Metallica Enter Sandman TAB and Full Guitar Lesson

In this guitar lesson with an admittedly dull title, we shall be looking at the Enter Sandman TAB. Metallica are one of my favourite bands and Enter Sandman is definitely in my top three Metallica songs. Enter Sandman is simply perfection from start to finish and it’s equally enjoyable to play on guitar as it is to listen to. 

Enter Sandman is the opening track and lead single from Metallica’s self-titled album commonly reoffered to as the black album which was released in the year 1991. The year I was born! 

No further introductions are necessary. We are surely all very familiar with the song and we’ve a lot to get through so let’s just dive in. 

enter sandman tab and guitar lesson

Enter Sandman TAB – Intro riff 1 

We naturally start at the very beginning of the song. Enter Sandman starts with a nice clean riff and here it is. You’ll play this riff through a big chunk of the intro while the music builds up dynamically behind you. This one is all about the finger positioning. There is a chord in the background and the chord is the higher half of a standard open E minor chord with some added wah. You can’t do both of these things at the same time but it’s good to know, I guess. 

enter sandman tab intro riff 1

Enter Sandman TAB – Intro riff 2 

The clean tone soon disappears and is replaced by your typical Metallica distortion. This next riff is nice and easy and it’s based on an open E string (many of the riffs in this song are based on the open E). Be careful of the little timing thing at the very beginning of this riff. 

enter sandman tab intro riff 2

Enter Sandman TAB – Intro riff 3 

enter sandman tab intro riff 3

The complexity increases slightly compared to what came before but in reality, things are still quite simple with this next part of the intro and the transition is nice too. We stay on this riff for a little while but the very final run through ends differently as you can see in the next image. 

Intro riff 3 alternate ending TAB 

enter sandman tab intro riff 3 alternate ending

The F power chord changed to an E because the E ties to the first E in the next riff. In the next image I’ve tied this ending to the next riff so you can see what’s happening. 

This tied notes kind of thing does keep happening through the song so be mindful of it and use your ears. I won’t keep pointing it out necessarily because you can pick up on it if you simply listen but I thought I would here as the notes that were being played actually changed. 

Intro riff 4 TAB 

enter sandman tab intro riff 4

This final part of the intro is very fun to play. That vibrato on the A note is particularly sweet. That marks the end of the intro and the good news is that the intro lasts for just over a minute and the song is five minutes which means you’ve already learned twenty percent of the song. Well, more than twenty percent actually. 

Some riffs are repeated 

Now seems a good a time as any to point out that some of the riffs I show you will appear in the song more than once. I’m only showing you each riff once though because you have ears and you should be able to spot where they crop up. For example, riff four from the intro is repeated after the chorus sections. 

I’m only going to be showing you each unique part so please pay attention to the recording. 

Enter Sandman TAB – Verse 

That first E chord is tied to the last chord from the previous section. 

The verse is quite straightforward. It’s based around an open muted E note. You just have to master when to lift the mute and when the different chords appear. Here is the full verse TAB. 

enter sandman tab verse

That final F sharp note ties to the first note in the next section which is the pre chorus “sleep with one eye open” etc. You know what I mean. 

Pre chorus TAB 

The pre chorus section will feel very similar to the very start of the intro because it has that same feel to it. It’s only a short section so this shouldn’t cause any issues. Don’t forget the slide at the end because that’s what will help you to smoothly transition to the chorus section.   

enter sandman tab pre chorus

Enter Sandman TAB – Chorus 

The chorus doesn’t bring anything complex. There is more than one guitar part there but I have condensed them into one part. The chorus ties nicely back into the riff we learned earlier as an interlude. Here’s the full TAB for the Enter Sandman chorus section. 

enter sandman tab chorus

Interlude lead lick 

There is a nice wah based lead part that occurs in the interlude which you may wish to work into your performance. Here it is. Including this isn’t necessary but it does sound cool. 

enter sandman tab interlude lick

Enter Sandman Guitar solo TAB 

The next part is the Enter Sandman guitar solo TAB which is proceeded by an E power chord. 

The backing for the guitar solo is a mixture of rhythm parts we have learned already so no new TAB is required for the rhythm. Just listen for what goes where and memorise it. The backing ends with an E power chord then it drops out completely right at the end of the solo leaving just the lead guitar. 

The guitar solo is what it is. Some will find parts tricky but at least it’s distinctive enough to follow and at least it has a rhythm that you can follow along with too. 

There are some fast notes in there and some hard bits and some whammy bits. Lots of bends and double stops. Do you have to follow the rhythm exactly? No. Do you have to follow the guitar solo note for note? No. You can alter things to make it more comfortable. Nobody will notice. 

If you do decide to tackle the Enter Sandman guitar solo as you hear it in the recording (almost), I’d recommend simply breaking it down into phrases as they’re quite clearly defined. 

Here is the Enter Sandman guitar solo TAB in full (two images). 

enter sandman guitar solo tab part 1
enter sandman guitar solo tab part 2

Enter Sandman TAB – Spoken word section 

The guitar solo and this spoken word section kind of overlap. This is because there is more than one guitar but to make it one guitar part, you just need to move away from that B note slightly earlier to squeeze in the first open E for the next part. You should recognise that part as one we’ve already learned. It’s from the very start. 

The spoken word section later moves to the second clean riff that we learned earlier from the pre chorus section before finally moving to this part below which takes us back into a chorus. It’s only one chord and barely worth creating the image but I’ve done it because I care about you.

(I 100% do not care about you.)

enter sandman tab end of spoken word section

Chorus that follows 

The final chorus section in Enter Sandman doubles up and the arrangement alters very slightly but nothing new happens so we don’t need any TAB here. The chorus does use an E power chord to link with the outro section but I will tag that onto the outro section that we will look at next so you can see what is happening. 

Enter Sandman Outro TAB 

I’m giving you the outro TAB in full, including how it links to the previous chorus part. It follows similar themes that we’ve used throughout the song. I’ve utilised some repeat marks in there to make the TAB shorter and easier to digest so take a note and pay attention of that. I’ve also changed the very end because the song uses a fade out and we want something more final. Nothing fancy but it works. We’re just ending on an E power chord. I know that maybe complicated for you but just do your best? M’kay?  

enter sandman tab outro


That concludes the Enter Sandman TAB. Hopefully you can now play this brilliant Metallica song from start to finish. You do have to use your ears (God help us) with this one but it’s very doable. 

This is an interesting one for me because there’s a lot to it. I think I’ve provided thirteen different pieces of TAB and still not covered absolutely everything (yes, I know don’t bother telling me). But at the same time, it feels like there isn’t actually that much to learn. It’s quite a long song at over five minutes but it doesn’t feel that long when you’re playing it. Maybe because it’s so fun to play. What do you think? If you have any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to keep them to yourself.  

I couldn’t believe this when I saw it but, this is the FIRST Metallica lesson that I’ve posted to Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. That’s crazy. More will follow but this does mean that I can’t link to any more Metallica lessons. I do have plenty of other content that you should check out though. See the links below for some content that may interest you. 

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