This is a very common question, specially among young students; How do I get a metal sound?
Many people start playing guitar, because they hear a super heavy hardcore riff on the radio and it inspires them to become a musician. That’s cool because heavy metal is a fun genre of music that is also a rewarding genre for guitarists. The sound of a hardcore metal guitar is awesome; however getting ‘that’ sound can be difficult.
First let me note that there are many variations in metal sounds depending on the bands style and how heavy they are. Just like any genre of music there are many variations depending on the band or song. Also lead players need a different tone when they are playing.
However there is a basic ‘metal tone’. This is essentially loud and as distorted as you can be. Often it is common in metal to ‘scoop’ the tone. This means that you should put your bass and treble near full and pull your mids back to around 3 or so. The results this can have may vary wildly depending on the kind of amp you have, so experiment with your equipment.
When it comes to your guitar, generally metal guitarists use humbucker pickups. This is because they reduce feedback and give off a warmer fatter sound. For this reason if you find you are having trouble getting a good sound out of your guitar maybe you need to think about whether you have the right kind of pick ups.
So try these ideas if you are having trouble getting the right metal sound. Remember these are only guidelines for you to experiment with. Remember turn your amps up to eleven and rock out.
Another way to get a good metal sound is the use of distortion or effects pedals. This gets into an area that really can’t be covered in the Tech Tips section of this newsletter, but it’s an important topic to talk about. It can’t be covered because guitar sound is very personal, and the ideal sound for one guitarist won’t sound good to others.
Here is one of the most innovative Metal bands with a great and classic metal guitar sound:
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