John Petrucci is one of the world’s best alternate pickers and this is the reason that there is so much clarity in his playing. Practising towards a clean, controlled and consistent alternate picking technique will make much of this song much easier to play. The concept is simply that you should always follow a downstroke with an upstroke and vice versa, regardless of whether you are playing successive notes on the same string, or changing from string to string. The result is rhythmically consistent phrasing and an even tone that is perfect for metal riffing and quick scale runs. It is a good idea to practise short musical phrases over and over again in order to build up muscle memory, so as you play through the song take note of the sections you find most difficult and repeat them over and over again. Try starting your chosen phrase first with a downstroke, then with an upstroke until both methods feel equally comfortable. For the bulk of this track you will need a heavy distorted tone that can provide both chunky palm-mutes and also definition when playing chords. You’ll get a suitable tone with a bridge humbucker and distorted amp. Be careful not to
use too much gain but boost the mids to cut through the mix. For the solo use a delay pedal
set to a medium speed to add sustain.