Skip to main content

How to Play Heavy Metal Guitar Riffs in E Minor

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to play metal guitar riffs in E minor in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


I would like to talk to you about E-minor heavy metal riffs. E-minor is probably the most common key for metal riffs, there are a lot of variations on it. You can sneak in a lot of chords that take it out of the key, but as a foundation, E-minor is probably the most heard, and the most familiar.

The lowest string, obviously, is E, and that makes this a great key for riffing in. You have your E chord. This is a good foundation. Right here, first finger, simple chord, power chord, E, right. So, within this area, you have a lot of possibilities. You can move this around.

Now, it's important to know the E-minor scale in the open position, because that's a really good guide for coming up with riffs in E-minor. So, from the low E string, if you play the scale, you get this. O.K., so if you play those as power chords, you get this.

Alright, you also have these on other sets of strings. You should know the E-minor scale just using the roots of the 6th string. And, also the 5th string. Now, it's really important, you have this position here, on the 7th fret. That, you can trade off with the low E-string.

From there, you can take that anywhere you want to go, and do some combination of sliding, some chugging pattern on the low string. Check it out. So there, all I'm doing is alternating between the low string, the E-chord of the 7th fret, and just moving my way around the scale with these chords, alternating between chords and the low string.

Have some fun with it, and I hope you've enjoyed this lesson on E-minor heavy metal riffs.

Popular Categories