Orion Guitar Lessons – Metallica

In this Orion guitar lesson series, I will show show you note-for-note how to play this instrumental masterpiece by the great Metallica. And quite an undertaking this will be!

Released on Metallica's 3rd studio album Master Of Puppets, it was a much more progressive song than any of their previous work and helped usher in many of the more complex musical structures found in metal since then.

Clocking in at almost 9 minutes, there are many different sections that employ just about every dynamic level imaginable. There will be simple slow riffs, complex fast riffs, simple blues based soloing, face melting metal soloing pyrotechnics and of course that beautiful harmony guitar section that enters around the 4 minute mark.

I have divided up these lessons in a way that I think will help you absorb the material more thoroughly without feeling that you are being overwhelmed by all there is to learn.

However, let me make this one recommendation before you begin studying these video lessons. Take the time to really know how this track sounds before trying to learn it on the guitar. That means you will want to memorize the whole song aurally before attempting to play it. Usually that kind of thing is a given since most people wouldn't take the time to learn a song on the guitar if they didn't already know and love the song. But, since this is an instrumental and a very long one at that, you will find many Metallica fans that recognize the beginning of "Orion" and the harmony section and the rest is a little bit foggier. If you are one of those, the simple fix is to just listen to "Orion" a lot! Pretty simple...

Most of the rhythm guitar parts are pretty straight forward with a few more technically demanding riffs thrown in there from time-to-time. If you are at the ability level to attempt to learn this epic instrumental, you probably won't have much of an issue performing the riffs for the most part.

However, there are many guitar solos that require a lot of dexterity and speed. When you come upon a lick in a solo that is very difficult for you or might be a bit awkward feeling, I suggest isolating that little section and using it as a repetitive technique exercise. Just simply play it again and again in a loop. You will want to play it slowly at first, then perhaps begin to practice it using speed bursts. Stay as relaxed as possible and your technique will eventually develop to the point that you can confidently play the lick without much of an issue.

So I hope you guys enjoy learning this incredible Metallica track from what is definitely my favorite Metallica album of all-time, Master of Puppets.


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Orion Guitar Lesson Pt.1 - Intro & 1st solo

Orion Guitar Lesson Pt.2 - Harmony Section w/Solo

Orion Guitar Lesson Pt.3 - Main Solo


  1. Zaria Joyner on May 7, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Hey Carl!James Hetfield played a clean riff at the guitar center when he was interviewed a few years ago and I was wondering if you could take a look at it and do a lesson for it I haven’t found any tabs on it. Here is the link to the audio http://youtu.be/dD3YOETOnqg
    Ps all the comments on the video were asking for tabs.

  2. Giacomo Bergonzi on May 17, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Great job on this one, monster lesson on a monster song^^ Was wondering, are you familiar with the band Trivium? I’d really like to learn to play one of their songs, “Down from the Sky”, just learning the intro would be great and it sounds like something fun to play, the whole song doesn’t seem overly complicted anyways. Would you consider teaching it?

  3. CliffEmAll on January 31, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you so much for your work on this song! Excellent explanations of everything, and the three different viewpoints from the three different cameras simultaneously works so well for us aural/visual learners too! Super stoked to get back into playing regularly with all these lessons,

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