For Whom The Bell Tolls Guitar Lesson – Metallica

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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!!

Carl…
Video Rating: / 5

20 comments

  1. 1:09 intro
    2:46 1st riff
    6:14 fill
    7:09 2nd riff
    9:41 interlude (11:30)
    14:39 outro

  2. During the interlude and outro, which part does James play?

  3. can you use tabs?

  4. 7 strung prs?

  5. How ta make chorus step tuning

  6. Can you please practice us with The God That Failed by Metallica, please? Thank you very much. You're making us great at guitar!!

  7. 3:16 sound so heavy

  8. The lyrics are based on the 1940 Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name. The book is about an American who is given the job of taking out a bridge held by the Fascist army in the Spanish Civil War – the precursor to World War II. He fell in love and then found out very disturbing things about life and death.

    The phrase "For Whom The Bell Tolls" originated in a 1623 poem by the Englishman John Donne, who wrote:

Send not to know
    * For whom the bell tolls
    * It tolls for thee

Hemingway's book used the title.
    This song is a commentary on the futility of war. The last few lines of the song diverge from the book to make this point.

    This is another song in which Cliff Burton's unique lead bass style is often mistaken for a guitar solo. Burton played the intro using light distortion on his bass.

According to Kirk Hammett, Burton regularly played the intro bass riff when the pair of them were hanging out in their hotel room. The guitarist recalled to Rolling Stone in 2014: "He used to carry around an acoustic classical guitar that he detuned so that he could bend the strings. Anyway, when he would play that riff, I would think, 'That's such a weird, atonal riff that isn't really heavy at all.'"

"I remember him playing it for James (Hetfield, vocals), and James adding that accent to it and all of a sudden, it changed," Hammett added. "It's such a crazy riff. To this day, I think, 'How did he write that?' Whenever I hear nowadays, it's like, 'OK, Cliff's in the house.'"

Burton, Hetfield and Lars Ulrich are the credited writers on the song.

    Ride The Lightning is the second Metallica album, and the first co-produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who worked on their next two albums as well. He came on board when the band decided to record the album in Europe, where studio time cost much less than in America thanks to a favorable exchange rate. They chose Rasmussen's Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen and used him as engineer and co-producer (along with the band).

On this song, they tried something new. "'For Whom the Bell Tolls' was the first song we ever did to a click track," Rasmussen said in a Songfacts interview. "That was kind of tricky. That was also Lars learning how to play to a click."

    The song opens with the tolling of a bell, which rings throughout the first minute of the song before gradually fading out. It's the second-most famous rock song to do this, placing behind AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," from their 1980 album Back In Black. 

The bands got their bell sounds in very different ways; AC/DC ordered a custom, one-ton bell from a foundry and recorded it using a mobile unit and 15 microphones. Metallica used a sound effects reel.

"We edited in the bell effect so it would fit and be in tempo," Flemming Rasmussen told Songfacts. "I copied it and cut it in where it was supposed to come. So, once we got that tape started at the right spot, it simply played itself, and then dumped it into 24-track."

    This song is in the Movie ZombieLand (2009)

    So that’s the meaning and facts about this song

    From songfacts.com

    The reasons why Metallica is Hated:

    Metallica is Hated cause they’re sellouts, they changed their sound, James had a big change in his voice in the early 90's after a ton of touring, the way the records are mixed has changed, the songs are written entirely differently lyric wise, changes in personnel, plus they're too old and rich to pull of the whole angry thing,Their music changed from straight up thrash metal to radio friendly heavy metal to radio friendly hard rock

    So those are the reasons why Metallica is Hated

    And BTW I still love Metallica even though they changed their sound,or sellouts ❤️❤️❤️

  9. Amber_pops133 Xoxo

    The lyrics are based on the 1940 Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name. The book is about an American who is given the job of taking out a bridge held by the Fascist army in the Spanish Civil War – the precursor to World War II. He fell in love and then found out very disturbing things about life and death.

    The phrase "For Whom The Bell Tolls" originated in a 1623 poem by the Englishman John Donne, who wrote:

Send not to know
    * For whom the bell tolls
    * It tolls for thee

Hemingway's book used the title.
    This song is a commentary on the futility of war. The last few lines of the song diverge from the book to make this point.

    This is another song in which Cliff Burton's unique lead bass style is often mistaken for a guitar solo. Burton played the intro using light distortion on his bass.

According to Kirk Hammett, Burton regularly played the intro bass riff when the pair of them were hanging out in their hotel room. The guitarist recalled to Rolling Stone in 2014: "He used to carry around an acoustic classical guitar that he detuned so that he could bend the strings. Anyway, when he would play that riff, I would think, 'That's such a weird, atonal riff that isn't really heavy at all.'"

"I remember him playing it for James (Hetfield, vocals), and James adding that accent to it and all of a sudden, it changed," Hammett added. "It's such a crazy riff. To this day, I think, 'How did he write that?' Whenever I hear nowadays, it's like, 'OK, Cliff's in the house.'"

Burton, Hetfield and Lars Ulrich are the credited writers on the song.

    Ride The Lightning is the second Metallica album, and the first co-produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who worked on their next two albums as well. He came on board when the band decided to record the album in Europe, where studio time cost much less than in America thanks to a favorable exchange rate. They chose Rasmussen's Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen and used him as engineer and co-producer (along with the band).

On this song, they tried something new. "'For Whom the Bell Tolls' was the first song we ever did to a click track," Rasmussen said in a Songfacts interview. "That was kind of tricky. That was also Lars learning how to play to a click."

    The song opens with the tolling of a bell, which rings throughout the first minute of the song before gradually fading out. It's the second-most famous rock song to do this, placing behind AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," from their 1980 album Back In Black. 

The bands got their bell sounds in very different ways; AC/DC ordered a custom, one-ton bell from a foundry and recorded it using a mobile unit and 15 microphones. Metallica used a sound effects reel.

"We edited in the bell effect so it would fit and be in tempo," Flemming Rasmussen told Songfacts. "I copied it and cut it in where it was supposed to come. So, once we got that tape started at the right spot, it simply played itself, and then dumped it into 24-track."

    This song is in the Movie ZombieLand (2009)

    So that’s the meaning and facts about this song

    From songfacts.com

  10. Masterchiefs apprentice

    What is your amp set up at

  11. Cake song…….if you need a video for this, you REALLY need to take basic guitar lessons…..it's Way over your head.

  12. Masterchiefs apprentice

    What brand of guitar did u use

  13. Tank's Master!

  14. The riff played at about 2:00 is actually a bass line. That's cliff burton distorting the bass in the intro

  15. Thank you very much Carl

  16. Can you please teach Suicide and Redemption by Metallica? Thanks in advance!!

  17. Thanks, bruh!

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