Whats up fellow guitar enthusiasts!

I have been playing guitar for about 2 years and I am pretty comfortable moving around the fretboard in most scales.

I want to start focusing on metal because it's super fast and sounds sick!

What should I start focusing on?
What are some good practice riffs?
I would love some tips on where I can find metal guitar practice riffs that I can print out because I wont be near a computer for quite some time starting in June.

Any advice would be awesome!

Listen, learn, apply.

Find some old Slayer or Nile albums or whatever your preference is, figure out what tuning it's in, and work out the licks. It's a tedious process, but in the long run you'll start to get little tendencies from many bands and different ways to get different sounds that'll eventually make you both unique and versatile.

Also, get really used to sodomizing the harmonic/natural minor scales and various arpeggios at cosmic speed.
modes are a social construct
Master of Puppets by Metallica!
You can't get more metal than that, and it's a real downpicking workout.
honestly just listening, not passively listening, hardcore listening, to a bunch of metal (yes even the metal bands you aren't a fan of) will help you aurally visualize the sounds you want, and learning songs will give you the tools to create those sounds.
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
Agreeing with most posts here, really focus on learning stuff by bands you like.
You might also add lissening to lots of bands to your practice list, when i started out i did just listen to Metallica and iron maiden.

The case is actully that i´ve had to "learn" how to lissen to some bands, a good example is one of my top 3 favorite bands Lamb of God. I learned to lissen to there music cause i wanted to learn heavy riffing, but i dident like growl / scream vocalists at the time. But i continued lissening and now they are one of my favorite bands

Now i listen to like 100-200 metalbands, so im never short on stuff to learn.

For example, wanna play fast? Check out some Thrash or Death metal bands.
Wanna play more melodic? Check out power and melodic death metal bands.
Want to play really hard stuff? Progressive metal is your choice.

There are lots of stuff out there, find it and learn it. Influences by many bands will make you a versatile player and make your style more unique.

Good luck
Last edited by Sickz at Apr 27, 2011,
I agree with Sickz, just listen to a bunch of band's and get familiar with them even if you don't like them.
If you want practice riffs to get you used to the metal style, it's good to take a few that help you practice different metal techniques, for instance;

Tremolo Picking;
  • Terror Train by Demons and Wizards (Any part, it's almost all alternative picking)
  • The Dragon Lies Bleeding by Hammerfall (The intro is great for this)
  • Heritance of Berija by Kalmah (The little bridge alternate picking section)

Sweep Picking;
  • Triumph For My Magic Steel (Intro) by Rhapsody
  • Dargor, Shadowlord of the Black Mountain (Solo) by Rhapsody

Scale Runs;
  • Wolf and Raven by Sonata Arctica (The Intro, mainly, it requires both speed and precision, though it's not really an entry level song for scale runs)
  • Trilogy Op. 5 by Yngwie Malmsteen (I don't like this guy's music, but this run was one of my first fast scale runs)

  • The Grand Conjuration by Opeth (Another good double tapping solo)
  • One by Metallica (You couldn't have tapping recommendations without this XD)
  • Serpents Kiss by Symphony X (Try the tapping bit, if you can, it's ridiculous)

Various Powerchord/Rhythm Riffs
  • The Black Halo by Kamelot (There is a section in 3/4 Timing which is great for changing time signatures and exploring new things)
  • Lost in the Twilight Hall by Blind Guardian (the preverse has a fantastic riff that moves about a bit)

Don't listen to Jeff Loomis, because his awesomeness will make you quit when you try to emulate him.

Start on the really easy stuff like Metallica. Learn kick ass riffs and what makes them kick ass, throw some theory in there and before you know it you'll own.
Quote by AtomicBirdy
Don't listen to Jeff Loomis, because his awesomeness will make you quit when you try to emulate him.

Start on the really easy stuff like Metallica. Learn kick ass riffs and what makes them kick ass, throw some theory in there and before you know it you'll own.

I really disagree. Listening to some of the best guitarists of your genre can inspire you to get better and maybe one day end up on their level. I read about guitarists who quit after seeing Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc, and honestly, good riddance. If you're willing to quit as soon as you hear a guitarist better than you, you shouldn't be playing the guitar. You're always gonna have people better than you, and this is good, as it's something to strive for, if a player is happy to only be good enough to play Metallica, they'll end up being pretty poor players, as Metallica is fairly simple, whereas if a guitarist strives to be able to play Symphony X, Dream Theater, etc, they will end up being able to do the most advanced of techniques and he will be a lot better.
Quote by ap467
What should I start focusing on?

The most important thing you can have in a metal scenario is a good, tension free alternate picking technique. The best kind of alternate picking is going to be comfortable, tension free, and economical (in terms of how much movement you use in a pick stroke). If you have a comfortable grasp of the fretboard and want to get into metal, alternate picking is the foundation of almost every rhythm and most of the lead parts in the genre.

The second most important aspect is to have a good, firm understanding of rhythm. Without a good sense of rhythm, a metal guitarist is going to be stuck playing very simple rhythmic figures and is thus limited to dull sounding music.

What are some good practice riffs?

There are several songs that I recommend for alternate picking practice.
Technical Difficulties - Paul Gilbert (E standard tuning, I believe)
Divine Suicide of K - Protest the Hero (Drop C#)
Crossing the Rubicon - The Human Abstract (Drop C)
The Deceived - Trivium (Drop D)

Any of those songs is going to be a bit of a workout in alternate picking. Actually, all of those songs could function as a primer of what kind of techniques to explore when you look at metal. The two middle songs, Divine Suicide and Crossing, are very very technically difficult, but if you learn them slowly without tension using economical technique, you will be laying a very firm foundation as far as any technique is