Most power chord forms in rock and metal and comprised of either two or three notes, usually with the root note placed as the lowest note in the chord, joined with a note a fifth higher to create the two-note form, or with an additional root note on top to create a three-note-form. Equally effective are power chord forms built from fourths.
This month I'd like to talk about the art of combining different, complementary rhythm guitar parts to create powerful metal rhythm tracks. The sound of two guitars is the bedrock of heavy metal music.
While doing my metal guitar workshops one of the topics that I hear a lot about is the art of tackling the ability to play lead guitar. I often hear guitarists tell me that they want to know how they can begin to play a bit more lead in their band. They are interested in sharpening their skills, but they seem afraid and un-sure of how to dive in. Often they feel that there is an invisible wall stopping them. They just don’t know.
As much as I love guitar parts built from fast and hyper-syncopated power-chord figures, some of the heaviest riffs I’ve ever heard are built from single-note patterns alone. Legendary metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeth, as well as relatively newer groups like Children of Bodom, At the Gates and In Flames, have used crushing single-note riffs as the centerpieces of their most powerful songs. In this month’s column, I’d like to focus on how to construct interesting, heavy and deceptively complex single-note riffs.
This month's "Metal For Life" shows you how to utilize a metal approach when playing classical-style themes. Classical music -- being used as an umbrella term to cover the Classical, Romantic and Baroque periods -- has been a major influence on heavy metal, particularly after the arrival of the "neoclassical shred" movement in the '80s.