Metal guitarists are tuning lower and lower, and this YouTuber is not happy

Creator Bernth calls out everything wrong with modern metal guitar playing in under 3 minutes.

Since the early days of metal, it’s always been about pushing things to the extreme. From its origins in the late ’60s, glam metal erupted in the early ’70s, fusing poppy hooks and ridiculous outfits with the darker style pioneered by Black Sabbath. And then in the early ’80s came thrash metal, hellbent on dialling up tempos and turbocharging guitar solos to frenetic new heights.

In the 2020s, though, it’s all about making things heavy; breakdowns and pure, unbridled energy are the name of the game. And to achieve this, guitarists resort to drop tunings as a tool to unleash their creativity. Trouble is, though, if dropping low equals heavier, where does it end?

That’s the question YouTuber Bernth Brodträger aims to address in his latest video, which is simply titled, “This is why modern metal SUCKS”.

The video sees the Austrian guitarist performing a satirical and original song titled Still Shred, which addresses the problem of endless tuning down and gets straight down to brass tacks.

First, he plugs in a regular old Ibanez six-string, and quickly discards it for being too high-pitched. Next, he takes a Fishman Fluence humbucker-equipped Ibanez RGD Prestige seven-string, plays the open low string, and once again shakes his hand in disdain; it’s simply not low enough. Next, he tries another Ibanez, this time an eight-string RG5328-LDK Prestige. It’s almost there, but not quite.

To make the eight-string low enough, Bernth consults his Pitchproof pitch shifter guitar plugin, and pitches it down a further octave. As you’d expect, the results are catastrophically heavy.

After laying down a riff, and sharing his concerns with the direction of modern metal in some lyrics – “The kids are tuning lower every day, I thought this trend would die and fade away, Pitches barely audible, Higher strings optional” – comes the punchline: “I know they say this style is dead, But guess what, I still shred.”

Bernth then reverts back to his six-string for some face-melting solo work, wrought with rapid-fire alternate picking and gravity-defying sweeps.

The guitarist makes it clear that this project is purely satirical, but it sure got us thinking about the direction of modern metal, and the perpetual pursuit of heavy in which many of its guitarists find themselves.

See more from Bernth Brodträger on his official YouTube channel.

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