Lead Guitar Styles|
|What you learn:
Storm: Welcome to the Metal Lead Lesson. Thanks
for tuning in. We will look at some of the theory, techniques and
riffs in this style. Go ahead and load the jam track
Does anyone have a favorite metal
Eddie Van Halen.
Storm: Randy Rhoads is one of mine. Ex-Ozzy
Storm: Great choices,
all. Here comes a tab of the backing
The progression goes A5-A5-F5-F5-A5-A5-F5-G5. 8 bars total. '5' chords are
commonly called 'power chords' and are staple of hard rock rhythm
Storm: With the additional notes on the 3rd and
4th strings one can imply the A chord to be an A minor. Also, by listening and comparing notes,
we can find 'A' to be the tonal center of the track
The most fundamental scale to solo over minor chord progressions is the minor
pentatonic scale, here rooted on our 'key' note of 'A'. The scale shown highlights an additional
note, the 'b5' or 'blues note.' Here come a couple of standard
The first run is in triplets. The second in sixteenth notes, more high energy.
Both are fundamental rhythm patterns to working out leads in the metal
style. A technique point on those licks: Pay
attention to 'rock' on the 1st finger when crossing strings so that the notes
don't run together. Roll up to the tip of the finger when
holding down the second string. Use the 'pad' of the finger for the first
If done correctly, you will mute the previous string using just your left hand
This tab shows a fingering for the F
chord. Because it is in the riff this opens
open some additional color notes. The additional note, 'F' or 'b6' is
Then the G chord. Again, in 5th position so we can find additional notes not in
our starting blues scale. In this case 'B' or '2' is
The resulting scale is the Natural Minor scale or Aeolian mode. Very common to
the metal style. The additional notes to the pentatonic, '2' and 'b6' are
highlighted. They are highlighted in the tab but not
on the neck, I see. Highlight them in your mind's eye! Same with the previous diagrams. The
notes mentioned have a parenthesis in the tab. The additional notes of the natural
minor give us new choices for our soloing. Here is an extension of the previous
This one has a nice stretch. From 5th position reaching to the 10th
fret. Some of the typical moves in metal
Storm: First I would mention
attitude. Don't be afraid to be over the top! Not
sloppy, but play with attitude. I don't think you can over-do-it in
metal! An important point is vibrato. In the
last example, notice that the vibrato is very pronounced and wide. Almost a
half-step of pitch change.
The next tab and sound clip demonstrate differing vibratos. The first note's
vibrato is subdued, next more pronounced, VERY PRONOUNCED!!, and then finally
using the vibrato bar for vibrato. Using the vibrato bar for vibrato (make
sense, doesn't it?) is a trait of David Gilmour and Brad
Gillis. Another use in metal for the vibrato bar
is for 'dips' and 'dives'.
A 'dip' is played by depressing the bar, striking the note while releasing so
the sound 'scoops' up. A 'dive' is simple depressing the bar to
never-never land. Think VH's 'Eruption'. Also called a 'Dive-Bomb'. Here's a
video clip of the phrase.
Another cool technique is palm muting.
Laying the side of the palm against the strings at the bridge gives a 'choppy'
or 'stacato' sound that can add a different dynamic to your
And another cool technique and sound is 'artificial' or 'pinch' harmonics. Also
called a 'pinch'. Use the side of your thumb to catch or 'stun' the string in
the same motion as the downstroke of your pick. Also called a 'squeal'. Experiment with
the position of your picking hand will picking the same note. The harmonics
change and when you here a new harmonic work on it until you can reproduce it
Finally a sweep lick.
'Sweeping' or economy picking is using the same pick motion across two or more
strings. The notes from the 5th to 1st string are all one downstroke. Then alternate picking until the 1st to
the 5th string is all one upstroke.
Many notes, little picking, very fast. Yngwie Malmsteen is a master 'sweep'
picker. A fusion player named Frank Gambale may be the king of
technique. Now a standard way to organize scales
for many metal players, 'three note per string' scales.
These are the same notes of the Natural Minor scale, now arranged with three
notes on each string. The advantage, while adding a couple of
notes to the range, is that it simplifies picking and pattern creation because
of the repeating pattern of notes.
With practice, it is one of the fastest ways to get around on the
neck. Here comes a 3 note
clip. A great idea to build speed in this and
other 3 note patterns is to practice hammer-on and
Start slow. And keep all the notes even in rhythm. It may be easier to play using
hammer-ons and pull-offs, picking just the first note or two on each string.
Practice these patterns both ways
This is very popular major scale 3-note-per string shape. Played in C, in
contains the same notes as A natural minor. The note in parenthesis is the
'functioning' root 'A'. Also try these ascending 2 string patterns. All the same notes but arranged to go 'up' the
These are some of my favorite shapes. Think of them as 7 different six notes
groups. They're great for working on different fingering
combinations. And great for moving riffs around the
neck and keeping them in key.
This is a final three-note idea. Arranging the 'Blues' scale three notes per
string. The concept can work with any scale. Tough fingering, but your blues
playing will sound more metal! Or vice-versa. Finally a couple of more exotic note
choices. The Harmonic Minor scale. Very classical
And the Phrygian mode. A little more 'Eastern' sounding. Don't be afraid to experiment with
different note choices as the power chords common to the metal style are very
accepting of exotic note choices.
Well, that's it for the Metal Lead Lesson. Thanks for tuning in and rockin'
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