#1
My rhythm guitarist asked me today what metal rhythm guitar consists of e.g. chords and techniques.
All I could think of is:
Power chords, eg:
G||-3-
D||-1-

Double stops, eg:
G||-1-
D||-1-

Octaves, eg:
C||-3-
G||-x-
D||-1-

Inverted Power Chords (?), eg:
G||-1-
D||-3-

And any of the above including the octave note...
Of course there's palm mutes too.

Is there anything I've missed? Cause to me it sounds like it would be boring as hell having only those 4 things and 1 technique besides regular picking to choose from.
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#3
Well, what about riffing without chords?
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#4
There's also the gallop beats, ringing chords pure riffage.

Some death metal goes into jazzy realms of rhythm complexity.
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#5
In metal the rhythm guitarist uses a lot of big-e string tremolo picking, and mixing it up with power chords in some fashion. Listen to Queensrych's "Queen of the Ryche" to hear a good example of rhythm guitars in heavy metal. Basically they should have that big "chugga chugga" sound driving the song while the lead guitarist plays around that.
#6
those "double stops" are perfect 4ths
and the "inverted power chords" are minor thirds.

it all depends on what kind of metal you want to play.
but theres usually alot of "chugging" and palm muted rythms, and lots of speed picking.

some things that i like to do. to spice up my playing, as far as chords go. would be throwing in suspended chords
D-----7-----
A-----5----
E-----3-----

or power chords with maj. 7ths
D----4----
A----5---
E----3----

replacing power chords with those can spice things up a bit.

also, understanding harmony, and being able to harmonize your licks, is crucial.
#7
classical or barroque influenced rhythms are possible
jazzy blues rhythms common
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#8
There are also augmented and diminished powerchords, which are fairly common.

Diminished : E1, A2
Augmented: E1, A4
#9
I use power chords and dissonant chords like this one:

|-2-|
|-4-|
|-0-|


but I play in drop D, so my chords generally look something like these:


D|-0--6--2--3--7--5--2--10--5--|
A|-0--7--4--1--3--3--3--8---8--|
D|-0--6--2--0--3--2--0--10--5--|


Those are just some of my most common 3 string chord shapes
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#10
to add to that, perfect fourths actually are inverted powerchords, just think about it:

G5 (regular) = E3, A5 = G, D

G5 (inverted) = A5, D5 = D, G

so basically if you have the bass guitarist play a G then you have a standard powerchord when you add the guitar playing an inverted G powerchord--metallica did this alot when they wanted to play powerchords really fast without killing their hands/playing in drop-D. good example is the bridge riff in "welcome home (sanitarium)"

also while i'm on the subject of metallica, too make your songs sound more "eerie" you should make sure to play chords not in your standard minor scale (assuming that you're writing songs in a minor key because you're playing metal, not pop) such as the flat 5 of the scale (Bb, in the key of E) or the flat 2 (F) or the major 7 (D#) which will add some spice. and as far as picking and stuff goes, basically just start doing all downstrokes and then throw in some upstrokes in between the downstrokes every once in a while. really just buy a bunch of early thrash metal stuff (first 4 metallica albums, slayer, megadeth, etc.) and start learning it, then go from there. also a good knowledge of theory helps for knowing how to make certain sounds or feelings in the music
#11
Quote by isaac_bandits
There are also augmented and diminished powerchords, which are fairly common.

Diminished : E1, A2
Augmented: E1, A4


I can't think of a metal song where an augmented power chord is used. I think the example you've given above would be used as a C# 1st inversion but without the 5th because it would sound muddy with loads of distortion. Dream Theater use this a lot, like in the chorus of Fatal Tragedy.
#12
oh yeah and dont forget tritones E1 A2 D3 and stacked power chords (don't know the technical term) E1 A1 D3 G3
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#13
when both guitars are in rhythm, one plays the lower half of a chord, the other plays the upper half. for example:

guitar 1 guitar 2
e x         x
B x         1
G x         2
D 7         2
A 7         x
E 5         x


experiment with different variations, with 2 guitars playing it it still sounds clean since one guitar isnt playing 5 or 6 different notes through distortion, but you still get the 3rds shining through.
#15
i second valtam. im writing a metal instrumental-ish thing right now, so this is infinitely useful
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#17
Quote by Sabaren
when both guitars are in rhythm, one plays the lower half of a chord, the other plays the upper half. for example:

guitar 1 guitar 2
e x x
B x 1
G x 2
D 7 2
A 7 x
E 5 x


experiment with different variations, with 2 guitars playing it it still sounds clean since one guitar isnt playing 5 or 6 different notes through distortion, but you still get the 3rds shining through.


That's good info, thanks dude!!!!
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#18
Quote by Eirien
I can't think of a metal song where an augmented power chord is used. I think the example you've given above would be used as a C# 1st inversion but without the 5th because it would sound muddy with loads of distortion. Dream Theater use this a lot, like in the chorus of Fatal Tragedy.


Of the top of my head i can think of two, both by Maiden.

Different world has an augmented powerchord as the fourth chord in the main riff.

Dance of Death has arpeggiated powerchords, and one of them is augmented.
#19
^Oh yeah well spotted, I didn't think of using them like that. I can think of loads of examples now.