Part of what makes the guitar so fascinating is that the instrument is an open platform. It is up to the player to apply their own unique vision to the instrument to impart a personal touch.
With this is the ability to tune the guitar in multiple tunings, including Drop-B, which is popular with metal groups. This tuning has a couple of variations and, because of this, it’s sometimes murky for beginners to understand.
However, Drop-B primarily utilizes E Standard tuned down 1 1/2 steps, except for the low E string. Getting that low string tuned to B will require lessening the pitch by 2-1/2 steps.
Of course, some groups keep the guitar in E Standard and only lower the 6th string’s pitch. Nevertheless, you’ll find both featured in this list of songs, with the former variation being the most prominent.
“Before I Forget” by Slipknot
Slipknot is arguably one of the most famous nu-metal bands to grace the genre. This group epitomizes many of the themes inherent in the genre, though unique in its costumed imagery.
As a band, Slipknot had a fairly quick rise to the mainstream shortly after its debut, self-titled release. By the time they went to record their 3rd album, Slipknot had the credibility to work with producer Rick Rubin.
The track, Before I Forget, comes from this 3rd album, and was one of many songs to achieve mainstream success. Slipknot is a major proponent of the Drop-B tuning, so you’ll see a few songs scattered throughout this article.
“Bad Company” by Five Finger Death Punch
Five Finger Death Punch is perhaps the poster child band that epitomizes 2000s radio-friendly hard rock. As such, you’ll often find that audiences are polarized between full-fledged fandom or they avoid the band altogether.
With that being said, Five Finger Death Punch did put their own spin on Bad Company’s hit single, Bad Company. Interestingly enough, the group released the song in honor of the US armed forces.
Now, as someone who grew up listening to the original, I never once related the song to the armed forces. Strangely enough, I don’t think that the English group, Bad Company, wrote the song about the US armed forces, either.
That statement isn't meant to detract meaning for those who have taken the song to mean something specific. Rather, it’s just interesting how a song can be taken into a different context altogether.
“Pray For Plagues” by Bring Me The Horizon
Bring Me The Horizon’s Pray For Plagues plays like a classic screamo track from the early 2000s. The guitar employs several things that have become staple aspects of this ever-present genre.
For instance, the beginning of the track has some fierce riffing complete with harmonic squealies and a heavy breakdown. If you have a vocalist that can pull this off, be sure to add this 2007 track to your repertoire.
“Carrion” by Parkway Drive
Metal is not commonly associated with Australia, but Parkway Drive is a band that changed that. This group rose to prominence during the heyday of Myspace, eventually touring on the Vans Warped Tour.
Their 2nd album, Horizons, managed to chart surprisingly well for an Australian group. Carrion comes from this spectacular metalcore album and is one that any serious fan will be familiar with.
“Duality” by Slipknot
Rick Rubin does seem to have that magic touch with almost everything he’s ever worked on as a producer. It could be said that his presence helped to shape Slipknot’s Vol. 3 album into such a potent banger.
Most serious Slipknot fans are probably familiar with the explosive nature of the track, Duality. This Drop-B song is sure to get any audience fired up and jumping around.
Perhaps the best thing is that you’ll probably also be able to jump around while playing the song. It’s fairly easy enough on the technical side of things that just about any intermediate player can manage.
“Halo” by Machine Head
Even if you’re only vaguely familiar with 90s heavy metal, Machine Head is a name you probably recognize. The group has been persistently active since about 1991, and they haven’t been afraid to experiment in that time.
Their 2007 release, The Blackening, went on to eventually garner some of the highest critical praise possible. It’s on this album that you’ll find the track, Halo, which is full of carefully-crafted guitar lines.
“Send The Pain Below” by Chevelle
Chevelle is usually categorized as nu-metal, but they teeter more on the hard rock side of things. Take the song, Send The Pain Below, for instance, which comes from their famed 2nd album.
In this song, you’ll hear fairly tame guitar parts that are played in more of a melodic fashion. You’ll also hear full-on singing as opposed to any sort of screaming that you would hear with other groups.
Send The Pain Below is one of those alt-rock songs that found regular radio play upon its release.
“Don’t Stay” by Linkin Park
Groups like 311 and Rage Against The Machine had been incorporating rap into rock long before Linkin Park. However, anyone who was alive and cognizant in the early 2000s knows that Linkin Park was a cultural phenomenon.
It doesn’t matter how old you were, you probably knew at least 2 people who owned the 2003 album, Meteora. This album produced some of the group's most iconic tracks.
Don’t Stay wasn’t officially released as a single, but is one that any owner of the album is familiar with. It makes for a surprising crowd-pleaser when you’re playing in Drop-B.
“Blooddrunk” by Children Of Bodom
Since the early 2000s, Children Of Bodom has been an ever-present enigma in the metal genre. In fact, you could say that, if Dethklok was a real band (minus the violence and ridiculousness), it might resemble this band.
The band’s tenuous career is full of classic albums that never fail to deliver what metal fans love most. This is all the more evident with the song, Blooddrunk, which came out in 2008.
“Locust” by Machine Head
Are you looking for a metal song that provides an opportunity to play with another guitarist? Machine Head’s 2011 track, Locust, is worthy of learning.
This song will school you in playing riffs that alternate between sets of strings. It will also give your drummer a workout by having the play a non-stop double-kick drum throughout the song.
Locust feels very anthemic and you’re sure to get an audience brimming with anticipation when playing this.
“Dance With The Devil” by Breaking Benjamin
Breaking Benjamin was another band that seemed to be an ever-present enigma in the early 2000s. The group’s brand of alt-rock seemed to fit right alongside many of the groups that became popular at the time.
Their 2003 album, Phobia, contains some of the most signature aspects of what Breaking Benjamin is known for. It’s on this album that you’ll find the song, Dance With The Devil.
No, this doesn’t play like a Mötley Crüe song. Rather, it’s a fairly melodic and somewhat-moody, downbeat heavy rock track.
“All I Want (Acoustic)” by A Day To Remember
There is just something infectious about a heavy band stripping things down to an acoustic performance. While music is almost always inflected with emotions, acoustic versions only amplify this effect.
The Unplugged albums of Nirvana and Alice In Chains are perhaps the most iconic examples of this. A Day To Remember gave their fans a special treat on the 7” vinyl single release of All I Want.
“Moving On” by Asking Alexandria
Dubai is probably one of the last places anyone would guess when asked about Asking Alexandria’s origins. This band’s name is recognizable to anyone who was a frequent lurker in Hot Topic stores in the early 2000s.
If you’re into rock music that employs distorted guitars defined by crispy-clean production, Moving On is worth learning. The song has a few surprisingly melodic solos, bordering on pop.