Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from Unit 3 | Inverted Metal

For our final unit we will once again take things up another notch, and teach you two of the most well-known techniques in metal: Drop D tuning & pinched harmonics! Drop D tuning is an extremely easy thing to do, and opens up the world of single finger powerchords, amongst other cool ideas. Add to that a few pinched harmonics to get that metal "squeal", and we're flying! Check out the first video to get started and click here to check out the Materials Section below to access backing tracks and tab!

Lesson 18: Getting Ready

In this lesson, Dion walks you through exactly how to get your guitar in Drop D tuning. We simply lower the E string by a whole tone to get the lowest string to become a D. The quickest and easiest way to do it without a tuner is to play the D string (3rd string) and then tune the low E string to match the sound! Simple as that! It takes a bit of practice, but once you've done it a few times, you'll have it!

Pinching them harmonics...

As well as getting the low E tuned to D, we will work a little on pinched harmonics. This technique really takes time to get accurate, and we'll help you apply it in the next song! The basic principle is to pluck the string with your pick and flesh of your thumb at the same time. It is a feeling you'll get used to as you do it. Follow Dion's solid advice as you work through it!

Lesson 19: Section A

The first thing to note, as we dive into the track, is that we are in a 6/8 time signature. You wouldn't think to associate this signature with metal, as it's prominent in folk or blues, but it does feature heavily and sounds fantastic! The focus of this lesson is to learn the opening riff, including those really cool little legato lines. The smoother we can get this to sound the better, as this is a slightly less aggressive sounding track and needs that fluidity!

D harmonic minor and more...

As you go through the tab, try to identify each note and where it comes from. The overall key is D minor, and you'll find a mixture of the D minor and D harmonic minor (adding the raised 7th in) to create the overall sound of the track. We're not working specifically with scale boxes here, so it is wise to look out for those scale notes as you go through it. As a reference, here are the notes from the D minor scale and D harmonic minor scale:

D Minor Scale

D Harmonic Minor Scale

Lesson 20: Add9 Chords

As we continue through the first section we introduce more and more add9 chords, using a drop D style. An add9 chord is exactly as it says on the tin...We take the basic chord and add the 9th. The 9th is the 2nd degree of the scale, up an octave. In this song, for example, we are using an Fadd9, which is based around the F5 plus the 9th.

Fadd9 Chord

Here is the chord construction for the Fadd9. It's super simple and sounds amazing, especially played using drop D.

Lesson 21: Section B

In section B we kick off with some very cool melodic lines between chords. We are essentially using the progression:

As we roll through each of those chords we introduce some cool lead/rhythm lines based around our D minor scales, once again sticking to that overall key. We still very much outline the chord changes but come back to the basic notes of the key to formulate some cool melodic lines. This breaks up the sound before coming back to that low string "chug" that sounds so huge!

Lesson 22: Putting It Together

For our last lesson of the course, we repeat the same B section, except this time throw in a few cheeky pinched harmonics, and some cool legato lines. At this point we are applying everything we have learnt to this point: Down picking, syncopation, accenting, Phrygian notes, minor notes, powerchords and much more! Follow along with Dion to get the track played through from start to finish, nice and slowly, and then gradually speed it all up.

Materials: Tab & Backing Tracks

Below are the materials for this group of lessons. You'll find the tab and the backing tracks here so you can practice at a comfortable tempo!

The Tab

Backing Tracks

All done?


You've now completed Guitar Skills: Metal Essentials and taken a huge step forwards in your guitar playing journey.

Feel free to bask in glory for a while, or go ahead and try another course if you're hungry for more.