Heavy F--ing Metal. Part One

author: guitar_jew date: 11/26/2009 category: guitar styles
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Hello, and thanks for coming to this, my first article on anything, ever. I'm going to teach you how to play metal that can, and WILL get people moshing. This lesson encompasses ALL styles of extreme metal, and I know that a lot of people don't like all of them. I ask now that you do two things. 1. Respect my tastes, and the tastes of other people who read and comment on this, and 2. Have fun, and skip the parts you're simply not interested in. These lessons, to describe them as generally as possible, are a sort of a master class on everything I know relating to metal, starting from the most basic of basics to the complexities of what scales work over what chords. These lessons make HEAVY use of guitar tablature, or tab. If you don't know how to read tab, go and google it. They probably have a lesson on that up on here, somewhere, too. If you don't know, go learn that first, then come back here. PART UNO: The Very, VERY Basics. So, to get started, let's tune up. Clichd as f*ck, I know, but whatever. Just to get us started, we will be using Standard tuning. I'll get into alternate tunings later. Standard tuning from the lowest string (the thickest, and closest to you) to highest (the thinnest, and closest to the ground) is E, A, D, G, B, E. So your lowest string should be an E, your fifth string an A, fourth a D, and so on and so forth. Once you are in tune, play this, using your first finger on the 2nd fret of the A string. Also, try to 'cover' the other strings with your first finger. Don't fret the other strings, but cover them up so that they don't make any noise when you hit the chord. A-2- E-0- This is called a 'power chord.' It can also be played like this on 3 strings, using your second finger to hit the 2nd fret on the D string. Again, cover the other strings. D-2- A-2- E-0- Next, try it up a string set. Here, I'll notate all the open power chords on all six strings.
Now, it's time to actually start fretting some more. Take the same power chord SHAPE, but fret both strings, like so: A-3- E-1- I've seen two methods of fretting these. The one I was originally taught, was to fret the sixth string with my first finger, and the fifth string with my third finger. That worked for a while, but I quickly realized that I personally could not move that shape very fast. The way I play these, is with my first and FOURTH fingers. It makes moving the shape up the neck and across the strings a lot easier for me, personally. Experiment with both until you find the method that suits you. However, when you are playing these chords across three strings, it's almost universally accepted to use the first, third AND fourth fingers to fret the three stringed power chords. Either way, it is important to use the first finger to cover the other strings, so you can go and do the whole Fretting both strings, the shape for the power chords is the same as it was open, but with some minor differences in fretting.
The beauty of these 'power chords' is this: YOU CAN MOVE THEM ALL THE WAY UP THE NECK! As long as you keep the same fret spacing, you could play your chords all the way up the neck. Also, try these out with PALM MUTING. Palm muting, is very metal. I don't think I'd be lying if I said that at least, AT LEAST, half of every second of metal you've ever listened to was palm muted. So what is palm muting? Well, take your palm, and place it on the bridge of the guitar. Now, slide it up a bit so that you're kind of 'choking' the notes, but not so much that you can't tell what note you're even playing. I can't explain it very well, but hopefully my explanation was sufficient. Moving on. Don't underestimate the chords on the 'D' string! A lot of players try and hit all their power chords on just the E and A strings, however, reaching to the D string can make some bits a lot easier. For example:
These two chords are the EXACT SAME! There is a tab here on UG for 'Christgrinding Avenue' by Behemoth, and in the tab (ignore the alternate tuning), it reads:
E ------------------------------------------------
B ------9----5-8-5-8----9-------------------------
I personally find it to be a lot easier to play this riff like so:
E ------4------3---3---4---------------------
B ------2----5-1-5-1---2----4----4-5-4-5-----
Again, it's all a matter of personal preference. Also, try experimenting with octaves. They are very similar to the power chords, except...
NOTE: The 'x' simply means to hit that string without fretting it. Since basically all metal players play with a pick, this is basically unavoidable unless you've studied advanced right hand technique. Octaves, too can be moved anywhere up the neck. When you are first learning guitar, punk music is a good place to start practicing power chords. Green Day has almost universally used ONLY power chords throughout their entire career, save for some barre chords and open chords. The Sex Pistols, the Ramones, all kinds of punk bands. For the hell of it, here's the riff to Blitzkrieg Bop.
That's it. Really. Also, a lot of 80s metal (The Scorpions, Poison, etc.) had their rhythms and riffs comprised solely of power chords. And here is a riff that EVERYONE wants to know.
E-------------------------------------- -------------
B-------------------------------------- -------------
A-9-5-5/7-7-10\9--10\9--10-9--5-5/7-7-- -------------
E-7------------------------------------ -------------
Iron Man, and almost all of Black Sabbath's songs are comprised primarily of power chords. So they're also a good metal band to look into as far as getting started learning stuff. Bonus: Drop Tuning A whole bunch of recent guitarists (myself included) have been using something called 'drop' tuning. What this means is to tune your sixth string down one half step, so that you can do this: D-0- A-0- D-0- And you have a power chord. D-1- A-1- D-1- And you have a power chord. D-2- A-2- D-2- AND YOU HAVE A POWER CHORD! Now, when in any drop tuning, it's important to keep in mind that the other strings still maintain their power chord shapes. For now, stick to Drop D tuning (DADGBE). A lot of bands use this tuning, most notably recently, I would say Lamb of God. They have used Drop D for literally the entirety of their career. Avenged Sevenfold also has used Drop D frequently, except in ONE case. And there are a plethora of other artists. Tom Morello's used it, Marilyn Manson's used it... the lists are endless. And that's just Drop D. There's a plethora of lower tunings. I'm going to get into alternate tunings in more detail later. Not on this lesson, but probably the next one. Before continuing on, though, get back up to standard tuning. Part Dos: Other Intervals This section is where the theory comes in, although very, very lightly. These other intervals will add a sense of melody to your rhythm playing, so that you're not just stuck to power chords and octaves. The first thing we're going to cover are perfect fourths, otherwise known as "double stops." A double stop is this. A-1- E-1- Yep. That's it. Anywhere on the neck. If you want to get a perfect fourth on the G and B strings, however, you don't do a double stop, you do this. B-3- G-2- And you move that shape up the neck. All the other strings, you just do what you did for the E and A strings. Major 3rds. These aren't as easy as the double stops, but they're important, nonetheless. This is a major 3rd on the A string. D-4- A-5- Again, you can move these all up the neck except in the case of the G and B strings, which form a major 3rd when you do a double stop. Like so: B-5- G-5- All other strings use the first shape for the major 3rd. Minor 3rds. These are metal as mother f*ck. On the E string, A-3- E-5- Once more, they are different on the third and second strings. B-1- G-2- I don't know of any riffs that consist solely of these other intervals, so I went and wrote one in the key of G for you to mess around with.
PM .......  .......
The intro to Go Into The Water by Dethklok is a great riff to practice both power chords and your other intervals. If I receive requests and comments and such, then I will write and post part two of this here lesson thingy. The Major Scale is next. Have fun, kiddies, and thanks for reading this. Have fun, and rock on.
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