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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TOMMIXXTOMMIXX replied

EXCELLENT!

sham609sham609 replied

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

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

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

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

mblaidemblaide replied

Nice Job !!!

craigjames4craigjames4 replied

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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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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