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ESP School of Metal Guitar: how to play guitar like Parkway Drive

ESP School of Metal Guitar
(Image credit: Future)

Welcome to the ESP School of Metal Guitar series, where we’ll be breaking-down how to play in the style of some of metal’s biggest guitar heroes. With a playalong track for each artist, as well as full tab and detailed explanation of our examples, you’ll be able to learn two guitar parts that will enable you to jam along to a song in the style of each band.   

ESP School of Metal Guitar: play guitar like Slipknot 

For our second video in the series, we're delving into the guitar style of metalcore heroes Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick of Parkway Drive. In this lesson, we'll be taking a look at the gear, tuning and techniques you need to help get you play authentically in the style of one of the genre's best-loved bands. Let's get started.  


The guitars

ESP LTD H-1001 & Black Metal M-HT

(Image credit: ESP)

In this video, Pat and Jamie are both playing humbucker-equipped guitars fitted with a fixed bridge. This combination will deliver the tone and stability needed for Parkway Drive's lower tunings (see below).

Pat is playing an LTD Black Metal M-HT model. Its a 24-fret guitar with an ebony fingerboard and a thru-neck design and a single bridge humbucker courtesy of a Seymour Duncan Blackened Black Winter. The Black Metal's stripped-back theme is continued with the single volume control, and Black Satin finish. 

 Jamie is using an LTD H-1001 which is also a 24-fret guitar. It's fitted with a Hipshot fixed bridge and LTD locking tuners to make string changes fast, and keep the tuning stable. It comes loaded with two humbuckers: a Seymour Duncan Sentient in the neck position and a Pegasus in the bridge. Both of these can be split for single coil sounds, and they both have their origins in 7/8-string guitars, making them ideal for drop-tuned metal tones. Get a load of that Violet Andromeda Satin finish!    


Tuning

ESP School of Metal Guitar

(Image credit: ESP)

For our Parkway Drive lesson, we're once again tuned to drop-B. From low to high, that's B-F#-B-E-G#-C#. This is about as low as you can comfortably take a standard six-string electric, and it'll definitely help if you're using a guitar with a 25.5-inch scale length, as Pat and Jamie are here.

Heavier string gauges will help keep the tension and tone up, but if you're using a guitar with a vibrato and lighter strings we'd suggest looking into having it setup by a pro specifically for lower tunings, especially if you intend on detuning this far on a regular basis. 


Verse riff

ESP School of Metal Guitar: Parkway Drive

(Image credit: ESP)
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Thanks to the drop-B tuning, powerchords are now achievable with a simplified, one-finger fretting, rather than the regular two-finger shape found in standard tuning intervals. 

As Jamie and Pat demonstrate, this not only makes it possible to have huge, chugging rhythm parts, but also intertwining with melody too - a key ingredient of metalcore and more specifically Parkway Drive’s sound. 

The first melodic line uses notes both inside and outside of the tune’s key to add a sense of melody and dissonance at the same time.

    


Transition and chorus sections

ESP School of Metal Guitar

(Image credit: ESP)

ESP School of Metal Guitar: Parkway Drive

(Image credit: ESP)

Sticking with the theme of playing outside of the tune’s main key, Pat and Jamie’s transition riff bridges the verse part with the upcoming chorus by moving the one-finger powerchords up to the fifth fret, before a jarring drop back down to the first fret.

By contrast to the verse riff, the chorus sees the two guitars split into a more melodic chord progression using slightly higher registers accompanied by a lead line using a D# minor scale shape.

The rhythm part plays a 16th-note, palm-muted part, while the lead line plays an 8th-note melody which leaves enough space for a chorus vocal part, while also contrasting with the rhythm guitar part.


Solo

ESP School of Metal Guitar: Parkway Drive

(Image credit: ESP)

ESP School of Metal Guitar

(Image credit: ESP)

ESP School of Metal Guitar: Parkway Drive

(Image credit: ESP)

ESP School of Metal Guitar: Parkway Drive

(Image credit: ESP)

Jamie’s solo in the style of Jeff Ling uses a lot of alternate picking. These are played as 16th notes, but for the main theme of the solo the notes change fret every three semiquavers, adding a sense of speed and giving the lead line an extra element of rhythmic interest. Note that there are no string bends.

Download the TAB

Click below to download complete two-guitar transcriptions of our playalong

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For more information on ESP and LTD guitars, or to find your nearest stockist, check out the ESP website.

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