The beginning of heavy metals and it’s instruments can be dated back to the invention of electric guitar. Without the contribution of George Beauchamp, Paul Barth, Adolph Rickenbacker, and Les Paul, there wouldn’t have been any electric guitar, and heavy metal music wouldn’t exist. Here are the four musical instruments used in heavy metal.

Electric guitar

Electric guitar

You can get many variations of guitar from six chords to seven or eight string guitars even. In heavy metal music, highly amplified electric guitar is used. The heavy metal sound is due to the combination of heavy distortion and high volume. Most bands have two guitarists; one playing the rhythm guitar and the other playing lead guitar. The lead guitarist plays guitar solos, instrumental melody lines and melodic fill passages. The rhythm guitar plays the rhythm section of the band. This guitarist plays the riffs and power chords. The rhythmic guitar plays the chord progression of a song.
Shred guitar is another type of guitar that is used to play in the solo playing style. Shredding uses different fast playing techniques. Some of these techniques include sweep-picked arpeggios, finger tapping, fast scale, etc. Guitarists who play in a shred style use electric guitar with a guitar amplifier. A range of electronic effects like distortion is used. The shred guitar players use solid-bodied guitars such as Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Kramer, etc.
Guitars that have double-cutaways provide easier access to the higher frets. Some shred guitar players use seven or eight string guitars that allow greater range of notes. The shred guitar players are very pick when it comes to guitar effects, they are normally going for expensive top of the line guitar pedals, like distortion, overdrive, audio compression units, etc. Special shred techniques include hammer-ons, tapping and pull-offs.

Bass guitars

They form part of the rhythm section. They play along with a rhythm guitarist, drummer, and keyboard player. The interplay of bass is one of the key elements of metal. The bass guitar is used to play the low-end sound that is required to make the music ‘heavy’. There are different types of basslines. Musicians use basslines for various subgenre of this type of music.



The sounds of metal drums have now become more processed than in the past. The toms of the drums must be tuned to a medium/low tuning. If you turn the bottom heads to the same pitch as the top, the drum will produce most tone. You can include pitch bend. It is necessary to turn your drums to low.



Judas Priest, along with other musicians, went ‘pop’ with 1986’s Turbo. You can hear the echoes of the backlash which sound nice. But there are people who oppose the use of keyboards in heavy metal music. However, you can produce some dramatic sounds with it.

All these instruments form part of a heavy metal. Other than keyboard, the electric guitar, bass and drums are must for heavy metal drum. Other uncommon instruments like bagpipes are also used sometimes. When buying the right instrument, you should do good research on various kinds of brands.