A Guide to the Different Types of Heavy Metal Guitar

Even though heavy metal is very distinctive as a genre of music, it is known for having a number of sub-genres. In particular, a lot of these sub-genres are differentiated by the way the guitar is played in them.

As you learn to play heavy metal guitar, it can be quite entertaining for you to explore all these elements. Given below are a few of the different genres you could explore:

Classic metal

This was the first kind of metal music. Bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, etc. were the ones who helped define the genre as a separate type of music. Even though it has been influenced greatly by psychedelic rock and blues, early heavy metal was defined mainly by the distorted sounds of guitars, heavy vocals, gruff, and complex guitar work. It is a terrific genre for students to explore, and there are a number of popular classical songs for you to choose from.


The main element here is speed. It is known for being really fast paced and shouldn’t be the first choice for a beginner. Bands like Megadeth, Metallica, and Testament are good examples of this genre of metal.

Extreme metal

This is a combination of all the non-traditional metal styles like black metal, death metal, etc. All metal elements see exaggerations in their music. It may be slow and dirge-like or highly distorted. It may not be for everyone, but you can find some great musicianship here too.

Power metal

Even though it has its origins in heavy metal, it now has a distinct sound of its own. A lot of elements are different from the guitar as well as high pitched vocals, fantasy lyrics, and double bass drumming. But there is a lot on offer for guitar players. So give it a go if you’re interested.