Evil Metal Licks Lesson

Learn how to make your playing sound evil to rise to metal fame. Learn to use tapping, arpeggios, sweep picking and exotic scales to create Licks of Doom that will turn holy water into blood!

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Since I joined my first metal band, I have always been looking for ways to make my lead guitar playing stand out from the average. Since then I have been told continuously that my leads were unlike any other and made the music sound much heavier. The way I developed this is by making my solos sound evil by using these scales: Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, added diminished fifth and Hungarian (Egyptian) minor. Since this can get confusing, all scales and licks will be shown in D minor, since most metal bands tune to drop D or C# or C etc. Combining this with legato playing, sweep picking, and tapping can cause the music to sound demonic D Minor(2 octaves)
E|--------------------------------------18-20-22--|
B|-----------------------------18-20-22-----------|
G|--------------------17-19-21--------------------|
D|-----------17-19-20-----------------------------|
A|-17--19-20--------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------|
D Minor Harmonic
E|--------------------------------------18-21-22--|
B|-----------------------------18-20-22-----------|
G|--------------------18-19-21--------------------|
D|-----------17-19-20-----------------------------|
A|-17--19-20--------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------|
D Minor Melodic
E|--------------------------------------19-21-22--|
B|-----------------------------18-20-22-----------|
G|--------------------18-19-21--------------------|
D|-----------17-19-21-----------------------------|
A|-17--19-20--------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------|
D Minor Hungarian (also known as Egyptian)
E|-----------------------------------17-18-21-22--|
B|-----------------------------19-20--------------|
G|--------------------18-19-20--------------------|
D|-----------17-19-20-----------------------------|
A|-17--18-21--------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------|
D Minor with diminished 5th
E|--------------------------------------18-20-22--|
B|-----------------------------18-20-21-----------|
G|--------------------17-19-21--------------------|
D|-----------17-18-20-----------------------------|
A|-17--19-20--------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------|
The Unlucky 7 I developed my idea to use these scales in metal from listening and learning jazz. Jazz is full of running notes and exotic scales, but most players never landed on them. Victor Wooten once said "If you land on a wrong note, you are always one semi tone up or down from a right note". This is the exact phrase that turned my playing demonic. I asked myself "What if I landed on it?". I had heard players like Yngwie Malmsteen stop on a augmented 7th note, but never anything extremely obscure. Using this idea, here are some licks to introduce you to evil metal guitar playing. Lick 1 (8th notes, approx 120 bpm)
E|-17-16-13-16-13s12----12-16-13-12-13-12s9--9-14-11-10-11-10s9----9-10~|
B|-------------------14--------------------10-------------------10------|
G|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
This is a good introductory lick because it uses all of the exotic scales and is not very fast Lick 2 (8th notes, approx 140 bpm
E|-------------13s11----------------------|
B|-----------15-----12--------------------|
G|---------14---------13-----------11-8-7~|
D|-------15-------------12-------10-------|
A|-12h17------------------11s8h11---------|
D|----------------------------------------|
This lick is good because it is a bit faster, uses sweep picking, and teaches you unnatural muscle memory. Lick 3 (8th notes, approx 160 bpm
E|-------------13----13-16-17-16-13-------------------|
B|-15-14-15-17----17----------------17-15-14s13-------|
G|----------------------------------------------14-13~|
D|----------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------|
This is a pretty evil sounding lick, but it is simple in that it only uses 2 notes out of the Dm scale: G# and C# Lick 4 (8th notes, appox 180 bpm)
E|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------11-14-15-14-11-------------------------------14-17-16~|
G|-------10-12-14----------------14-12-10----------------14-15----------|
D|-12-14----------------------------------14-11s14-16-17----------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
This lick begins in Dm Harmonic, but transitions into Em Melodic w/ added Diminished 5th. This works best the a chord progression of Dm C#m6 Lick 5 (16th notes, approx 100 bpm)
E|-21-18-17-18-17s16----15----------------------------|
B|-------------------18----19-16-15-16-15s14----14-15~|
G|-------------------------------------------16-------|
D|----------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------|
Even though this lick doesn't sound as demented as some of the others, it does use Harmonic Minor, Hungarian (Egyptian) Minor, and Melodic Minor, as well as a diminished 5th note immediately followed by a tricky slide to the natural fourth Lick 6 (16th notes, approx 120 bpm)
E|-17p13----------------15-18s21-17-----------|
B|-------15-----------17-----------19---------|
G|----------14------15---------------18-------|
D|-------------15s17-------------------19--18~|
A|---------------------------------------20---|
D|--------------------------------------------|
This Lick sounds evil because of its chord pattern: Dm Em-Diminished F#m Dm-Diminished Lick 7 (16th notes, approx 140 bpm)
                        T           T                       T
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------15s18-15h18-22p18p15h16-21p16p15s14------------------------------|
G|-------14------------------------------------15p14s13h16-19p16p13s12------|
D|-----15-------------------------------------------------------------13p12~|
A|12h17---------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
This is probably the hardest of them all because of its speed, chromatic lines and switches between sweeping, tapping, and legato. Now you have learned the methods needed to become Metal Gods. Glad I could help, good luck, and good metal \m/

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    JD Close
    Well, the Hungarian Minor scale, based on my understanding is actually it's fourth's harmonic minor. I have seen various lessons about it, from Yngwie Malmsteen to Oli Herbert. This being said, there are loads of scales and the names are mixed up sometimes, notice I also called it the Egyptian Scale, as some people know it as that.
    JD Close
    There is a B#, but only in keys with six or more sharps. Since we are talking about Dm, because we are stereotypical boxed in metalheads, there is no such thing as B#. I was more wondering about the flat third. If we are talking about the minor key, then II and IIIb would be the same note. But, since you were wondering, it is actually a harmonic minor scale with a diminished fifth. This is fairly standard in metal. If you are looking for some new scales to work with, try Buzz Magrath's Indian scale lesson or Jeff Loomis' Raga scale lesson. Though I don't believe for a second that they created the scales, they have some great potential and were both featured on UG's front page
    JD Close
    slowlybilly wrote: Could you please post the formula for that hungarian minor scale...It would help me apply it to the fretboard I think.
    You mean like with whole tones and semitones and stuff? I IIb III# IV V VI VII# It is confusing when you shift in and out between exotic scales, it takes a lot of theory knowledge and practise, two things guitarists are aweful at.
    thechaostheory
    JD Close wrote: There is a B#, but only in keys with six or more sharps. Since we are talking about Dm, because we are stereotypical boxed in metalheads, there is no such thing as B#. I was more wondering about the flat third. If we are talking about the minor key, then II and IIIb would be the same note. But, since you were wondering, it is actually a harmonic minor scale with a diminished fifth. This is fairly standard in metal. If you are looking for some new scales to work with, try Buzz Magrath's Indian scale lesson or Jeff Loomis' Raga scale lesson. Though I don't believe for a second that they created the scales, they have some great potential and were both featured on UG's front page
    I was pretty sure that B# was a C? Also, excellent Lesson JD. I love your licks. I (being a Jazz guitarist for my school's band), find that lots of riffs and progressions in a jazz song can sound down right amazing when you turn them around a little. For instance, when I play in my own band (The Chaos Theory), and I'm playing some lead rock or metal riffs, I often use 7th, or 9th chords to arpeggiate them or make a fancy trilling riff. I found this lesson to be very wonderful, and I plan to use some of the scale Ideas in my own playing from now on.
    kratos379
    JD Close wrote: slowlybilly wrote: Could you please post the formula for that hungarian minor scale...It would help me apply it to the fretboard I think. You mean like with whole tones and semitones and stuff? I IIb III# IV V VI VII# It is confusing when you shift in and out between exotic scales, it takes a lot of theory knowledge and practise, two things guitarists are aweful at.
    The Hungarian Minor scale is actually: I II IIIb IV# V VIb VII so for C, it would be C, D, Eb, F#, G, Ab, B. I tried your formula and it didn't seem right, so I looked it up. Still this is a very cool article and using exotic scales can really make for some good music.
    AsTheWorldDies
    ThrashRaptor wrote: I use a very similar approach to create an evil tone when I solo, although I play a variation on the egyptian scale in addition to the others. It's written I II bIII IV bV bVI #VII or (in D) D E F G Ab B# C# D E|-----15-16-18| B|-----14-15-17-18-----| G|-- ---12-13-15-----| D|-----11-12-14-15-----| A|-----10-11-13 -----| E|-10-12-13-----| Was wondering if it's a pre-existing scale anyone else uses or knows of.
    I may be mistaken, but wouldn't the bVI be an Bb? I'm pretty sure that there is no such thing as a B#... Anyone, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this the list of notes possible: (Ones In parenthesis are enharmonic) A-(A#/Bb)-B-C-(C#/Db)-D-(D#/Eb)-E-F-(F#/Gb)-G -(G#/Ab)-A
    M15T3RJACK
    I like that someone is addressing this.
    slowlybilly wrote: Could you please post the formula for that hungarian minor scale...It would help me apply it to the fretboard I think.
    I think this person has the right idea though. Even though kids might be too lazy to learn theory on their own, they should be given some reason to do it. This could be their reason right here. Good Lesson
    ThrashRaptor
    atreyustripes wrote: B#?
    I don't remember what it's called, but I was keeping to the rule of not writing a note twice (C, C#) in a diatonic scale. Maybe I didn't have to, but all the same, you can figure out what I meant.
    ThrashRaptor
    I use a very similar approach to create an evil tone when I solo, although I play a variation on the egyptian scale in addition to the others. It's written I II bIII IV bV bVI #VII or (in D) D E F G Ab B# C# D
    E|-----15-16-18| B|-----14-15-17-18-----| G|-- ---12-13-15-----| D|-----11-12-14-15-----| A|-----10-11-13 -----| E|-10-12-13-----|
    Was wondering if it's a pre-existing scale anyone else uses or knows of.
    slowlybilly
    Could you please post the formula for that hungarian minor scale...It would help me apply it to the fretboard I think.
    atreyustripes
    ThrashRaptor wrote: I use a very similar approach to create an evil tone when I solo, although I play a variation on the egyptian scale in addition to the others. It's written I II bIII IV bV bVI #VII or (in D) D E F G Ab B# C# D E|-----15-16-18| B|-----14-15-17-18-----| G|-- ---12-13-15-----| D|-----11-12-14-15-----| A|-----10-11-13 -----| E|-10-12-13-----| Was wondering if it's a pre-existing scale anyone else uses or knows of.
    B#?