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How to Play One by Metallica

Updated on January 23, 2019
LisaMarieGabriel profile image

As an experienced guitar teacher, making songs easier for young beginners is very important to me.

How to play Metallica songs

Can you play Metallica songs? I often play and teach their music. My friends here may well be wondering what a serious composer with a Celtic Dream vibe and a soft voice is doing teaching you how to play heavy metal songs. Well, my taste in music has always been catholic and I will give credit where it is due. I like Metallica and I teach my students to play their songs. They are a superb band and have been dominant in hard rock and heavy metal for nearly three decades. The secret to their success is a combination of hard driving rhythms, inspired guitar playing, dark themes in their lyrics, and genuine melodic singing. When you listen to Metallica, you can hear a tune coming through - not the pre-cancerous roar of some metal bands - but genuine musicianship. They care deeply about their technique and about their sound.

On this page I hope to teach the basics of how to play One by Metallica, provide links to books and Metallica CDs, perhaps inspire you to pick up a guitar and try some of the rhythm parts to One by Metallica, maybe even progress to playing some inspired lead guitar yourself.

Intro image is of my PRS Santana SE and guitar graphics are all my own creation, please do not copy!

Metallica One Live Video

Click on the link to see Metallica perform One live on Last fm

Metallica video:

Metallica One Live on Last FM

Metallica Lyrics - Guitar How to Play - Metallica One Lyrics

You can listen to Metallica songs and read their lyrics on their own website and many others. Here are some links to Metallica One lyrics.

How To Play Metallica One - The Chords of Metallica One - Intro Guitar Chords For Beginners

Metallica One - Intro Riff
Metallica One - Intro Riff

The chords boil down to about ten basic shapes, which I will be giving you next, but here are the chord shapes in the intro. Each of these chords are played in the bass range as arpeggio or broken chord shapes. The quiet start of One is typical of many Metallica songs from the late 1980s, it is brooding. These broken chords are played simply on steel strung acoustic, and then a slightly more complex shape is played by the electric guitar when it enters over the top. One by Metallica is a classic "must play" riff.

Try the links for the TAB when you have mastered the shapes for the chords of One by Metallica. They give you the TAB for the whole song, but for now you can just try the intro chords if you find TABs hard to understand.

Here are a few more classic rock songs, tips and tricks you can try:

20th Century Boy

Band In A Jam Project

Best Songs To Learn On Guitar

Best Way To Use A Guitar Pick

Born To Be Wild


Harley Davidson Guitar Stuff

Hey Joe

Highway to Hell

House of the Rising Sun

Johnny B Goode

Improvise on guitar - first lesson

Perfect Day

Play Guitar REALLY Fast


Smoke On The Water

Stairway to Heaven

Summer of 69

Thrash Style Tremolo Picking

Whether you need guidance on how to play the TAB for One by Metallica, or just need a bit of help with tremolo picking, you might find this page useful I put it together and you can see or print it directly from Google Docs:

Thrash Style Tremolo Picking Lesson - 1

Sheet Music for One by Metallica

You can click on the link for a guitar/TAB/vocal version of One by Metallica. This is available as sheet music. A recorded versions book of the album which features One. Metallica are protective of their copyright and I don't blame them! Buying sheet music helps bands exist, whether famous or new.

Songs, Metallica One

The first step in learning how to play One by Metallica has to be to learn the chords, to learn each shape, just click on the photo you need.

Metallica One Chords - Chords for Metallica the One

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Am chord, open positionEm chord, open positionD chord, open positionG chord, open position, rock voicingG maj7, open positionMoveable major barre chord - barre at fret 1 gives F chordB minorMoveable minor barre chord, barre at fret 2 will give you F#mPower chord, movable, root on string 5Power chord, movable, root on string 6
Am chord, open position
Am chord, open position
Em chord, open position
Em chord, open position
D chord, open position
D chord, open position
G chord, open position, rock voicing
G chord, open position, rock voicing
G maj7, open position
G maj7, open position
Moveable major barre chord - barre at fret 1 gives F chord
Moveable major barre chord - barre at fret 1 gives F chord
B minor
B minor
Moveable minor barre chord, barre at fret 2 will give you F#m
Moveable minor barre chord, barre at fret 2 will give you F#m
Power chord, movable, root on string 5
Power chord, movable, root on string 5
Power chord, movable, root on string 6
Power chord, movable, root on string 6

Metallica One Chords and Lyrics - Links to Metallica One Bass TAB and more

Once you can play these chords you can look at the chords and lyrics to One by Metallica. This is a good start to understanding the song and the meaning of One by Metallica. You can go on if you like to find TABs for guitar bass and drums. Here is the tab for One by Metallica..

I hope you enjoyed my page and found it useful. I can promise you more to come later too with some lead work and advice on galloping metal rhythms... but for now, thank you for calling in.

© 2011 Lisa Marie Gabriel

Thank you for reading How to play One by Metallica - What is your Favorite Metallica Song?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Have to admit to loving "Call of Ktulu" most of all, even though it's not a song. Metallica are great musicians, but preferred them when Jason was the bass player.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great song! But it has some very hard parts

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ah Metallica. The second or third stage of learning for many a guitar student and a band everyone tries to tackle at some point.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks for the links to other site with many chords of metallica songs it

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great download for one of the best metal songs

    • Russel Shackleton profile image

      Russel Shackleton 

      8 years ago

      learnt to play this one about 10 years ago, still get that warm fuzzy feeling playing the intro solo while a friend plays the arpeggio backing. Thanks for sharing this excellent song

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Outstanding lens!

      keep posting :)

    • profile image

      SeanVernall LM 

      9 years ago

      This is by far my favourite Metallica song and one I'd love to be able to play.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      9 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      I'm back on the account that has Virtual Guitar Games and features several of your awesome 'how to play guitar' lenses - many thanks -:)

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Of all of Metallica's songs, I'd love to learn how to play One. My all time favorite Metallica song? Probably "Battery" and "Orion." Squid Angel blessed for this resource.

    • Richard-H profile image


      9 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I don't know too many Metallica songs, but this is a great resource to learn about how to play guitar like them.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      9 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I'll have to share this page with my son. He's always looking for songs to add to his guitar playlist.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice, I wish I had an electric guitar to play on. My acoustic won't take it!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      9 years ago from Scotland

      I love this! Great resources

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love guitar lessons, nice lens.



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