features two guitar parts. (During the Chorus section, both guitars double the same part.)

The Transition begins with some palm-muted chords punctuated by rests. A similar rhythm figure can be found in songs such as "Leper Messiah" by Metallica. Guitar 1 continues this rhythm figure while guitar two branches off and plays an octave riff. All of the octaves are diatonic to E harmonic minor with the exception of the b5 blues note (Bb). Essentially the octaves fill in the rests left by the supporting guitar part. Focus your attention on sliding accuracy and rhythmic accuracy when practicing this riff.
Chapter 4: (05:25) The Verse The verse marks a shift to the parallel major key of E major. Once again, the b5 of the key is used to add some dissonance to the riff. Also, the major third chord shape from the first riff is used once again. This time around however, it is used for an A chord. This riff essentially is comprised of a single riff that has different endings tagged to it. This is a very common compositional technique in riff-based music such as metal and hard rock.
Chapter 5: (06:34) The Interlude This section occurs between the verses. It is comprised of some basic rhythmic stabs with power chords. Notice how Dennis is using inverted power chord shapes to thicken up the sound. Essentially, the fifth is played as the lowest note of the chord instead of the root. Typically in these situations, the bass player still plays the root of the chord, so the root still sounds as the lowest note in the chord. The key to playing this riff properly is counting the rests. Eventually these spaces will be filled in with a melodic line that weaves between the chords. The ending portion of this melody gives you some trill practice within the harmonic minor scale.
Chapter 6: (04:45) The Outro This riff features palm-muted rhythms on a single low E note. This may seem really easy at first since you only have to play one note. However, this riff requires some quick right hand action as well as a rhythm that is difficult to count. It is comprised of the gallop and reverse gallop. Watch out for the ties and rests! Print out the notation and write the counting syllables below the staff.

As Dennis proves, one can get a lot of mileage out of simply chugging grooves on a single low note. The verse section to Pantera's "A New Level" is a fine example.
Chapter 7: (04:10) Full Song Demo Dennis plays the whole song along with supporting guitar, bass, and drum tracks. You also get an opportunity to hear the solo section in this scene.

Although he doesn't teach it, tablature to the solo can be found in the "Supplemental Content" section. The solo phrases are derived from the E natural minor (Aeolian) scale. Page two features a lot of lower chromatic neighbor notes on the week beats. This is quite common in fast metal runs.

Memorize the entire song before you try playing along with it!

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.

bironologybironology replied


truxtontruxton replied

what minor key / relative major is this song in... I think it is in e minor but It has sharps in it that e minor doesn't have such a sharp or g sharp unless they are being just like chromatic accidentals in the key. Is it harmonic minor becuase d sharp is in it too.? Thanks

NoyfaNoyfa replied

Great song Dennis! But what are the settings for the amp? My guitar dosnt sound like yours

hiphopguitarist.comhiphopguitarist.com replied

Very useful lesson especially learning some great single string rhythm ideas which will make for great background music instrumentation

duvexyduvexy replied

Awesome song, I am getting better everyday. I know I am not as good as you. But, I can see some improvement. Thanks Dennis!

anexa85anexa85 replied

That solo seems a bit out of reach from just the tabs at this point in the series... Are there any plans to break down the solo or is that something we should be able to figure out at this point?

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied

Well, the main point of this lesson and this series is the rhythm guitar, the solo is just included to round it out. My lead series (http://members.jamplay.com/lessons/phase-2/series/44-lead-concepts-techniques) would help, but unless you've been playing a couple years and/or soloing for a year or two I would say it's out of reach.

LarryGoodLarryGood replied

I did not quite understand you answer here. Are you stating that you need to have 1-2 years experience playing before being able to realistically be able to play this lesson? - I am a beginning student and I have been working through your lesson series up to the point, but this seems a bit much :)

LynnnateLynnnate replied

That is not what Dennis was saying at all. He said the "solo" would be too much right now. The rhythm guitar is the point of the lesson - the solo is only there for performance purposes - not for you to learn at this point.

kmetcalfekmetcalfe replied

hey dennis, is it possible for you to add to this, break the solo down? so hard trying to watch your fingers. :) best teacher ever! you actually made me want to stop playing random tabs and actually learn some music theory. your approach to teaching is nothing short of spectacular !

sidksidk replied

Great lesson but the backing track should have no rhythm guitar. All the tracks have it in. Its hard to play along with it in. Especially whens its cranked I can't hear myself over the backing track. Could this be removed? Thanks.

reganrawrreganrawr replied

Cool tune Dennis!

garrettwayne72garrettwayne72 replied

Thanks Dennis!!!! I feel like we know each other Bro Man!!!! lessons are fantasticular! ROCK ON!!!

kalabajabakalabajaba replied

does any body else ever use the cursor to pick his nose or poke him cause i do:)

kalabajabakalabajaba replied

no disrespect to Dennis though

benthebosbenthebos replied

we are all very lucky to have such a brilliant teacher. guess this lesson is going to take awhile to learn though

benthebosbenthebos replied

i noticed slides on the video transition are slightly different on supplemental content

iluvanita113iluvanita113 replied

I have been playing guitar for five years in a metal band doing mostly rhythm I started Dennis's lessons a week and a half ago and I have already noticed a difference he is one of the best teachers I have ever had. I would say guitar wise I use an Ibanez and my new schecter syn and I love them both.

hereticsound666hereticsound666 replied

sick song its very good for a solid metal muscle builder. love this song but I'm still not done with it.

jason wjason w replied

awesome song

redingtonredington replied

Love it, Love it, Absolutely love it!!!

omrisamaomrisama replied

Good instrumental. Riffage lacks badass, but good nontheless. I want to be a Metal guitarist but I can't fucking do it with my 15 watt amp, my Fender Squier, and my Metalzone. I don't know. Is that equipment good enough? :( The solo looks very difficult... and I have a problem learning full songs. I can only push myself to learn parts of the songs. :( Also, it would help ALOT if you made a Guitar Pro tab of this file. Thank you.. lol

casablancacasablanca replied

I made a guitar pro version, but It only contains lead and rhythm guitar, I can send you if you want

midlifemidlife replied

Just finished learning Ride the Lightning. Can only play it clean at about 75% speed, but getting there. Metal Poisoning will be my next challenge. Wouldn't it be great to gather the family around and play it for them on Chrismas Day? Nothing says Christmas quite like a palm muted E power chord or a good pinch harmonic! I also play a Schecter and absolutley love it. It is an awesome metal guitar. To anyone struggling, stay dedicated to the practice routines in Dennis' lesson set. I spend at least an hour a day doing them over and over with a metronome, increasing the speed a little each day. You will be amazed at the difference it will make.

steven ringersteven ringer replied

sounds a bit metalcore. i like it.

gromlomgromlom replied

Dennis you make it look easy lol.

alans92392alans92392 replied

started 7 day trial membership 3 days ago- picked metal with dennis- have been teaching myself for 3 years and have gotten more from this series in 3 days- am at the song and have never been able to play like this before from books-thanx

edenajbedenajb replied

Hey Dennis. 30 secs into scene 7 of this lesson you do this kind of squeal sound on the guitar. which lesson is it where you show how to do that??, as i saw it somewhere before but can't remember which one and need to remind myself how to do that cool squealing type of sound.

joshgold08joshgold08 replied


belial19belial19 replied

wicked tune man. What type of Schecter is that?

chase_1995chase_1995 replied

from about 3:00 3:20 is what i really want to play but i cant figure out how to even began making my own kind of stuff like that. any lesson recomendations would be appreciated.

brownstarbrownstar replied

Should we be practicing without distortion?

brownstarbrownstar replied

Im having a lot of fun with this one thanks

docparadox88docparadox88 replied

Jesus... this is one hell of a track!

sam1990sam1990 replied

have we got a backing track for this great song on the website

swacswac replied

how could i get your bands songs?

swacswac replied

you are the best guitarist out of all the teachers! i love this song i hope to play like this one day[soon hopefully]

les paul playerles paul player replied

Nice song. I've been through most of your lessons and I have to say that you are a damn good teacher and very thorough. I hope to hear more. I also have some phase 3 songs that might be good for you...

alobelalobel replied

I've found this to be an excellent learning tool. I REALLY LOVE the second interlude. Can anyone here recommend some bands/songs with similar styles?

renoxrenox replied

you could release these as single and no doubt it would be a hit.Maybe you should create more pieces like this and release a CD. you rock man.

ctozzictozzi replied

thats like the best song ever! i cant wait till im good enough to play this!

tranaeustranaeus replied

holy shit this is amazing

jiangxie163jiangxie163 replied

I think the tab for the interlude part is wrong~ all dennis is doing is PM a string then sturming the chord, not all chords like what its shown on the tab

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied

not sure if you're referring to the 1st or 2nd interlude, but what's tabbed is what's played (I wrote the tab!), though there's a mistake in the video at 2:08 that was corrected in the tab.

briguy33247briguy33247 replied


edenajbedenajb replied

hi Dennis. something i don't understand is when you say you are starting off with the E power chord at the start of the intro but i see that as the B power chord chord as you are fretting the 2nd fret at string 5 and so i thought that is the B root note making it a B power chord not an E power chord??

freddybeefreddybee replied

if he plays the open E along with B at the second fret fifth string, it is an E power chord. E is the root, B is the fifth

tangohuntertangohunter replied

If you check the tab, the first chord is an E power chord.

reeces111reeces111 replied

Nice one Dennis ! Hope u continue to make more metal lessons :D! Oh and a request.. any chance u could do Number of The Beast by maiden?

edenajbedenajb replied

Do you mean the supplemental content of metal poisoning 1 or ??

edenajbedenajb replied

sorry just realised u said u have written it.

edenajbedenajb replied

dennis what is this song and who by on the full song demo??. thanx.

link5033link5033 replied

Dennis, can you make more metal lessons please!!! I would love you forever!

tangohuntertangohunter replied

The camera actualy fails to keep up with Dennis's fingers during one of the solos..

jpetergjpeterg replied

Really fun lesson! Thanks! Played it wrong for a while until i noticed that Dennis played it differently to what was tabbed. It's at the ending of the first bar in the Verse that Dennis plays A#5, B5 but its tabbed as G#5,A#5.

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied

correction has been made, should be posted soon

tangohuntertangohunter replied

Dennis..can you just sing 2 3 slide.. made my night

el mofongoel mofongo replied

My gosh..... I wish I could do that. :S

porcelainporcelain replied

problems with downloading the track ,is there somewhere else or other way i can get the track ?

kevinacekevinace replied

It's all fixed now!

jboothjbooth replied

I've just double checked the track and it appears to be playing properly. What difficulties are you having? Are you getting any specific error or message so that we can troubleshoot this?

porcelainporcelain replied

well i wanted to download it so i can play it all the time ,so i tried doing the right click save as thing and it just didn't wrk and i asked a friend to as well and he couldn't either ,so wanted to know if there was another way to get it

jboothjbooth replied

To do the right click save as remember you need to click the text, and not the actual player, so the link that says "download full track" is the one you need to click to download.

porcelainporcelain replied

problems downlaoding the rack is there somewhere else i can get the track?

ricky54326ricky54326 replied

dennis. holy shit. excellent job. :O

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied

(regarding beginning of Scene 2) what is wrong with my brain? bonus points to anyone who can figure out!

tmarinzeltmarinzel replied

The "chorus riff"?!

robearlerobearle replied

Perfectly simple: The huge goatee, in the presence of fast fingers and an electric guitar simply got a little too excited. The slight "wobble" you experienced at the start of scene 2 was merely your goatee tuning itself in with the guitar.

SylviaSylvia replied

LOL!!! Too many cartoons???

rodrigo17rodrigo17 replied

Wow this is great! What is the name of your band? Is it possible to download this music, like, to put it in MP3's or something?

tamactamac replied

i cant download any of the audio content. Do u know why?

nessanessa replied

You may have muted the video. Please check the volume control to the right of the loading bar. Make sure to click on the biggest bar for the highest sound. Hope that helps!

mrtdunnmrtdunn replied

Awesome lesson! My question is what sort of guitar/amp are you using because that beefy tone is incredible.

StephenWhanStephenWhan replied

Hey, I just noticed something - in scene 2 when you talk about the Intro/Chorus you end the section with your first finger playing a D# on the A string and your pinky playing a B on the D string. But yet, in the full song demo, the second time you play those 8 bars you finish some other way ... looks like D# on the A string and B on the G string (although it's hard to tell for sure cos your hand doesn't move)? Why the change? Economy of movement?

StephenWhanStephenWhan replied

It's just at the 23-24 second mark, if my explanation is confusing anyone

StephenWhanStephenWhan replied

Scratch that - it's not the last measure that's different, it's the one before the last one ...... please explain! :)

jboothjbooth replied

Dennis might not be able to get to the question until Monday since it's a holiday weekend here in the U.S.! Just so you know :)

StephenWhanStephenWhan replied

No worries Jeff - I can wait :) I think he may already have answered it anyway in a PM. Don't tell anyone, but I think it was just a mistake! LOL

ronin808ronin808 replied

Ok I have some Major Home work to do!!!Starting with the first lesson again, WOW. Great job!!!

skater742skater742 replied

great lesson! you should add a recording of the song to the supplementary content for others to listen/download. Awesome song, awesome lesson.... just awesome.

rhoadsfreakrhoadsfreak replied

*bows down to the master* Great lesson Dennis....Can't wait for more from you.

kevinacekevinace replied

That was awesome...great lesson.

jboothjbooth replied

Great idea and lesson dennis :)

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied

nice dennis!!! great idea incorporating lesson material into a song!!! brilliant!!!! lol!

StephenWhanStephenWhan replied

Nice work Dennis! Now all I have to do is practice! LOL

nessanessa replied

Wooaahh... just listened to the full song demonstration at the end. YOU ROCK!!! Sweet song, Mr. Hodges!

Metal with Dennis

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Get ready to rock in this metal lesson series with Dennis Hodges. From 80's Metal to modern Dennis loves it all.

Basics of MetalLesson 1

Basics of Metal

Dennis covers important guitar basics such as note names and technical exercises.

Length: 33:00 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Power Chords and RhythmLesson 2

Power Chords and Rhythm

Dennis introduces power chords and basic rhythm concepts. Both subjects are very important to the metal genre.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Essential Techniques 1Lesson 3

Essential Techniques 1

Learn a variety of essential techniques commonly used in the metal genre, including palm muting, string slides, and chord slides.

Length: 36:52 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Essential Techniques 2Lesson 4

Essential Techniques 2

Metal lesson 4 brings you some info on hammer-ons, pull-offs, trills, bending, and the infamous pinch harmonics.

Length: 45:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Left Hand OverloadLesson 5

Left Hand Overload

Dennis delivers left hand techniques and exercises, with topics including spider walking / riffing, octaves, stretching and 4 practice riffs.

Length: 62:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Rhythm and TimingLesson 6

Rhythm and Timing

While using a metronome, Dennis covers essential techniques and exercises to obtain great rhythm and timing.

Length: 35:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

"Metal Poisoning"

Written just for JamPlay and his Metal series, this song will allow you to put all your techniques to use in a musical manner.

Length: 28:54 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Time Signatures Part 1Lesson 8

Time Signatures Part 1

In this lesson Dennis teaches the following common time signatures: 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8. Dennis explains each signature and provides a short example for illustration.

Length: 33:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Time Signatures Part 2Lesson 9

Time Signatures Part 2

This time around Dennis explains odd time signatures. Similar to Part 1, he uses a musical example to illustrate each new signature.

Length: 45:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Rhythm Pt. 2Lesson 10

Rhythm Pt. 2

Dennis continues his metal series with part two of his look at rhythm and timing.

Length: 56:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Right Hand OverloadLesson 11

Right Hand Overload

This lesson is the long lost sibling to "Left Hand Overload."

Length: 52:11 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Dennis Hodges

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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