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> What Should A Metal Guitarist Learn - Pt1
Ben Higgins
post Aug 31 2015, 08:43 AM
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I often get asked about what sort of stuff somebody should practise and it's normally by people who play within the metal genre because that's what I do, obviously. I'll jot down a few ideas based on my own experiences, starting from the very basics.

A lot of the time, people might not have acquired the foundational skills of rhythm playing so we've got to start there.


You'll want to start with basic chords and most of us usually learn E,Em,F,G,A,Am,C,D,Dm in the first position, taking place on the first 3 frets. We all have to start here and practise switching between those chords whilst simultaneously practising our strumming technique. I recommend checking out either my Beginner's course or Bear Rose's lessons to get you working on these aspects.

Once you've got the hang of basic chords you'll want to start learning some simple songs. Now, regardless of what genre you want to play (in our case, it's metal) you're going to have to suck it up and learn some non metal tunes to begin with. Now, contrary to what you may think, you're still going to enjoy it and feel good about bashing some chords out - even if it's a pop or folk song. There's a reason why a lot of people learn Oasis songs when they're learning. There's a lot of simple chords and strumming which work the fundamentals needed for any guitar player.

GMC's Bear Rose has some simple arrangements that you can play along to or you can find some popular indie, pop, irish folk songs to play. If you don't have any guitar playing friends or somebody to show you how to play them then you'll need to find some Youtube tutorials or tablature. Guitar tablature is something you'll come across sooner or later once you start looking for lessons. It can be confusing at first but, guess what? You can learn how to do it here

Armed with the knowledge of how to read guitar tab, Youtube, the ability to google a list of easy beginner songs, you'll soon be honing your basic rhythm guitar techniques. Try to play along with the original recordings to help you stay in time. Having good timing is essential to guitar playing and being a musician in general. If you don't have anything to play along to, you don't know if your timing is all over the place or not. Chances are, when you start, you're going to be wobbly on timing anyway but it is something that can be learned by anyone. If you get the chance to play along with guitarists who are more advanced than you are then take it. Being able to lock your timing in with another player will do wonders for your sense of rhythm. It is essential, though, that the other player(s) has good timing themselves!

It's worth mentioning that a lot of people start on an acoustic guitar. Although the acoustic can feel cumbersome it's good to be able to start from there. Firstly, an acoustic is louder than an unplugged electric so you can hear what you're doing a lot easier. Secondly, when you're a beginner you don't need an electric and an amp etc. You won't know what sounds to go for anyway and having extra noise to contend with whilst you're still trying to remember chord shapes is more likely going to discourage you at this stage. So, a cheap acoustic is good enough to learn your basic foundational rhythm skills on.

That's it for pt1. These early stages can be applied to anyone, regardless of genre, but we will eventually start looking at more metal specific practise advice.

Here is pt 2!

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Sep 2 2015, 10:10 AM

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post Aug 31 2015, 10:40 PM
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Just coming back to playing after a LONG time off and this is a great way of starting. Looking forward to part 2. Thanks Ben!
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