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Many people all over the world find that listiening to Heavy Metal music offers them the opportunity to release aggression in a controlled, enjoyable safe and entertaining manner. The guy who runs this site is a fan of Heavy Metal Music as well as a Heavy Metal Musician of an undetermined skill level.

MY PATH TO HEAVY METAL: I was born and raised in a very Roman Catholic household, very sheltered from the world around me. I was instilled with a profound sense of music and rythym at a very young age. (Late 60's to early 70's) But, the music I was exposed to was very strictly regulated by my mother and thus only the most squeaky clean music music ever entered my ears. Lots of Disney Movie soundtracks and eventually Donny & Marie Osmond music.

But all along the way, I always desired to hear stronger music. My favorite songs always seemed to be those which were stronger than the others. One song in particular was a song called Carzy Horses by The Osmond's which I played over and over because it was the strongest sounding song I could find. My musicall attention would continuously shift acording to wherever I discovered harder, stronger music being played.

Then, as I got older (late 70's) and was able to get my hands on portable radios, I found myself scanning the dial for stations that played stronger music than what I had heard previously. I remember hearing bands like Aerosmith, AC/DC, Ted Nugent and Pink Floyd. My mom put up a lot of resistance but the first record I ever bought was DESTROYER by KISS and Kiss became my favorite band during the late 70's.

My sheltered life continued and my favorite band in the 1980's was Twisted Sister and I loved all the big hair bands of the 80's. Keep in mind that my only source of hard rock was whatever they played on the mainstream rock radio stations. Unknown to me at the time, harder rock music was available but only through underground sources which I didn't know existed. Oddly enough, it was also during this same time frame that I tried and failed numerous times to start a christian rock band.

Finally, at some point in the late 80's, a band whose name I had known for many years, a band who was said to play such hard rock music that no radio station would play their music, and also a band whose music I had never even heard so much as one of their songs, actually got one of their songs played on the mainstream radio station I listed to. That was the day I heard the song "ONE" by METALLICA and became a Metallica fan on the spot.

In the 1990's I found myself in the Army and continued to find myself living near the Appalachian mountains and still largely sheltered from the world to a certain degree. It was during that time where I was exposed to Country music and discovered that I like that too. In the late 1990's, I found myself working at a very small and very old radio station that specialized in really old Country music, Bluegrass and Gospel. That experience and exposure to a group called The Schankman Twins made me a fan of Bluegrass as well as hard rock.

Now, in the 21st Century, I am no longer restricted to the mainstream radio stations and I have easy access to all sorts of music. I now find myself trying to play catch-up to discover and experience as much Heavy Metal music as I can. Not the big hair band stuff from the 80's but instead, all the good stuff I never had an opportunity to discover previously. To illustrate how much music I need to get caught up on, as of 2011 I am discovering bands like As I Lay Dying and Slayer at the same time. How crazy is that?

HOW I BECAME A FAN OF MEGADETH: In the late 1990's I had heard some Megadeth here and there and eventually decided to buy a Megadeth CD to "check them out". I bought Cryptic Writings and it put me to sleep... in a good way. The sound of that record resonated with me so well that I found myself going to sleep while it was playing. The sound of Cryptic Writings sounded exactly like what the noise in my head sounded like and I found it to be a very enjoyable and peaceful experience to listen to a record that harmonized so well with the inside of my head. So, I listened to that CD non-stop, while I was awake and while I slept. Since then, Megadeth has become one of the very few bands where I endeavor to own every record that they have ever released. It is very difficult to try and choose my al time favorite band, but if there were such a thing, I think Megadeth might be that band.

MY HISTORY AS A MUSICIAN: Even though I don't own a drum set and I don't really play much any more, I still consider myself to be a drummer because when I did play, I was pretty good. As in, the kind of good where everyone who hears you play comes up to you and tells you how good you are, almost to the point of it being creepy. I never thought I was as good as everyone told me that I was.

I started playing drums as a teenager after hearing one of the guys in the neighborhood (Guyle Tabor) playing drums and jammin' with a guitarist. I was blown away because at the time, I didn't know regular, everyday people could play rock music like the people I heard on the radio. I know it sounds silly but I at the time, I thought only famous rock star people could do that. So with this new epiphany, I thought that if he could do it, then so could I, and I began petitioning my mother to buy me a drum set.

I feel a real sense of accomplishment because I was eventyally able to sit in with other bands in various night clubs and do just fine. I could have gone PRO but I'm allergic to smoke and I really don't like smokey bars, so I never did. I do occasionally get the opportunity to play other people's drum sets and I have taught at least a couple of other people how to play.

Since the days that I did play drums, I have owned guitars off and on. When I was in high school, I had plenty of time to practice the drums and that is how I was able to get good. But as a guitar owner, I've always had to make a living and never really dedicated the time to get equally good at playing the guitar.

These days, I never tell people that I am a guitar player because I don't want to set any expectations in their mind for my ability to play. I just tell people that I am a collector and that I don't really know how to play. Especially since the guitars that I currently own are pretty nice. Some people have even said, "Oh, if you've got a guitar like this, you've got to be really good.".

My guitar playing ability is similar to what they say about Molly Hatchet. "If you can't play good, play really, really loud!". Well, I'm comfortable in saying that I can play guitar REALLY, REALLY LOUD. hahaha

MY GUITAR COLLECTION has evolved over the years. At first, I started off with the cheapest guitars I could find in the local music stores or in pawn shops, but ever since, my taste in insruments has steadilly climbed up the food chain. When I first made a consience decision to buy the best quality of guitars that I could afford, I started out with top of the line Epiphone Les Paul guitar. Eventually what I could afford increased and I found myself buying Gibson and Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitars. Then, I moved up to botique quality guitars made under the name of The Heritage. I still have at least one PRS guitar as of this writing.

SONGS I WANT TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY: The list that follows is for my beneft, so that I can easilly find it, but I don't mind if you see it too. These are the songs that I want to learn how to play on the guitar.

You really got me - The Van Halen version
Demise of Sanity - Zakk Wylde, BLS
Glycerine - Bush
Animal I Have Become- Three Days Grace
Crackerman - Stone Temple Pilots
Rock & Roll - Led Zeppelin
Never Again - Nickelback
Someday - Nickelback
How You Remind Me - Nickelback
Cat Scratched Fever - Ted Nugent
Fred Bear - Ted Nugent
What You're Doing - Rush
Jenny - Tommy Tutone
Another Thing Commin' - Judas Priest
Livin' After Midnight - Judas Priest
Breakin' The Law - Judas Priest
Symphony of Destruction - Megadeth
Seek and Destroy - Metalica
Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You - Spinal Tap
Wasted - Def Leppard
Whole Lot Of Rosie - AC/DC
Cold Blood - Kix
Firehouse - KISS
I Wanna Be Sedated - The Ramones
Surfing with the Alien - Joe Satriani

 

JUDAS PRIEST
Heavy Metal music in it's purest form, I know of no other band that does Metal better than Judas Priest.

MEGADETH
I'm very glad that Dave Mustaine did not remain in Metallica but rather went on to form the band Megadeth. One of my all time favorite bands, maybe even my absolute favorite band, I can't imagine a world with Heavy Metal music that did not include that of Megadeth! The more I see polititicians doing crooked crap, the more I appreciate the political flavoring of Megadeth music.

IRON MAIDEN
Heavy Metal and then some. Iron Maiden is the most technically proficient Metal band anywhere. They're song lyrics are often lessons from history, great battles and such or just elaborate poetry combined with the most complicated arrangements you can imagine.

METALLICA
Many Metallica fans divide themselves into one of two catagories, old Metallica or new Metalica. I, on the other hand, like every record that they have ever produced (old or new). Some people call Metallica a sell-out. To those I say, yea, they sell out eveywhere they play. Bite me! I love their most recent records, St. Anger and Death Magnetic just as much, if not more than their earliest records.

CHEAP TRICK
The first drum riff I ever learned was the one that begins "I want you to want me" from Cheap Trick back in the late 1970's. Cheap Trick is known for putting on the best stage show of anyone. I don't typically like "Rock n Roll" bands but I love Cheap Trick! I saw them around 1980 and I've been trying to see them again ever since but my schedule and circumstances never seem to allow it. Sigh... one of these days.

TWISTED SISTER
What an amazing band is Twisted Sister! Music that rocks, is also remarkably positive and the band is led by a big, sick muther fkeucr who had the balls to take a stand against censorship during the now infamous congressional hearings on the matter of heavy metal song lyrics! Dee Snider Kicks Ass!!

DREAM THEATER
If Iron Maiden is the most technically proficient Heavy Metal band out there, then Dream Theater is the most technically proficient Rock Band out there. Here's a rock band who's primary following is other musicians. That's how good these guys are; super amazing!

TED NUGENT

How do you even begin to describe Ted Nugent? The Motor City Mad Man himself. The rock star big enough to kill and eat other rock stars for breakfast. Larger than life presense on stage, playing the most kick ass, rock n roll on the planet, gun nut, hunter, political activist, life member of the NRA and a great American! All hail Uncle Ted!!

DEF LEPPARD
I think Def Leppard is arguably the greatest band of all time. I'm not saying this because they are my favorite band or because I think they are better at playing their instruments better than anyone else. I feel that they are the greatest band of all time because they have overcome the greatest of obstacles, demonstrated an endurance greater than any other band I can think of and remained the best of friends through it all.(Almost 30 years now) How many bands do you know who are willing to put three years into one song in order to get it perfect? (Song: Animals) All the band members sing (very well I might add), their lead singer plays guitar well enough to have written a number 1 smash hit (Song: Pour Some Sugar On Me.) Their Bass guitar player also plays regular guitar well enough to contribute to the song writing process. Def Leppard is truly a remarkable band.

It should be noted that Def Leppard is NOT a HEAVY METAL band, but they do have a very unique position of being a non heavy metal band that is loved by countless Heavy Metal fans all over the world. That I believe, is why the name of Def Leppard is always brought up in Heavy Metal circles.

 


 

OH YE HEAVY METAL MUSICIAN, CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON WISELY: The Heavy Metal Musician's primary instrument is the solid body electric guitar, paired together with powerful overdriven amplification in order to get the distinctive and desirable distortion effect which has become the signature sound of hard rock and Heavy Metal music.

Since Marshall Amplification is the only brand name I feel is worth discussing, I'll skip that subject and move right along to the subject of choosing a guitar. For the purpose of this section, when I refer to a guitar, you should understand it to mean specifically, a solid body electric guitar as opposed to any other type of electric guitar.

NOT ALL GUITARS ARE THE SAME: The sound of each guitar will vary greatly acording to different factors such as MATERIALS, PICKUPS, WIRING and the AMPLIFIER you are using.

MATERIALS: "Tone Woods" is a way of categorizing certain woods which sound better when you make instruments out of them than other woods. Mahogany is the most popular wood to use in making the solid body of an electric guitar, but Swamp Ash and Poplar are also very good too. Different woods sound differently, and if you hollow out the solid body, you get an even different sound. Hollowing out a solid guitar body is a practice known as "chambering" which was invented to cater to those who would like a lighter guitar.

MAPLE TOP: It is also a very comon practice to top a mahogany guitar body with a single layer of maple wood. The addition of the maple is said to improve the ability of the guitar to sustain a note for a long period of time, and depending on the grade of the maple, provide an asthetically pleasing look to the guitar with either a flame maple or a quilted maple finish. Typically, the thicker the layer of maple, the more expensive the guitar becomes.

GUITAR NECKS are usually made from mahogany or maple acording to the tone you prefer. Mahogany necks have a softer, smoother tone while maple necks have a brighter, sharper tone. Either of these necks will have with either tall frets or short frets installed. Short frets are comfortable to play and are good for rythum guitar playing while tall frets are less comfortable to play but are better for shreading guitar solos with lots of notes because you get better (or cleaner) distinction between each of the notes.

PICKUPS are made by winding a very thin wire around magnets and energizing the wire in order to produce a field around the pickups. As the metal guitar strings vibrate above the pickups in that field, information is transmitted to the amplifier so that you can hear the sound the guitar strings are making.

How each pickup is made will affect the flavor of the sound that is made by the strings so you will want to read all the technical details each pickup manufacturer provides on how their each of their pickup designs are made.

The first humbucker pickup was invented by a guy named Seth Lover. The Seymour Duncan web site offers a lot of different pickup designs as well as other manufacturers like EMG Pickups. My favorite Gibson pickups are found on the Gibson Les Paul Studio model and the Gibson Les Paul Custom model guitars, the 498T in the bridge position and a 490R in the neck.

WIRING affects the sound of the electric guitar depending on whether one pickup is active at a time or if more than one pickup is active while playing. Not only that, but some guitars are wired so that a single humbicking pickup (dual coil pickup) can be essentially cut in half so that it will sound like a single coil pickup. Having a push/pull pot (potentiometer) professionally installed can accomplish this, but some manufacturers include this feature on their guitars from the factory.

AMPLIFICATION is more than just making it possible to hear an electric guitar, but the amplifier you choose will affect the sound of the guitar as each manufacturer of amps has their own style. Electric guitar players performing live to very large audiences often place a single microphone in front of a single speaker, and that single microphone is what they run into the main PA System which allows everyone in the audience to hear that guitarist. Doing this allows the the guitarist the greatest amount of control the overall sound of the instrument

KEY DIFFEENCES: Some solid body electric guitars have a thin, flat tone while others have a big, fat beefy tone. Either tone is perfectly acceptable acording to the needs of the song you are trying to play, but finding one guitar which is capable of doing both is rare, if not impossible. If there were such a guitar which could do both, it just might by the MIRA by Paul Reed Smith. The MIRA is an amazingly versitle guitar. Click here for photo.

Other than that, a Fender Stratocaster (or G&L Legacy) with single coil pickups provides a thin flat sound where a Gibson Les Paul Custom (or a Heritage H-157) has the most awesome, big fat tone you will find on any solid body electric guitar anywhere. Bands like Def Leppard employ a Les Paul guitar for the rythum section and a Fender-like guitar (thin neck, tall frets, thin sound) for the lead guitar position.

Use this information to decide what you want your guitar playing to sound like and choose the guitar which is right for you accordingly.



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