#1
can someone point me towards some good death metal scales to toy around with? tabs would be fantastic, as i don't know scale names.

death metal as in cannibal corpse, nile, decapitated, etc.

i play in drop b, if you need to know my tuning.
#2
Well, there is no scale that makes you sound like death metal if that's what you are looking for. No genre is really defined by a scale. I'm really not into death metal, but I would say use a lot of dissonances. Also, a lot of death metal riffs are so fast that you can't really hear individual notes that clearly. It's more about the overall feeling than the individual notes.

Have you learned any death metal songs? If not, learn to play some of them first. I think that gives you a lot better idea of how a death metal riff works than if we just give you some scales.

For example if you were asking what scale to use for rock music, we could say minor pentatonic. But the scale on its own won't sound like rock. You need to know how to use the notes. Also, pentatonic is not the only scale used in rock music. Most genres use many different scales.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#3
To clarify a point in the above post as someone who does listen to a lot of death metal, dissonance is very important. Chromatics and tritones are really useful in capturing the death metal feel, but if you're looking for that more melodic, "evil" sound then harmonic minor, phrygian and phrygian dominant shapes are a good place to start. I can't link tabs from my phone, but you can just type those into google image search.
#4
Quote by MaggaraMarine

Have you learned any death metal songs? If not, learn to play some of them first. I think that gives you a lot better idea of how a death metal riff works than if we just give you some scales.


i know quite a few. but i suppose i am interested in learning what scales are most dominant in the genre. i think i have a good understand how some the riffs work.

for example you can get a really nice death metal sound by using this shape on the (in my case) low B string, F#, and high B string.

B----------------------------------
F#---------------6-----9-------------
B-------7----10------------------------

and so forth. just playing a note, then going up three frets on the same string.
i have a few riffs written with these shapes, but i do not want to be redundant.
#5
I would agree with MM. You can find the same scales in Death Metal, bluegrass and classical music, three widely different styles. The best way to get accustomed with a style of music is to learn songs you enjoy for it, and then perhaps afterwards see how it fits in on the whole theoretical spectrum. The important thing is that the sound comes first, and you learn it from that.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#6
but maggara, i 100% agree with you about learning more songs to understand more. i think i'll just do that and avoid sounding like a noob.
#7
"That's not how it works...that's not how any of this works" comes to mind when I read these sort of questions. These guys are right, by the way. A lot of this, is about understanding intervals. minor seconds, tritones, etc. and recognizing and identifying dissonances.

Best,

Sean
#8
...why not use this site and look up songs you like and study the types of lead styles you want to adapt...

Google:
I know Alex Webster (best mofo ever) is a big fan of the Neopolitan (below),
saw a youtube vid of him bleeting about it with his other band.
Hungarian Gyspy's always a big one! (below)
Diminished scales... (Jack's solo: Pick-Axe Murders)
Actually that whole albums largely diminished!

Common scales used: (numbers = frets on single string)
Neoploitan Minor
0-1-3-5-7-8-11-(12)
Gypsy
0-2-3-6-7-8-11-(12)
Diminished
0-3-6-9-(12)
Whole/Half
0-2-3-5-6-8-9-11-(12)
Half/Whole
0-1-3-4-6-7-9-10-(12)
Don't Know (but common, I bet you'll recognize it)
0-1-4-5-7-8-11-(12)

Plenty of Chromatics:
EX 1. 6-5-4-5-4-3-2-3-5-3-2-1
Ex 2. 3-4-6-4-5-7-6-7-9-7-8-10
Ex 3. 6h7p6h9p7h8p7h10p8h9p8h11
You get the idea

Pentatonics:

Primarily Minor (with outside notes)
Example below: with roots changed :gives blues/rock style licks that jazzy feel.

X's = Original scale notes (not played)
Big O's = Outside notes
Little o's = Remaining cale notes
(experiment with the other notes)
    e||-O-||-X-||---||---||-o-|| 
    B||---||-o-||---||-o-||---|| 
    G||---||-o-||---||-o-||---|| 
    D||---||-o-||-0-||-X-||---|| 
    A||---||-o-||---||-o-||---||
    E||-O-||-X-||---||---||-o-|| 
  Frets 4    5    6    7    8
I recently tabbed the entire album (leads only) to CC's new album (not corpse), altho not strictly DEATH metal but still very metal, might be worth a look?
Link Here: Pandemonium Leads

Hope it helps! \m/
Last edited by tonibet72 at Apr 13, 2015,
#9
I'm not saying there aren't specific scales used in death metal. It's just the fact that the scales on their own don't make you sound like death metal or any other genre. Scales =/= music.

As I said, I think you'll figure it out easier just by learning a lot of death metal songs. If you can play a death metal riff, just figure out what scale it uses. Play another riff and figure out what scale it uses. But don't just pay attention to scales. Music is more than scales and chords.

If we take classical music as an example, you could say classical uses major and harmonic minor scales a lot. But by using those scales you won't automatically sound classical. You can use the diminished scale. You can use the phrygian dominant scale. You can use the pentatonic scale. You can use whatever. It's more about how you use the notes than what notes you use. And it's not all about the notes.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 13, 2015,
#10
just take your guitar and smack it on the ground like 37 times.
- Gibson SG 1961 Re-issue
- Fender Stratocaster
- Egnater Rebel-30
- Dunlop Crybaby Classic Wah Pedal
#11
Quote by MaggaraMarine
scales on their own don't make you sound like death metal or any other genre. Scales =/= music.
This!!

Weird example: In the Mind of Evil (Deicide).
Although Quirion's Riff is utlising a diminished structure, if you're asking me, the riff (coupled with the beat) just has this weird kind of happy thing about it IMO! ...disagree? ...lick it!
Hear the riff here: Skip to my lou...
Last edited by tonibet72 at Apr 13, 2015,
#12
A few good ones that sound more "interesting", I guess, straight out of the box are the Phrygian Dominant and Byzantine scales. They have a very unique vibe to them if you learn how to interact certain intervals in there.
The Phrygian Dominant is the 5th mode of the harmonic minor so starting on the root (I guess you'd be using B if that's your open low string):
1 - ♭2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - ♭6 - ♭7 - 1
(B - C - D♯ - E - F♯ - G - A - B)
The Byzantine goes as thus:
1 - ♭2 - 3 4 5 - ♭6 - 7
(B - C - D♯ - E - F♯ - G - A♯ - B)

You could also mess around with Diminished or Octatonic scales and see what you get.
#13
Quote by SkepsisMetal
The Byzantine goes as thus:
1 - ♭2 - 3 4 5 - ♭6 - 7 (B - C - D♯ - E - F♯ - G - A♯ - B).
Ahh my "Don't Know" Scale now has a name... thanks for that!!
#14
Like any style learn the "standards," which is to say the songs/artists that made the style what it is today:

"At Dawn They Sleep" by Slayer - NOT Death Metal, but definitely influential guitar-wise
"Crystal Mountain" by Death - Death Metal masterpiece! Lots of fun to play.
"Where the Slime Live" by Morbid Angel - Oh yeah.

Just three examples of some early works that might help you understand the genre, including the Slayer song, which I'd argue is a band who influenced both Black and Death metal. Their early work on Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits are the best to look at for extreme metal influences. Later work is more thrash.

Probably the most important scale to learn and know everywhere on the fretboard is Harmonic Minor:

1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - 7, same as Major, but with a b3 and b6.

From there you get augmented and diminished chords, flat fifths (tri-tones), and all of the variations that people commonly play: Neopolitan, Melodic, etc.

Check out a band called "Nile" they're pretty sick. Egyptian-themed death metal.
#15
Quote by tonibet72

Don't Know (but common, I bet you'll recognize it)
0-1-4-5-7-8-11-(12)


Looks like the double harmonic scale. You take a the 5th mode of the Harmonic minor (i.e. Phrygian Dominant) and augment the 7th scale degree. You end up with the tone cluster: 11, (12) and (13).