Metallica – One Guitar Lesson

When Metallica released "One" as the final single off their 1989 album And Justice For All, they finally had a certified hit on their hands after years of zero radio and MTV support.

"One" uses the same formula they used on earlier songs like "Fade To Black" and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" in that it begins with a slow clean section and progressively builds in heaviness and aggression throughout the song.

In the four videos of this One Guitar Lesson series, we will take an in depth look at all the different epic guitar parts that make up this seminal Metallica classic.

The first video covers the intro and verse of the song. It starts out with an easy to play arpeggiated picking pattern in the rhythm guitar part. After one complete cycle through those chords the intro guitar solo arrives.

The solo that Kirk Hammett created here fits the haunting underlying guitar riffs perfectly. He craftily incorporates smooth bends, rapid one string legato, sweep picking, cross string picking and more into this fantastic opening solo statement.

After the solo the same chord progression is continued with a little bit busier picking pattern. That pattern continues into the verse with just a little slight variation.

In the second video lesson we will take a look at all the heavy and distorted rhythm guitar riffs. Those riffs include the chorus, heavy musical interlude section and the machine gun like rhythmic patterns that are employed throughout the entire extended ending section of "One".

In the third video lesson we will go back and learn the second clean solo that Kirk Hammett plays just before the last chorus. Once again he uses a multitude of techniques including fast pull-offs and tapping. It is a short but sweet little solo that does a really nice job of complimenting the underlying chord work.

For the final video lesson we will take a look at the epic main solo that is perhaps the most beloved of all of Kirk Hammett's solos. It contains some extremely fast tapping maneuvers, tremolo picking, fast legato licks, speedy blues inflected bends, doublestops and more. Yes, it is quite a workout!

At the end of the fourth video I will also demonstrate how to play the guitar harmony section that pretty much closes out the song.

All-in-all, this One Guitar Lesson provides a great learning experience if you want to master many metal lead and rhythm guitar techniques. It truly is a song that has it all.



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Metallica - One Guitar Lesson Pt.1 - Intro & Verse

Metallica - One Guitar Lesson Pt.2 - All Heavy/Distorted Rhythms

Metallica - One Guitar Lesson Pt.3 - Second Solo

Metallica - One Guitar Lesson Pt.4 - Main Solo & Harmony Solo


  1. scott pritchard on June 7, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Carl I’ve run out of superlatives to describe your teaching method! I can set and pause the videos, practice finger placement and picking patterns and learn in a way that just works! Please keep on teaching…”for those about to rock, we salute you”

  2. Michael Schiavone on November 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Hi, Carl. Is there ANY way you can please tell me in detail the specific set up you have in your Metallica One lessons? Every little bit would help me as I want to achieve your sound. Especially the solos—pedals, amps, settings, guitar, anything and everything. You do the best lessons out there. The best. Thanks! -Mike

    • Carl Brown on November 12, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Hey Michael, all I can tell you is that I am currently doing all of my lessons using an Fractal Audio Axe-FX II Modeling Processor. The exact tone settings are just made right before I shoot and never saved so I couldn’t tell you what it was.

      The guitar I was using in that lesson is a John Petrucci JP100 Sterling by Music Man..


  3. Frank Montalti on August 13, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Excellent Lessons..thanks

  4. Max D on May 6, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Hi Carl! I’m a year into guitar playing and I’m using your lessons to achieve the main solo to One. There is one section I can’t get up to speed, the lines right after the tremolo picking section. Are there any tips/exercise I should use/practice to get the part up to speed?

  5. Jack Bobinson on November 22, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    So in the first lesson. 3:38 you do what I think is called a bin & release or whatever. How do I do that because it doesn’t sound as good without it?

  6. George T Wruck on August 6, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    God bless You, Carl!!!

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