Holy Wars Guitar Lesson – Megadeth – Famous Riffs

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In the famous riff lesson we are gonna take a look at the opening riffs for what is considered by most metal fans to be Megadeth’s greatest song, “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due”.

This Holy Wars guitar lesson is definitely no walk in the park. We are actually going to be tackling the opening riff then the main riff that follows.

The opening riff is a Dave Mustaine classic. Fast, tight, precise and absolutely ripping. You are gonna want to pay close attention to the picking indications in the video lesson for that part. Otherwise, your picking hand will probably have a lot of trouble getting everything up to speed.

From there we move on to the main riff that involves a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs with rapid palm muted alternate picking between. Timing is the big issue in this section.

You will want to make sure you can feel these rhythms internally before attempting to play them up to speed.

And since both of these riffs require a high amount of articulation between the fret and picking hands, I suggest practicing them quite slow at first.

You will want to wait until the riffs are mostly just muscle memory before attempting them at full speed.

Let’s see if you got what is takes to play these riffs! They are a great challenge!


  1. After 1 minute of Kicking ass with the guitar Hey, Guys!

    That's Badass!!

  2. 5:07 can we do with spider chord

  3. what if i hammer on the i chromatic intro A string 567,i hear it produces the same sound

  4. is this a very tough riff,i can play it but when i play with the song i get messed up..
    tell me if it is a tough song..
    symphony of destruction is easier

  5. Still baffled how Mustaine can play this and sing at the same time.

  6. >fuckin kills it for 60 seconds. “oh, hey guys. Carl brown here…”

  7. 2:10 it's 3 then 5 tho

  8. Could you do angry again ? That’d be awesome

  9. Great videos, just started playing again after 10yrs of occasionally playing once in a great while at family party's etc.
    Really inspired to get back to and far better than I used to be. Figured relearning Rust In Peace is a great start, so thank you for your great videos!
    Also, in the main riff, with the 5 to 7 hammer on and 10 to 7 pull off in between the muted low E strumming I always played the G on low E and the B(2nd fret) and slid that positioning between playing the G and F sharp instead of a basic power chord, always seemed to give the heavier, "evil" sound.. also used that positioning when sliding from 6th, 5th, 3rd and 2nd frets (if I'm remembering the proper fretting/notes off the top of my head..
    Anyway, absolutely love your breakdowns of these few I'm relearning (mainly Holy wars, Tornado of Souls, Hangar 18 and Lucretia for starters).
    Thanks again!

  10. Whats that tuning ?

  11. Please do more advanced riffs

  12. thedominator rhoads

    nice .can you do some old ufo like dr dr or shoot shoot nobody has it right. thanks

  13. loved it. best rendition I've seen!

  14. loved it. best rendition I've seen!

  15. thanks for breaking it down. just watched a megadeth documentary then came here. couldn't plug my amp in for this one. akward on the muted palms XD. I bet these guys spent a lot of time tuning their low e string. sat at the intro for a while trying to play it by sight with no avail, but it was a worthy effort by me. thanks for that

  16. Is this is standard tuning?

  17. This man is a G O D. But the G O D to rule them all is Dave Mustaine

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