Wherever I May Roam Guitar Lesson – Metallica

This lesson comes to you by way of Metallica and their hugely successful Black album, with the scorching guitar driven "Wherever I May Roam".

"Wherever I May Roam" has long been one of my favorite Metallica songs. This main riff uses lots of cool techniques including fast trills, wide vibrato, slides, palm muting and some cool chromatic lines.

In this Wherever I May Roam guitar lesson I will demonstrate how to play all the parts in this metal masterpiece note-for-note.

In the first video I demonstrate how to play the main riff. The main riff does move around at a fast tempo, so be sure to work on each new section individually at a slow to moderate tempo before piecing it all together and ramping up the speed.

I know the Black album, with all of it's popularity, can be sort of a sore spot for some old school Metallica fans. I myself love early Metallica, especially Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and And Justice For All.

However, the Black album, although completely different, is in my opinion absolutely brilliant in how it combines a more commercial approach with huge production and cool riffs like the ones I am teaching in this lesson.

Can you imagine if Master of Puppets was recorded as well as the Black album? It would have sounded unreal!

In the second video lesson I will demonstrate all of the other riffs in the song including the killer harmony guitar section in the middle of the song. Well it does start out as just one guitar but does become a harmony guitar part during the second half of the section. I will show you how to play both guitar parts.

In the third video lesson I will teach you Kirk Hammett's ripping guitar solo note-for-note. I think this ranks among one of his best. Instead of the pentatonic based shredding he usually conjures up, for his "Wherever I May Roam" solo he chose a bit more exotic sound relying heavily on the Phrygian Dominant mode. That is the 5th mode of the harmonic minor scale for all of you music theory geeks! I happen to be one myself. 🙂

Besides the scale choice, Kirk Hammett uses everything from Hendrix inspired double-stops, tapping, liberal legato and even some slow melodic playing. It really is a an outstanding solo. Towards the end of the video I will give you some ideas to use during the outro solo. Since the outro solo is mostly fading out, I decided not to do a note-for-note transcription of it. Instead, I will show you how he is using a lot of licks that he used during the main solo and let you do what you want with them.

So have fun with this extremely fun and challenging Metallica lesson series!!


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Wherever I May Roam Guitar Lesson Pt.1 - Main Riff

Wherever I May Roam Guitar Lesson Pt.2 - Rhythms Continued

Wherever I May Roam Guitar Lesson Pt.3 - Solo


  1. GEORG P WEYAND on August 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Great lesson on how to tackle this challenging solo. Thanks.

  2. Ashley Barfield on March 3, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Awesome vid!!!

    Can you do Metallica’s tutorial on ‘the thing that should not be’ when you get some time please?

  3. Richie Rich on August 21, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Hey Carl another great job on a Metallica classic !
    How about Hero Of The Day, or Wasting My Hate ?
    Thanks for all of the awesome lessons.

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