So after ten years of being a casual self-taught player of rock, blues and folky stuff my taste in music has drifted back to metal. I have the ability to write songs and play rock lead, but when I try to write a metal song the farthest I get is a rhythm line: power chords, palm muted strumming, moving around the E and A strings and such like.

I want to write reasonably complex metal songs that don't have a static, all power chord rhythm line and ultimately I want to play lead. My favourite metal lead guitarist is probably Cory Smoot, so I'd like to develop a style somewhat similar to his and put my own twist on it.

When I try to come up with a lead line the main issue I have is that I don't know where on the fret board to start, and where to go. I've spent so much time using the Blues and Minor Pentatonic scales that everything I write sounds like a rock song w metal distortion. It lacks the sinister, powerful sound we all know and love. The only real metal success I've had is using my old Ibanez with heavy gauge strings to write Sabbath-esque material, but anyone can do that .

I've looked around online but there's a notable lack of good info on writing metal, and most of what there is deals with rhythm. I know I have the ability/experience to write decent metal songs, but I'm hampered by a lack of knowledge of metal song structure. Also I've never taken lessons or done much research on music theory, but I am looking into both.

So I appeal to the experienced metal players here to give me some scales and general pointers on writing a decent metal song, anything to help get the ball rolling. Any and all info is greatly appreciated, and thanks for reading...
Last edited by Alien Mother at May 27, 2015,
For scales I usually go for the likes of phrygian, dominant phrygian, harmonic minor, double harmonic, locrian, etc. I don't really think about scales I usually think about intervals and how I can use them to create tension (in most metal stuff tension is your best friend), relief, sadness, any emotion basically.

For song structure it varies a lot, as long as you remember to have a bridge somewhere in the song you're fine.

Metal is a pretty diverse genre and can incorporate lots of stuff from other genres as well. The best way to write good metal is analyzing the bands you like and being creative by not only enhancing the style of the bands you like but also by implementing stuff you like from other genres. That's how I've been doing it lately, my words are not the absolute truth.
Just look up a tab of a song you like and check what scale is used there. If you have guitar pro there is even a scale finder function there.
A scale isn't a cookie-cutter - you're best bet is to step away from scales, and even step away from the guitar.

You need to decide for yourself what sound you want to hear over any given backing track. Figure out what you want it to sound like first, then start worrying about what scale it fits into and where you're going to find those notes on the guitar.
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Just look up a tab of a song you like and check what scale is used there. If you have guitar pro there is even a scale finder function there.

Thanks for letting me know this exists, pretty useful.