#1
I've mainly played in drop C (and occasionally in Standard E),
but I was listening to some bands the other day, and the YT comments were along the lines of "this song is heavy", or "drop tunings are heavy"

I'm wondering... what makes a song "heavy"?
#2
Well I'll give you a hint. It's not the tuning.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
Usually a strong groove, to me. There's a reason I find Kyuss heavier than your typical exhausting blast beats.
I've got the spirit, but lose the feeling.
#4
Quote by AlanHB
Well I'll give you a hint. It's not the tuning.

Cannot agree with enough.E standard is perfectly acceptable to achieve something 'heavy'
#5
Using semi-tones, minor keys, and dissonance often create heaviness when writing, as well as defined strong rhythms. Tunings can affect it, but often just help with writing (i.e: Drop D, Mastodon and Architects tunings) by proving strong chords to be played in rhythms
#6
I agree with the above on strong rhythms. Be it a super fast death metal song or a groovy stoner metal song, the rhythm defines the heaviness for me.

I also don't think that heaviness is only found in metal music. Here's a singer/songwriter style song with only an acoustic guitar and a female voice, and I think the intro sounds heavy.

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#9
I play in drop A# for my 7 string (top string tuned down a half step, all others tuned UP a half step) and I still achieve fairly heavy tones, but tuning does not attribute to heaviness. I'd say an aggressive, strong beat attributes to it. Blast beats don't make things "heavy". Tuning to drop Q# (it's a joke) doesn't make it "heavy". Growling and screaming doesn't make it "heavy". Rather, a strong, aggressive beat, and support from every instrument makes it heavy. Slow songs can, in fact, be heavy. There are a few songs off of Metallica's Black Album that are slower, and quite heavy (don't hate. I like the Black Album). But that's all that constitutes heaviness.
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#10
Quote by Dean_D123
There are a few songs off of Metallica's Black Album that are slower, and quite heavy.


Like what?
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#11
Quote by theogonia777

That's right. They're all Finnish.




But yeah... What makes music heavy? I would say it's the rhythm/the "groove" of the song. Also, slow tempo helps. You don't really need dissonances to create heavy music (usually dissonances just fit that kind of music better).

I would say it's also about the tone. You need a massive sound to sound heavy. You can't really do that with a clean guitar sound. But it's not all about the guitar sound, I'm talking more about the overall sound of the band.

Also, it's not the tuning on its own, but low notes do help.


^ I would say "Sad But True" is the heaviest song on Black Album. But the heaviest Metallica song is definitely "The Thing that Should Not Be", or if covers count, "The Small Hours". BTW, in all of those songs they did downtune their guitars. But of course Metallica is nowhere near the heaviest stuff in existence, Black Album even less.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 18, 2016,
#13
Quote by MaggaraMarine
But yeah... What makes music heavy? I would say it's the rhythm/the "groove" of the song. Also, slow tempo helps. You don't really need dissonances to create heavy music (usually dissonances just fit that kind of music better).


I think fast songs can be heavy too. I'm talking about stuff like OSDM and technical death metal, a lot of which sounds heavy with breakneck speed. There's also stuff like Strapping Young Lad which is definitely heavy, and pretty damn fast. But I absolutely agree that it's about rhythm, more than anything else.

Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ I would say "Sad But True" is the heaviest song on Black Album. But the heaviest Metallica song is definitely "The Thing that Should Not Be", or if covers count, "The Small Hours". BTW, in all of those songs they did downtune their guitars. But of course Metallica is nowhere near the heaviest stuff in existence, Black Album even less.


I'm not sure about the black album, I think Sad But True might indeed be the heaviest song on the album.

To me, their heaviest work is Justice, I think that the album has a crushing vibe. Still far from the heaviest stuff out there though.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#14
^ If we are talking about Metallica and AJFA, when somebody says "heavy", I think of songs like "Harvester of Sorrow" or the middle section of "Blackened", and the "machine gun" part of "One" (where they play 16th triplets in unison). Of course fast can be heavy too, but those are the parts that would first come to my mind if we are talking about AJFA and "heavy".
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
#15
Quote by Kevätuhri
I agree with the above on strong rhythms. Be it a super fast death metal song or a groovy stoner metal song, the rhythm defines the heaviness for me.

I also don't think that heaviness is only found in metal music. Here's a singer/songwriter style song with only an acoustic guitar and a female voice, and I think the intro sounds heavy.


I feel this is more of a dark than heavy song (the intro at least), although the simple chords give it a little heaviness, since it removes the high end.