Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chitarrista Metal da Zero Review (Tuvo / Begotti) - Beginner metal guitar

One of the mistakes you can make in studying guitar is that of underrating rhythm guitar. Of course you want to do the solo and the crazy stuff, so you practice a lot of scales, excercizes after you nail your solo.

But wait? There are verses and riffs before you can play your solo. How about them?
You then start practicing them and here come the pains of rhythm playing. Different mechanics, different technical difficulties, etc.

Here comes this method Chitarrista Metal da Zero (Beginner Metal Guitar) by Alessandro Tuvo and Donato Begotti:

It main features are the following:
  • 16 exercises spread into 5 progressive lessons (the fifth lesson is a whole song);
  • contemporary stra-heavy metal riff: DROP C and DROP D exercises in the style of Metallica, Rammstein, Meshuggah, Pantera, Lamb of God, Killswith Engage, and so on;
  • coverage of the main techniques: downstroke (ch. 1); upstrocke (ch. 2); alternate picking (ch. 3); inside/outside picking, djent muting, artifical harmonics, octave playing, string skipping (ch. 4); song studying (ch. 5); palm muting (whole book);
  • a lot of play-along on song like tracks: the backing tracks include a singer and are always groovy. You won't feel bored by playing on the click;
  • challenges: some exercise speed up 10 bpm everytime they repeat and sometimes the subdivision changes and requires you to perform speed boost (straight 8th to triplets, ya said?).
Alessandro Tuvo heavy metal rhythm guitar

[Ale Tuvo goes heavy, image credits]

More in details, the book will be quite a challange for various reasons:
  • you'll fast to play fast and accurate. Fingerings might be easy, but you'll be required to play 32th notes at 90 bpm, or all downstrokes 8th notes at 190 bpm. The final song is 130 bpm 16th notes;
  • there's djent involved, so subdivision is not always so easy. Syncopations are groovy so easier to be played by hear, but it's rhythm book after all.
Explanations are clear on the book and the dvd allows you to see what's going on. The book feature a lot of DROP D and DROP C tune but it's interesting to play them in standard tune adjusting the fingering. I consider this an extra challenge because I don't want to drop with a floyd rose ;)

It is important to note that the book developed because Tuvo and Begotti listened to the feedback they had for the more advanced book on metal rhythm Extreme Metal Grooves. Some wanted easier stuff, and they made a book. Some asked for less exercise-like pieces and they added song-like backing tracks and a whole song at the end of the book (ch. 5). Well done!

Given Begotti and Tuvo took the feedback seriously, here are my two tips to further improve the book or maybe to prompt an "intermediate metal guitar":

  • there are no harmonic hints in the exercises. I think some E5, D#5, Am or similar indications in the exercize score can be helpful and won't disturb the absolute beginner;
  • having exercises in different meters would the great. 3/4 or 5/4 can be tricky, but the actual exercises are all so groovy that even the djent rhythms can be played along the track. I'm sure they can do the same in different meters;
  • I'd like to have a section that either declares the inspiration for the exercises or, even better, suggests song to played given the skills acquired in a certain exercise. This should make the transition from practice to actual playing even easier.
Once again, great method, lot of fun and horns up for Tuvo & Begotti.