#1
So I have been trying to play guitar in a style similar to bands like Death, Cynic, Necrophagist, etc. and I just can't seem to get it down. I can do like chord based or more thrashy style death metal(like Children of Bodom use a lot of power chords, Morbid Angel, etc.) But I can't get a technical styled guitar down.

But here's the weird thing: I can do it if there's someone else playing rythm guitar. But then it comes out sounding more like I'm soloing under the main riff or something and whilst that may be cool for a 2 or 3 songs, it's going to get old after awhile(I'm not aiming to be power metal here). So how can I get better at this? I'm not really into learning scales, but if that's truly the only way to get better at this then I guess scale suggestions would be okay. Should I just keep learning songs by bands like Cynic and Death and eventually just be able to play tech death?

ugh I feel like a noob....
#2
yea i guess just keep learnin songs by those bands, whenever i wanna play a certain style i just learn alot of songs by specific bands with that style and keep track of techniques that they use
#3
LEARN YOUR SCALES!!! They will help you write better material no matter what. Don't be a lazy "poser guitarist' who can play a playlist of songs. If you want to get good and write your own material you have to learn the theory behind a musician.

Edit: I don't mean literal poser, just those people who think they are the best thing in the world because they can play a song written by another person. I get a little irratated when people want to get somewhere without putting in any effort that is required.
Last edited by m3tal_R3dn3ck at Oct 18, 2009,
#5
Quote by m3tal_R3dn3ck
LEARN YOUR SCALES!!! They will help you write better material no matter what. Don't be a lazy "poser guitarist' who can play a playlist of songs. If you want to get good and write your own material you have to learn the theory behind a musician.

Edit: I don't mean literal poser, just those people who think they are the best thing in the world because they can play a song written by another person. I get a little irratated when people want to get somewhere without putting in any effort that is required.



I actually can write my own music, thank you very much. In fact a lot of amazing musicians never learned how to play scales or music theory in general. So obviously you need to look up more about guitar. I mean scales are great and all, but just because I choose not to learn them doesn't make me a poser guitarist, nor does it mean I am copying other bands. I've learn a lot of scales, none of them have helped me much so don't be ignorant and assume crap because I choose not to learn scales. I mean look at Dimebag Darrel: He didn't learn any scales.
#6
Quote by Nirvana00125
I actually can write my own music, thank you very much. In fact a lot of amazing musicians never learned how to play scales or music theory in general. So obviously you need to look up more about guitar. I mean scales are great and all, but just because I choose not to learn them doesn't make me a poser guitarist, nor does it mean I am copying other bands. I've learn a lot of scales, none of them have helped me much so don't be ignorant and assume crap because I choose not to learn scales. I mean look at Dimebag Darrel: He didn't learn any scales.


I don't want to get in an argument about this, but... Since when did we not classify the petatonics as scales? He may have not known a lot of them, but he found the ones that worked. Practicing scales is a much better way to find your own sound, theres way more than just your Major and minor scales. Do some research into the bands that you listed... Muhammed is big into theory is he not? I highly doubt that shuldier just winged it. God even Kerry King has a basic scale knowledge.

Edit: It also was by no means an attack on you, rereading that I apologize for the way I came off. I know a lot of people who like to rant and rave about how amazing they are or original they are bcs they can play certain songs or underground songs. Also I am not saying that you are bad at writing, I have never heard you play. if you ask for help with a style like Technical Death Metal, your going to need to know as much theory as possible to get the most out of the techniques used while playing
Last edited by m3tal_R3dn3ck at Oct 18, 2009,
#7
Learning theory will help tremendously with song writting in this genre, its not a dumb man's music. Also for getting into that riffing style, you should work on string skipping, tapping, and fast alt picking separately( playing a scale using these techniques will help you learn the scale better) then when you try to learn a song that has all of those like say a Necrophagist song, it will come very easily.
Last edited by diminishedtobme at Oct 18, 2009,
#8
Quote by m3tal_R3dn3ck
I don't want to get in an argument about this, but... Since when did we not classify the petatonics as scales? He may have not known a lot of them, but he found the ones that worked. Practicing scales is a much better way to find your own sound, theres way more than just your Major and minor scales. Do some research into the bands that you listed... Muhammed is big into theory is he not? I highly doubt that shuldier just winged it. God even Kerry King has a basic scale knowledge.


Kerry King and Dimebag Darrel didn't "learn scales" they figured out what notes worked together, which happened to be the pentatonic scale(which just comes to you by simply playing guitar). Chuck Shuldier also admitted to learning scales when he first began playing guitar, but stopped after awhile and by the time he formed Death he didn't really use them much. And sure, Muhhamed may know a lot about music theory, and although I love Necrophagist, I just find their style kind of weird at times.

Hell, even Marty Friedman didn't know scales until the 90s when he started making music theory lesson videos: he just figured them out then when he had to know what they were, happened to find out he had been using scales for a long time.

I'm not saying learning scales doesn't help, I'm just saying there are a lot of amazing guitar players who don't know ANYTHING about music theory, yet are still able to create great music and I'm sick of people always saying "theory is the only way to be good at guitar" because its not and if you compare the ammount of guitarists who actually know music theory(I'm talkin like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, etc., people who TRULY know music theory, and don't just know a scale or two) to those who don't, it's close to equal(I'm not talking like 100 to 99 close, but maybe 100 to like 80).
#9
Quote by Nirvana00125
Kerry King and Dimebag Darrel didn't "learn scales" they figured out what notes worked together, which happened to be the pentatonic scale(which just comes to you by simply playing guitar). Chuck Shuldier also admitted to learning scales when he first began playing guitar, but stopped after awhile and by the time he formed Death he didn't really use them much. And sure, Muhhamed may know a lot about music theory, and although I love Necrophagist, I just find their style kind of weird at times.

Hell, even Marty Friedman didn't know scales until the 90s when he started making music theory lesson videos: he just figured them out then when he had to know what they were, happened to find out he had been using scales for a long time.

I'm not saying learning scales doesn't help, I'm just saying there are a lot of amazing guitar players who don't know ANYTHING about music theory, yet are still able to create great music and I'm sick of people always saying "theory is the only way to be good at guitar" because its not and if you compare the ammount of guitarists who actually know music theory(I'm talkin like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, etc., people who TRULY know music theory, and don't just know a scale or two) to those who don't, it's close to equal(I'm not talking like 100 to 99 close, but maybe 100 to like 80).

Those guys who become amazing guitarists with little formal (key word: formal) knowledge of theory are one in a million. Learn theory.

Edit - Especially for technical death metal.
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Last edited by DaddyTwoFoot at Oct 18, 2009,
#10
I'd just like to make a quick reminder to everyone who has, or is going to comment on this that: I have learned scales and they do not help me at all. I've practiced the Harmonic(s?), the pentatonics, the blues(idk if these are even actually scales as my friend told me to learn them. they were basically the pentatonics with one changed note and he's the only person i've ever heard mention this) and I started on the lydian. Only problem was that I could never find a person who could give me a REAL explanation of how to use them(I had a guitar teacher who said "just practice them and you will start to come up with songs" and my friends who have been playing guitar for a long time just say "idk how to explain how to use scales" HOW THE BALL DO YOU NOW KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN SCALES IF YOU FREAKING USE THEM TO MAKE MUSIC!!!!!! RAWR!" and useless explanations so I just gave up on them.

So I'm sorry if I came off as a douche or a poser o something(which I'm not since I have not called myself the greatest guitar player ever....yet....) but until someone, anyone can give me a GOOD explanation of how to use scales, I refuse to learn them. And I don't need a definition of what scales are, I just need to know how to use them. and which scales to learn to play tech death(i'll get to the other scales later lol).
#11
If you want I could help you understand them a little better. I have a pretty good way that my music teacher (at school) helped me see.

PM me if your interested.
Last edited by m3tal_R3dn3ck at Oct 18, 2009,
#12
Have you read the FAQ in the Musician Talk forum (which would have been a better place to post this anyway)? Read through that. Don't try to tackle it all in one night, go piece by piece. If you have questions, ask in there.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


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#13
You definitely need theory to write for stuff like this, you can do it with very little theory but it's recommended you know what you're doing when writing technical death metal.

For the most part, learn a few scales and get some chord theory in you and really understand what you're doing with it and you might get by.
#14
Quote by Nirvana00125
Hell, even Marty Friedman didn't know scales until the 90s when he started making music theory lesson videos: he just figured them out then when he had to know what they were, happened to find out he had been using scales for a long time.


Key point: didn't learn SCALES, Friedman does and always has known a huge amount of theory, he just doesn't learn or use scales.

TS: In terms of pure physical ability tech death is possibly the most demanding music on earth, it takes huge amounts of chops to be able to pull it off so the only way to get there is by practicing... hard. Possibly the most important thing in the whole of the genre is the ability to string skip extremely accurately and keep your picking hand almost metronomically in time so make absolutely sure your picking hand is rock solid at relatively high speeds i.e. 8ths at at least 240 bpm, and up to and including 300 bpm for riffs alone. Soloing... higher levels of skill are required to really pull it off, extremely high speed tapping and sweeping and also higher levels of alternate picking.
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#15
I cannot stress the importantance of learning theory.

I really suggest getting a teacher if guitar is something you want to do professionally, or start a serious band. But if it's just a hobby, go and learn a bunch of songs from tabs. That's how you'll be able to play Cynic and Death songs.

For me, just knowing how to play songs from tab isn't enough. I'm a theory nerd. I need to know how it was written, the relationships of the chords, harmonies, scales, key, etc.
#16
Quote by Nirvana00125
I'd just like to make a quick reminder to everyone who has, or is going to comment on this that: I have learned scales and they do not help me at all. I've practiced the Harmonic(s?), the pentatonics, the blues(idk if these are even actually scales as my friend told me to learn them. they were basically the pentatonics with one changed note and he's the only person i've ever heard mention this) and I started on the lydian. Only problem was that I could never find a person who could give me a REAL explanation of how to use them(I had a guitar teacher who said "just practice them and you will start to come up with songs" and my friends who have been playing guitar for a long time just say "idk how to explain how to use scales" HOW THE BALL DO YOU NOW KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN SCALES IF YOU FREAKING USE THEM TO MAKE MUSIC!!!!!! RAWR!" and useless explanations so I just gave up on them.

So I'm sorry if I came off as a douche or a poser o something(which I'm not since I have not called myself the greatest guitar player ever....yet....) but until someone, anyone can give me a GOOD explanation of how to use scales, I refuse to learn them. And I don't need a definition of what scales are, I just need to know how to use them. and which scales to learn to play tech death(i'll get to the other scales later lol).


They probably aren't helping you because you're just learning random ones and you have no idea what they mean. Like I said in my previous post, I'd highly suggest getting a teacher. Only if you want to be serious though.
#17
I have never met anyone who can truly play fast and clean that doesn't know and practice scales. Also "lydian" isn't a scale, it's just a mode of the major scale, and it has the same notes as locrian, dorian, mixolydian, etc. but it just begins on a different note of the scale.
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#18
I'd say do two things.

1) Continue learning songs by the bands that inspire you. Learn them note for note. Oftentimes the stuff that you may be tempted to improvise your way around is the very stuff that will help you the most if you buckle down and work your way through it.

2) Take what you are learning in 1) and apply it to your own writing/improvising. For example, you could take an interesting pattern or device in a song you are learning and improvise/experiment with it all over the neck, combining it with other phrases that you improvise. Or you could figure out what scale/key a solo you are learning is in (or if your theory isn't sufficient for this yet, then just write down all the notes used), and improvise/experiment your own stuff using these notes. When doing this last one, pay attention to how much each note is used, and how much emphasis is place on each note, such as it being the one which is held for a longer time after a fast run.
Last edited by se012101 at Oct 20, 2009,
#19
I agree with you, that you don't need to learn theory to be a great guitarist. However, it DOES help with songwriting and improvising, once you know how to use scales. I suggest you start another thread, asking how to use scales all over the fretboard, and hopefully people such as Steven Seagull will answer.
This is an explanation written by me from another thread, i hope it's useful:

Look at my signature, or at this text, which is the same as in my signature:

Originally Posted by steven seagull
There's no such thing as vertical and horizontal scales really, just scales - how you play them on the guitar is up to you.


Basically, a scale is a set of notes that sound good with eachother. They can be played in any order, but as long as you pick only THOSE notes, it will have the sound that is characteristic of the scale. It is NOT a pattern or a sequence of notes.

There are a lot of patterns available on the internet for playing those notes, such as the vertical ones. Those are simply mapped out scales across 2 octaves. There is a top part of a vertical scale and a bottom part, and the top part is the first octave and the bottom part is the second one. How do you find out? Count the notes in the vertical pattern until you arrive at 8. This is the first note in the second octave. Most scales have seven notes, with the 8 being the octave.

Example:

The major scale
The 1 represents the start of an octave. As you can see, it goes from 1 to 7, and then to 1 again, which is the start of the new octave.

But the crucial part of using scales, is using them both vertically and horizontally. If you don't do this, you'll stay within 'boxed' scales, which usually makes your playing boring. If you want to play the major scale on one string, you can use an interval pattern to construct one:

WWHWWWH

That's the interval pattern for the major scale. It means you need to pick a root note (for example, fret 5 on the B string), then go a Whole Step (which is 2 frets) forward, and again a Whole Step, then a Half Step (which is 1 fret), then 3 Whole Steps again, then a half step.
That way you get a horizontal major scale. For example, you always see these guitarists that play all across the neck. The play horizontally (playing horizontally up the neck and down the neck), but also vertically (when you see them doing vertical licks or descending/ascending in a vertical motion)

That's basically what a scale is. Hope it's been helpful. I would regard Steven Seagull an expert on this subject, so if you want to learn more, contact him.

---

Now.. What is it's use? You can use it to improvise, to write songs, or to write small riffs. Just use the notes of the scale to improvise/write something.

Also, this site has plenty of information on it (although you should skip the section on modes for now. click this to read why):
http://www.fretjam.com/guitar-scales.html

Visit this site to hear how some of the scales sound:
http://www.worldguitar.com/lead1.html
Last edited by robinlint at Oct 20, 2009,
#20
Its TECHNICAL Death Metal, the whole point of the genre is all the theory and craziness that went into it. I'm not a tech death professional by any stretch but I can tell you if there was a genre of metal you need more theory to compose, I haven't heard of it. Or I'm an idiot
#21
Quote by Duke318
I have never met anyone who can truly play fast and clean that doesn't know and practice scales. Also "lydian" isn't a scale, it's just a mode of the major scale, and it has the same notes as locrian, dorian, mixolydian, etc. but it just begins on a different note of the scale.


Yes and no... that's how they're derived but that's also what leads to a lot of problems. In musical terms using modes depends entirely on the backing.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


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#22
Im going to upset a lot of people probably but...


DONT LEARN SCALES TO WRITE MUSIC,

the only thing I find em good for is warming up my fingers, and to improve my picking technique, scales arent magic song writing cheatcodes

there I said it, now shoot me....


there honestly aint no scales that sound "heavy" so its no use doing, usually its stepping away from the scales I know and combining them with comlex rhythms that does the trick, its not really about playing good sounding notes its more about when you play them, hell, you can even try to put in some notes that dont fit in at all, but if u play em right it can sound amazing, imo you should just practise a bit, try NOT to replicate the other bands but make your own sound



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Last edited by numinis at Oct 21, 2009,
#23
the whole idea of technical death metal is that it requires impecable technique and time signature changes. The only way to get to that point is to practice playing regular death metal for years and years. Normal death metal in itself is technical, so start with that and keep practicing. Only after years and years will you become technical... and even then you're probably not going to be technical.

Asking a guitarist how to play technical death metal is like asking a skateboarder how to do a 360 flip, when you cant even do an ollie.

Just play death metal, you'll get the same effect as tech death. And btw, a band may be technical but that says little about the actual quality of their music. Just look at brain drill "technical," debatably. But their whole album sounds like a jumble of noise with a few half assed rehashed riffs thrown in between 15 minute wank sessions.

A better goal to aspire to is being in a brutal death metal band... much better than technical.