Heavy Metal Guitar Scale – All You Need to Know

Published: 23rd April 2010
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If you are a fan of heavy metal music, then you must have noticed that most of the songs are played in a very low key manner. This perfectly suits the bill because the mood this conveys is dark and brooding. The most often used heavy metal guitar scale is the pentatonic scale. It is the same scale that is used in blues and in certain types of rock music. This should not be surprising because the roots of heavy metal lie in these music genres.

It can be observed that most metal guitarists use minor pentatonic guitar scale in majority of their performances. This is called pentatonic because it consists of only five notes as against the seven notes of a heptatonic scale. In case of heavy metal guitar, you can learn to play this scale using keys like A, D, E and B. The pentatonic scale is used in various other forms of music including folk music, African music, children's song etc. This just shows how universal music is, and how learning guitar can help you appreciate other forms of music as well.

Most guitar lessons would ideally want you to start by drop tuning your guitar to drop C. There are various variants of metal music and the use of the scales varies slightly from one version to another. Death metal is probably one of the deadliest and the most brutal form of music that ever existed. It is still in experimental form; therefore the rules are also being modified till date. The scales that are used in death metal are more exotic scales like the Spanish scales and minor scales like Phrygian.

One of the most commonly used scales in death music is the Locrian scale. The intervals in this scale create a dark and mysterious feel to the riffs that are being played with this pattern. This is the most important scale that you will need to know when playing death metal guitar music.

The low keys of the pentatonic scale are actually responsible for the deep enamoring sounds that are the hallmark of metal music. Therefore, much of the secret of metal guitar lies in the proper use of the heavy metal guitar scale. If you are just starting out playing heavy metal guitar, you should ideally find out all the information you can get about using pentatonic scale. You can also approach an experienced tutor who could be very useful in helping you learn all these secret guitar tricks.

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