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feetunderwarpath 2005-06-29 22:08

Death Metal scale
Anyone know a good scale to play death metal in? I haven't memorizd my scales but I know how to find them once you give me the name. If you tell me a specific mode please telll exactly what notes to flat (I have not come close to memorizing my modes yet). Sorry if there is already a thread like this, I did a search and didn't find one.

John Holland 2005-06-30 01:13

Death metal is largely atonal ( although not an entirely correct description ), as I see it.

davie_gravy 2005-06-30 02:27

Necrophagist and many others like the diminished bastard....

It's 1,2,b3,4,b5,b6,6,7

Here's the Whole Tone Diminished Scale In E E|---------------------------------------------0--2--3 B|------------------------------------1--2--4--------- G|---------------------------0--2--3------------------ D|------------------1--2--4--------------------------- A|---------0--1--3------------------------------------ E|0--2--3---------------------------------------------

Diminished arpeggios/sweeps are the sickest!

John Holland 2005-06-30 02:42

Originally Posted by davie_gravy
Necrophagist and many others like the diminished bastard....

For solos and leads, death metal guitarists often do employ the diminished scale, as well as the harmonic minor. And if you ever run out of ideas, just start ripping minor triads across the neck ;)

But as far as riffs, few bands assume any sort of scale.

crispykid 2005-06-30 09:41

actually most bands used diminished scales and whole tone scales for tremelo riffs too.

h4x5k8 2005-06-30 10:12

Wow i was just thinking about this the other day, i always wondered what scale was popular to solo/riff in dm. Thanks for the good thread and good info :beer:

Brutur 2005-06-30 15:00

In DM many diffrent scales are used!

*Death metal is largely atonal ( although not an entirely correct description ), as I see it.*
this is not quite true.... behind every riff there is some kind of musical basis.... even if the artists are not aware of this..... you could basically write down any shit and you will be still able to relate it to music theory...

anyways.... often the Phrygian mode is used: 1/2 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1/2 , 1
For example in C Major/A Minor, the Phrygian mode is on E. So the notes would be: E F G A B C D
If you play a solo in phrygian or base a riff on the phrygian mode, you always have to start on the root note E and in some cases end on the root note E.

Aeolian Mode is also often used in DM
1 , 1/2 , 1 , 1 , 1/2 , 1
in C Major /A Minor the root note of the Aeolian mode is A.
the notes : A B C D E F G

Locrian Mode, the mode I use the most when I compose a DM song.
1/2 , 1 , 1 , 1/2 , 1 , 1
The root note in C Major/A minor is B
notes: B C D E F G A

Also nice for Solos is the K Scale
1/2 , 2 , 1 , 1/2
So in C the notes would be: C C# F G G#

brainsforbreakfast 2005-06-30 15:48

Anti-music is still music...

active corpse fucker 2005-06-30 15:50

Minor scales are used quite often. Arch enemy i know play solo's generally in e or d minor.
Modes to use would be Dorian (jazz or rock minor), Aeolian (Relative and Natural minor) and Locrian (diminished) for a more darker death metal solo.

k13m 2005-06-30 16:41

hate eternal uses this scale a lot.
maybe not a scale but this pattern shows up al the time


and then all over the fretboard ofcuz



its rilli easy to harmonize aswell :D

John Holland 2005-06-30 17:46

It figures that I would be incorrect, I don't really know any scales :p

Kalmahswamp 2005-06-30 20:18

I was tabbing "Only Ash Remains" by Necrophagist and noticed they use a G Minor scale a lot.

Harmonic majors and minors sound good with a lot of metal songs. As do the Aeolian, Ionian, and Phrygian modes.

feetunderwarpath 2005-06-30 21:31

thanks for the help. one quick question, what do you need to do to a scale to make it minor. Stupid question, I know I'll laugh at myself for not realizing it, I probably used to know but right now I have no fucking idea what's going on.

k13m 2005-07-01 02:39

Originally Posted by feetunderwarpath
thanks for the help. one quick question, what do you need to do to a scale to make it minor. Stupid question, I know I'll laugh at myself for not realizing it, I probably used to know but right now I have no fucking idea what's going on.
if im right...

take a major scale, and if u change the 3rd note a half step it becomes a minor scale.

not sure though (this is what i think i remember from guitarlessons)

active corpse fucker 2005-07-01 06:55

feetunderwarpath best way to learn differences between major and minor scales is by doing the scale on one string:

A major

A|-0-2-4-5-7-9-11-12 So the rule for major is TTSTTTS

A Minor

A|-0-2-3-5-7-8-10-12 So the rule for minor is TSTTSTT

T = Tone (two frets)
s = semi tone (1 fret)

All you have to do is find a the root of the note that you want to play in the scale, whether you want it to be major or minor and then play it on the string. I just used an open A as it is an easy example to show what I mean. After learning it on one string you can then find out what the corresponding notes are in the scale for the rest of the strings.

A harmonic minor is the same as the minor scale but the 7th note in the scale is sharpened.

In A minor the notes are :A B C D E F G A(octave)

In A harmonic minor the are : A B C D E F G# A(octave)

I hope i haven't confused you more and that it helps in some way :beer:

powersofterror 2005-07-01 15:54

Whole tone. No, wait, come to think of it, most death metal guitarists didn't learn theory until a few years ago when the technical metal bands started it up. So they played dumbass shit that happened to sound really cool. With that in mind, death metal doesn't use a 1 scale, that's fucking dumb. Death metal uses every scale.

DamageFan6984 2005-07-01 21:50

Like powers said... you can use any scale to write death metal, it's just the way the music writer writes thats makes it sound a certain way.:guitar:

Inhalant 2005-07-02 15:48

what powers said...just use a lot of chromatics (half steps) and that flatted fifth...(errr...diminished, its just not called diminished)


tchambliss 2005-07-07 23:06

For Death Metal the whole scale sound I would combine. . . Natural Major and Natural Minor together a lot. . . 10 tones to play with(ex: A- B- C- C#- D- E- F- F#- G- G#-A). . . Incorporate Diminished. . . or stack Natural minor and Hungarian(same as Harmonic with an augmented 4th) or Harmonic minor(same as natural with an Augmented Seventh). . . This may seem stupid but it helps a bit. . . now lets see. . . chordally I'd use Inversion as much as possible but not constantly, and the root 5th seems to be very attractive in that style. . . hope this helps but like a lot of people have said you can make sure to use as much of Chromatic runs that you want. . . . then switch scales or resume the old one. . . . It's more or less a practice and find a sound and less or a theorhetical procedure but make sure you don't lose your own style and shit. Take it easy. . .

davie_gravy 2005-07-08 01:41


Good post! Loads of info, thanks for sharing....

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