For Whom The Bell Tolls Guitar Lesson – Metallica

In this video guitar lesson I will teach you how to play "For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Metallica in it's entirety note-for-note!

"For Whom The Bell Tolls" was released in 1984 on Metallica's second studio album Ride The Lightning. It quickly became a fan favorite just as it remains to this day.

The opening is dominated by bassist Cliff Burton's distorted and wah drenched chromatic tinged lick. However, you will find that same bass part is actually doubled by a guitar if you listen really closely to the original recording. So I will show you that opening riff as if you are doubling the bass line.

From there we arrive at some heavily palm muted power chord riffs that really usher in what this song is all about. Eventually those riffs lay back a bit and we get our first taste of the lead guitar work of Kirk Hammett. Hammett employs a steady stream of repeated sequences through most of his lead guitar work in "For Whom The Bell Tolls". Because those licks are so repetitive, those licks also make for some excellent alternate picking exercises.

In this For Whom the Bell Tolls guitar lesson I will show you all of the rhythm guitar riffs and chords as well as the lead guitar parts and harmony guitar parts.

The layout of "For Whom The Bell Tolls" is actually pretty straightforward and easy to follow. Metallica was just beginning to find their sound with their Ride The Lightning album and they would eventually start to write epic thrash metal classics that contained many different sections and strayed far from the conventional radio format. On Ride The Lightning, Metallica was just scratching the surface of what was yet to come on their albums Master of Puppets and And Justice For All.

So as Metallica goes, especially early Metallica, it doesn't get much easier than "For Whom The Bell Tolls" in terms of how difficult it is to play on the guitar. But regardless of it's difficulty level, it just goes to show you that no matter what, when you combine the genius of Cliff Burton and James Hetfield with Kirk Hammett's guitar wizardry, you are going to come away with an instant metal guitar classic every time.

Have Fun Guys!!


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For Whom The Bell Tolls Guitar Lesson


  1. zois asimakopoulos on August 9, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Great lesson once again Carl. Thanx

  2. Pendar Hadinezhad on June 2, 2019 at 1:39 am

    Hi Carl . I’m a beginner guitar player and loved this song forever . By this video i could play this riffs and solos almost good and enjoyed a lot . This was a motivating practice for me to rise for upper level . Thnx a lot

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