Looking for Metal Guitar Lessons?
If you want to create crunching riffs and blistering solos, metal guitar lessons give you the skills and techniques you need. Metal is a brutal genre, characterized by excessive riffing, heavily distorted guitars, screaming vocals and rip-roaring solos. It has origins in blues, with Black Sabbath – one of the main pioneers of the genre – deciding to take the blues and play it slower and louder. Since then it has evolved and transformed into several subgenres, such as metalcore, thrash and death metal, all of which share defining characteristics of the mother-genre.
With several websites offering subscription-based streaming services and a whole host of DVD courses available, learning metal guitar in the modern age is an entirely different experience. Streaming services and DVD courses are much cheaper than traditional lessons, but they still offer structured courses taught by professional instructors.
Finding the ideal metal guitar course just got easier. Take advantage of the handy comparison chart below to quickly find the perfect course for you:
Metal Guitar Lessons: Buying Guide
When you start considering metal guitar lessons, you need to think about what you want in a course. If you want to play lead, you should look for courses with more extensive lessons on soloing techniques and lead play. If you want to play rhythm, you need more lessons on riffs, chord progressions and techniques such as palm muting and pinched harmonics. You should learn about both regardless of what you want to play, but you should ensure there are enough lessons relating to your preferred role.
Rhythm guitar in metal is all about a brutal backing that makes listeners want to bang their head until they get whiplash. Power chords (which are stripped down versions of normal chords) are used heavily, so there should be a lesson which teaches you about them. Riffs should be another key component of the course, because the most recognizable part in metal songs is often the main riff. You need to learn how to compose riffs, preferably building in power chords and some additional techniques.
Metal is quite a demanding genre when it comes to techniques. Palm muting is possibly the most essential for metal, because it creates the characteristic “chugging” guitar sound and helps with song or riff-writing. Legato techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides are also vital to both rhythm and lead metal play. Things like bending and vibrato are essential for lead play, along with other techniques such as trills. You should also learn how to play pinched harmonics, which are used extensively by guitarists such as Zakk Wylde.
Starting to Shred
Lead guitar in metal is essentially a display of raw ability, with the addition of musicality and melody pushing otherwise self-indulgent solos into the realm of the awesome. You need to master legato techniques and other useful things like bending and vibrato, but the real meat of a good lead course is the information on scales. The most valuable scale for metal is the minor pentatonic, but others such as the modes (Dorian, Ionian, Mixolydian e.t.c.) should also be covered.
The additional element of metal lead guitar is speed. When you play lead in a thrash track or otherwise fast-paced metal song, your fingers need to move so quickly that your audience is genuinely worried they will burst into flames. This means that a good set of metal lessons will include at least one on practicing with a metronome (for staying in time and speed training), and hopefully provide a software metronome to use too. Lessons on picking styles like economy picking and alternate picking can also help with speed. The holy grail of metal picking techniques, sweep picking, should be covered in more detail, owing to its difficulty.
All of the metal guitar lessons available through websites or DVDs will be taught through video, so the quality is extremely important. Ideally, the video will be shot from multiple camera angles (with split-screen where required), incorporate close-ups and ensure you can see the instructor’s hands at all times. You should be able to find a sample lesson or at least some screenshots to help you determine the best quality video.
Metal Guitar Lessons: Conclusion
Out of all of the courses for metal guitar, JamPlay offers a superior service. There are five series of metal lessons, with 128 lessons in total, covering everything from applied music theory to sweep picking and string skipping. They also have a specific series for death metal and some specialized lessons on the eight-string guitar. The videos are HD-quality, with split-screens, multiple camera angles, close-ups and additional text support.