#1
So I am trying to write what I call "blackened death metal" don't know if it is a real thing but I am taking inspiration from black metal bands like Dark Fortress, Immortal, and Dimmu Borgir (older material like from SBD) and combining it with death metal like Morbid Angel, Behemoth, and Malevolent Creation.

I'm almost finished writing my first song but I wanted to ask this: When tremelo picking, I am only picking one string. Maybe its because I use heavy gauge strings but when I trem pick even a power chord I find my pick takes longer to slide across both strings over just one; duh. Now I don't have bass or drums to this yet but I don't know if the tone will sound "thin" or not. I listened and looked at the tabs for Decade ov Therion by Behemoth and there's a lot of single note trem picking and then One by One by Immortal with almost all of it chord picking - both sound good.

Should I worry about it being too thin or when I add bass and drums, will it be more full? Thanks.
#2
It really depends on the sound you're going for. Generally, the bass is more responsible for the "full" sound in metal than the guitars.
#3
Guitars in metal music almost never actually sound, on their own, as full as it seems like they do on record. Its a good mix of guitar and bass that produces that. As for whether you should be using single note or chord trem picking, that should depend entirely on whether you want to hear only one note at a time, or if you want the harmony. If you've done it right, it will sound plenty full, either way, once the bass and drums are in the mix.
Guitars
Schecter Hellraiser C-1FR, C-1 Classic, Hellraiser Hybrid Solo-II, Special Edition E-1FR-S
Orange Rockerverb 50 212
Basses
Yamaha RBX374 and Washburn MB-6
#4
Tremelo picked chords can sound pretty "full" with or without bass -- that's why they sound so cool. To get the sound of a lot of black metal bands, you need to be able to tremelo pick both single string riffs and over chords. I do a great deal of both in my music. A great example to practice is the E minor shaped-barre chord and the D Minor shaped barre chord. They both have a very "dark" tonality to them no matter where they are played on the neck, and a lot of famous riffs have been built on them. If you're familiar with Emperor's "In the Nightside Eclipse" you'll hear a lot of those two chords being tremelo picked. Also, if you click on the link to the song in my signature, you'll hear both techniques throughout the song.

For what it's worth, black metal is one of the few genres where bass is actually not as important in getting a full sound, and is often placed way back in the mix. Though if you are going for more of a blackened death metal tone, then bass will be more important.

As for playing chords with the tremelo technique, it isn't truly called tremelo picking, but the label is appropriate in my mind. It takes a lot of practice and stamina-building to get it down, because your picking hand has to make a much larger movement. Once you have the stamina, speed will come.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#5
Quote by Androxine Vorte
So I am trying to write what I call "blackened death metal" don't know if it is a real thing


Then why didn't you look it up?

Quote by belceabarbara
It really depends on the sound you're going for. Generally, the bass is more responsible for the "full" sound in metal than the guitars.


This is pretty off base for the a large portion of black metal and certain styles of doom metal, particularly funeral doom. Metal in general doesn't strive for a particularly "full" sound actually (the same is true of much of the punk and Hardcore that influenced it), with the exception of some of the more keyboard heavy styles. In fact, much of black metal tends to kill off a large amount of low end and sometimes the extreme highs.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Nov 21, 2015,
#6
Quote by KailM
Tremelo picked chords can sound pretty "full" with or without bass -- that's why they sound so cool. To get the sound of a lot of black metal bands, you need to be able to tremelo pick both single string riffs and over chords. I do a great deal of both in my music. A great example to practice is the E minor shaped-barre chord and the D Minor shaped barre chord. They both have a very "dark" tonality to them no matter where they are played on the neck, and a lot of famous riffs have been built on them. If you're familiar with Emperor's "In the Nightside Eclipse" you'll hear a lot of those two chords being tremelo picked. Also, if you click on the link to the song in my signature, you'll hear both techniques throughout the song.

For what it's worth, black metal is one of the few genres where bass is actually not as important in getting a full sound, and is often placed way back in the mix. Though if you are going for more of a blackened death metal tone, then bass will be more important.

As for playing chords with the tremelo technique, it isn't truly called tremelo picking, but the label is appropriate in my mind. It takes a lot of practice and stamina-building to get it down, because your picking hand has to make a much larger movement. Once you have the stamina, speed will come.



Thank you to everyone that replied.

I listened to your song and I could definitely tell when you were strumming those chords. I think I like it better with just the single string but since my guitar is in drop d it probably wouldn't hurt to make a simple power chord on the bottom. I'm not really familiar with chord names but I will check those out. Thanks for the help!

P.S. - do you like playing in a Standard or Drop tuning? I can never make up my mind which I prefer
#7
^^I play in standard tuning 95% of the time, though downtuned standard like D standard or C# Standard. The song I linked is in C# Standard. All of the chord voicings I've learned are on standard, so it just stuck for me I guess.

When I play drop-tuned, such as drop C or drop B, it is rarely to play black metal style songs; it's more for the death metal and melodic death metal I occasionally play.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#8
Quote by KailM
^^I play in standard tuning 95% of the time, though downtuned standard like D standard or C# Standard. The song I linked is in C# Standard. All of the chord voicings I've learned are on standard, so it just stuck for me I guess.

When I play drop-tuned, such as drop C or drop B, it is rarely to play black metal style songs; it's more for the death metal and melodic death metal I occasionally play.



I usually don't go lower than D (though drop c is an exception) the only time I ever go lower is playing Nile (drop A) and Devin Townsend (Open B)

I think too many bands or guitarists feel they have to down tune in order to be heavy, but I can agree that playing lower than C or D just doesn't fit the black metal vibe.

I'm probably going to stick with D standard. It's low enough to give it more bottom without making my bass strings flop around like noodles.