Killer Heavy Metal Method For Beginners To Intermediate

Looking to play metal or brush up on your technique and soloing? Your gonna want to get familiar with a stiffer action as opposed to the sloppy mess that a lot of Nu-metal bands are into.

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I am writing this article assuming you already know how to tune your guitar and at least have the key (tuning) you are in memorized (ex: EADGBE). Well then, this is pretty much how I learned how to adopt this particular style of playing. If you are starting out, I suggest you tune from half-step down (EADGBE) to no lower than DGCFAD. It is great to be experimental, but a horrible idea when your first starting out. Your gonna want to get familiar with a stiffer action as opposed to the sloppy mess that alotta Nu-metal bands are into. 1) Daily Exercises for you fingers. Trills: A repeated hammer on/pull off, but the trick here that ppl get wrong is to strike the string only once and let the fingers do the work. Work each finger interchangably like:
E-1h2p1h2p1h2p1--1h3p1h3p1h3--1h4p1h4p1h4p1---
A---------------------------------------------
D---------------------------------------------
G---------------------------------------------
B---------------------------------------------
E---------------------------------------------
1st: index&middle finger 2nd: index and ring and so on. Then you want to work well on any particular chromatic scale, this way your working out all of your fingers and skipping not a single note in this particular scale. Try this example (using all four fingers):
E----------------------------------------1-2-3-4-
A--------------------------------1-2-3-4---------
D------------------------1-2-3-4-----------------
G----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------
B--------1-2-3-4---------------------------------
E1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------

E4-3-2-1-----------------------------------------
A--------4-3-2-1---------------------------------
D----------------4-3-2-1-------------------------
G------------------------4-3-2-1-----------------
B--------------------------------4-3-2-1---------
E----------------------------------------4-3-2-1-
Remember to work on those for awhile daily to help you become more nimble and dextrous. Make sure each note is executed cleanly, play slow then play faster as soon as it doesnt sound muddy. Then for an advanced exercise, you should play that semi-chromatic scale using all hammer ons or pull offs only striking each string once. 2)Pinch Harmonics. Pinch harmonics are those crazy sqeals you hear your favorite musicians incorporate into their metal songs. Kirk hammet/Dave Mustaine/Malmsteen. It is a bit like an artificial harmonic, but you will be using your right hand to get that same sound around the bridge area. Try this on your open G string at 0. Once you get that chime like sound that means you are nailing it. Now, get your finger on the 3rd fret of the G string, and this time and really crazy/thick vibrato on the note while you try to get the harmonic with your right hand. Hopefully with time, you will master this technique. One more note: This technique is most easily achieved on your bridge pickup and overdrive or distortion is almost mandatory to be able to pick up your squeal with clarity. Some frets are more succeptable to harmonics than others. 3)Scales And Modes. If you are a Megadeth/metallica/yngwie fan, then you will want to learn the E phrygian mode and all twelve positions of it. This scale is by far Metallica's favorite. Try to pick up on the E phrygian dominant as well. If you are more Iommi or Randy Rhoads style, then you will definately want to touch up on your blues/major scales. Here is an example for you to practice of the 12 position of the E phrygian mode:
E-------------------------------------------12-13-15-
A----------------------------------12-13-15----------
D----------------------------12-14-------------------
G-------------------12-14-15-------------------------
B----------12-14-15----------------------------------
E-12-13-15-------------------------------------------
That is a great metal mode to jam to metallica with. Now you can throw in some techniques I listed earlier as well, using the E phrygian.. something like this:
E-13-12~--12h13p12-12~----12-15----------------------
A----------------------15------15-13-12--------------
D---------------------------------------12~-14-15-14~
G----------------------------------------------------
B----------------------------------------------------
E----------------------------------------------------
You can even throw any random note in there that sounds good, until you become skilled in soloing in differant keys and octaves. Now for my personal Favorite the Phrygian Dominants. Here is the E Phrygian Dominant:
E-------------------------------------------12-13-16-
A----------------------------------12-13-15----------
D----------------------------13-14-------------------
G-------------------12-14-15-------------------------
B-------11-12-14-15----------------------------------
E-12-13----------------------------------------------
Now another example of a solo you can come up with using this particular mode:
E------------------------------------------------------
A----------------------------------------------------PH
D-------------------------------------------------14-13
G-----------------------------------12-14-15-14-12-----
B--------------12-11-12-14-12-14-15--------------------
E/12~-13-12-13-----------------------------------------
You should learn all 12 positions of the e phyrgian and phrygian dominant. Try them in differ keys as well. This is all for now, but you can anticipate another tutorial that will cover more advanced techniques (sweep picking, drill picking, arpeggios, finger taps and tapping techniques).

88 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Oswald
    And I tip.... Write the tab the other way around. E B G D A E
    alexnash17
    Bobather_909 wrote: Didnt read the lesson will do later on, but does anybody know anything about playing the guitar, indie style??
    don't do it man indie is the genre that has helped kill music as it is today
    MetalTitan
    oswald all harshness aside screw off dude may have not written the tab right side up but put on ur big boy pants and just read it the right way, if you cant understand the lesson go back to first grade and learn to read again.
    Mosquitocoil
    Good article, but I agree with Oswald. It would be easier if the tab was round the right way.
    Oswald
    I wonder if the scale looks the same when you move for example to G?
    Oswald
    Am I an idiot because I help him? I think that EthanBrand should go fukk him self...
    Brandon_leigh
    the pinch harmonics are not well axplained enough. actually, they aren't explained at all
    teardownwalls
    hold up, i just thought of sumthing..... who gives a shit?? chill the hell out, none of that shit has anything to do with the f***in tab anyway
    gothicallica
    hey man, you helped me learn how to do pinched harmonics. im not a beggining guitarist, or anything *begins to sweat* i just always steered clear of anything that includes pinches. even though im about 80% rhythmn guitarist. ah well. thanks. and anyone who slanders this lesson, even if it is pieced together, the truth is that it cuts the crap and trims away the stuff that isnt needed. it just explains how to start or advance metal playing in a very simplistic manner. if you strip metal playing down to it's very essence, it's just powerful emotions put into chaotic but tuneful music. hence, you dont need scales too much, but i guess scales, and this tab, are like wearing a flak jacket in a gunfight. it increases your chances. but im getting off the topic of the tab. which is good.
    mattrich69
    Hi guys am new to this forum, but had to post something here after reading this thread. While it is great that someone has taken the time to give the less experienced players out there a few pointers, I think it's probably better to look elsewhere. For a less experienced guitarist, this just doesn't make too much sense, and to me (25 years live playing experience/Teacher/songwriter etc) it also sounds very misleading because theres some things here which are either not neccasarily correct or are incomplete. The warm up exercises here are good ones, although i there are further variations of these which if added, will help improve the results of your warmup time by another 50% or so. There isn't really much written about pinch harminic tecnique here. As with anything to do with guitar playing, there are no rules. It is however no easier to play pinch harmonics with a guitar plugged in at all, or heavily overdriven. I say this, because you have to play the harmonic to be able to hear it, so you only need a guitar to be able to play it. So, I for example can play a harmonic on every note on the whole fretboard with an unplugged electric guitar. Once you know how and you practice, you can call them as needed. The Scales here are ok....but you guys need to know more about them, how they are put together, what to play them with and how to play the same scale all over the fretboard (in the same key), before worrying about switching to different keys. I have decided to post my own lessons on here to help you guys out, but you'll have to let me know if that would be of interest first. happy playing!
    negativcreep187
    hey, im a moron when it comes to certain things, can someone help me out? what does the Dm mean? does the "m" mean minor? and what do chords like "Csus2" mean? i was just wondering what these particular symbols/letters mean
    theguywhosmells
    the oswald bloke is a dumbass cos it written upside down so from your view of holding the guitar the thickest string is at the bottom (as in lean over and look at it from the front )
    hondoII
    hey maybe hes a lefty??...doubt it tho...i definately as an up and coming am going to use this
    Metalissa
    This is really helpful, since I've been playing metal rythym guitar, because I can't play scales too well. The excersizes withh help alot. Thank you.
    Gman400
    Okay lesson.....not really hekpful to me but yeah, learn how to bad correctly, dude.
    the.iron.maiden
    metallica is metallica, no matter how you warp it, unless celene dion messes up another great song ( i.e ACDC). but anyway, try playing the tab forewards and backwards,it should help your mind get the beat.
    Mr.Brightside
    camdon wtf are u talking about? load and reload are both bad, unfortunately not the worst metallica cds. old metallica dominates!
    blkbelt65
    NICE LESSON, THANKS. SHEESH!! WHY WOULD SOME OF YOU IDIOTS BASH A GUY WHO'S TRYING TO HELP OUT ON THE FORUM???
    Luca.
    thanks, it helped me. maybe some day ill understand it all. lol
    Nyarlathotep
    Sweeper, shut up. We don't need that kind of immature shit from ****ing -core kiddies anyway.
    Multiplayerjon
    i wish this lesson had some Drop D stuff... maybe i'll go write one... later... next week... hopefully
    clwnz
    Lol, stop repeating the same crap over and over. lol... good lessons, thanks for adjustments. Oh, and Metallica still has it; its just the listeners that moves on to another genre and starts comparing different genres. Check the bands u all are comparing, if their not in the same genre then stfu. Btw, if Metallica dosent have it, then idk how the **** their still selling the biggest amount of albums in the metal genre. Anyone have any ideas? I think not.
    hollywise14
    Not Bad, but it is just way easier to learn a bunch of metallica songs and the different techniques they use. Trust me, I have been doing it for only a year and I have improved soooo drastically, it's not even funny.
    alexnash17
    mattrich69 wrote: Hi guys am new to this forum, but had to post something here after reading this thread. While it is great that someone has taken the time to give the less experienced players out there a few pointers, I think it's probably better to look elsewhere. For a less experienced guitarist, this just doesn't make too much sense, and to me (25 years live playing experience/Teacher/songwriter etc) it also sounds very misleading because theres some things here which are either not neccasarily correct or are incomplete. The warm up exercises here are good ones, although i there are further variations of these which if added, will help improve the results of your warmup time by another 50% or so. There isn't really much written about pinch harminic tecnique here. As with anything to do with guitar playing, there are no rules. It is however no easier to play pinch harmonics with a guitar plugged in at all, or heavily overdriven. I say this, because you have to play the harmonic to be able to hear it, so you only need a guitar to be able to play it. So, I for example can play a harmonic on every note on the whole fretboard with an unplugged electric guitar. Once you know how and you practice, you can call them as needed. The Scales here are ok....but you guys need to know more about them, how they are put together, what to play them with and how to play the same scale all over the fretboard (in the same key), before worrying about switching to different keys. I have decided to post my own lessons on here to help you guys out, but you'll have to let me know if that would be of interest first. happy playing!
    yeah do it dude im interested
    rjh322
    Killer article man.. Who cares if the tab is "the other way around" not the wrong way. The strings are in order and labeled. Your explanations are good and informative. Thats all you NEED. Helped me out alot man. I hit a block for a little bit on advancing until I came across this. Now I have much much much better control over my pinky and can fly on the high strings. Good man, good man. I will definitely try to find your next one.
    wa2k
    Thanks for the post.. Everything is right on and nice dig!! Your work is much appreciated. keep them coming mate. Kind Regards peer70
    MetalNKS
    Your gonna want to get familiar with a stiffer action as opposed to the sloppy mess that alotta Nu-metal bands are into.
    Sloppy mess? If someone has a baritone or larger gauges you can easily put your guitar into lower tunings without it being floppy at all. It all depends on your set-up.
    Multiplayerjon
    guitar_freakgr wrote: hey i was wondering it is really necessery to know theory to become a good heavy metal guitarist who can solo like dime ?
    well i just play random notes then listen to Dime and then relalize tat it sounds like it so i try to remember wht i played... i don't think so but i think it would help
    guitar_freakgr
    hey i was wondering it is really necessery to know theory to become a good heavy metal guitarist who can solo like dime ?
    heretic-clown
    Mackk123 wrote: slayerofsouls wrote: two points 1. Most metal songs are in Drop tuning now 2. learn to write tab METAL ShoulD NOT BE IN DROP TUNINGS!!!! THEN IS MAKES IT LAMER
    drop tuning isnt lame F*tard, alot of metal bands drop tune to make chords and notes deeper and sound darker, tonni iommi drop tunes, metallica drop tunes sometimes, most drop 1/2 step.
    Mackk123
    slayerofsouls wrote: two points 1. Most metal songs are in Drop tuning now 2. learn to write tab
    METAL ShoulD NOT BE IN DROP TUNINGS!!!! THEN IS MAKES IT LAMER
    Mike_uk2k
    *sigh* Throneofhecate, you should never have said the M word, now it's just a 'St.Anger rocks/sucks!' war. Anyway, the exercises you've put up are good, especially for beginners, but I'm fairly sure Metallica have a preference for the Dorian mode. Also, beginners really need to be shown the minor pentatonic and sliding scales, especially if they're Metallica and Megadeth fans.
    metallic_man
    Metallica do not suck now, jut their new songs arent as good as there old ones! i saw them live last year and they kicked ass! They always will rule.
    Egg
    Metallica ruled about 10,000 yrs ago, not now guy. U know who shreds insane the guitarest from dream theater. God like playing. Anywyaz this is pretty cool, Ive been playing a while but theres still sum thingz u dont think about sum timez.
    PhantomLord_wtf
    Metalica dont cut it no more, James should start screaming again, and not trying to sing. The songs they write now days suck