The guitar's sound and its role in American music have changed over the past century. Still, one thing has remained constant: the instrument's popularity with players of all ages and skill levels.

So, what is the difference between rock and metal guitar in America?

While many guitarists believe that rock and metal are similar, the two styles have some fundamental differences in the style of guitar playing and even the type of guitars used to play them.

Knowing the difference between rock and metal guitars will help you choose the best one to learn if you're interested in either genre.

One of today's most common and beloved instruments to learn is the guitar, with each class and tutorial seemingly improving upon the last.

If you want to learn about playing guitar, start with a guitar 101 lesson, where you will learn all of the basics needed to become an accomplished musician over time.

The best guitar 101 courses generally consist of rock/pop-based music, with electric guitars being used instead of acoustic.

However, when it comes to playing rhythm for a band or solo artist, we start getting into something called metal, which uses acoustic guitars to emphasize lead melodies.

Let's look at some popular genres of guitar music and find out!

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What Is The Background Of Rock Guitar And Metal Guitar

Most historians and musicologists agree that rock guitar was born in 1956 with Chuck Berry's song Maybelline, which featured a crunchy, overdriven electric guitar riff.

But what is generally considered rock today wasn't defined until 1967, when three seminal albums were released:

  • Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
  • Forever Changes by Love
  • Are You Experienced? By the Jimi Hendrix Experience
A man in black playing guitar
It isn't difficult learning how to play guitar. Guitar 101 courses offer all the knowledge you need on rock and metal guitars and other types of guitars such as acoustic or electric ones. (Source: Unsplash)

After these records dropped, it was clear that rock and roll would never be the same again.

When Joe Satriani started getting airplay on MTV in 1987, it triggered renewed interest in rock guitar among people who hadn't listened to it for years.

The metal guitar is a style of guitar playing characterized by heavy distortion, fast guitar solos, and riff-based songs.

Pioneered in Britain in 1964 by musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Pete Townshend, metal came to dominate rock music.

Although there have been other metal genres, heavy metal has been at center stage ever since then.

Since its rise to popularity in a generation before ours, metal has spawned many subgenres, including black metal, death metal, and groove metal.

What Types Of Guitars Are Used In Rock And Metal

It's not just about what type of music you like. It's also about how your guitar is tuned and what kind of technique you use.

Some people think guitarists are born and not made, but it's possible to learn rock and metal styles with some practice, from power chords to hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Most guitarists know that there are three main guitars: acoustic, electric, and bass.

Each one of these three classes of guitar has subcategories, all defined by what they sound like, how they're played and who plays them.

For example, a steel-string acoustic guitar sounds different from a classical electric guitar, and a 12-string acoustic/electric sound differs from either.

A 6-string bass sounds different from an 8-string bass or a 4-string bass.

There are too many examples for each category, but you get the idea; those guitars have many different kinds and shapes in each category.

How Do You Play Rock Riffs And Metal Riffs?

A brown and black guitar
Rock and metal guitar playing has its own style of music but requires the same basic skills as any other type of guitar. Hire a guitar tutor from Superprof to perfect your skills. (Source: Unsplash)

Many musicians learn to play guitar in a simple folk or pop class. After students have mastered these styles, they may be wondering how to start learning guitar riffs.

Luckily, those riffs aren't that different from your old tunes.

You need to change your strumming pattern and pay closer attention to when you add your higher notes.

If you already know a few pop songs on guitar, think about how you can translate them into rock or metal.

For example, if you know how to play Bruno Mars's Grenade (and can play it well!), the chances are good that playing an emo/punk version of it won't be too far off!

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Gabe
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5 (15 reviews)
Gabe
$65
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Alberto
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Alberto
$20
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Zachary
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$60
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Andrea
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5 (17 reviews)
Andrea
$35
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1st lesson free!
Luisa
5
5 (19 reviews)
Luisa
$50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Gabe
5
5 (15 reviews)
Gabe
$65
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Alberto
5
5 (9 reviews)
Alberto
$20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Bogush
5
5 (10 reviews)
Bogush
$45
/h
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Zachary
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Guitar 101 — How Can I Teach Myself To Play Guitar?

No matter what kind of music you want to play, a basic understanding of guitar parts and terminology will help you advance your skills.

A quick lesson on terms such as frets, strings, and tuning pegs is just what you need to get started!

A video guitar tutorial outlining guitar basics is one way to make sure that you understand each term.

Video guitar tutorials can be valuable because they provide a visual guide on holding your instrument and maintaining proper posture while playing correctly.

Not only that, but some websites offer more than one video guitar tutorial (that all apply in different situations), so users can learn multiple techniques and walk away with more in-depth guitar knowledge.

The best part is that these videos usually come complete with a printable version for practicing!

7 Best Ways To Teach Yourself To Play The Guitar

A guitar is one of the most popular instruments today, and learning how to play it isn't as hard as you might think.

If you're interested in learning how to play guitar, there are many ways you can go about doing so.

The most popular method, especially with adults, is taking a guitar class or hiring an individual guitar tutor in your area. Check out Superprof to find tutors near you.

Still, other options will be less expensive and more convenient if you have the time and resources to devote to them yourself.

Here are seven of the best ways to learn guitar!

1. Begin By Understanding The Power Chord

Knowing your power chords is a must when learning how to play guitar.

It's not enough to learn what they are and how to play them but also knowing when they are appropriate to use and how many variations can help in putting together great-sounding songs.

The power chord is simply two notes played simultaneously – typically on different strings. Power chords have a very distinct and recognizable sound, so guitarists like to use them in their playing.

For example, if you strum down hard on an A power cord, it will probably break into Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple.

2. Understand Basic Progressions

The most important thing about rock guitars is that they are based on chord progressions.

This is both its biggest strength and biggest weakness because since if you don't understand how to use a progression, you won't be able to play much.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to learn that won't leave you overwhelmed. First, focus on strumming patterns and chord shapes.

Make sure you figure out any pattern or shape without needing someone else to tell you what it is or how it works.

If that sounds like a lot of work, keep in mind that these things only get harder as your playing improves; avoiding them, for now, will save you time later on.

3. Get Better By Playing In A Band

There are several different options for learning how to play rock and metal guitar in America.

You can take private lessons, attend a guitar class at your local school or university, join a band, or practice independently.

Private tutors and guitar classes are often better for those who want to learn quickly and have goals set out by their teacher.

Learning to play in a band is easier if you already know how to play an instrument.

Regardless of which method you choose, try finding others who share your interest in playing American rock and metal guitar.

It helps give you something tangible to strive for when practicing with other musicians.

4. Learn To Apply Music Theory

Learning how to play guitar is just as much about knowing what not to do as it is about knowing what to do.

A great deal of music theory exists to help musicians understand what works and what doesn't, and that's no different for guitarists.

To be a good metal guitarist, you must understand basic music theory concepts like key signatures, chord progressions, octaves, scales, and modes.

Unfortunately, learning those things won't make you a good guitarist.

You actually need to get your hands on an instrument and start playing. This will enable you to be an intelligent player who knows which notes work well together in harmony and which notes clash terribly.

5. Practice In Small Chunks By Learning About Riffs And Solos

Whether you're an aspiring rocker or a seasoned shredder, it's best to practice in small chunks.

That way, you'll keep your skills sharp and retain what you learn instead of being too discouraged to work on learning anything new.

Study one riff or solo at a time, and try playing along with your favorite music.

Then, take that riff or solo and try playing it up and down different strings; essentially, play it in as many different positions as possible.

You'll be amazed at how quickly you can memorize material if you practice in these small chunks.

6. You Should Develop Improvisational Skills

The best way to learn guitar or any instrument is by developing improvisational skills.

A guitar instructor will teach you to read music, but a guitar tutor will teach you how to play in a band, which necessitates experience and experimentation.

Learning basic chords will help develop your ability to improvise, and if you're truly interested in learning rock or metal guitar, look for a guitar class focused on these genres.

You can find one by searching on Superprof.

Quick chord changes and intricate rhythms characterize these styles, so practicing with other people who have experience in these areas will help you quickly improve.

7. Get Better At Understanding Rhythm And Time Signatures

A rock guitarist will usually use open chords (sometimes called cowboy chords), while a metal player will play with their fingers.

Both styles are equally effective, and it comes down to personal preference.

Regardless of which style you choose, one of your primary goals as a guitar player should be to learn to play in time.

The best way to learn about rhythm and time signatures is by taking a beginner's guitar class or receiving private instruction from an experienced guitar tutor.

You'll start with basic counting skills and rhythm patterns that lay the foundation for playing in time with other musicians.

Guitarists who become proficient at reading musical notation can even go on to perform complex pieces like Mozart's sonatas.

However, playing from sheet music isn't necessary for most beginner and intermediate-level guitar players.

A man performing in a concert
Rock and metal guitar are an exciting way to play music for any occasion. The best way to learn guitar is by hiring a guitar instructor from Superprof. ( Source: Unsplash)

What Is The Best Guitar Course?

Here are some of the best guitar courses offered in America based on their ratings!

CoursesRatings
Guitar Tricks Metal Course Section87
Angus Clark's Rock Rhythm TrueFire Course88.2
Guitar Tricks, Metal Song Lessons89
Tosin Abasi's Metal Courses on JamPlay83.8
Cybernetic Shred: Stephanie Bradley's JamPlay Course82.3

Want To Master Your Rock And Metal Guitar Skills With Superprof?

Rock and metal guitar styles are quite different. Mastering either requires time, effort, and talent but with Superprof, getting a private lesson is easy and affordable.

You'll learn from a real music teacher who'll help you find your voice as a guitarist.

Whether you're playing for fun or preparing for an audition or competition, we provide you with private lessons at convenient times to fit into your busy schedule.

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