How to Play Metal on Guitar

Metal music, a genre of rock music developed in the late 1960s and 1970s, originating from the United Kingdom; has grown in popularity amongst musicians and avid music listeners alike! Rooting from Blues, Psychedelic and Acid Rock, Heavy Metal is characterized by its loudness, high distortion, and extended guitar solos.

However, what makes it “tick?” and why is it so important and revolutionary to how we listen to music today? You’ll find these answers as you keep reading, and more importantly, how to play metal on guitar, so you can show off to all your friends and perhaps start your own band!

Image 1 Introduction

Metal group playing a live set on stage.

What Makes Music “Metal”

As mentioned before, Metal music is not only characterized by its loudness, distortion and extended guitar solos but its overall thickness as a whole. It gives a feeling of “brute force” that empowers its listeners to “mosh” or “headbang” along to the music, which is just a brief look into the culture of Metal itself.

You’ll find that in metal music, its rhythm is very forceful with deliberate stresses. The main groove may be characterized by brief rhythmic figures containing two or three notes. These figures tend to be made of 8th and 16th notes. These notes are played sharply, and detached from the other notes; we call this staccato. Palm-muting is used to aid in the separation of the notes from each other, typically found on rhythm guitar.

Riffs are commonly used throughout metal music. A riff is used to establish a hook by playing a brief phrase, that is then repeated over changing melodies.

Examples of famous riffs:

  • Rolling Stones – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction
  • Black Sabbath – Iron Man
  • Deep Purple – Smoke On The Water
  • Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train

Harmony in Metal music is also important! I’m sure many of you are familiar with “the power chord”? For those that aren’t, it’s essentially a fifth chord (containing the root note and a fifth). These are commonly used in not just Metal, but Punk Rock as well!

The purpose of using power chords is to add weight to the overall sound and create a powerful tone. This can be achieved by playing them on the lower strings with high volume and distortion.

For the slightly experienced music theorists out there, riffs in Metal music normally contain three harmonic traits. These are modal scale, tritone and chromatic progressions. In fact, it’s actually traditional in Metal music to include modal scales, particularly the Aeolian and Phrygian modes.

When it comes to song lyrics and themes some artists prefer to stick to dark and depressing topics. These topics usually consisted of personal trauma, or wider issues, particularly in politics, war, or other subject matter.

The subject matter of most Heavy Metal music receives a lot of flack and criticism as it’s perceived by music critics as juvenile and dull, while others feel it’s highly misogynistic. When it comes to the subject matter as a whole, however, it’s very universal and easy to grasp for the common listener, as controversial as the lyrical content might be.

The image that most Metal musicians try to cultivate is one adopted from the hippie subculture. Long hair is one of the features that makes it very distinguishable. In fact, the classic image adopted by Metal musicians was ripped, frayed or torn blue jeans, black t-shirts, coated by a black leather or denim jacket, and a pair of boots.

However, when it comes to the band’s image as a whole, it’s expressed through clothing, album art, logos, instruments, music videos, and stage sets.

Where Did Metal Music Come From?

There’s a lot about Metal music that people can find blatantly obvious, for instance when it comes to lyrical content. However, when it comes to Metal itself, it often is misunderstood amongst other genres. People may hear it as just noise, grunting and screaming, but there is so much more behind it.

Image 2 Where Did Metal Come From

Metal musician playing a solo on stage, capturing the feel of the modern Metal scene.


Some people may find it surprising to know that Metal music’s roots trace back to the 1950s and 1960s. It was Memphis Blues guitarists like, Joe Hill Louis, Pat Hare, and Willie Johnson, who captured that real gritty, ferocious nature of the electric guitar.

However, the genre truly began to develop in the mid-1960’s, as British Rockers were heavily influenced by these American Blues artists formerly mentioned. This ultimately lead to the congregation of several musical talents to form bands such as “The Rolling Stones”, and “The Yard Birds”, which developed “Blues Rock”.

As these bands experimented with music, bands in the UK and U.S. were influenced and really took a liking to the loud and heavily distorted guitar sound. This is ultimately what began Metal music.


Metal music has evolved so much since its development and expanded to several subgenres:

Avant-garde Metal, Christian Metal, Extreme Metal, Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal, Thrash Metal, Speed Metal, Glam Metal, Groove Metal, Latin Metal, Pirate Metal, Power Metal, Symphonic Metal… Etc.

Not to mention all of its fusion genres:

Alternative Metal, Funk Metal, Nu Metal, Rap Metal, Crust Punk, Drone Metal, Folk Metal, Gothic Metal, Grindcore, Grunge, Industrial Metal, Kawaii Metal, Metalcore, Neoclassical Metal, Progressive Metal, Sludge Metal, Stoner Rock…

Metal Icons

When it comes to Metal icons throughout the history of Metal’s existence, there are so many people we can talk about… musicians from, Dimebag Darrell, Bucket Head, Maynard James Keenan, to others like Ozzy Osbourne, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart. These people really helped pave the way and created the Metal we all know and love.

Image 3 Metal Icons

Musician amping up the crowd for a good show.

These are not in any particular order, but are some of the most talented musicians in the Metal music industry:

Steve Harris

Known for his role in the band Iron Maiden, and is quite possibly the heart and soul of the band for his numerous talents. He was not only their bassist but occasionally on the keyboard and backup vocals. To top it off, he was also more than just the band’s primary songwriter, but the founder of Iron Maiden as well!

He has been credited for being known as one of the best, if not the best bass player in all of heavy metal.

If you’re interested in checking out one of his most amazing songs written for Iron Maiden, simply YouTube “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. The subject matter of the song itself relates to a man condemned to be executed. He cannot understand his fear of death, as he believes his soul will carry on after he is gone. 

Ritchie Blackmore

Ranked number 16 on Guitar World’s “100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of all time”. Ranked 50 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. He is primarily known for his work as a songwriter and guitarist for the Hard Rock/Metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. In 2016 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the original members of the band Deep Purple.

James Hetfield

The singer, songwriter, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the Heavy Metal band, Metallica. He is also credited for being a co-founder of said band. Talented on multiple instruments, drums and bass included, it’s no wonder he deserves much recognition.

Jeff Waters

Born and raised in Canada, Ontario, and founder of band Annihilator. Known for his skills as a lead guitarist, and much appreciated for his fast riffs and solos. On top of that, he was also a songwriter for the band, and multiple times has taken on the role of the lead singer, bass player, producer, and sound engineer! Which is very impressive!

Dave Mustaine

American born musician, singer, and songwriter, who also happens to be an actor and author as well! He is widely known for being a pioneer of Thrash Metal, as Metallica’s former lead guitarist, before he was dismissed from the band. After this, he formed his own band as the frontman of Megadeth.

Ronnie James Dio

American born Heavy Metal singer, songwriter, and musician! He was credited for the founding of several bands, “Elf”, “Rainbow”, “Black Sabbath”, “Dio”, and “Heaven and Hell”. He was also credited for the hand gesture “Metal Horns”.

As far as lyrical content goes, he is known for writing very medieval themes. His vocal range alone was extremely versatile; being able to sing ballads and heavier Rock music. In the span of his career, he sold 47 million albums. He was a very successful artist.

Iconic Metal Songs

When you think about Metal music, or just about any genre of music out there — there’s always a few songs that instantly come to mind. These songs tend to be iconic to their genre and strike a chord with the people of that scene. As you keep reading, we’ll discuss a few iconic songs to the Metal genre and what they’re about!

Image 4 Iconic Metal Songs

Live concert, with a crazy stage setup, performing to a large audience of fans.

Metallica – Master of Puppets

Master of Puppets was their third studio album, written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich Kirk Hammett, and Cliff Burton. In 1986 it was released just about everywhere except for France. It is one of their most famous songs and talks about drugs and drug abuse. “The master is what controls you and your life, pulling the strings.”

The album went on to become Gold almost immediately with 500,000 copies sold in America, and two years later went Platinum, 1,000,000 copies sold.

Lastly, Master of Puppets made history, being the first Metal song to preserved in the National Recording Registry by the United States Library of Congress in 2016, as the song was deemed “culturally, historically and/or aesthetically significant.”

Megadeth – Holy Wars… The Punishment Due

Holy Wars… The Punishment Due was Megadeth’s first song on the 1990 album, “Rust In Peace” written by Dave Mustaine. The lyrics of the song are about global religious conflict, mainly in Israel and Northern Ireland.

Guaranteed to be one of Megadeth’s best songs, it was inspired by a real-life incident from songwriter Dave Mustaine. He nearly influenced a riot while on stage after unintentionally making a “pro-IRA statement” to a large crowd at the Antrim Forum, Northern Ireland 1988.

Whilst this ruffled a few feathers in the crowd and with bandmates, it had inspired one of their greatest songs.

Judas Priest – Painkiller

Painkiller, the first song on Judas Priest’s album also called Painkiller. It was recorded in 1990 and written by, Rob Halford, K. K. Downing, and Glenn Tipton, as a mix of Heavy Metal and Speed Metal.

The song is essentially about the character on the cover art of the album, “Painkiller”. He is a cyborg superhero who saves mankind from destruction.

The song achieved much success as it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1991.

Iron Maiden – The Trooper

A song from English Heavy Metal band, Iron Maiden — written by Steve Harris. It was released in 1983 as the band’s second single from the band’s fourth album.

The song was written about the “Charge of the Light Brigade” at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854. For those who don’t know, the Charge of the Light Brigade was a failed military action that involves light cavalry of the British against Russian forces. However, a miscommunication within the chain of command sealed their fate and the British were forced to retreat, resulting in the Russian’s victory.

Although the song was one of the few to get much radio play within the U.S., it became number 28 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock charts. Furthermore, it achieved much success in the UK, hitting number 12 in the UK Singles Charts!

Black Sabbath – Iron Man

Iron Man, written by Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Terrance Michael Joseph Buttler, and William Thomas Ward. The song was released on their 1970 album Paranoid.

The song is about a man who went to the future and witnesses the apocalypse, however, as he attempts to return home to the present, he is turned to steel by a magnetic storm. He becomes mute and unable to warn people of their impending doom. People mocked the Iron Man, sending him into a rage against mankind, creating the vision of the apocalypse he once witnessed.

After hearing the main riff of the song, Ozzy Osbourne stated that it sounded… “like a big iron bloke walking around”, thus leading to the title of the song becoming “Iron Man”.

Metal Guitar Theory

As previously mentioned, Metal is a form of music that originated from the U.S. and UK Rock and Jazz scenes in the mid to late 1960s. However, while many of us appreciate the power, grittiness and brute force of the genre, many of us don’t know what exactly makes it all come together! As you keep reading, you’ll soon discover the common tendencies that come in most forms of metal music.

Image 5 Metal Guitar Theory

Sheet music, and music theory for Metal musicians


Scales that are commonly used throughout Metal music are the “Pentatonic Minor Scale”, “Blues Scale”, “Natural Minor Scale”, “Phrygian Modal Scale”, “Phrygian Dominant Scale”, and the “Harmonic Minor Scale”.

Now, we’ll go through each one and explain what makes it work!

Pentatonic Minor Scale is a five-note scale used in more than just Metal music, however, it sounds excellent over power chords and minor chord progressions! A lot of guitarists use this scale for their solos, and others use it between guitar licks containing other scales.

Blues Scale is essentially the same as the Pentatonic Minor Scale, however, it does contain one key difference; the additional note! We call this note the “flat five” or “blues note”.

This scale is used throughout Metal music as it adds a nice bluesy feel to solos.

Natural Minor Scale also called the “Aeolian Modal Scale” is rated as “one of the most useful scales in Metal”. It can be used with ease over most minor and power chords.

The Phrygian Modal Scale is another good example of a modal guitar scale. It contains a note a semitone above the root note. This makes it a good scale to shred with minimal chord progression movement.

The Phrygian Dominant Scale is increasing in popularity with Metal guitarists over the years. It gives the solos a very “eastern” sound, making it very distinctive, especially when used to create riffs and melodies in music!


The Harmonic Minor Scale is very useful for Metal musicians to resort to as it gives off a nice “classical sound”.

Time Signatures

When it comes to time signatures used in Metal music, they typically follow the 4/4 time signature, however, some bands have really pushed the envelope and went beyond just a standard 4/4 and played along the lines of 5/4, 5/8… etc.

Fun fact: Dream Theater’s Dance of Eternity changes time signatures 128 times throughout the whole song!


As you’ve already learned, in Metal music we use Power Chords. A power chord is made up of a root and 5th intervals, creating a perfect 5th. Power Chords are also a form of Dyads. Dyads are basically chords made up on 2 – 3 notes.

You can take the standard Metal Chord and convert it into a power chord! There are a couple of ways to do this! One way it is done is by taking the root note of the chord and its 5th interval to create that perfect 5th. You can sharpen it to make it an augmented 5th, or flatten it to make it a diminished 5th.

Another variation of these chords are Major and Minor dyads. These only use two strings, so we exclude the 5th.

Furthermore, there are 6th chords, 9th chords, Major 7th chords — all of which contain no 3rd intervals. Next, we have suspended 4th chords and suspended 2nd chords.

The only thing that really classifies these as “Metal Guitar Chords” is that we’ve cut down the more complete version of these mobile/barre chords to 2, 3, and 4 string chords. This makes it all the more appropriate when playing with high distortion.

Drop Tuning

Drop tuning is a common method for Metal musicians to bring about a different feel to their music. For instance:

  • B Standard has been used by Mick Thompson of SlipKnot – B, F#, B, E, G#, C#
  • C# Standard which contains – C#, F#, B, E, G#, C#
  • D Standard which contains – D, G, C, F, A, D
  • Drop C has been used by Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom – C, G, C, F, A, D
  • Half a step down which has been used by Slayer’s Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman –
    D#, G#, C#, F#, A#, D# 

Picking Techniques

Picking technique is extremely important when it comes to playing Metal appropriately. You would be surprised by the difference it makes to the overall tonal characteristics and the music as a whole, to give it that true Heavy Metal sound.

Image 6 Metal Picking Techniques

Musician picking away on the guitar.

Firstly, we should discuss exactly what type of guitar pick is good for Metal?

It’s important to the overall tone as well — in fact, thicker guitar picks have proven to give you that authentic Heavy Metal tone. It’s recommended that you look to Fender heavies and Dunlop Tortex Standard Picks 1.14mm. However, you might want to experiment with picks of different thicknesses that accommodate your playing style.

Helpful note: For beginners, using one of the two pick models up above are recommended — most musicians in Metal use these types of guitar picks, and therefore if you lose your pick on stage, a helpful friend may lend you one of theirs and it most likely will be one of these!

Standard Metal Picking Techniques

Choking Up On The Guitar Pick – Typically, when a guitarist holds the pick, you’ll find that most of the pick extends beyond the thumb and index fingers, allowing the pick the seamlessly come in contact with the string without interference from your fingers.

In Metal, you’ll want to make sure that you choke up on the guitar pick — by squeezing your fingers against the pick so that a very minimal portion of the pick extends beyond. This allows your fingers to lightly graze the strings as the strings are being picked. What this ultimately produces is more “harmonic overtones” and richer sounds allowing for squealing notes, which is a trait found in a lot of Metal music.

Strumming Technique – You must keep your hand nice and loose, to maintain a proper down-up picking motion. This allows the angle of attack from the guitar pick to flow with a nice strumming motion of your down-up picking.

Picking Chords – Very much like the Metal “Strumming Technique”, you’ll want to relax your hand and keep it nice and loose. Next, you’ll want to let the angle of the attack be perpendicular to the strings in relation to the motion you are picking in (more-so than that of the strumming technique.)

Shredding – Maintain a perpendicular angle of the pick to the strings, keeping it linear without increasing its angle of attack.

For Improving Picking Speed

Most of us want to play fast — but it is pretty common that most of us also happen to play sloppy and ignore that because we can play quickly! Here are some tips to take in about improving your playing if this is you:

Firstly, note that every time you ascend from string to string you should always play with a downstroke, regardless of what notes come before or after.

Secondly, you should note that every time you descend from string to string, always play with an upstroke, regardless of what notes come before or after.

Thirdly, keep in mind, that for notes on the same string, keep alternate picking each note (OR down-up picking if you prefer to call it that).

This whole method of changing strings while keeping an upstroke or downstroke is known as “directional picking”.

The reason this works is because you actually use roughly 30 % less movement to play the same notes which means less movement, means increased guitar picking speed.

The next reason, it helps improve your practice by making you more efficient and build speed faster. This ultimately helps you learn to sweep pick as it contains many of the same motions.

The third reason this works is because directional picking can help you improve your accents and picking articulation. What this means is that accents and picking articulation are achieved by being able to control your general technique. This is achieved by practicing directional picking where accents can land on the upstroke or downstroke.

Lastly, directional picking is much like alternate picking, however, more enhanced. Directional picking does exactly what alternate picking can do, but with none of the setbacks/limitations.

Sweep Picking

Has often been disregarded as a “shredder’s technique”, when in fact the notion of picking a rapid succession of notes, called “sweeping” or “raking” has been around since the very invention of the guitar pick, itself!

It’s pretty amazing that Jazz musicians from the 50s would use this approach in their improvisations! Musicians like Les Paul,  Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, and others have been known for this method. In the late 60s – early 70s Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore was known as a versatile guitarist capable of utilizing this technique, as heard in “April” and “Rainbow – Kill The King”.

How to Sweep Pick

Arpeggios are the root of importance to what makes Sweep Picking possible. It is generally defined as “playing arpeggiated notes through different hand motions”.

There are fast and slow hand motions for sweep picking. You are not simply “strumming” the guitar, but playing each note individually. It’s an important distinction for sweep picking appropriately.

Ascending Arpeggios: You are playing with several downstrokes in a row. This means playing from the lowest note to the highest.

Descending Arpeggios: You are now playing with several upstrokes in a row. Meaning you play from the highest note to the lowest.

The key to making the arpeggios sound proper in the Sweep Picking method lies heavily in the fretting hand motions. Make sure that one note is sounding at a time. This allows you to play more clean.

To make sure one note is sounding at a time, after playing the first note of the arpeggio and moving to the second, the first note should no longer sound or be heard. To achieve this, simply release your finger and then mute the string so it can no longer be heard. Therefore, only the second note should be heard now and so on.

Mastering the Rolling Technique

This occurs when you must play more than one note on the same fret, for instance, a note on the 8th fret of the G string, and a note on the 8th fret right above the G string, (the B string).

Now this method may sound easy, however, it is quite difficult to master in the beginning.

Firstly, you should not think of this as barring chords. With that mindset, you’ll fail at properly rolling the notes. In Sweep Picking, we don’t let the notes sound together, we play them individually.

Secondly, you should practice with distortion on your amplifier to hear whether or not you’re playing sloppily. It’s a common mistake that most guitarists make — to play with a clean tone always. This gives you some feedback as to how clean you’re truly playing. It’s recommended that 80 % of your practice in Sweep Picking be done with distortion, while the remainder be done clean.

Finally, keep yourself nice and loose while doing rolls. Tension is your enemy! Loosen your hands, arms and shoulders. This will ensure that you speed up your playing style.

Now that you have received a good lesson about Sweep Picking…

The exercises you see here, are to develop your sweep picking technique and get you moving from two-string sweeps to four and possibly even five-string sweeps with enough practice!

Image 7 Rolling Technique

More Guitar Techniques 

Tapping is known as a guitar playing technique where you play a fretted string by tapping your finger on the fretboard of said string. This differs from the traditional technique of fretting with one hand and picking with the other. Instead, both hands are on the fretboard. Your picking hand doing the tapping, while your fretting hand is playing the hammer ons and pull offs.

Hammer Ons and Pull Offs can be done anywhere on the fretboard, however, beginners to the guitar should try doing so with an open string. To perform a “Hammer On” you want to quickly press your finger down on the fretboard making the string sound. To perform a “Pull Off”, you simply will just release your finger from the string, to make it sound. If done correctly, the note should resonate.

Harmonics are something not exclusive to Metal music, but widely used throughout many genres of music. Harmonics can be a loaded topic to explain in a nutshell, but to cut to the chase, it’s a series of overtones mixed with the fundamental note.

To achieve a nice sounding harmonic note, you simply play at the 12th, 7th, or 5th frets, as they’re the easiest to make resonate — at any of these locations, on any string lightly place your finger on top of the string and pick it! If done successfully you should hear a pure ringing tone that resonates smoothly. (This may take some practice, but do it enough and you’ll get it down!)

Exercises to Improve Your Metal Playing Style

Metal isn’t necessarily just about playing loud, fast, and having lots of distortion. It’s about playing on time and clean — milking the riffs, and really playing in sync with the band. Most of all, having a good time. I can’t quite tell you what else kills a vibe faster than somebody who doesn’t play properly. To make sure you don’t become that guy, keep on reading! There are plenty of exercises and tips ahead for you to try out, so that you’re not only more dexterous, but also on time.

Image 8
Musician playing a riff high up on the neck of the Stratocaster

Playing With a Metronome

Metronomes are incredible devices to use for enhancing your playing ability. They measure beats per minute (BPM) with every tick you hear. Simply, just play along to the ticking, and keep a mental note that every 4th tick is the end of a bar, should you be playing in 4/4 time. Essentially this allows you to increase and decrease the tempo to your liking so that you can perfect your playing at different speeds!

Regardless of using an authentic metronome crafted from fine wood, or digital, they all work excellently. You can even access some online if you can’t afford one at the moment.

Playing Without a Metronome

This option is better suited for those who either: have no access to a metronome, are trying to get off of using a metronome, or they just don’t believe in them.

The reason why someone might not believe in the use of a metronome, is simply because musical time is much different than metronome time. The thought behind that is because musical time is much more organic and expressive; being vulnerable to mistakes and human error — metronome time will always be perfect and on the beat.

Another reason one might try to get off of using a metronome, is because it tends to be a crutch for most musicians. As a musician trying to perfect their craft, they may want to develop their own inner-clock. (An example is when you see a Blues musician really getting into the music where their whole body sways as they feel every note they play.)

Spider Exercises

These exercises, also referred to as the 1,2,3,4 exercise is useful for developing your own finger dexterity, and should this be done with the aid of a metronome; your timing too.

It’s simply the act of playing on each string, associating 1,2,3,4 to your index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers. Each of these strings acts in coordination to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th frets. As you play 1,2,3,4 on the low E string, you then move up to the A string, 1,2,3,4 and so on!

As this gets easier for you to do, then there are more difficult patterns out there to improve your playing — some with alternating strings!

Modal Scales to Practice

Modal scales are pretty common to hear in Metal music, especially in the licks and riffs. They’ll typically use a portion of the modal scale as some improvised melody that sets it apart from the song.

Below you’ll find each of the modes and the notes that they are comprised of. It’s recommended that you practice each of these scales, and also understand the fundamentals of how they are built up to improve your guitar IQ.

Image 9 Modal Scales

Metal Power Chords

Below is a list of different Power Chords so that you can familiarize yourself with their makeup. Power Chords are so essential to the genre of Metal itself. That’s where a lot of the noise, hardness and brute force come from. Practice each of these chords daily, and hold the chord for a good minute or so before switching. Think of it as a yoga session for your fingers and learning to transition and make different Power Chord progressions.

Image 10 Power Chords

Lastly, it’s important that when you’re practicing, make sure that you play using your thumb pressed to the back of the neck. This ensures that the strings touch only the very tips of your fingers, allowing you to also have more mobility and sound.

Not doing so and having your thumb hover above the neck will make you less mobile and make it more difficult to form chords, play scales… etc.

Top 5 Guitar Brands For Metal

When trying to pursue the art of playing Metal Guitar, you definitely want to make sure you have a guitar that is up to the task! Therefore, here at Beginner Guitar HQ, we have made a list of our top 5 recommendations as to what we believe would be ideal for you!

Image 11 Top 5 Metal Guitar Brands
Row of guitars hung up in a store.

  • Ibanez

Ibanez is without question one of the best guitar brands for Metal. When looking for a guitar that can shred and play some Heavy Rock, you won’t be disappointed when you try on what the Ibanez has in store.

Furthermore, they seem to have something for everyone, from affordable guitars to
their more expensive models, you generally won’t be disappointed in the quality of
what you end up with!

  • Jackson

Known for setting the bar standard for many of the other guitar brands out there, especially for what can be achieved for Metal musicians. It’s become one of the most iconic brands out there, used by many famous bands and musicians alike.

Much like the Ibanez they have begun to chase a more modern feeling in its overall design. Arguably the best guitar brand for metal musicians out there! However, being an owner of one, I have a soft spot for the Ibanez brand.

  • Charvel

Widely known as one of the greatest guitar brands for shredding, since disappearing off the grid in the 80’s they’ve come back! And come back hard they did… 

They have everything you could likely want in the sound quality of a guitar built for shredding, with “all the bells and whistles”, you’ll be able to melt people’s brains with some of the sick stuff that can come out of this beast of a guitar.

  • Gibson

Gibson, easily one of the best brands for electric guitar since… forever!! It’s no surprise to find them here on this list, as they not only have a pleasing sound, but they have an aesthetically pleasing appearance, good for live stage performances.

However, while this brand of guitar is simply amazing for metal and pretty well all genres alike, one thing that doesn’t speak to every musician is “the price!” as they’re some of the most expensive guitars around.


Lastly, in our top 5, would be the ESP-LTD brand for metal. Peaked in popularity during the 1990’s amongst famous metal musicians. It seemed as if it were a fad of the time, as many of these musicians were ditching their beloved, Gibsons, Fenders, and Jacksons for these!

For its time, they were great, but incredibly pricey! Nowadays, they’ve revamped the old vintage models and made them affordable for the average musician! Pretty cool!


Now you should have a pretty fair understanding of what Metal is about, and the steps you need to take in order to start playing some yourself!

Make sure you follow the practice tools above and check out the internal links for further information on these exercises, as this article only covers but the tip of the iceberg. With enough practice, you’ll be making your guitar sing, squeal, and completely shred.

Keep on rockin’!