Arts & Entertainment, Music

Song Deconstruction: “Master of Puppets”


Lesson time 11:03 min

Metallica’s members break down their iconic song “Master of Puppets” and explore what makes their sound “heavy”—from chord choice to techniques like downpicking. Band members also discuss their influences, and how they created their signature sound.

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Topics include: The Heavy Toms · The Heavy Sound


- Oh yeah! - Oh yeah! - Yeah! - Yeah! - Yeah! - Yeah! - Yeah! - Yeah! - Master! - Master! - Of! - Of! - Puppets! [MUSIC- METALLICA, "MASTER OF PUPPETS"] - When you're talking to someone, and you mention Metallica, almost the second thing they say is "Master Of Puppets". There is something intrinsically linked between us and that song. - I don't use this word often when I talk about anything Metallica, the word 'hit', but it's basically the number one fan favorite, definitive Metallica song since that came out in '86. - It's got everything in it. It's got picking, it's got dual solo, it's got a cool tom breakdown part. - And, you know, it's weird because ever since the creation of that song, like 30 years after the fact, whatever it is, it never really feels like we've ever really fully conquered that song. - It's a wild pony sometimes. - It's a constant work in progress. - Yeah. - (SINGING) All I hear or see is laughter, - Laughter, laughter. Laughing at my cries. [GUITAR SOLO] - Yeah. - And obviously, the older we get, the down picking, which has been really a big part of our sound, if we can down pick it, we will. Any riff. Because it somehow sounds better. - Yeah, more percussive. - Yeah, more percussive, and you know, instead of doing this, duh-duh- duh- duh- duh, we're going bop- bop- bop- bop- bop, and mmm. There's something about stopping the string and starting it again that gives it a real percussive sound. - (SINGING) --hear you scream, Master. Just call my name, I'll hear you scream, Master, Master. - The whole idea around it was, you know, being a master of puppet, you're a slave to something, specifically around drugs or something. Where it goes to that picking part, where you're in that drugged state, and then it kind of builds back up again into franticness. [GUITAR SOLO] - Go from craziness to phoo, you know, just all of a sudden you come in, you know, almost kind of Pink Floyd-y or something. Where it feels like it's a whole nother song, but it's attached to this feel. Then you get back, you circle back around to obviously the verses, and some other stuff like that. [GUITAR SOLO] - Very into dynamics, and going from frantic down to building back up again. You balance the set out, where there's little breaks here and there. You're trying to have a dynamic flow to what music you're putting out there. - What were the inspirations for those, like a couple of songs where we would go melodic in the middle? Was that something that Iron Maiden used to do? Was it Mercyful Fate? - Maiden would do it, occasionally, Judas Priest would do it, too. But the band who did it probably most effectively was Zeppelin. Yeah, with that dynamic. [MUSIC PLAYING] - This incredible riff is one of the fields that br...

About the Instructor

With 28 albums, 8 Grammy Awards, and a home in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Metallica have been creating iconic music together for over 40 years. Now, they’re teaching what it takes to build and sustain success as a group. Get an exclusive look into their process for songwriting, building an album, and performing, and how they took charge of their creative destiny so you can do the same.

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8x Grammy Award–winning rock band Metallica teaches you the keys to communicating, collaborating, and successfully creating as a group.

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