Review - Lick Library Quick Licks DVD – Shred Metal Style: Synyster Gates

Amit Sharma reviews this latest in the acclaimed Lick Library DVD series, for you shred metal guitarists out there...

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 31 May 2011
  • min read
Amit Sharma reviews this latest in the acclaimed Lick Library DVD series, for all you shred metal guitarists out there...

Over the past decade Avenged Sevenfold have established themselves as one of the most exciting acts around in modern hard rock. Their signature blend of hair metal and pop-punk has sold in its millions worldwide, and a large portion of their sound can be attributed to virtuoso guitarist Synyster Gates. This Lick Library DVD is a study of Synyster’s lead guitar style, providing 36 examples that showcase his instantly recognisable approach to Shred Metal. These examples are broken down and explained by guitarist Andy James, who is widely considered to be one of the best guitarists in the UK.

Andy wastes no time by starting off with a blistering speed lick that in itself is a great alternative picking exercise and very reminiscent of Synyster’s lead work on songs like Nightmare and Afterlife. It’s frighteningly fast and certainly belongs in the more advanced territory of guitar playing; though Andy slows it right down to explain exactly what notes are being played and how they are picked. This format continues throughout the DVD, and allows the viewer to digest all the information needed before attempting to play it themselves.

All the examples on this Lick Library DVD are in the key of D Minor, which also benefits the viewer by not overcomplicating things with different keys and scales. The examples are all fragments of one instrumental piece that can be viewed in it’s entirety without the explanations and there is also backing track of this to practice with. Obviously once any of the licks have been learned they can be transposed to other keys by moving along the fretboard.

Every one of these phrases fall into Synyster’s neo-classical yet bluesy style and could easily have been lifted straight off the Avenged Sevenfold discography. The techniques covered include alternate picking, sweep picking, power bends and legato playing – which are all very important areas to master for the budding virtuoso guitarist. The explanations are not long winded in the slightest, Andy simply dictates what notes to fret and how each one should be struck, which is why this DVD is jam packed with ideas to learn. By registering your purchase, there is also a world of information available at

The 36 licks on this DVD are tailor made for not just Avenged Sevenfold fans but all rock or metal players out there – as the ideas are musical, well constructed and usable in any guitarist’s vocabulary. A quick and insightful guide to playing in the style of a very innovative rock guitarist.