There’s a lot of different guitar courses out on the internet that promise blues riffs and jazz chords, but what happened to the death metal guitar lesson? Sometimes there’s nothing better than hearing fast and brutal riffs that make your head bang and your fists swing.
As amazing as most of these guitarists sound live and on their records, the level of difficulty is not as high as you think, which is why more and more of these bands are beginning to surface. Here are 7 easy and fast tips to start your metal guitar obsession.
1. Get yourself a beastly guitar that’s made for metal.
You can’t expect to be blasting out insane death metal guitar riffs of dark proportions if you’re using something made for pop or standard rock. Check out guitars made for heavy music and fast action like Jackson, LTD., Esp., and Schecter.
2. Make sure you have enough distortion on your amp, even though you won’t be using it all.
Let it be a lesson that having an amp with an adequate amount of distortion is good, but using it all isn’t necessary. Keep your distortion level to 75% or 80% of the way up to avoid piercing your fans with irritating white noise.
3. Tune your guitar to drop ‘D’ or ‘C’.
Using a tuner from a music store or from an applet off the internet you should tune your guitar to drop ‘D’ or ‘C’ so you can play death metal guitar riffs with ease. In drop ‘D’ tuning, the strings from largest to smallest should be ‘D’,’A’,’D’,’g’,’b’, and ‘e’ respectively.
For drop ‘C’ tuning, take those notes and tune everything down one full step to get ‘C’,’G’,’C’,’f’,’a’, and ‘d’. This tuning now allows fast movement between chords since playing chords requires you only to lay your index finger across the three largest strings and strum.
4. Single notes can be used in place of chords.
Another part of this death metal guitar lesson is realizing that not every heavy part with a shred of a melody needs to have full chords in it. Using only the thickest strings to play progressions like frets 3 then 5 and then 2 create pretty awesome guitar sections.
5. Double-picking is your bread and butter.
Lots of riffs in death metal songs are used with fast double-picking methods. Practice palm-muting the three thickest strings and picking quickly between notes on the lowest string and the very next one to create driving licks to bulk up a metal song.
6. You can really grind on just the first four frets alone.
Some of the most brutal parts in a death metal guitar song involve only a couple frets at a time. Try palm-muting the strings and picking the three lowest strings on fret 3, open, and then 1.
This should create a relatively dark sound that sounds awesome with a nice distortion on it. Create your own heavy parts by just messing around in the first four or five frets.
7. Hit the break downs on your open chords with palm-muting.
Any time that there’s a break down in a death metal song, it’s usually played with the palm-muted open chord. Palm-mute the strings and strum the guitar without pressing on any frets.
You should hear a nice crunch. Now, pick out a rhythmic pattern to create a brutal break-down in the midst of any chaotic metal song.
Death metal guitar is all about speed and harsh tones to give your fans a lesson in adrenaline so they’ll go nuts on each other. Work on loosening those fingers on the frets and getting more crunch on those palm-muted chords and you’ll be sounding brutal.