There are a ton of genres out there that let the guitar show off, but none are quite as heavy on the guitar as heavy metal (pun intended). Still, heavy metal guitar requires a completely different skill set than most other genres, so you need to look at some tips specific to the style.
There are some essential tips commonly known by the community you need to follow.
#1 Slowly Build Up Right Hand Speed
Heavy metal is fast. That’s just the way it is. But a lot of newer players try to go right for the speed the pros have. Then, they end up frustrated because it seems impossible.
Everyone starts the same way: at the beginning. Slow down your right hand and practice the back and forth motion you’ll need to play solos and lead work at all sorts of tempos.
In time, you’ll improve and be shocked at how fast you can pick. But you’ll never get there if you go right for the gold.
#2 Never Skip Warm Ups
For all styles of guitar playing, warm ups are essential. They open up the flexibility of your fingers, increase hand-eye-brain-ear coordination, and get your mind focused on learning.
With heavy metal, it adds another element. More than any other style of guitar, heavy metal guitar requires physical endurance and strength. Athletes don’t skip warm ups. It may cause injury. Believe it or not, the same is true with heavy metal guitar.
Don’t skip the warm ups.
#3 Embrace Theatrics
I’ll let you in on a secret: by the time a heavy metal pro can play a solo for a huge crowd, they could do it and look bored while doing it. Imagine a wicked solo where the guitarist doesn’t even look like he/she’s working and the music is boring to them.
They could. But where’s the fun in that?
Heavy metal has long been known for its theatrics. Take a look at any live concert by bands like KISS or Dragonforce.
Don’t’ be afraid to get into your music physically. It may help you play better; it may not. But it will make your playing a heck of a lot more interesting to your audience.
#4 Metronome Is Key
EVERY GUITAR STYLE NEEDS TO PLAY WITH PERFECT TIME.
Did you hear me on this?
In heavy metal music, imagine the song as a race car speeding down the track at 200 miles per hour. If your guitar playing isn’t right on, the whole car loses control and crashes in a fiery, horrible accident.
Don’t crash your song. Put the metronome on when you practice and get in perfect time.
These tips should give you a good place to get started, but if you want to learn more, you’ll have to go learn from the experts. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to do this. Just check out a program like Jam Play, which has hundreds of lessons for each specific genre including heavy metal.
Until next time,