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Thread: Death metal question

  1. #1
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    Death metal question

    I don't really know how many people on here dabbled in the death/grind region of the metal genre, but I had a question.

    I am having a difficult time finding any scale to fit into death metal. Alot of the stuff I/we (the other guitarist) doesn't really fit into a standard key, more along the lines of key centers (similar to jazz). I find diminished scales feasable, but since the key is "floating" they just don't sound right. I was wondering if anyone here that listened to death metal had a good suggestion, or if even a jazz/fusion artist had an idea of how to go about this.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    guitarded guitarded's Avatar
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    im in a similar situation as you are. i am also in a death metal band and the other guitarist doesnt know much music theory and kind of just plays random stuff. if your using drop tuning i suggest using d minor or g minor scale. i find g minor sounds pretty evil because you get to bar that first fret making the open sound heavier. dont be afraid to to throw in chromatic stuff either. oh and if you mean that hes playing the same pattern of notes then raising or dropping a few frets and playing it again try doing the same thing hes doing but playing 3 notes up in the scale. i hope this helps you.
    Last edited by guitarded; 11-22-2005 at 09:10 AM.
    Everythings music to someone.

  3. #3
    Try harmonic minor

  4. #4
    Headbang Master Slaindude's Avatar
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    Try inventing new patterns, new scales (although you would surely fall into an already existing scales cause there are so much of them). That's the best way i found out to play something metal, something more evilish, more brutal. Playing some chromatics helps a lot, try any scale and add some. Try out some egyptian scale which are very popular among some bands like nile, behemoth, etc... try also the diminished scale, harmonic minor scale. But what i suggest you the most is to pick up a root note, and find pattern or little sequence of note that sounds good to your ear. Make a scale out of it or find a scale that would fit into your progression and jam with it.

    Not much of an advice but that's really all you need.

  5. #5
    I, Galactus oRg's Avatar
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    Well really death metal uses all the scales. It's just depends on how you look at it. I've listened to some Necrophagist tracks that have used the regular major/minor, then switched to Phrygian Dominant, then went into Augmented. It just depends on what kind of mood you want the song to be in. I believe "Conquer All" by Behemoth is in the Diminished scale (don't quote me on this). In Flames (considered Melodic Death Metal), uses alot of major/minor. You'll even find some pentatonic scales in older black metal circa Burzum. The only thing I can recommend is checking out some death metal tabs and just recreating the scale they used.
    v2sw3CUhw6ln3pr6OFck3ma9u6Lw3Xm6l6Ui2Ne5t5TSFDAb8T DOen7g6RZATHCMHPa21s6MSr53Dp3hackerkey

  6. #6
    Metal Is My Middle Name Ragman's Avatar
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    Hey there, im in a metal band (www.myspace.com/theblesseddeception) we use all sorts of scales, but a lot of times we just play something and dont bother about keys or scales, riff after riff is usually different scale and key then the one before it, we mix it up but we try and make it sound good, and it does, to us at least. basically mess with the minor/diminished/harmonic minor and a lot of stuff we dont even know by name, basically you dont have to say to yourself.. 'this doesnt sound right because i cant tell what key or scale im using for it' sometimes thats the best thing, its whatever sounds good to you. basically when we get into the solo areas of the songs we usually go for a set scale and key so that the solo can be written to it and sound good, but recently we've been experimenting more with those parts.
    Last edited by Ragman; 11-22-2005 at 07:51 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks. I have been sticking with harminic/dimisnish/natural minors, but was just curious.

  8. #8
    Headbang Master Slaindude's Avatar
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    Maybe you could post a powertab or a mp3 of a riff that you play that you dont find very "metal" or just dont fit the mood you want, to give us an idea.

  9. #9
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    Well, its not thats the riffs aren't "metal", and i wasn't have difficulty in an extreme sense. But I was just wondering if there was an easier way to go about the tonalities involved. I was using harmonic/diminished/natural minors, but thought I could get a couple of suggestions.

  10. #10
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    What the other members have told you is valid advice. If the tonality seems to "float" then the logical thing for you to do is to "float" with it. I played in a Black Metal band in late 2001 early 2002 (basically the same thing as Death Metal, except with different lyrical approach) and the rhythm guitarist didn't know any theory so he'd just come up with stuff; when I (and outsider to the genre at that time) would categorize the riff and find "the perfect scale" the guys would say that it didn't sound "evil enough" or that I was soloing too much like melodic metal. Funny thing is the guys were right (in spite of my ego) I was playing appropriate scales in a theoretical point of view but my solos did not fit the idiom (even though I thought they sounded good). So I went home and listened to a whole bunch of Black Metal, and I got a good grip on the idiom. I ended up deciding that it wasn't my cup of tea and leaving the band. But at least I can say I tried it.

    In short: LISTEN to a lot of music (whatever the genre you want to learn). You can analyze the heck out of a piece or a song but no matter how hard you try: YOU CAN'T PLAY WHAT YOU CAN'T HEAR. So listen and ideas will come.

    I hope this helps,
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by forgottenking2

    In short: LISTEN to a lot of music (whatever the genre you want to learn). You can analyze the heck out of a piece or a song but no matter how hard you try: YOU CAN'T PLAY WHAT YOU CAN'T HEAR. So listen and ideas will come.

    I hope this helps,
    Unless you're Beethoven.

    With very discordant metal it's hard to find a scale to solo with sometimes, but chromatics usually work, or work out a scale from the chords (really strange chords will only yield a few common notes) and then add chromatics passing tones around those to find a good solo scale.

  12. #12
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-0
    Unless you're Beethoven.
    Alright, alright, you got me there But hey, every rule has exceptions
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  13. #13
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    Good call on Beethoven there. Well done!

    What scales you might play depend on the chords, regardless of the genre or style of music. If, however, you're playing mostly one chord in your riffs, minor scales seem to generally work better for death metal than majors. If you're using chromatics in your riffs, then you could try to work solos using some of those very notes.

    My two cents would be to focus on paying attention to the chords and try to play notes and scales for each chord that sound good to you. Your solos will fit the songs much better and it'll give an explosive boost to your ability as a player.

    If, however, you insist on just playing long scales over the riffs, I believe someone had already mentioned harmonic minor.

    Happy shredding.

    Pedro Fernandez onebigeye.org

  14. #14
    guitarded guitarded's Avatar
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    also the egyptian scale sounds pretty heavy. if u were to play it on one string ascending it would go 0-1-4-5-7-8-11-12.
    Everythings music to someone.

  15. #15
    Commander Cool ThirteenthHour's Avatar
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    If you use dropped C tuning, try C minor. More of a melodic sound, but i use it and it does work! Even just for one song, it drags those that arent into death into listening and enjoying more too because of the melodic centre. use semitones too, good evil sound.

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