Pantera’s 5 Minutes Alone is a beast of a song.
Drop tuned, full of rage and venom it also has one of metal’s most iconic link riffs in it. There are several variations on this riff at different points in the song but the original, the first time it comes up, is the iconic one.
You know the one: between the intro and the 1st verse…
There are 6 notes in this riff that aren’t played the way they’re commonly tabbed out and changing the way you play them will speed up and improve your performance of this riff.
I appreciate that these are minor tweaks, but they will definitely help you play this more efficiently
For the purposes of this explainer, I’ll be referring to notes in the E standard tuning positions so please don’t get in a rage and all “It’s not G it’s E!” when I talk about the 3rd fret on the E string will have to internalise their rage…
Here’s how the riff is tabbed out generally:
The SheetMusicPlus tab (the de-facto official tab for this this song.
The UG tab.
The Songsterr tab.
2 out of the 3 tabs above get the tabbing of the 2nd set of the notes we’re looking at right but all 3 of them have the 1st and 3rd sets wrong.
The SheetMusicPlus tab and the UG tab both have the riff starting with a slide up between 2 16th notes. SMP has you slide up from the 4th fret on the A string and the UG tab has you sliding up from the 5th.
Interestingly, the Songsterr tab gets the rhythm right but what’s actually played wrong!
What’s happening is you simply slide up into the note rather than moving between two defined notes; you literally slide into the F# from anywhere on the neck you like and the whole motion and sounding of the note lasts for a single 8th note (this note length Songsterr got right!)
Songsterr and UG both get this right. In the “official” tab there’s a slide down between these notes. Listening to the isolated bass part, that’s not happening. Each note is picked and sounded out.
If sliding down helps you play it then keep doing that but Rex is picking each note here.
These are the most important ones to get right in terms of efficiently and quickly playing this riff right, and all 3 tabs have it wrong for different reasons!
All three tabs have you rolling from the 5th fret A string (D) on to the 5th fret E string (A); SMP and Songsterr then have you sliding down to the next note which they have as the 3rd fret E string (G) which is the right note.
UG’s bass tab has you not sliding down but sounding out the 4th fret E string (G#) which is the wrong note entirely…
This rolling action, from the D to the A, is what’s really wrong here.
Listening to the isolated bass, to my ears, it’s a pull-off D to A on the A string followed by landing and picking the G; there’s NO slide between the A and the G.
Why is this important? By using a pull-off and NOT a “roll across the strings and a slide” you can move your left hand more naturally and faster which allows you to assume a more natural shape/position to hit the 3rd fret E string (G) and the 4th fret A string (C#).
This pull-off action sounds out the exact same note as the roll method (D and A) but does it in a much more comfortable way and faster way.