Even if you’re just starting out and learning how to become proficient at playing the guitar, chances are you’ve already picked your favorite genre of music that you hope to get good at one day. After all, you can probably think of at least a few songs that got you into the idea of becoming a guitarist to begin with.
If hard rock and metal are more your style than blues or classical guitar, then you might want to consider getting started with these five awesome metal songs that are great for beginner guitarists. Put in the time and dedication that these classics deserve, and you’ll be well on your way to evolving into the metal guitarist you always aspired to become!
1. Metallica – “For Whom The Bell Tolls”
The lyrics of this well-known Metallica song are based off the Ernest Hemingway novel, also entitled For Whom The Bell Tolls, that was written to describe the intricacies of love, war, life and death. Metallica’s song makes a distinct commentary on war’s futility, and punctuates its somber message with lingering bell-like tones and extremely memorable riffs reminiscent of a soldier’s march.
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” is known for being extremely simple to play despite having such a powerful impact. The intro riff was literally based off of something that Cliff Burton repeatedly played while absentmindedly strumming his guitar and hanging out in a hotel room!
One curveball you might want to watch out for is that the tuning is one quarter step above the standard, so your practice playing won’t ever sound quite like the studio version of the song unless you tune your guitar to match.
2. Deep Purple – “Smoke On The Water”
Ever since 1972 when it was released on Deep Purple’s album Machine Head, this track has drawn beginner guitarists like flies to honey for its simplistic, catchy signature riff. It’s so beginner-friendly, in fact, that it can be played using only one string — really! Once you master that, then you can move on to the version that uses three strings.
More experienced guitarists will often debate over whether this song should be used much during beginner practice sessions since it can become a crutch and other songs that use more strings are bound to help you learn faster.
However, as long as you don’t get complacent, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy this rock favorite alongside your other, more rigorous practice pieces! Just make sure you play several different versions of “Smoke on the Water” in order to push your boundaries and learn as much as possible.
3. AC/DC – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”
AC/DC’s album “Back in Black” was the first album to be recorded after the untimely passing of Bon Scott, and features “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” as its final track. The album was wildly successful, and its final track became world famous for its engaging riffs and defiant message of unyielding pride in the art of rock music.
When you practice “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” for yourself and start to feel comfortable with the piece, then you might want to take a pro tip from Angus Young and try adding a little character to the intro with hybrid picking. Hybrid picking requires you to pick the notes with your fingers and pick at the same time, which creates a distinctly different sound that you can play around with.
This song is a great way to explore your range of expression through the notes while you pay tribute to one of the greatest rock bands of all time, and let’s be honest: There’s nothing better to sing along with while you’re practicing within earshot of the neighbors! You can find great practice resources at Musician Authority.
4. Metallica – “Seek and destroy”
Despite never being released as a single, “Seek and Destroy” was arguably the most famous track off Metallica’s debut studio album Kill ‘Em All. Strongly inspired by tracks from English metal bands Diamond Head and Saxon, this iconic song has been played at nearly every Metallica concert that’s ever been held.
This awesome song’s E minor chords pack a powerful punch and give you the opportunity to practice your speed while still remaining manageable for anyone at a beginner level.
And hey — don’t feel bad about slipping up now and then while you’re practicing this Metallica masterpiece. Kirk Hammett himself has apologized for an odd bend during the solo on the debut album, saying that it was actually a bit of a bum note!
5. Pantera – “Walk”
Featured on Pantera’s sixth studio album, Vulgar Display of Power, the iconic, aggressive song “Walk” has been a landmark for beginning guitarists due to its simplistic riffs and undeniable, pumping heavy metal feel.
Phil Anselmo, lead vocalist of Pantera, explained that the band wrote this song to tell off all the friends who behaved differently towards them and claimed that they’d lost themselves in their fame as rock stars after touring for Cowboys from Hell.
The main opening riff for “Walk” was originally written while Pantera were warming up before a show, which should give you an idea of how easy is to get started. You’ll be playing this riff in a 12/8 time signature with your guitar a quarter step down from standard D tuning.
Above all, have fun with this one! Dimebag’s unique playing style truly shines in all the techniques put into Pantera’s “Walk,” so you’ll have tons of opportunities to get creative and practice giving it your own flair.
While you’re getting started as a beginner guitarist, there’s no getting around the many hours of dedicated practice that it takes to get good. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t also practice easy guitar songs in a style that you love! After all, you’re most likely to keep up your motivation and explore your artistic side as a budding guitarist if you’re working with material that you enjoy.
If you love a good, heavy guitar sound, then these 5 metal songs for beginner guitarists are sure to give you the opportunity to get pumped and have fun while you practice.