If you’re a fan of metal, you might be interested to know that the first universally recognized artist in heavy metal is Alice Cooper, when he was playing for The Spiders in 1965. Nowadays it’s common to hear about metal guitarists playing all around us – such as Van Halen, Slash and Kirk Hammett.
You might be good on the lead guitar, but are you really good as a heavy metal guitarist? And do you even have what it takes to get there? Heavy metal is based on a variety of techniques that are quite different from the ordinary lead guitar, and you must familiarize yourself with all of them if you want to play the style.
Some of these techniques include power chords, fast picking and palm muting. If you don’t know how to do any of these, then it’s time for some quick learning – the only other alternative is to take up some metal guitar lessons, before even considering stepping on the stage with a metal band. So let’s take a quick look at each of these in depth and detail.
Power Chords are the basis of all heavy metal. So how do you produce those? You must play two notes at the same time, which results in a chord that sounds really good under distortion – an essential part of heavy metal music. Since the fingering only involves two fingers, it also allows for some quick changes in chords, a great advantage when you’re playing metal (which is normally done at a very fast tempo).
In order to get the most out of power chords though, you must be a creative player since these chords have no major or minor tensions. Power chords are just one of the important tools that you’ll need to pay attention to in your metal guitar lessons – and once you’ve learned them properly, you can start producing some great metal riffs.
Palm muting is the other thing you’ll need to learn, no matter if you’re interested in death metal, metalcore or even thrash – when you’re palm muting, you tone down the guitar sound very slightly with the use of your picking hand, while simultaneously picking the chord. The trick to doing this good is to be able to apply just the right amount of pressure on the strings to get the sound you’re after. You can also experiment a bit by moving your hand closer or farther from the bridge.