Metal - It Comes From Hell

Ozzy breaks away from Sabbath and starts his own solo project, Iron Maiden shows up in the 80s along with Bathory and whatnot. So begins the endless maze of subgenres that is metal.

Ultimate Guitar
Or heaven, whatever floats your boat. Before we start, let's give a little background check on metal. Okay, mid-seventies, this reletively heavy band known as Black Sabbath (for the time) comes out. Everyone falls in love with them blah blah blah. Ozzy breaks away from Sabbath and starts his own solo project, Iron Maiden shows up in the 80s along with Bathory and whatnot. So begins the endless maze of subgenres that is metal. (If you're looking for metalcore/grindcore, go elsewhere.)

Before You Start Playing

Turn up the distortion. I would not recommend using a little 15watt to try to play metal, the effects will not be sharp enough unless you have this crazy little distortion pedal (DF-7?). Personally, my favorite settings are not bass heavy. Tunnings: Depending on your own prefrence, choose one of the following Low to High:
  • Standard (e,a,d,g,b,e)
  • Hendrix (eb,ab,db,gb,bb,eb)
  • Drop D (d,a,d,g,b,e)
  • D Standard (d,g,c,f,a,d)
  • Drop C (c,g,c,f,a,d)
  • C# Standard (c#,f#,b,e,g#,c#)
  • Drop B (b,f#,b,e,g#,c#)
  • C Standard (c,f,a#,d#,g,c)
  • Drop A# (a#,f,a#,d#,g,c)
  • B Standard (b,e,a,d,g#,b) My personal favorite is the D Standard.

    Things To Know/Songwriting Devices

    Tremolo Picking Tremolo picking is a style derived from classical music that involves the repetive playing of one note to create the illusion of a sustained note. The device is often used in all kinds of metal, but particularlly in black metal, power metal and death metal.
    Ex #1 - 4/4 time
    e| -------------------------------
    b| -------------------------------
    g| -------------------------------
    d| 5-5-5-5-8-8-7-7-4-4-4-4-0-0-0-0
    a| -------------------------------
    e| -------------------------------
    Pedal Note Rhthym Most commonly known as the "chug" riffs. Pedal note rhthym involves hitting one note, and then alternating between seperate, usually higher notes. This technique is most commonly used in bands like At the Gates or Dark Tranquillity.
    Ex #2 
    e| ---------------------------------------------------------
    b| ---------------------------------------------------------
    g| ---------------------------------------------------------
    d| ----------------4----5p4-------4----5p4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4
    a| 7-7-5-5-4-4-5-5--0-0----0-0-4-4--4-4-----7-7-5-5-4-4-5-5-
    e| -0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-----------------------------------------
    PM  - - - - - - - - - -    - - - -  - -    - - - - - - - - -
    The Gallop It's Iron Maiden time. Basically the gallop is a was to take tremolo picking and make it sound more ... jumpy. There are two types of gallop as I see it, the straight away gallop and the chord based gallop.
    Ex #3 - Straight Away 
    e| -----------------------------
    b| -----------------------------
    g| -----------------------------
    d| -----------------------------
    a| -----------------------------
    e| 0--0-0-0--0-0-0--3-3-3--5-5-5
       E  S S E  S S E  S S E  S S E
    Keep in mind that the Straight Away gallop can be applied to chords.
    Ex #4 - Chord Based Gallop 
    e| ----------------
    b| ----------------
    g| ----------------
    d| ----------------
    a| 7-----7-----7---
    e| 5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-
       S S S S S S S S
    PM   - -   - -   -
    Fills Yes, it's a fill woo hoo. Keep them original, like a 3-4-5-6-7 part of a scale instead of just running through it.
    Ex #5 The basic idea
    e| ---------------------------------------------
    b| ---------------------------------------------
    g| ---------------------------------------------
    d| --------------------------12-10-9------------
    a| 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---------12-10-9-10~
    e| ---------------------------------------------
       s s s s s s s s s s s s s s  s  s s  s  s e
                                 |--3--| |--3--|


    Ye good ol' solo. So much fun. But don't over do it. Solos are where most of the theory in the band shows itself off in sweep arpeggios, pedal point rhythm and so forth. Sweeps Basically playing the notes of an arpeggio seperately along the neck. You can find awesome lessons for Sweeps on youtube (I'd recommend the one).
    Ex #6 - Minor Shape
    e| 19p15----------------------
    b| -----17--<-Root-note-------
    g| -------16------------------
    d| ---------17----------------
    a| -----------19--<-Root-note-
    e| ---------------------------
    Useful scales Use them as needed, all scales will start on the root note. Harmonic Minor
    e| ----------------------------5-7-8-
    b| ----------------------5-6-9-------
    g| ------------------5-7-------------
    d| ------------6-7-9-----------------
    a| ------5-7-8-----------------------
    e| 5-7-8-----------------------------
    Melodic Minor
    e| ------------------------5-7-8-
    b| --------------------6-8-------
    g| --------------5-7-8-----------
    d| --------5-7-9-----------------
    a| --5-6-8-----------------------
    e| 8-----------------------------
    Pedal Point It's basically pedal note rhythm gone solo, and could be used to transition into a solo.
    e| ----------------------------------
    b| 12-15-13-15-10-13-12-13-8-12-10-12
    g| ----------------------------------
    d| ----------------------------------
    a| ----------------------------------
    e| ----------------------------------
    Combine all the techniques you wish to, use theory in your songs, and play away.
  • 14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    comments policy
      Hi... Great lesson... I have a problem with the chug riffs, the strumming patterns... Can you plz help me? The notes on the high strings are played upstrokes or downstrokes... Tnk u
      It's pretty good, I like it not being a real metal player but trying to get into it. But any tips for chug riffs and gallops, how to work on them?
      why do you metal ppl have all these subgenres for metal i mean you have metal,nu metal, death metal,metalcore,melodic metal, melodic death metal, heavy metal, hardcore, thrash its all so confusing just say metal
      hey great lesson. Oh and you guys how many you guys like 80s metal and rock? About everybody huh. Don't you guys wish that could happen again. Making metal music rule the world. Everybody back then had made awesome guitar solos and singers screamed at the top of their voices. We should make that happen again. Come on let's bring back the 80s.
      oh I almost forgot if you guys wanna help make the music come back better and longer than it ever was. Just spread the word to every metal maniac you know. Please.
      UP THE IRONS!!!!! Nice you mentioned Iron maiden lol Good lesson thanks
      I have trouble with the chord based gallop if you could do a lesson on that that would be great I would like to get better at that.