Best Metal Guitar Lessons – 2021 Ultimate Guide

Craig
| Last Updated: April 6, 2021

It’s not so rare to see a metal fan getting interested in playing guitar.

Many guitar legends started their career this way and we can tell you for sure that they would be glad if they had video courses like the one you can find online these days.

Our Top Picks for Metal Guitar Lessons

  • 100+ lessons in this course
  • Speed picking tips
  • Songwriting advices
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  • 30 rhythm and lead lessons
  • Expand playing possibilities
  • Ideal for shred guitarists
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  • 19 advanced guitar lessons
  • Pentanonic workouts
  • Improves musical mindset
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Comparison of the Best Metal Guitar Lessons

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • More than 100 lessons in this course
  • Speed picking tips
  • Advices that will build-up your songwriting skills
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  • 30 lessons from one of the finest world guitarists
  • Covers both rhythm and solo guitar lessons
  • Ideal for shredd guitarists
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  • Best Heavy Metal Guitar Lessons
  • Improve your pentatonic scale phrasing
  • Detailed sweep picking patterns and exercises
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  • Best Death Metal Guitar Lessons
  • Spice up your scales with jazz motifs
  • Drop D tuning practice included
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  • Best Thrash Metal Guitar Lessons
  • String skipping, vibrato and bending exercises
  • Technical and warm-up exercises
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  • Best Solo Guitar Lessons for Metal
  • Advanced rhythm and solo guitar lessons
  • In-depth analysis of backing tracks arranging
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  • Best Metal Guitar Lessons for Beginners
  • More than 30 minutes length per lesson
  • Actively available for live chat sessions at Jamplay
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  • Melodic metal lead guitar build-up
  • Scale correlations explained
  • Additional tabs and audio tracks
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Why Did These Metal Guitar Lessons Make Our List? 

Here are some of the reasons why we picked these lessons among dozens available online:

Detailed Lessons

It’s not always just about the content, it’s how detailed and precise teachers are telling the content. We can assure you that these guys sat down and made a lot of plans before they started shooting these videos and re-arrange the content so that it matches metal music perfectly.

Most courses cover special metal genres in both lead and rhythm parts, and in case it focuses on lead guitars only, you can expect in-depth expertise about many useful aspects you could apply in any situation. It’s not just showing a scale, but also telling you when and how you can use it the best plus many practical advises about overall metal guitar playing. 

Trustworthy Teachers

It’s completely fine to learn from a guitar teacher who is not so famous at the moment. Sometimes they will stretch an extra mile and give you even more content. 

But, these guys from our list have written about metal music history in one way or another, so if “CV” is important to you, they have a lot of credit beneath the words they’re saying.

Field Experience Included

It’s not just about learning how to play - if you play with them you can be sure that you will get that extremely valuable field advice that will make a difference to your studio or live performance and sometimes it’s much more important than the lesson itself.

Review of the Best Metal Guitar Lessons

Let's take a look at this year's top picks.

PROS

  • Speed picking tips
  • Various lead guitar exercises
  • More than 100 lessons in this course
  • Advices that will build-up your songwriting skills
  • Content suitable for both beginners and advanced players

CONS

  • Subscription might be a bit expensive
  • No additional metal content available on this platform

Teacher Bio

Paul Gilbert taught so many modern guitarists how to play, including some guys from our list (Buckethead).

Incredibly versatile, fluent in various genres, and with teaching experience since 1985 including his own section in the Total Guitar magazine makes him one of the best persons who could give you a word about metal guitars.

Why It Stands Out to Us

While the course name is Rock guitar, if you know anything about Paul Gilbert, he’s always been so much more than that. Scales, hand positioning, picking, bending, controlling your instrument -  everything is included.

The best part about this course is how detailed it is. Paul provided you with more than a hundred lessons organized and there’s even an option to send him video submissions or even watch submissions and answers from other people as well.

Who Are These Best For?

In most circumstances, metal guitars are about speed, and Paul Gilbert has it. All kinds of metal guitarists can learn a lot from this course and the whole course is split into three skill levels so you won’t get overwhelmed.

Bottom Line

If you are serious about taking your guitar playing to the next level this guitar course is a must-have for your next year's progress. Whether it’s about rhythm or solo or some handy trick you wouldn’t even think about it, Paul Gilbert has it all covered.

PROS

  • In-depth analysis of his songs
  • Covers both rhythm and solo guitar lessons
  • High quality video content with multiple cameras
  • 30 lessons from one of the best metal guitar players
  • Ideal course for expanding your playing possibilities

CONS

  • Requires advanced playing skills
  • Course could be a bit less song-oriented

Teacher Bio

Tony MacAlpine is an American solo multi-instrumentalist that has worked with so many bands and artists since 1984. Steve Vai, Planet X, Ring of Fire, CAB - these are just some of the bands he enrolled. He’s most famous for progressive metal and neoclassical guitar style approach but also incorporates various elements of blues, jazz, and fusion. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

Many metal guitar players tend to ignore the musical content outside of the metal world. Tony is well known for not making such mistakes. By taking this course, you will understand how it can be fruitful to your playing style.

You will get the first-hand experience of how true professionals think while performing and also get some advice on how to overcome various technical difficulties you may encounter as you work on your playing skills.

Who Are These Best For?

This course is ideal for advanced guitar players who are looking to improve their playing technique in general. People who are into progressive metal and instrumental rock and metal music, in general, will adore this content.

Bottom Line

Playing interesting lead tracks seems to be very easy until you try it. It can take a lot of time until you build your own style, so courses like the one Tony MacAlpine did can make a significant difference to your playing mindset.

Best Heavy Metal Guitar Lessons:
JamPlay Bumblefoot Artist Series

PROS

  • 19 advanced lead guitar lessons
  • Builds-up “out of the box” thinking
  • Improve your pentatonic scale phrasing
  • Detailed sweep picking patterns and exercises
  • Practical advice that will improve your musical mindset

CONS

  • Rhythm guitar lessons are missing
  • Oriented towards advanced players

Teacher Bio

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is an American musician and producer who is probably best known for his work with Guns N’ Roses from 2006 to 2014 and a supergroup called Sons of Apollo. He has been featured on the cover of many guitar magazines and you can easily notice him on stage as he plays double-neck guitars.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Every skilled guitarist can record a video explaining how to do it, but only a few focus on the advice that may help in the long run - explaining how playing in a band works, why mastering a rhythm is important, and showing you how to think outside of the box when scales come in place.

It was not meant to be easy and we like the fact it challenges your skills through all lessons.

Who Are These Best For?

These lessons should fit the intermediate players interested in mastering their lead guitar playing. The terms and approach used in this video require that you already have certain guitar playing skills and this course should bring your lead playing forward.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a course that will show you some unorthodox tips, scales, and exercises, Ron Thal's lessons should be a great choice. This course is one of the best ways to understand how mastering the basics can push your overall skills forward.

Best Death Metal Guitar Lessons:
JamPlay Emil Werstler Artist Series

PROS

  • Extensive 46 lessons
  • Advanced warm-up exercises
  • Drop D tuning practice included
  • Tips on how to spice up your scales with jazz motifs
  • Detailed practical playing and performing advices included

CONS

  • Might be too much lead guitar-oriented
  • Advanced players will skip lessons to get to the point

Teacher Bio

Emil Werstler is an American musician and educator that combines metal music with fragments of gypsy jazz. He’s probably best known for his work with the band Dååth. Besides his musical career, he’s holding guitar clinics all across the USA and he’s also a contributing columnist for Premier Guitar.

Why It Stands Out to Us 

With 46 lessons available with dozens longer than 20 minutes it’s one of the most detailed courses available at the moment.

During this course, you may learn some unusual skills and approaches and also learn how to enhance your pentatonic scale playing and how to use chords to build an original lead melody.

We also appreciate that Emil provided you with several interview lessons where you will understand the challenges of live performance better.

Who Are These Best For?

It’s ideal for those who would like to get more into the modern guitarist mindset instead of the traditional heavy metal approach. Lessons are best suited for players who know how to play but aren’t that close to pro-level yet.

Bottom Line

If you’re struggling with how to make your death metal songs less repetitive, Emil Werstler’s tips can spice up your playing. It will remain brutal, just as the genre demands, but it will also get a specific vibe that will make your songs distinctive.

Best Thrash Metal Guitar Lessons:
JamPlay Lessons with Steve Smyth

PROS

  • Various arpeggio advices
  • Build your vibrato and bending
  • Technical and warm-up exercises
  • String skipping technique explained to the detail
  • 8 lessons of lead guitars suitable to thrash metal sound

CONS

  • Rhythm guitar playing is not covered so well
  • Whole course could be a bit longer and detailed

Teacher Bio

Steve Smyth is a famous American metal guitarist best known for his work on Testament albums and a hidden-gem of heavy metal guitar playing that is a must-have experience for any guitar player, Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor. 

Besides Jamplay, he has teaching experience as a member of the London Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The ‘80s and ’90s were the best years for thrash metal music. That’s why we believe that guys who were making music then have a lead when we talk about lessons as they have a lot of experience which makes a real difference for thrash metal guitar playing.

On top of that, Steve’s playing always had a bit of melodic edge that can make a difference to your songs a lot.

Who Are These Best For?

Thrash metal guys who would love to expand their lead playing skills will love this course and we would gladly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about lead guitar playing.

Bottom Line

If you want to learn the “thrash metal ropes” for lead guitar, this course should get you there faster than any other. It’s the best way to learn how to adapt arpeggios, string skipping, and other techniques to the thrash metal genre.

Best Solo Guitar Lessons for Metal:
JamPlay Glen Drover Artist Series

PROS

  • Drop tuning lessons included
  • Excellent rhythm guitar lessons
  • 27 lessons filmed with 6 cameras
  • Backing tracks arranging in-depth analysis
  • Advanced lead guitar techniques lessons included

CONS

  • Not so interesting for modern metal fans
  • Very demanding course in terms of playing skills required

Teacher Bio

Glen Drover is a Canadian progressive metal musician and audio engineer with more than 40 years of playing experience. He is best known for being the lead guitarist of Megadeth and King Diamond. He’s been on the road since 1994 with his band Eidolon and is worldwide acclaimed for lead guitar technical abilities.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Glen Drover is covering some technically demanding skills through this course. He even explains the tricks of using some drop-tunings, shows you how to utilize the whole fretboard, and improves your fret hand movement along with some synchronizing exercises for both hands.

Besides speed building, this is one of those courses that will build your rhythm guitar mindset too, especially for building some catchy and interesting rhythm melodies.

Who Are These Best For?

This course will be very useful for experienced players regardless of their favorite metal genre. Even professional players can learn something new from it. It’s the best choice for those who want to master the technical parts of guitar playing.

Bottom Line

This is a must-have course for all guitarists who want to learn advanced solo playing skills. It’s hard, very demanding, but worth your time.

If you think you have watched all the solo videos out there, check this course.

Best Metal Guitar Lessons for Beginners:
JamPlay Metal with Dennis Hodges

PROS

  • Rhythm and timing exercises
  • 11 lessons about metal basics
  • Essential playing technique concept explained
  • Actively available for live chat sessions at Jamplay
  • Detailed content with more than 30 minute length per lesson

CONS

  • Oriented towards beginners mostly
  • Focus is too much on a rhythm guitar

Teacher Bio

American jazz guitarist Dennis Hodges played with several professional organizations such as Columbus Jazz Orchestra, shared the stage with various famous musicians such as Kate Baldwin and Christian Howes, and has been teaching guitar playing since 2003. He’s very famous for his approach to implementing jazz aspects into heavy metal music.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Most metal courses on Jamplay are focused on pro players so you will be glad to take Dennis’s course first instead. He has chosen to pick long and detailed lessons about the metal basics and essential techniques with exercises for both left and right hand individually.

If you like his teaching approach, you should know that he’s holding live chats at Jamplay regularly so you can get the answers straight from the source.

Who Are These Best For?

This course was designed for beginners, who haven’t mastered rhythm guitar playing yet and all those who would like to polish their skills to perfection. Advice and techniques provided within this course will fit any metal genre.

Bottom Line

We can remember how boring and demanding the first months of guitar playing can be, especially if you want to play metal guitars. But don’t worry - everyone has to start sometimes and Dennis course may aid you very well.

PROS

  • Handing guitar tricks shown
  • Build up your lead guitar playing
  • 30 lessons of pure melodic metal
  • Additional tabs and audio tracks available
  • Scale lessons and correlation between them included

CONS

  • Not so demanding for skilled players
  • Some lessons could be more detailed and longer

Teacher Bio

JD McGibney is a professional shred guitarist from New York that has been active in the music industry since 2014. He’s one of the most responsive Jamplay teachers at the moment and one of the most active staff in terms of live Q&A sessions.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Heavy metal is not just about playing fast and loud. Not so long ago melody was the key feature and this course will help you understand how classical music got combined with the hard rock origins and created the neoclassical metal music genre.

If you have any holes in your music theory knowledge, this course will be the best choice to explain scales in detail and how to use them in metal genres.

Who Are These Best For?

These are meant for younger players who know how to play but are far from being professional. McGibney's teaching approach is different with a bit of a more warm and friendly vibe so you may have a lot of fun watching his lessons.

Bottom Line

While it’s not at its prime anymore, melodic metal still has a huge fanbase and different guitar approach. This course will explain the key aspects of what makes this genre so unique in the heavy metal world, especially regarding lead guitar parts.

What Can I Expect From Taking Metal Guitar Lessons Online? 

In short - these lessons can make you become a metal guitarist from scratch. But, let’s break it down for you.

Metal guitars are extremely demanding whether it’s about speed or technique. The same goes if you want to play riffs or lead parts. And to be honest, creating the right guitar sound that goes with your playing style is probably the most demanding part.

Metal guitar online lessons will provide you with various content explaining to you the differences between playing styles, whether it’s about alternate picking, tapping, legato, arpeggio, or other playing techniques.

Besides showing how to play it they will try to explain to you why you should play it - you can expect to improve your knowledge about how scales are formed, what’s the difference between pentatonic and ionian scales, or how you can play arpeggios for example.

Some lessons are completely dedicated to practical advice only. Instead of learning something specific, you will be getting advice that could make an impact to your guitar mindset a lot and it may help you overcome specific problems you have in your playing.

All these topics are organized in individual sections so you can access them based on the topic name whenever you need them.

Can You Really Learn to Play Metal Guitar Online? 

It may sound odd that something can be learned online, but, yes - if you’re persistent enough and dedicated to the cause, these lessons can give you enough content to master metal guitar playing. Don’t get fooled, it’s not going to happen overnight, but with these lessons, you won’t need additional lessons at all.

This goes especially for Jamplay as they allow you to send a question to the teacher regarding some problems you have noticed in your playing and get the answer about it. Other websites allow you to send video files to their teachers and get real feedback about their progress.

Types of Metal Guitar Lessons 

Here are some of the most typical guitar lessons you can find on websites:

Classic (Standard) Lessons

These lessons are pretty much the core of every website. They can either teach you theory or practice with you, so they are the most important type of guitar lessons and somewhat mandatory if you want to learn how to play the guitar properly.

Song Lessons

Instead of learning theory, you can apply it in real-life situations. Song lessons will allow you to learn how to play specific songs and it’s the least creative part of all guitar lessons as you’re only learning how to reproduce songs that already exist.

Master Courses

Websites like ArtistsWorks and Jamplay have enough resources so they can invite real guitar legends to participate on their website. These players always put a bit more than just a simple “how-to” course, so you may have real fun.

Artist Studies

Other websites such as GuitarTricks approach the whole thing differently. 

Instead of courses being held by famous guitarists, they have decided to analyze their playing thoroughly and provide lessons where their teachers explain how and why some famous musician decided to play it that way.

Final Word

Learning how to play metal on a guitar has never been easier and instead of paying for a dozen guitar classes privately for about 1 hour per session, you can get access to complete content for a year-long that can be yours 24 hours every day.

Recap: Best Metal Guitar Lessons

Before you head out, here's a quick wrap-up of the best metal guitar lessons:

  1.  Artist Works Guitar Lessons with Paul Gilbert
  2.  JamPlay Tony MacAlpine Master Course
  3.  JamPlay Bumblefoot Artist Series

People Also Ask

Now, let’s review some of the most frequent questions we’ve got about metal guitar playing. 

Here we will explain to you what’s the catch about 7-string guitar, what shredding, arpeggio, and alternate picking means, and how to perform some advanced playing techniques such as pinch harmonics:

How Do You Play a 7-String Guitar?

The 7-string guitar is a very popular instrument among modern metal fans. It provides you with the additional string right next to the low E string and it allows you to play even lower to the B note and get a heavier and more aggressive guitar sound.

What is Guitar Shredding?

Guitar shredding is a playing style that got popular during the ‘80s. It includes a fast, technically incredibly demanding solo guitar playing mixing techniques such as legato, tapping, arpeggios, alternate picking together.

Extreme - He Man Woman Hater is probably the best example of shred guitar playing:

What Does Arpeggio Mean in Guitar?

Arpeggio means a broken chord - this means you’re playing chord notes one by one. Arpeggio in metal music is a very handy technique to play the melodies extremely fast following the song chord progression and there are almost infinite ways to play those notes together. 

How Do I Tune My Guitar To Drop D?

Some modern metal songs have used drop D tuning to deliver heavier sound without using 7-string guitars. Drop D tuning is simply a standard guitar tuning where you tune the low E a tone lower to the D while leaving all the strings in the standard E tuning.

What is Alternate Picking?

If you want to play fast, you have to master this picking.

Alternate picking is a fundamental technique for metal guitar playing. It allows you to play twice as fast because you’re picking a string in a down and up pattern instead of picking the string downwards only. 

Photo credit: premierguitar.com

How Do You Pinch a Harmonic Electric Guitar?

Pinch Harmonics are performed by the thumb of the picking hand and it’s relative to the fret you’re playing so it requires a little bit of practice to get it right every time. It provides that sharp overtone that sounds so unique when combined with the overdriven or distorted sound.

Do Online Guitar Companies Offer a Free Trial?

Online Guitar Companies are a bit biased on free trial options and offer free samples instead. Jamplay and ArtistWorks don’t provide you with a free trial at all, but at least Jamplay offers a 30-day money-back period upon registering. As for ArtistWorks, they don’t provide any refund at all.

How Much Are Metal Guitar Lessons?

Most websites work on a monthly or annual subscription method these days, offering you the whole database for a specific amount of time. With that being said, monthly memberships are starting from $9.99 up to $29.99 with a significant discount if you decide to apply for annual membership instead.

How Old Do You Need to Be To Take Online Metal Guitar Lessons?

Generally speaking, metal Guitar lessons are technically demanding, so we find that courses won’t be so suitable for younger kids because of the terms used during lessons and playing skills required. We wouldn’t advise these lessons to pre-teens and even younger teens could struggle in the beginning.

Craig

Hi there, my name is Craig. I took over Gear Savvy in mid-2019 and have had a blast writing content about music ever since. My role here is to steer the ship and ensure readers have the best information available for learning a thing or two. When I’m not working on content, I’m a husband and a dad. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, or messing around in my woodshop.