Creeping Death Guitar Lesson – Metallica

In this guitar lesson video series, I will demonstrate how to play the epic thrash metal classic "Creeping Death" by Metallica.

The song starts with some epic metal stylings creating a huge and suspenseful sound. Over that part we have some harmony guitar lines start to "creep" in. Hehe...

I will show you the bottom harmony part in this video lesson. From there we will play a short power chord sequence that sets up the main rapid down picked riff of the song.

Performing this main riff is no easy feat. James Hetfield has always been known as having perhaps the greatest picking hand in all of metal. At least when it comes to fast and tight muted down strokes, which are a staple of most forms of metal guitar.

Achieving the speed required to perform this riff up to speed can be quite the challenge. One good thing though is that the riff has an ending that consists of a little legato lick played in the left hand. As short as that little legato lick is, it gives your picking hand a decent enough amount of time to recover before having to perform the fast down-strokes again.

It's amazing how such a quick little picking pause can completely change how challenging the riff is to play. The hardest aspect of this fast down-stroked muted style found in most metal is when you have to continue to play it for an extended period of time. It is a lot easier to keep your technique together in short bursts.

James Hetfield has one of those right hands that would allow him to probably play this riff for 3 hours straight. The reason he can do that is because he keeps his picking hand extremely relaxed. That is the key to mastering this style of rhythm.

In this second video lesson I will demonstrate all the remaining chords and riffs found in the song. All-in-all they are much easier to perform than the main riff.

In the third lesson I will tackle Kirk Hammett's acrobatic guitar solo note-for-note. There are some nice melodies found within all the hyper-speed guitar licks. I will be teaching the solo phrase-by-phrase which I feel is the best way to learn. Each individual phrase will give you a nice little workout I am sure.

Have Fun!


If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! 🙂

Donate to GuitarLessons365
Other Amount:

Creeping Death Guitar Lesson Pt.1 - Intro

Creeping Death Guitar Lesson Pt.2 - Chords/Rhythms

Creeping Death Guitar Lesson Pt.3 - Solos


  1. scott pritchard on May 18, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Carl I am actually getting ready to buy my first guitar, I’m an older guy who grew up with hair bands and metal. I have actually been writing down your teaching and finger placement in a notebook. I’ve played many songs over and over in my mind….next week I will be purchasing a esp snakebyte ltd with the “het set” components, cant wait to see if I can really play whats burned into my brain from watching your lessons repeatedly. Thank you for such great detail in your instructional videos! Keep up the great work.
    Future old rocker.

  2. Rich Schmidt on July 24, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Hi Carl I really like your lessons. Very accurate! Any chance you could do some Testament songs? Thanks.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.