#1
I recently realized that I was stuck in a rut, when it came to writing metal songs, for the main riffs in songs I always seem to just keep coming up with fast drop D or Drop C power chord rhythms. Can anyone give me some chord shapes for metal riffs?
#2
I had this same problem. I am no theory buff my any means but i started learning the basics like major/minor scales ,key sigantures and some chord progresion theory. If you take the time to understand this stuff which isnt very long it will vastly help your composition skills. I still cant sight read sheet music and i put off learning this stuff for so long but it really really helps.

Alright now aside from that you dont have to play only chords. Mix chords with single note lines. Make a rythem on the E or A string and add chords or single note runs into the rythem and such tons of metal songs do this.

If its just not happening maybe its because your trying to hard. I dont really ever "try" to make up things i usually learn songs and then sometimes sit around just tooling around then I find something. Those are usually the best things i ever come up with. Then the theory helps to identify what it is you made up and gives you a million possibilites to mess with so once again I suggest doing some lessons on that stuff.
#3
Learn and play around with the chord shapes discussed in this youtube lesson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y0k_hHoNiQ

Also, like a novelist who reads a lot, you need to listen to heaps of music. It takes time. Don't expect overnight masterpieces.
#4
Quote by /-\liceNChains
I had this same problem. I am no theory buff my any means but i started learning the basics like major/minor scales ,key sigantures and some chord progresion theory. If you take the time to understand this stuff which isnt very long it will vastly help your composition skills. I still cant sight read sheet music and i put off learning this stuff for so long but it really really helps.

Alright now aside from that you dont have to play only chords. Mix chords with single note lines. Make a rythem on the E or A string and add chords or single note runs into the rythem and such tons of metal songs do this.

If its just not happening maybe its because your trying to hard. I dont really ever "try" to make up things i usually learn songs and then sometimes sit around just tooling around then I find something. Those are usually the best things i ever come up with. Then the theory helps to identify what it is you made up and gives you a million possibilites to mess with so once again I suggest doing some lessons on that stuff.

I do use single note rhythms alot, but inbetween those I always seem to use powerchords, and that is getting somewhat boring, that's why I asked for some new chord shapes to try.

I am actually taking a music theory class this upcoming year at school, so that should help me aswell. Thank you for the suggestions.
Last edited by G-man05 at Jul 10, 2008,
#5
First of all, I recommend tuning to standard.

You could probably learn a lot from the guys in your avatar. The distorted riff in Face of Melinda for example has some really interesting and awesome chord stuff. Lots of nice things on Still Life and My Arms, Your Hearse.

There are no specific chords that work in metal. A chord is a chord. There's nothing to it. Play minor chords, major chords, suspended or diminished chords... it works in pop, it works in jazz, it's worked for Bach and it'll work in whatever genre you want to play.

TL;DR: Learn Opeth songs
#6
pretty much anything will do. just gotta work it out like any other genre to make it sound as you'd like.
take dream theater for instance. they use lots of different kinds of chords and they still sound heavy. generally.
#7
Quote by Vomit Rapist
There are no specific chords that work in metal. A chord is a chord. There's nothing to it. Play minor chords, major chords, suspended or diminished chords... it works in pop, it works in jazz, it's worked for Bach and it'll work in whatever genre you want to play.


Very true. There are however a lot of chords that sound pretty bad with really crunchy distortion- just too many overtones. So one thing you might do to expand your chordal vocabulary is try writing some intro style stuff using arpeggiated chords and a clean tone, which is pretty idiomatic for metal.
#9
Quote by mezzopiano
Very true. There are however a lot of chords that sound pretty bad with really crunchy distortion- just too many overtones. So one thing you might do to expand your chordal vocabulary is try writing some intro style stuff using arpeggiated chords and a clean tone, which is pretty idiomatic for metal.


Oh hush you; dissonance is totally metal!

On topic however, I do recommend listening to as much MUSIC as possible, not just metal.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#10
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Oh hush you; dissonance is totally metal!


Heh. I actually have a hard time with even dominant 7th chords with crunchy distortion. But try playing a flat 9 sharp 11 chord with ultimate metal distortion some time, at high volume. I guarantee you'll get a reaction, but don't blame me if it's a violent one . I mean, I'm so hip I can't see over my own pelvis, but that's a bit much even for me.

EDIT: corrected a slight chord misspelling there...
Last edited by mezzopiano at Jul 10, 2008,
#11
Quote by mezzopiano
Heh. I actually have a hard time with even dominant 7th chords with crunchy distortion. But try playing a flat 9 sharp 11 chord with ultimate metal distortion some time, at high volume. I guarantee you'll get a reaction, but don't blame me if it's a violent one . I mean, I'm so hip I can't see over my own pelvis, but that's a bit much even for me.

EDIT: corrected a slight chord misspelling there...


I'm keeping that chord; it's awesome! Thanks
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#13
The way I have it the formula is: 1 3 5 b7 b9 #11.

In E (for ease of use for now) one of the shapes is something like this:

e|4
b|3
g|3
d|3
a|2
e|0

At least I'm pretty sure that's it.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#14
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
The way I have it the formula is: 1 3 5 b7 b9 #11.

In E (for ease of use for now) one of the shapes is something like this:

e|4
b|3
g|3
d|3
a|2
e|0

At least I'm pretty sure that's it.


Haha. Your earlier words have spoken true. Holy dissonance! It's like four scales combined into one! Argh!