Whiskey in the Jar (Lead)

Animated Whiskey in the Jar (Lead) tab by Metallica on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

As mentioned in the Rhythm ActionTab, James Hetfield plays lead on this song rather than Kirk.

Again, use D tuning: Low D:G:C:F:A:D (tune each string down by 2 notes from standard tuning)

The lead is mostly just flip-flopping between melody lines and rhythm guitar. That means more powerchord strumming - and this time we won't show thumb-muting, just use it if you need to. There are some harmonies played on a third guitar in the middle of the song. We'll show you those later. For now let's look at the main lead part, which includes the solo:

There are 4 short melodic licks used throughout the song, and these should be learned first. They first make an appearance right at the start:

Lick 1 - Lick 2 - Lick 3 - Lick 4

They may be played with slight variations each time they appear later in the song, but not much. Practice these and the rest will be straightforward enough to get. These licks are central to the lead guitar role and are a major part of the song, so spend a bit of time on getting them right before moving on.

Afterwards, join in with the rhythm guitar. It's similar to the rhythm guitar part - except mostly using consistent down / upstrokes through the powerchords (rather than the 3's used by the rhythm guitar). There is some palm muting as well.

As you are just playing on 1 guitar, you may want to switch to the rhythm guitar 3's here for that punchy effect instead. Either's good. You can hear both guitars here - pick the one you prefer.

The other notable song parts are:

Bridge - NB, these are mostly 'octave chords' - which means muting out the middle string (as shown). Even though the string is strummed it will be drowned out.

Solo - This isn't overly hard and is a good solo for learning to switch between fret positions during play. Notice that before this solo there is a third guitar part playing. That third guitar is responsible for the harmonies and there are also 2 more short harmonies played later. We'll show them in separate ActionTabs next.

Interlude - NB there's a slight gap before this part. Time to swig some whiskey. This part of the song uses more octave chords, but this time use a clean sound. Use thumb muting with octave chords if you are finding string control difficult. (See Core Skills on Muting). Switch to distortion here to rejoin the bridge. NB some pinch harmonics are used this time.

Outro - This is best done using all downstrokes because then you can do the palm muting easier.

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