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British extreme metal band, Cradle of Filth, are firmly ensconced at the forefront of the global metal scene and have been for the last two decades. Over the course of their career, they’ve had coverage from Kerrang! and MTV, played at major festivals including Ozzfest, Download and Sziget, and have released 11 studio albums. The band’s current guitarist, Richard Shaw, also happens to be a graduate of both ACM’s Guitar Diploma and Guitar Degree courses.

We caught up with Richard recently to chat about his incredible music industry career, and he shared with us his top five tips on how to become a better metal guitarist. Over to you Richard!

  1. Listen to as many bands and musicians as possible:

    If there’s a player who excites your musicality, dig into their back catalogue and take as much inspiration as possible.

  1. Join a band:

    You can practice as much as you like in your bedroom, but playing live is a whole different game. Joining a band when I was 14 years old was the best thing I did, not only musically, but it helped me learn how to communicate with other musicians.

  1. Work on your rhythm playing:

    Guitarists are guilty of practising solos 99% of the time but, in fact, we play rhythm 99% of the time. Don’t neglect it.

  1. Learn other styles of music:

    My alternate picking improved dramatically when I started playing funk, my left hand dexterity improved from learning country and jazz licks, and my rhythm playing improved from strumming along to pop records. There’s a lot to learn from other styles, so don’t close your mind off to them.

  1. Use your ear:

    When I got the call to join Cradle of Filth, I was asked to learn two songs for a video audition that night. I had to learn them as quickly as I could and internet tab is sometimes terrible. Don’t rely on tab. Get transcribing as much as possible.

If you’d like to study guitar at ACM and get spot-on advice from some of the world’s best guitarists like Richard Shaw, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.

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