Joe Satriani en Joe Satriani and Steve Vai Play "Satch Boogie" in 1988 — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>We love when guitar greats get together to play songs with the word "Boogie" in the title.</p> <p>Like the time <a href="">Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck met up in Hawaii to perform "Jeff's Boogie" in 1984.</a></p> <p>And then there's the time Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, Vai's former guitar instructor, shared a stage in 1988 to perform "Satch Boogie." You can check out this full live performance of Satriani's 1987 signature tune in the video below. </p> <p>As always, let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/steve-vai">Steve Vai</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Joe Satriani Steve Vai Videos News Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:56:26 +0000 Damian Fanelli Ibanez JS25ART Guitars Offer a Chance to Own Original Joe Satriani Artwork — and Great Instruments <!--paging_filter--><p>For longtime Ibanez fan <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=SatchArtGuitars">(and current Guitar World cover star)</a> Joe Satriani, sketching and drawing have always been as much of a creative outlet as his game-changing, guitar-driven rock music. </p> <p>These two different hemispheres of his artistry converge beautifully in Ibanez’s new, limited 25th anniversary edition of Joe’s iconic signature JS guitar, the JS25ART. The body of each guitar bears a full color illustration, hand drawn by Satriani himself. </p> <p>Each one is different and there are only 50 of them, 25 of which are slated for sale in the U.S. Offering a unique opportunity to be a guitar collector and art collector all in one, this very special JS edition commemorates the birth of Satriani’s Ibanez signature model 25 years ago. </p> <p>“Ibanez approached me and asked if I’d do something special for the 25th anniversary,” Satriani recalls. </p> <p>“They didn’t know what I was going to do, but I decided to illustrate some guitars myself. The idea took a lot of setup, because I had to figure out, ‘Am I going to paint them or use pens? What would the process be? Could I erase?’ So I wound up using these color pens. I spent about a week down in L.A. late in 2014 doing the illustrations and it was a lot of fun. But it was intense. With the pens, you can’t really put color on color. Nor can you erase. Some of the ones I did are more detailed; others are just line drawings. They’re all signed.” </p> <p>Technically speaking, the JS25ART embodies all the design refinements distilled over Satriani’s quarter century of collaboration with Ibanez. This includes a maple, JS Prestige neck with hand-rolled fret edges, Satriani’s signature DiMarzio pickups (the Satch Track and Mo’ Joe), a hi-pass filter on the volume pot, a coil tap on the tone pot and a low-profile Edge tremolo bridge. </p> <p>Longtime fans of Satriani’s visual art many recognize some of the bizarre faces and characters depicted on some of the guitars. Many of these characters are soon to come to life in an animated sci-series, tentatively titled <em>Crystal Planet,</em> that Satch is working on with fretless guitarist and digital animator Ned Evett.</p> <p><strong><em>Below, be sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery of all of Ibanez's current signature Satch guitars, including electrics and acoustics!</em></strong></p> <p><strong>For more about Satch's signature Ibanez electric guitars, <a href=";cat_id=1&amp;series_id=27">head here</a>. For more about his acoustic models, <a href=";cat_id=3&amp;series_id=81">head here.</a> For more about Ibanez Guitars, visit <a href=""></a></strong></p> <p><strong><em><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=SatchArtGuitars">Remember Satch is on the cover of the new April 2015 issue of GW! It's available now!</a></em></strong></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> April 2015 Ibanez Joe Satriani Acoustic Guitars Videos Electric Guitars News Features Gear Magazine Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:47:37 +0000 Alan Di Perna Six Hidden Gems Made Magnificent in Headphones <!--paging_filter--><p>Okay, so you have your headphones out—what do you want to listen to? </p> <p>Something beautiful? Something cool? Something you’ve never heard before? How about all three? </p> <p>The following are six tracks by five of your favorite bands worth putting under the microscope for reasons listed below. Enjoy!</p> <p><strong>Joe Satriani — “Surfing with the Alien”</strong></p> <p>For the lead guitar tone on <em>Surfing with the Alien’s</em> title track, Joe Satriani used a wah-wah pedal and a harmonizer. The former worked perfectly, but the latter was acting a little weird and wonky. </p> <p>Satriani told <em>Guitar World</em>, “The sound that came out of the speakers blew us away so much that we recorded the melody and the solo in about a half-hour and sat back and went, ‘Whoa! This is a song, man!’” Then the harmonizer broke down and couldn’t be fixed. </p> <p>“We couldn’t do anything,” he said. “We lost our tone. When we finally got it working again, we weren’t able to recreate the original effect. It just sounded different. So rather than screw up a wonderful-sounding performance that may have had a couple of glitches, we decided to just leave it, because it was just swinging.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><br /><br /> <strong>Metallica — “The Four Horsemen”</strong></p> <p>One of the most unique features of Metallica’s classic track “The Four Horsemen” is its distinctive simultaneous two-headed guitar solo, heard from 4:10 to 4:30. </p> <p>You can hear two Kirk Hammetts, one in each speaker, playing roughly similar but still quite different solos. In 1991 Hammett told <em>Guitar World</em> this cool effect was entirely a fluke. After recording two takes of the solo, Hammett and Co. were trying to decide which one to use. </p> <p>“I listened to both tracks at once, to see if one would stand out,” Hammett said. “But playing both tracks simultaneously sounded great, and we decided to keep it like that on the record. Some of the notes harmonized with each other, and I remember Cliff [Burton, bassist] going, ‘Wow, that’s stylin’—it sounds like Tony Iommi!’”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Led Zeppelin — “Misty Mountain Hop” and “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”</strong></p> <p>Led Zeppelin albums are filled with little slips and clams, but none of that really mattered to producer/guitarist Jimmy Page who justifiably valued vibe over perfection. He called it being “tight but loose.” </p> <p>The following are two headphone-worthy accidents that somehow add a touch of funky magick to these Zep classics. If you listen closely to “Misty Mountain Hop” at about 1:15, you can hear Jimmy play the heavy part too soon. He then fumbles and jumps back in. </p> <p>hen, on “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” you can hear a ghostly voice at 1:43. Is it a friendly Page poltergeist? Nah, it’s actually the sound of Robert Plant singing along with drummer John Bonham during basic tracking. Whether that’s his actual naked voice leaking through the drum mics, or perhaps being blasted through Bonzo’s headphones, we may never know.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Radiohead — “Creep”</strong></p> <p>One of the most memorable and dramatic guitar moments of the Nineties is the stuttering rhythm part that sets up the chorus of Radiohead’s “Creep.” And if Jonny Greenwood’s attitude-filled flourish (played at 0:58 and again at the two-minute mark) reflects the song’s angst-filled lyrics, there’s a reason. </p> <p>“That’s the sound of Jonny trying to mess the song up,” explained co-guitarist Ed O’Brien. “He really didn’t like it the first time we played it, so he tried spoiling it. And it made the song.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>The Kingsmen — “Louie, Louie”</strong></p> <p>This last pick is a strange one. </p> <p>If there was never a song designed for headphones, it’s the poorly recorded garage classic “Louie, Louie.” But there are so many hilarious mistakes in this shambolic mess, with a good set of ear buds the tune becomes a brilliant piece of audio theater. </p> <p>Just close your eyes and you almost see and smell these drunken bozos having the time of their lives as they struggle to play their three chords right. Just dig the drummer yelling “F@#K! in the background because he hit his hand on the edge of one of his drums at 0:57. Or laugh as the singer comes in too early at 1:55 while barging in at the end the songs surprisingly great guitar solo. </p> <p>Truth is, this is actually what headphones were made for!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Brad Tolinski is the editor-in-chief at </em>Guitar World.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/metallica">Metallica</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/radiohead">Radiohead</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/led-zeppelin">Led Zeppelin</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Joe Satriani Led Zeppelin Metallica Radiohead The Kingsmen News Features Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:56:07 +0000 Brad Tolinski Joe Satriani, Guthrie Govan, Tosin Abasi and Andy Aledort Discuss 2015 G4 Experience <!--paging_filter--><p>In the video below, Joe Satriani, Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders) and Guthrie Govan (the Aristocrats) sit down for a video conference with <em>Guitar World</em> Senior Editor Andy Aledort. </p> <p>The topic? Their approach and thoughts about guitar, technique, inspiration and, of course, the upcoming G4 Experience.</p> <p>More than a show, more than a seminar, more than a backstage pass, the G4 Experience will give you musical inspiration and ideas that will keep you playing for years to come. </p> <p>For the G4 Experience, Satriani, Animals as Leaders (featuring Abasi, Javier Reyes and Matt Garska), the Aristocrats (Govan, Marco Minnemann and Bryan Beller) and Mike Keneally will be performing, teaching and offering attendees a chance to jam. </p> <p>All of these players will be sharing their knowledge and musical insights with the campers and doing unique, close-up performances. The event also will feature Aledort, Doug Doppler, Bruce Bouillet and Stu Hamm.</p> <p>The event takes place June 28 to July 2, 2015. For more information, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/andy-aledort">Andy Aledort</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Andy Aledort Guthrie Govan Joe Satriani Tosin Abasi Videos News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:03:12 +0000 Damian Fanelli Joe Satriani Announces 2015 G4 Experience Featuring Guthrie Govan, Tosin Abasi, Mike Keneally and More — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>From June 28 to July 2, 2015, musicians of all ages and levels will once again converge in California’s Central Coast for the second annual G4 Experience featuring Joe Satriani; Tosin Abasi and Animals As Leaders; Guthrie Govan and the Aristrocrats; and Mike Keneally. </p> <p>This unique music camp, which combines entertainment, education and a vacation experience, will take place at Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria, California, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.</p> <p>Satriani announces the G4 Experience in the exclusive video below. Be sure to check it out! For more details, keep reading!</p> <p>Produced by Dreamcatcher Events, the <a href="">G4 Experience</a> is an extension of Satriani’s G3 Tour, which features Satriani alongside two other well-known guitarists. </p> <p>“This year I’m happy to announce an exciting new G4 lineup, with each player selected for their stunning musicianship and original approach to guitar playing,” Satriani said. “Guthrie will be bringing his bandmates from the Aristocrats—Bryan Beller on bass and Marco Minnemann on drums. Tosin will come with Animals As Leaders featuring guitarist Javier Reyes and drummer Matt Garstka.</p> <p>“Mike 'The Wizard' Keneally returns this year bringing his unique multi-instrumental style and approach to the camp giving clinics, playing a solo show as well as being part of my band’s performances. To round out our teaching/performing staff will be good friends and all-around awesome guitarists Doug Doppler, Bruce Bouillet and Andy Aledort along with my friend, Stu Hamm on bass.”</p> <p>For more information, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Guthrie Govan Joe Satriani Mike Keneally Tosin Abasi Videos News Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:46:30 +0000 Damian Fanelli Joe Satriani Performs "Satch Boogie" at New York City's Iridium — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>On June 9, Joe Satriani performed an exclusive 99th-birthday commemorative concert for Les Paul at New York City's Iridium. I know it was exclusive because I couldn't get in!</p> <p>The performance was filmed for <em>Front and Center</em>, a public-television music series. Satriani’s performance will begin airing October 21.</p> <p>In the meantime, you can enjoy a sneak peek at Satriani's episode right here, right now. In the pro-shot clip below, you can watch him perform "Satch Boogie," his masterful 1987 instrumental. </p> <p>As always, be sure to tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Iridium Joe Satriani Videos News Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:09:59 +0000 Damian Fanelli Joe Satriani Shows How to Play "Satch Boogie" — Video <!--paging_filter--><p>Just like the headline says, here's an official <em>Guitar World</em> video of Joe Satriani showing you how to play his signature 1987 tune, "Satch Boogie."</p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script><object id="myExperience3769770598001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3769770598001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. 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If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> April 2006 Joe Satriani Artist Lessons Videos News Lessons Fri, 05 Sep 2014 19:56:05 +0000 Guitar World Staff Jacky Vincent of Falling In Reverse Discusses Joe Satriani's 'Surfing With the Alien' — The Record That Changed My Life <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Falling In Reverse guitarist Jacky Vincent chooses and discusses the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>Joe Satriani</strong><br /> <em>Surfing With the Alien</em> (1987)</p> <p>“<em>Surfing with the Alien</em> inspired me to become a musician and want to learn guitar. </p> <p>"My dad had the CD in his collection before I was even born. As a young kid I would pick it out and play it, and I have vivid memories of attempting to learn ‘Crushing Day,’ ‘Midnight,’ ‘Always with Me, Always with You,’ ‘Surfing with the Alien’ and ‘Satch Boogie.’ It meant so much to my development as a player because it was the album that introduced me to the guitar and songwriting techniques I use today. </p> <p>“<em>Surfing with the Alien</em> made it apparent to me early on that you didn’t even have to have a vocalist to create an incredible and enjoyable album. </p> <p>"It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be the player I am now, or probably even be a musician at all, without this album being available to me when it was. The guitar tones, songs and soloing on the record remain some of my favorites to this day.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Falling In Reverse Jacky Vincent Joe Satriani July 2014 The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Magazine Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:32:16 +0000 Jacky Vincent Book/CD: Joe Satriani's Guitar Secrets — 41 Private Lessons <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Joe Satriani: Guitar Secrets</em> is available now at the <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=JoeSatrianiSecrets">Guitar World Online Store</a>.</p> <p>Learn guitar tips, tricks and secrets with this collection of 41 private lessons from Satriani's famous columns from <em>Guitar for the Practicing Musician</em> magazine. </p> <p>Host Dave Celentano covers: chords, scales and modes, tunings, theory, technique, harmonics, soloing and much more!</p> <p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=JoeSatrianiSecrets">Check it out now at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></strong></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Joe Satriani News Features Wed, 11 Jun 2014 16:17:01 +0000 Guitar World Staff DiMarzio Releases Satch Track, Joe Satriani's First Single-Coil-Size Signature Pickup <!--paging_filter--><p>DiMarzio has announced the release of the Satch Track Neck hum-canceling pickup for electric guitars. </p> <p>The pickup, which was created for Joe Satriani, is available for retail sale from DiMarzio.</p> <p>From the company:</p> <p>Satriani is continually refining and sharpening his sound. Two years in the making, the Satch Track Neck is Joe’s first single-coil size signature pickup. Articulate, vocal and musical, it is the company's most advanced Fast Track-style pickup to date.</p> <p>The Satch Track Neck bridges the gap between classic humbucker and single-coil performance. It tracks pick attack and string vibration quickly and accurately like a single-coil, but the voicing is wider and stronger, like a humbucker. The highs are very warm, and clarity is created by keeping the mids and lows tight and focused.</p> <p>DiMarzio’s Satch Track Neck pickup is made in the U.S. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery. Suggested List Price is $119.99. For more about the Satch Track Neck pickup, visit <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/DP425_DiMarzio_Satch-Track_Neck_Red.jpg" width="620" height="527" alt="DP425_DiMarzio_Satch-Track_Neck_Red.jpg" /></p> DiMarzio Joe Satriani Accessories News Gear Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:21:49 +0000 Guitar World Staff Ax Men: Zakk Wylde and Joe Satriani Riff on Their Craziest Concert Moments, Jimmy Page and the State of Rock Guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s difficult to imagine two human beings more different than Joe Satriani and Zakk Wylde, even just in terms of physical appearance. </p> <p>Satriani is slight and slender, with a clean-shaven face and head. Wylde is big and hairy, with full beard and black-leather biker garb encasing his paunchy frame. </p> <p>As the two men stand side by side before a white backdrop inside a San Francisco area photo studio, the contrast is even more dramatic. To a stranger viewing the scene, the guitars they’re holding would be the only clue to why the hell they’re posing together. </p> <p>Not surprisingly, the inner man matches the outer in both cases. Satriani has always been an introspective guitar hero. He broods long and hard on the creative processes behind the records and concerts that have placed him at the vanguard of virtuoso rock guitar playing for the past three decades. </p> <p>On the other hand, it’s hard to conceive of Zakk Wylde ever experiencing anything like moments of introspection, let alone being familiar with the term. His abundant store of energy is direct outward, mostly in the frenzied flurry of rapid-fire guitar notes that have made him a metal guitar icon. His conversation is, oddly, like his guitar playing: it comes in nonstop verbal torrents heavily peppered with off-color jokes and personal references that only a Wylde fan could understand. </p> <p>Riffing on his Catholicism, he rattles off the names of his guitar heroes as if they belonged to some ecclesiastical hierarchy—Saint Rhoads, Pope Page, Father Vai… And like all true rock and roller outsiders—especially one from New Jersey—Wylde is an advanced master of the fine art of inserting the f-word into every sentence whether it fits or not. </p> <p>And while Satriani and Wylde seem so different as people, they are nonetheless brothers-in-shred and good friends of many years. So when <em>Guitar World</em> suggested that they meet up to share stories and insights from their many years of fretboard glory, they were happy to oblige. Wylde paused en route to a business meeting with iTunes to make the date, and Satriani valiantly rose from a sickbed, where he’d been battling an exceptionally nasty cold recently. </p> <p>At the end of day, all agreed that it was well worth the effort to get together and compare notes on life at the pinnacle of rock guitar mastery. </p> <p><strong>Can you remember the first time you heard one another’s playing?</strong></p> <p><strong>ZAKK WYLDE</strong> I’d just gotten my gig with Ozzy when I first heard <em>Surfing with the Alien</em>. And I thought, Wow…great melodies, great chops. Just awesome songs. Whenever I hear Joe playing, it kind of sounds like Billy Gibbons if Billy Gibbons had Al Di Meola’s fucking technique. ’Cause it grooves like Billy, but it’s got this insane technique. But aside from how ripping it is technically, there’s that blues in there all the time. And that’s what it’s like with a real player, like Joe. You know where they’re coming from, but they put their own unique spin on it and make it their own thing. </p> <p><strong>JOE SATRIANI</strong> I first heard Zakk probably around the same time, when he started playing with Ozzy. What a shock! The years between 1978 and 1987 were a decade of solid teaching and club work for me. So I was getting exposed to the next generation of guitar players who were starting at a higher level than I did. Higher expectations. Zakk was one of the first players I heard where I was like, “Wow, this bumps it up to a new level.” That was exciting, because the musicianship and the showmanship were both there. You have to have that, because it’s rock and roll. </p> <p>And what a tough gig Zakk had! He had to follow the legend of Randy Rhoads and Ozzy’s history with Black Sabbath. Zakk’s a multi-instrumentalist as well, and his technique on electric guitar translates beautifully to acoustic. That’s a very important indicator of the power he has, which I noticed right away.</p> <p><strong>Joe mentioned teaching guitar, which you did as well, Zakk, right?</strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> Yeah, before I started playing with Ozzy. Teaching’s great, man. But I also had normal jobs like working in a gas station and in a [supermarket] produce department. I didn’t plan on doing that for the rest of my life, but I had no problems with it because I was doing it to save up for a Marshall amp or a Les Paul or some other piece of gear. But when I taught, it was definitely cool when there were students who would practice and had a passion for the instrument. Not all of them did. But when you had a student who’d come to a lesson and could play all the scales you taught them last time, it was really rewarding.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>How did teaching feed into your own playing? </strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> It pushes you—especially with the advanced students. They learn all the shit and you gotta have something new to show them the next week. They know all the diatonics and all the pentatonics, so now we start breaking out the diminished scales.</p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> And your job is to crystallize musical concepts—put them into a couple of sentences. ’Cause maybe the kid’s showing up for 30 minutes or something.</p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> But then, Jimmy Page always used to say, “The reason I love the guitar is because they didn’t teach it in school.” And I get that. But I always say, if you get a car with a stick shift, eventually you’re going to learn to drive it by yourself. But before you blow through about three transmissions, usually it would be pretty cool if somebody just showed you how to do it. Eventually, sure, you can learn how to play “Stairway to Heaven” by yourself. But you’ll learn it a lot quicker if somebody shows you where to put your fingers.</p> <p><strong>Apart from obvious names like Hendrix and Page, do you have any guitar heroes in common?</strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Pete Townshend is one of my heroes, because he’s another guy who brings it all. He can play great, write great songs, and he puts on an amazing show. Quite crazy. I was just reading Pete’s autobiography [2012’s <em>Who I Am: A Memoir</em>] and I learned something I never knew before, and that was that he used a G string that was the same gauge as his B string. So when he did his double-stop bends, both strings would move at the same degree. That hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s an old blues player’s trick, but no one had suggested it to me before.</p> <p><strong>Was Pete big for you too, Zakk, or too early?</strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> No, but I’m on a steady diet of that classic stuff. It started in the sixth grade, when I was into Elton John. But then my friend at school—we were in arts and crafts doing sculpture—made a skull with a lighting bolt going through it, and it said, “Black Sabbath 666.” I go, “What is that?” And he says, “Oh that’s a band my brother listens to. It’s a rock band.” </p> <p>So the next thing I know, we’re at the mall and my mother says, “Well, you can get a record, but only one.” So I got [the Black Sabbath compilation] <em>We Sold Our Soul for Rock ’n’ Roll</em>. Because it was a double album, so it was like one record, but really it was two. I remember putting the record on and being terrified—and loving it! And Sabbath became a favorite band. </p> <p>Actually I found Sabbath before I found Led Zeppelin. My friend Scott Smith was my age, and his brother was 44. And he was the one who turned us on to Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Bad Company, Skynyrd… The thing is, if you like Eddie Van Halen, then you should also look into the people who influenced him, like Eric Clapton. And if you like Clapton, you should look into whoever influenced him.</p> <p><strong>Robert Johnson. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Yeah, and Jimmy Reed and all those blues guys. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> Exactly. You keep going further and further back. I’d hear Jimmy Page talking about all these blues guys he liked and I would go check them out. And when I joined Ozzy, I remember asking him about Tony Iommi and where he got all his stuff. And Tal Farlow was one of his main guys. I would never have heard about him otherwise. </p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Mentioning Tony Iommi and Tal Farlow, you remind me that I was really into Black Sabbath when I was a kid. And I took some be-bop lessons from Lenny Tristano. And for the lesson, he’d have me bring in a record and scat-sing the melody and solo, note for note. No playing, just singing. ’Cause his whole thing was getting the music inside of you. So I’d bring in all kind of records—Bird [i.e. Charlie Parker] and Coltrane, McLaughlin and Johnny Winter. And I remember also bringing in “Planet Caravan” by Black Sabbath. We played the whole album in my high school band, but that song was my favorite, ’cause it was just so weird. And where was that coming from? Jazz players like Tal Farlow.</p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> And Barney Kessel. </p> <p><strong>I believe you’re both big John McLaughlin fans as well. </strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> Yeah, without a doubt. When I was 15 years old and started playing, my friend’s band would come over and play covers from <em>Inner Mounting Flame</em>, along with Dixie Dregs songs. Instead of just playing like a Doors song, they were playing stuff note for note off Inner Mounting Flame. It was amazing, the way they were using pentatonic scales, which is something usually associated with crappy rock playing. </p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Oh, they’re all really cool, when it comes down to it. There’s no scale that’s more potent or powerful than another. It’s all in how it’s used. You have a couple of thousand years of amazing African music, all playing off three different pentatonic scales. </p> <p>I think <em>Inner Mounting Flame</em> is cool, but for some reason I like <em>Birds of Fire</em> the best. Maybe because it sounded more like a rock record to me or something. Just the way they arranged the whole album.</p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> All the guys in that band were out of control, too.</p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Possibly the best show I ever saw in my life was a concert by the Mahavishnu Orchestra—the original band—at Hofstra University. It was one of those shows I could not believe. Just the musicianship. And I’d seen lots of rock shows. I’d seen the Allman Brothers on the last night of the Fillmore East. I’d seen a lot, but that Mahavishnu concert was something else. I realized, Yes, musicianship can really achieve something incredible.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>I saw them in that era too, at the Nassau Coliseum.</strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Yeah, wow. I also saw them when they recorded their live album, in Central Park. </p> <p>Something all three of us have in common is that we’re all East Coast guys—from Long Island and New Jersey. Have you ever thought about how coming up in the tri-state area shaped your development as a musician?</p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Well, you get exposed to everything. That’s the thing. Because the metropolitan area would bring in international music, southern rock and country music when I was growing up. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> New York City had it all. </p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> You could go to the Nassau Coliseum, which I did. I saw Sabbath there, which is a whole story in itself. It was Lynyrd Skynyrd opening for Sabbath, and Sabbath didn’t come on for two hours. It was wintertime—festival seating on the floor. And for some reason we all started two bonfires. People just started burning coats, shoes, whatever. Then they turned the lights on. The fire marshalls came out and they hosed us down. And there were people throwing bottles…</p> <p><strong>What year was this? Early Seventies?</strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> ’72? Somewhere around there. Then Ozzy came out, and his voice sounded all ragged. He apologized and said he was sick. And the audience just booed. The whole place reeked of fires that had been put out. And we were all covered in fire retardant and water. It was an incredibly exciting concert, I gotta say. </p> <p>We walked home from there, which was, like, three miles or something, and we just thought it was the best thing ever. ’Cause not only did we get to see Black Sabbath, but it was an experience. I couldn’t hear everyone very well, but I remember that Geezer’s bass was the best thing I’d ever heard in my life. I just remember thinking, If this guitar thing doesn’t work out, I’m gonna be like that guy.</p> <p><strong>Both of you must have had some memorably cataclysmic gigs of your own. </strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> Oh yeah. I remember one time, with Ozzy. We were playing at Irvine Meadows. Ozzy screams at the audience, “All right, who wants to go crazy? Get up here and rock out with the Ozz! Come on…‘Crazy Train!’ ” We break into “Crazy Train” and the audience just rushed forward and started pouring onto the stage. Next thing you know there’s, like, 400 people onstage. We didn’t even get to the guitar solo in “Crazy Train.” Projection screens were breaking off, coming down. A couple of people broke their legs, got pretty banged up. Some of them were grabbing Ozzy. You’re not going to stop that many people rushing up on the stage. Randy [Castillo] stopped playing because they were taking the drums apart. They were stealing the microphones, the cymbals… I remember I got into a fucking brawl with a couple of guys who tried to grab my guitar. </p> <p>They were taking the buckets of water that Ozzy had onstage and started throwing them around. Some of the water landed on the fucking monitor console. Five-foot flames are shooting out of the fucking monitor console! Complete fucking chaos. At the end of the show I remember them walking out with Ozzy’s TelePrompTer, which was this fucking giant TV screen. Walking right out with a 48-inch screen, monitors, drum sets… Everything was fucking missing. And it was a benefit show for Randy Rhoads—to have his mausoleum built and the whole nine yards. It was just chaos. The damage was ridiculous. Who knows what the lawsuits were. </p> <p><strong>Didn’t you have security?</strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> Not when you get 16,000 people rushing the stage. Sheer numbers, man. You could have the Dallas Cowboys offensive lineup there and they couldn’t have stopped this.</p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> For me it’s gotta be a G3 gig in Kuala Lumpur a number of years ago. Eric Johnson and Steve Vai had done their sets. We were playing in a stadium. It was raining. And by the time they got us onstage, it was four in the morning. We started to play, and I think we played maybe 12 minutes. I remember I was in the middle of “Satch Boogie,” and Galen Henson, who at the time was our tour manager, was making funny hand signals at the side of the stage, like [“cut throat” sign], then the “gun to the head” gesture. I’m used to hand signals like “speed up,” “slow down” or “shorten this,” but this was something different. </p> <p>Finally, he just comes walking out onstage, right in the middle of the show, and he says, “The army is here, and if we don’t get out of here they’re gonna kill us or put us in jail or something.” And as he’s talking to me, the army showed up on the stage—guys with their machine guns pointing at us. I stopped the band and said, “Everyone, just get into the cars and leave. Forget about the gear.” </p> <p>I told my tech, Mike Manning, “Leave everything. Just go. Let’s all get out of here.” We were driven back to the hotel by the press agent’s boyfriend, who was a professional race car driver. I don’t know how fast we were going. I was in the back seat. I just kept thinking, It’s okay. I’m not dead. I’m not in jail. It’s gonna be all right.</p> <p><strong>What was going on? Political unrest?</strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> I just think the army, or the local whoever they were, weren’t paid sufficiently enough to allow us to play so late. This was, like, a two-week festival. Jethro Tull played, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson had played. There were, like, 30 bands that day. By the time we got on it was too late, the situation was getting heavy, and I wasn’t sticking around. So we finally got out. It was about 6:30 in the morning. We’re in the hotel restaurant having beer and noodles. We were at the airport by eight, and we were on a plane and out of there. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> It was kinda like that Black Sabbath concert! Except for the walk home. </p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> It was so frustrating because I wanted to play! I felt bad for all the people who had come out to hear us.</p> <p><strong>What recent piece of guitar gear are you finding indispensable these days?</strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> I’ve got my new Gibson Moderne going on now: the Moderne of Doom. I used that on my new record and I’m really digging it. And I’m working with the Dunlop guys on a new phase-shifter unit. But I’m not a crazy gearhound. I’ve been using a Marshall JCM800 since my first Ozzy record, and I still use it. I have friends who are constantly changing their gear all the time. And I go, “What did you use on that album? And why aren’t you using it anymore? Because that sounded really good.” So I’ve been using the same amps forever.</p> <p><strong>Well, yeah, but you do have your own signature model Marshall. </strong></p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> Yeah, I actually use the stuff I fuckin’ endorse. So I’ve never understood when friends of mine complain about their endorsement deals. I say, “Why don’t you just ask them to make you what you want?”</p> <p><strong>And I know Joe really uses his own signature Marshalls. Joe, I remember you telling me how you used some of the custom features on your last album. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Yeah, it was nice. The Marshall thing kind of developed the way it should. It took a long time, which was great, because we could really dial things in. Because if you use a piece of gear on a record and you’re heading in a certain stylistic direction on that record, you think, Wow, this amp is perfect! But then you go out on the road and you’re doing material from your entire catalog, and you go, “Whoa, maybe this amp isn’t going to be able to handle it.” </p> <p>We wound up doing two or three records and a few live DVDs, so by the time the amp went into production, it had been through so many interesting changes and prototypes. I could report from the road and the studio: “This is what happened.” I just think it’s cool when an artist can spend enough time developing a piece of gear before they put their name on it. It’s like an open set of doors instead of a closed set. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> And Joe’s signature model guitars: those are Ibanez’s Ferraris—top of the line! It’s the same with me and my guitars. You gotta love what you’re playing. </p> <hr /> <p><strong>Which is good advice for any aspiring Zakk Wyldes or Joe Satrianis out there who might one day land an endorsement deal. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Absolutely. Make sure you get it in hand before you say, “Okay, put it on the market and let Guitar World run the ad.” The creative musical artist works in a different way than the creative people who design and build musical instruments. </p> <p>Zakk and I might have a conversation while we’re having our picture taken that sends one of us off in some new musical direction. And because we’re performing artists, we want to share our ideas with the public right away. But that’s not how the industry of manufacturing instruments and amplifiers works. It can take two years to develop a product, and by then we may be off on three different artistic tangents. </p> <p>And that’s where the problem lies. Sometimes the industry wants to say, “Yeah, but could you just sign off on this today?” I always say resist as long as you can until that thing is what you really like. </p> <p><strong>Where do each of you go for inspiration when you’re having a dry period, when it’s just not happening?</strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> I like playing vintage instruments. That usually helps me out. Sometimes you pick up an old piece of gear that you wouldn’t normally play and then you have a limited range. Guys like Zakk and me play a very modern style of guitar. We need instruments that can withstand a lot of pressure. </p> <p>We’re cooking like crazy onstage. But you go back in time and older instruments were sometimes designed for a simpler basket of techniques. So it’s interesting to sit there and struggle with something that was designed for a simpler playing style and see how it changes your perspective on your own approach to your own instrument. </p> <p><strong>Kind of like going into a different tuning. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> I love that too. I do that all the time. None of it may ever work its way onto one of my records, but it’s just a new area for creativity. Create some inspiration. It feels like you’ve been somewhere else and you’ve collected some new information. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> Without a doubt, different tunings and different instruments can help. But inspiration is all around. You could be driving to the store and hear something like “Whole Lotta Love”—just how simple the structure is—and you think, It would be cool to do something with a simple riff like that. But then a creative guy like Joe will take that inspiration and he warps, twists, bends and changes it till it sounds nothing like “Whole Lotta Love.” So inspiration can come from that too—your favorite artists. </p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Speaking of “Whole Lotta Love,” I often think I have to find myself a [Vox] Super Beatle [amp], ’cause that’s what Jimmy Page used back then. I never would have guessed in a million years that the guy had a Super Beatle that he played on hundreds of other people’s songs as well as the first couple of Led Zeppelin records. A Super Beatle! </p> <p><strong>One of the English ones, though. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Yeah, I just think that’s so cool. That’s something I’d like to do sometime, plug a Les Paul into a Super Beatle and spend an afternoon making believe I’m Jimmy Page. Sitting there and being a wannabe for a few hours is kind of fun. Then you put it away, go back to your own rig, and you’ve gained a new perspective. You also acquire an amazing respect for, in this case, Jimmy Page and what he achieved with the gear that he had. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> It’s nice to have hundreds of crayons in the crayon box. But if you have just a few, you have to be creative. If you don’t have a pink crayon, then you have to take a red and a white, mix them together and you go, “Oh wow, red and white make pink!” Would Sgt. Pepper’s be as good if the Beatles had hundreds of tracks instead of just four? I don’t know. </p> <p><strong>How do the both of you relate to the current wave of extremely technical prog-metal guitar players-—the Tosin Abasi types?</strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Some of them are great. I flirted with seven-string. But basically I just don’t like the sound of it as an instrument as compared with a six-string. And then there’s guys playing eight-string. They really impress me—how they’ve built a world around this new instrument. It’s crazy. Charlie Hunter plays a 10-string, and that is the freakiest thing ever. He plays chords, bass lines and melody all at the same time. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> It’s crazy how Uli Jon Roth had a 35-fret guitar, the Sky Guitar. He was a big Strat guy, but he’s got this Sky Guitar now, and it’s just crazy. Even when he was playing a Strat it was out of control. You gotta remember, he was doing that wild stuff in 1974.</p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> The <em>Earthquake</em> and <em>Fire Wind</em> records…amazing. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> He was killing it, even back then. The first explosion of guitars was Clapton, Hendrix and Page [in the mid Sixties]. But what people forget is that Allan Holdsworth was killing it in 1972. How he plays nowadays he was doing back in ’72. </p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> A Small Stone phase shifter into a 100-watt Marshall. </p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> And you had John McLaughlin doing all that stuff back in 1970. It was just a massive explosion of insane guitar players that came out back then. And everyone’s technique was beyond insane.</p> <p><strong>So is it like that now with these new seven- and eight-string guys—a new plateau that’s going to change the rock guitar vocabulary? Or is it more just a small niche-market thing? </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> It’s hard to say. I think about a player like Don Felder; his playing is really amazing. The structure of his solos is mind blowing. So I don’t know if that’s going what’s going to happen, if we’re going to get another Don Felder out of the new generation—an accomplished player who also impacts the mainstream. Because what these young guys want to achieve with their music is different than what, let’s say, Felder was looking for with the Eagles. </p> <p><strong>And I like that fact. This new stuff doesn’t sound anything like what’s come before. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> No, it’s brand new. And I never feel like it’s lacking anything when I put it on. If I listen to Animals As Leaders, I’m just taking it for what it is. </p> <p><strong>Well, I don’t find myself humming along. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Yeah, but there’s lots of music where you’re not supposed to be humming along.</p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> You don’t hear a lot of blues or vibrato in the younger players. They can play fast, but if you ask them to play “Red House,” the feel isn’t there. The licks aren’t there. </p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> When I think about my early influences, like Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page, they just sound perfect to me. They had great phrasing. They never put technique in front of the music. I love that. And Don Felder is the same way. What he plays is pure music. There’s no extra stuff. So I’m looking over my own stuff a lot thinking, Make sure you clean out all that trendy shit. I think that’s what you want to do with your influences: you want to distill what is pure music. That way, you learn to admire the quality of those players and the foundations they built for you.</p> <p><strong>Once you get to where you’ve mastered reproducing the notes and the parts, you can get to another level with it and appreciate the pure musicality of it. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Exactly. And that’s what Zakk is talking about—beyond the finger movements. Way beyond that. </p> <p><strong>We have to constantly keep reminding the young beginners of that. </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Yeah, but that kind of music—like that band Necrophagist—it’s just brutal-sounding music, but not in any way designed for blues expression. Which is fine. There are no rules. When I listen to stuff like that, the first thing I think is, Wow, that’s a crazy feeling this is giving me. But then the musician part of me kicks in and I think, I can’t play that! Maybe I’d work on it for an hour and give up. It’s just not me. But then I think, How are they remembering all that? It like listening to a good hip-hop artist and thinking, How is he remembering all those words? In an hour-and-a-half show, how many lyrics are they remembering?</p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> It’s like a phone book. </p> <p><strong>So, here in the digitized 21st century, does rock still matter? </strong></p> <p><strong>SATRIANI</strong> Well, it does to me. And I guess whether the answer to your question is “yes” or “no,” does that change the way you feel about rock?</p> <p><strong>WYLDE</strong> When people say “Rock is dead,” I don’t think so. It just takes on a different form. It just keeps morphing—from Elvis Presley to the Beatles and Stones to Led Zeppelin. It’s the same thing with guitar solos. I remember talking to Dimebag, saying, “Guitar solos are dead?” That doesn’t change the way I feel when I hear Joe killing it on the guitar. That will never go out of style. Great is great. Whether it’s Joe, Al Di Meola or Dimebag, that will never go out of style. Like a great steak or Levis and a T-shirt, rock won’t go out of style. </p> <p><em>Photo: Kevin Scanlon</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zakk-wylde">Zakk Wylde</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Excerpt Joe Satriani May 2014 Zakk Wylde Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 12 May 2014 12:55:58 +0000 Alan di Perna United Artists: 15 New Signature Guitars That Can Help You Channel the Spirit of Your Favorite Ax Slinger <!--paging_filter--><p><strong><em>Guitar World</em> brings together 15 new signature guitars that can help you channel the spirit of your favorite ax slinger.</strong></p> <p>Ever since guitarists started gaining fame and fortune from their artistry, there have been players who wanted to emulate them. In response, guitar makers have created signature model guitars bearing the names of celebrated musicians.</p> <p>As far back as the 1830s, top luthiers like Johann Stauffer and René Lacote were collaborating with leading guitarists of the day, including Luigi Lagnani, Fernando Sor and Napoléon Coste, to create custom models. This includes what are possibly the first seven-string guitars, designed by Coste and Lacote, some of which bear Coste’s name handwritten on the label inside the body.</p> <p>The premise back then was much the same as it is today: as well-known and accomplished guitarists achieved new vistas of tone and technique, they lent their names and/or expertise to the design of instruments that—presumably—could help ordinary players attain similar musical feats. Even if you lacked the creative soul and dexterous fingers of a Sor, Hendrix or Vai, at least you could have the same kind of guitar.</p> <p>The vogue for signature guitars escalated in the late Twenties and early Thirties as our modern concept of celebrity took shape around new innovations in entertainment technology such as phonograph records and movies with synchronized sound. The prime example of this phenomenon is the Gibson Nick Lucas model flattop acoustic, which was introduced in the late Twenties.</p> <p><strong><a href="">For the rest of this story, head here. In the meantime, check out the 15 signature model guitars in the photo gallery below!</a></strong></p> Jacky Vincent January 2014 Joe Satriani Seth Avett Acoustic Guitars Bass Guitars Electric Guitars Galleries News Features Gear Magazine Tue, 06 May 2014 12:25:20 +0000 Guitar World Staff Thirty Great Guitarists — Including Steve Vai, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen — Pick the Greatest Guitarists of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>Who is the greatest guitarist on the planet?</p> <p>On the face of it, that question is a no-brainer: It's Hendrix. Or Clapton. Or Page. Or Beck. Or ... is it? </p> <p>In 2010, as <em>Guitar World</em> was celebrating its 30th anniversary, we picked 30 guitarists and asked them to name their guitar heroes — and the results will surprise you. </p> <p><strong>ANGUS YOUNG by Joe Perry</strong> </p> <p> Apart from the usual suspects—Page, Clapton, Beck, Hendrix and Peter Green—one of my favorite guitarists is Angus Young. I first saw him when AC/DC opened up for Aerosmith in the Seventies. </p> <p>They played about 25 dates with us, and I was just overwhelmed by his energy and ability to do his acrobatics without missing a note. He definitely had an influence on me inasmuch as his solos always had a purpose. Instead of using all the traditional tricks, he found a way to get inside those licks and be inventive. My favorite AC/DC song is probably “Sin City.” </p> <p> For me, the essence of a good guitarist is someone who plays what the song calls for. It’s about listening to the music as a whole and then doing what you need to do. Sometimes it’s not even what you play; it’s what you don’t play. Which brings us back to Angus Young. </p> <p> <strong>CHUCK BERRY by Angus Young</strong> </p> <p> When I was growing up, everyone used to rave about Clapton, saying he was a guitar genius and stuff like that. Well, even on a bad night, Chuck Berry is a lot better than Clapton will ever be. </p> <p> Rock music has been around since the days when Chuck Berry put it all together. He combined the blues, country and rockabilly, and put his own poetry on top, and that became rock and roll. And it’s been hanging in there. </p> <p> AC/DC’s whole career has been playing rock and roll, and I’m sure you still get a lot of people tuning in to bands like us and the Stones. Younger bands will be plugging into it and taking it into the next realm. There’s always going to be another generation that will take it and give it to a new, younger audience, so I think it will just keep going on. </p> <p> <strong>STEVE VAI by Tom Morello</strong> </p> <p> Some instrumental guitar players are lost in a muso fog. Steve Vai is not one of them. He’s an artist, and one of the greats. </p> <p> I’ve certainly learned from him, especially from his work ethic. I started playing guitar very late, when I was 17 years old. I felt really behind, and when I read about Steve’s practice regimen it really encouraged me. It also nearly killed me! While doing my college studies I was also practicing eight hours a day to amass the kind of technique that I admired in players like him and Randy Rhoads. </p> <p> Once, Steve was doing a presentation at GIT, and he asked me to do it with him. He told me he’d also invited Steve Lukather, Stanley Jordan, Joe Satriani. I said, “No, bro, it sounds like it’s gonna be a shred-off.” But he said, “We’re not even gonna play; we’re just gonna discuss our craft.” So I said, “Okay, I’ll do it.” </p> <p> A couple of days before the event, he says to me, “Just bring your amp and guitar along in case we have to demonstrate techniques.” So of course, I get there for soundcheck, and my worst nightmare has come true: it was six of us in a row with our guitars, and it was nonstop shredding the whole time. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>TONY IOMMI by James Hetfield</strong> </p> <p> As far as being a riff-and-rhythm guy, my favorite guitarist is Tony Iommi. He inspired me to want to play heavy. </p> <p>I admired other rhythm players, like AC/DC’s Malcolm Young, who’d just stay in the back and hold it down, and the Scorpions’ Rudy Schenker, who has a lot of percussiveness in his playing. I also liked Rush’s Alex Lifeson—people wouldn’t think of him as a rhythm player, but he comes up with some pretty amazing offbeat things. </p> <p> But Iommi is the main man. To me, he seemed like one of those quiet geniuses. At one time he was the frontman of Black Sabbath, and Ozzy was off to one side; at that time, the riff was more important than the vocals. Tony can go from the heaviest minor-key doom riff to a happy mode, and it will still sound heavy. Metallica can’t do happy, but Tony can pull it off. My favorite Black Sabbath track is “Into the Void.” </p> <p> <strong>ERIC CLAPTON by Eddie Van Halen</strong> </p> <p> Clapton was it. I knew every note he played. Mammoth—me, Alex Van Halen and a bass player we knew—were the junior Cream. </p> <p> Being limited gear-wise forced me to find my own voice on the guitar. That’s why Eric Clapton’s live jams with Cream were such an influence on me. Back in ’68, he was pretty much just using natural distortion on those live tracks on <em>Wheels of Fire and Goodbye</em>. </p> <p>I had no money and couldn’t afford a fuzz box or a wah-wah or a ring modulator, or whatever Hendrix had in his whole rig. I just plugged straight into an amp and turned it up to 11. So in order to get a different or unique sound, I had to learn to squeeze it out of the strings with just my fingers. I never had a guitar lesson in my life, except from listening to Eric Clapton records. </p> <p> <strong>JIM McCARTY by Ted Nugent</strong> </p> <p> I discovered the most powerful musical influence of my entire life when I played the Walled Lake Casino outside of Detroit. It was either 1959 or 1960. My band the Lourdes opened up for Martha &amp; the Vandellas, Gene Pitney, and Billy Lee &amp; the Rivieras, who went on to become Mitch Ryder &amp; the Detroit Wheels. Their guitarist was Jim McCarty, who played a Gibson Byrdland through a Fender Twin. </p> <p> Standing there watching McCarty rip into his leads, I thought, Dear god in heaven, what is <em>that</em>? It was so outrageous, so noisy, yet so musical and so rhythmical. I realized that simply playing a song would never do again. </p> <p> After I heard him play, I went on a gee-hah to get a Byrdland and a Fender Twin amp—because of the crispness, the thickness, the style of his playing. It was about using all the fingers, all the strings, all the time. </p> <p>That’s where the multi-rhythmic patterns on my song “Stranglehold” come from, with all the grace rhythms, all the counter-rhythms, all the pedal tones that never stop. I’m playing multiple parts on the guitar by using various incremental touches to each string. And that’s because of McCarty. </p> <p> <strong>KEITH RICHARDS by Steven Van Zandt</strong> </p> <p> The British invasion of 1964 to 1966 turned Americans on to our own rock and roll pioneers and blues players. I grew up on Keith Richards, and his lead on the Stones’ versions of Chuck Berry songs helped reinvent the guitar for Beck, Clapton and Jimmy Page. </p> <p>I always felt that you go through that muso phase and stay there or get out. I went out the other end. I didn’t want to be a virtuoso for a minute. So I came full circle to the fact that the guitar solo must serve the song—that’s more important. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>JIMMY HERRING by Alex Skolnick</strong> </p> <p> Some may not know Jimmy Herring’s name, but they will know the bands that he’s played with: the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, and Jazz Is Dead. He’s a hero of the jam-band scene, which is kind of funny, as stylistically he’s very influenced by jazz. </p> <p> Jimmy has his own band called Aquarium Rescue Unit, who operate on a level similar to [<em>jazz-fusion group</em>] Weather Report. Having said that, although people like the Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Hornsby took them out on tour and begged their own label to sign them, Aquarium Rescue Unit never got a decent record deal and eventually disbanded [<em>in 1997</em>]. They reunited in 2005 and have played somewhat sporadically since then. </p> <p> Jimmy is an incredible player. He has the bluesiness of Warren Haynes or Johnny Winter and the vocabulary of John Scofield, with an element of Steve Morse thrown in. If that sounds appealing, then track down a copy of Aquarium Rescue Unit’s 1993 album, <em>Mirrors of Embarrassment</em>. Play it, and you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of him until now. </p> <p> <strong>RITCHIE BLACKMORE by Phil Collen</strong> </p> <p> The first gig I ever went to was Deep Purple, during their <em>Machine Head</em> period. They played “Highway Star,” and it blew me away. And that’s when I decided to start playing guitar. </p> <p> Ritchie Blackmore was a huge influence because he was flashy. I love really flashy lead guitar playing, and Blackmore’s technique is great. It’s aggressive. When he hit a chord, it was like being punched in the face. I don’t really care about finger picking, and acoustic doesn’t satisfy me. It’s electric, screaming loud rock that I love. </p> <p> As far as what he’s doing now [<em>playing Renaissance-style music with Blackmore’s Night</em>], I honestly respect him. The fact that he’s still playing and is passionate about it is great, even if it is a bit wonky and weird. He can take liberties. He’s Ritchie Blackmore. </p> <p> <strong>GLENN TIPTON &amp; K.K. DOWNING by Zakk Wylde</strong> </p> <p> When I think of underrated guitarists, I go for some of the guys in really big bands, the ones who get overshadowed by the achievements of their band act. For instance, when Journey is mentioned, you think of great songs and amazing vocals. But who ever praises Neal Schon? And that guy can play up a storm. </p> <p> That’s why I pick Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing from Judas Priest. It’s two guitarists, yes, but you always think of them as one. They are the ultimate twin guitarists in metal—they go together. Just listen to the amazing riffs they’ve come up with over the years. And these guys can shred with the best. </p> <p> Tipton and Downing have influenced generations of young guitarists, but a lot of the time these kids don’t even realize that what they’re playing all started with Judas Priest. Tipton and Downing have also given metal a subtlety that’s often overlooked. Both appreciate that sometimes you are most effective when you back off the pedal a little. You don’t need to be blazing all the time. </p> <p> They’ve worked together for so long that each immediately understands what to do in a song. Sometimes Tipton is soloing and Downing is riffing, and then they’ll change over—it’s not like one does the lead work and the other does the rhythm. This is also what they introduced into metal: the idea of not only being a great lead player but also being prepared to let the other man have the spotlight when it matters to the music. </p> <p> Without Tipton and Downing, metal would be very different. That’s why I have such a high regard for them. In my book, they rule. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>LESLIE WEST by Martin Barre</strong> </p> <p> Leslie West made a big impression on me when Mountain supported Jethro Tull on a long U.S. tour during the early Seventies. In those days, opening acts weren’t too friendly, and it all became a bit competitive, but Mountain were lovely guys, and we really hit it off. They were such a great band. I loved Leslie’s larger-than-life style, they had great songs, and they were so incredibly tight. In that last respect, they taught Jethro Tull a lot about being a band. </p> <p> I know of at least three people that were affected by Leslie’s playing style—myself, John McLaughlin and Mick Ralphs [<em>of Mott the Hoople and Bad Company</em>]—but I’m sure there are plenty more. Leslie has such recognizable tone, and I love the melodic way he plays; every note counts. He never resorts to the pyrotechnic approach or feels the need to be overly clever. </p> <p>If you want a good starting off point for a beginner, go with <em>Climbing! </em>[<em>1970</em>] or <em>Nantucket Sleighride </em>[<em>1971</em>]. I still love what Mountain did with “Theme from an Imaginary Western.” My goodness, they brought that to life, especially onstage. </p> <p> <strong>JEFF BECK by David Gilmour</strong> </p> <p> I’m sort of horribly, pathetically fannish about Jeff. Ever since “Hi Ho Silver Lining” came out [<em>in 1967</em>] when I was 20-odd years old, I’ve revered him and his playing. In many ways he is just the best guitar player. And 40-something years since he came to prominence in the Yardbirds, he is still the only person pushing forward in that way. He’s never retreading old ground; he’s always looking for a new challenge. </p> <p> Jeff’s scarily brilliant. He’s a tightrope walker. I’m not. I like to cover all my bases and make myself secure with a great band, with the music all rehearsed. I just walk out there, and if I didn’t even play anything it would still sound great. Jeff’s different. He’s out there mining that seam. </p> <p> <strong>JIMI HENDRIX by Joe Satriani</strong> </p> <p> The first thing that really flipped me out was hearing “The Wind Cries Mary” on the radio. Before that, I was a drummer, and I started from watching the Rolling Stones and the Beatles on <em>The Ed Sullivan Show</em>. But as soon as I heard Hendrix, that was it. </p> <p> What made him great was his choice of notes. When you hear “Machine Gun” from <em>Live at the Fillmor</em>e, you have no idea what’s going to happen in the next few minutes. You’re totally unprepared. With “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” you can’t believe how perfect a performance it is, and it’s just a blues thing in E. </p> <p> Unfortunately, the Seventies were a hellish period for many great players, if you look at Hendrix’s comrades, it was a rough road. But look at someone like Jeff Beck—he just gets better and better. </p> <p>I saw him a month ago in Oakland, and I was just in tears standing at the side of the stage listening to him playing “Where Were You.” Nowadays, as a guitarist you want to celebrate what you’ve been able to play, which goes back to quoting other great players, but you also feel a responsibility not to copy those people. In my mind, when I’m playing, my heroes are sitting on my shoulders. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>BRIAN MAY by Steve Vai</strong> </p> <p> I don’t think enough is really said about the brilliance of Brian May’s guitar playing, in the sense that it’s overshadowed by the greatness of the music itself. The <em>Queen II</em> album was one of those pivotal moments that just nailed me to the wall. </p> <p> He’s probably one of the top identifiable guitar players, even more so than Beck, Page and Clapton. They’re all so identifiable, but Brian May had such a tone in his head and in his fingers. It speaks volumes. His contribution to orchestrated guitars is unprecedented. There was nothing like it before him. </p> <p>To me, it was like when Edward Van Halen came along and reshaped the sound of electric guitar. That’s what I heard in Brian May’s playing. It’s something that’s inherent in the brain of the guitar player. </p> <p> I remember working with Frank Zappa for the first time. I had just moved out to Los Angeles, and nobody knew me. I was 21. I went to the Rainbow Bar &amp; Grill, and Brian May was there. I couldn’t believe it. I mustered up every little bit of courage and went up to him and said, “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. I play guitar. I’m here in town with Frank Zappa.” He said, “Oh, really? Why don’t you come down to our rehearsal?” </p> <p> I went down, and he brought me up on the stage, and he let me play the guitar—the guitar that he built with his dad [<em>the “Red Special”</em>]. I couldn’t even believe that I was touching this instrument! He was so kind and so warm, and for who? This kid, you know? And I played his guitar, and it sounded like Steve Vai. Then when he played it, it sounded just like Brian May. It was very apparent to me that his tone is in his fingers and his head. </p> <p> He’s a class act from head to toe, and it shows in his playing. I can listen to any player and pantomime their sound, but I can’t do Brian May. He’s just walking on higher ground. </p> <p> <strong>MARTY FRIEDMAN by Jason Becker</strong> </p> <p> When I was 16 years old, I sent a demo tape to Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records. He called me and said I should go and meet Marty. </p> <p> I went to Marty’s tiny apartment in San Francisco. We started jamming, without amps. That moment changed my life. What he was doing was so new to me. The unique bends, vibrato, exotic scales, phrasing and timing were fascinating to me. And then it hit me: he was a lot better than I was. I started to sweat. I tried to play my best stuff, but my musical mind had already shifted. I knew I wanted to learn from this guy. </p> <p> Marty was very complimentary of my technique and the melodies on my demo tape. He started coming over to record his songs on my four-track. He taught me the second harmonies and counterpoint lines. Once he saw that I was a sponge for learning, he started incorporating some of my ideas. I feel like every day that I jammed or wrote with Marty was like taking lessons for a year. He taught by example, and with his influence I learned how to be my own unique creative artist. Even to this day, when I am composing and I get stuck, I think to myself, What would Marty do? </p> <p> <strong>EDDIE VAN HALEN by Richie Kotzen</strong> </p> <p> This is kind of embarrassing, but the first time I heard Eddie Van Halen was on the solo for Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” I was like, “Man, that’s unbelievable. Who is this guitar player?” I asked around and found out it was Eddie Van Halen. Then I ended up getting some Van Halen records, and after that I just really wanted to play like him. </p> <p> He didn’t sound like any other guitar player, but it was more about the way that he played the notes. Everyone talks about Van Halen’s sound, but it really has to do with his timing, his rhythm style and his phrasing. It’s more about that to me than the amp or whatever guitar he’s using. </p> <p> The first time I saw Eddie play, I had the best possible seat. Because we had the same guitar tech, I was able to watch him from this little room under the stage, where he goes to change guitars or do whatever. It was pretty incredible. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>YNGWIE MALMSTEEN by George Lynch</strong> </p> <p> Every little microevolution of the guitar that came along in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties influenced me. The number of people I didn’t appreciate is probably a much smaller list. </p> <p> Yngwie is one of those players that had a huge impact on me. His neoclassical style was just mind-blowing to me. I was raised as a blues player and learned my chops in the late Sixties, early Seventies, so it was all incredibly new to me. Just the ferocity of it was mesmerizing. The ease with which he does it was fascinating, too. </p> <p> Ultimately, guitar-driven Eighties music had wound itself to the point of absurdity and inaccessibility. I mean, how many people can actually appreciate that kind of music? It’s just an elitist speed contest. But Yngwie created the trend. On a pure playing level, players that create music that touches people are always viable. And that’s why he’s still around and a lot of the other guys aren’t. </p> <p> <strong>MICK TAYLOR by Slash</strong> </p> <p> Mick Taylor had the biggest influence on me without me even knowing it. My favorite Stones records were <em>Beggars Banquet</em>, <em>Let It Bleed</em> and <em>Sticky Fingers</em>. Those three were major to me because I was exposed to those records as a kid when they first came out. Mick Taylor played on a couple of those records and went on to play with the Stones for a couple more. As I got older and started playing guitar, I always gravitated to his style. </p> <p> People always mention Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Angus Young…all the obvious ones. But there are guys like Mick Taylor and Joe Walsh that were as important. Mick Taylor had a really cool, round-toned bluesy sort of thing that I thought was really effective. </p> <p> One of the greatest Mick Taylor solos is on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” from <em>Sticky Fingers</em>. It’s the kind of stuff that’s almost like old Eric Clapton—it’s very simple stuff, but it’s about how the notes are placed and how you approach them. The new guard of guitarists always forgets about doing simplistic and very effective guitar playing that speaks to you. It’s not all about two-handed tapping. </p> <p> <strong>RANDY RHOADS by Frank Hannon</strong> </p> <p> I was always a big fan of Randy. In 1980, when Ozzy’s <em>Blizzard of Ozz</em> came out, some friends of mine went to see him perform in Oakland and came back raving, saying, “Man, we saw this guitarist today, and he was better than Eddie Van Halen!” </p> <p> This was a few years before we started Tesla. I was already playing guitar and was a big fan of Eddie Van Halen. So we went down to the local record store and got the album, and I was infatuated from day one. Randy was doing everything that Van Halen did, and more. It was the classical knowledge that he was incorporating into the guitar. The arrangements on “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley” were unbelievable. I think a lot of the soloing on Van Halen tracks were improvised, which is cool. Randy took it a step further. His discipline probably came from his mother who taught him at her music school [<em>Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood</em>]. When I was a kid I would read the guitar magazines, and he would always mention that his mother was a big influence. </p> <p> I went to visit the school, and I met Randy’s brother, Kelle, and his mother Delores, who is nicknamed “Dee.” “Dee” was also the title of an acoustic song on <em>Blizzard of Ozz</em>, which was a big influence on me. If you listen to my acoustic solo on “Love Song” it’s really inspired by that. I played that for Dee when I met her recently. She loves meeting fans, and she told me some stories about Randy. She said that his favorite song was [<em>the Big Band swing tune</em>] “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” how he found his first guitar in his father’s closet, and how when he was in London recording <em>Diary of a Madman</em> he would spend all his downtime studying classical music at a university. She just lit up when she talked about Randy. I have a video of that meeting on my web site. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>ZAKK WYLDE by Ron &quot;Bumblefoot&quot; Thal</strong> </p> <p> I first heard Zakk in 1986, when he was with a New Jersey band called Zyris. The next thing I knew, he was playing with Ozzy. Like Zakk, I had been a huge Randy Rhoads fan, so I was very happy that Ozzy picked Zakk to be his guitarist. </p> <p> When you hear Zakk’s playing, you know right away that it’s him, with that distinctive use of harmonic vibrato on the lower string. Before he came along, every time you saw a blond-haired guitarist kicking a Les Paul’s ass you thought of John Sykes. Now you also think of Zakk. In addition, he’s very diverse stylistically, with the southern rock of Pride and Glory [<em>Wylde’s early Nineties group</em>], the singer-songwriter style of his <em>Book of Shadows</em> album [<em>1996</em>] and, of course, what he does with Black Label Society. </p> <p> I met Zakk for the first time about a year and a half ago; he was a guest on my friend’s TV show. His visit to the studio was supposed to last for three hours, but he ended up staying for 14. Besides being a phenomenal musician, Zakk’s as good-hearted as I expected. I hope that some day we can do it again. </p> <p> <strong>B.B. KING by Billy Gibbons</strong> </p> <p> My favorite guitarist is B.B. King. His album <em>Live at the Regal</em>, recorded in 1964, remains a classic. The electricity, the crackling atmosphere… Plus, it’s a great sound, recorded with a full band, horns and piano, and a rabid audience thrown in. </p> <p> B.B.’s distinctive one-note style, his sustain and attack, that kind of call-and-response thing between the vocals and the solos… He’s taken for granted now, which means he’s underrated. Obviously, he’s a maestro entertainer rather than a blues purist, though he can be that too. He’s a former cotton picker, but he remains so self-effacing, plus he has a great sense of humor, lyrically and in life. He’s got class. </p> <p> <strong>MALCOLM YOUNG by Scott Ian</strong> </p> <p> Malcolm Young has got to be the most unsung, underrated guitar hero of all time. He’s the backbone of AC/DC, the greatest rock band ever, and has written some of the most amazing riffs you’ll hear. This is the man responsible for more great rock moments than any other guitarist you can name. Is Malcolm Young the greatest rhythm guitarist in the world? No contest. </p> <p> I recall being given one of his guitar picks recently after a gig on the band’s current tour, and it was half worn down. But you know what’s astonishing? Apparently that pick was used on just one song during the band’s set that night. Malcolm gets through a pick for every song because he hits the strings so hard. It’s amazing. The man is truly a one-off. </p> <p> When I first started to listen to AC /DC, it was Angus who caught my attention. He was the lead guitarist and got all the glory. But in about 1979, when I began to get into guitar playing in a serious way, I gravitated toward Malcolm. I was listening to what he did, because he was the guy writing the music. I now appreciate just how incredible he is. He’s a songwriter, not a shredder, but without him what would AC /DC sound like? </p> <p> If you’ve never heard him play—and can there be anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard Malcolm Young?—then go and listen to the opening chords of “Back in Black.” If that doesn’t move you, then you have no soul. The other songs I’d strongly recommend are “Riff Raff” and “Beating Around the Bush.” The way he takes straight blues riffs and siphons them though the AC/DC sensibility is a lesson to all guitarists. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>GEORGE HARRISON by Elliot Easton</strong> </p> <p> I was 10 years old when the Beatles played the <em>Ed Sullivan Show</em> [<em>in February 1964</em>], and I was already playing a little guitar. To see George Harrison there, standing off to the side, looking down at his guitar while he played his licks—to my impressionable mind it defined what a lead guitarist was. </p> <p> I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to be like the guy in the middle—the guy looking down at his guitar and playing all the little fills and solos. Harrison taught me about short solos and hooks, and what a hook is. All those mid-Sixties Beatles tracks—whether it was “Day Tripper” or “Ticket to Ride” or whatever—they all start with a guitar lick that you wait to come around again in the chorus. That’s where I learned to do that. </p> <p> <strong>ULI JON ROTH by Kirk Hammett</strong> </p> <p> Around the time of Metallica’s <em>Death Magnetic</em> sessions, I began listening again to some of the rock music of my teens, and it inspired me all over again. I’d forgotten how much those guitarists meant to me. </p> <p> Uli Jon Roth is one of those players. When I started listening to him again, I realized that I can still learn a lot from him. I love his choice of notes, the attitude behind his playing and the way his solos “up” the level of his songs. He took Scorpions to a totally different level. After his solos, you’re left there shaking your head. It’s like being sideswiped by a truck. </p> <p> The track I love the most is the one I play every night, “The Sails of Charon,” from <em>Taken by Force</em>. The opening motif is just great. It’s spooky sounding, exotic. It’s very old-school heavy metal. People in the audience who know the song recognize that I’m flying the flag for that old-school metal, and they come to me and say, “Bro, ‘Sails of Charon’ rules!” There are a lot more Uli Roth fans out there than I expected. </p> <p> <strong>NEIL YOUNG by Nancy Wilson</strong> </p> <p> Neil is identifiable whether he’s playing acoustic or electric guitar. For acoustic he has a completely unique type of tuning, detuning, attack and release. He plays a song called “Bandit,” from the <em>Greendale</em> album, and there’s a live version of it that’s incredible. He chooses a specific guitar that can be detuned on the low string down to a C and picks the particular gauge of string that will rattle in the perfect way. It sounds so wrong that it’s right. I think nobody in the world would do that on purpose except for Neil Young. </p> <p> He has a monstrous electric guitar sound, too, and on “Cinnamon Girl” he recorded what is probably the best one-note guitar solo ever. He puts more feeling into one note than anyone else. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Of course, it’s his tone that makes all the difference. Touch sensitivity accounts for about 90 percent of everything. Neil has such expressive playing that he<em> can</em> play a onenote solo and make it memorable for decades, for generations. </p> <p> <strong>FRANK ZAPPA by Dweezil Zappa</strong> </p> <p> I was never intimidated by my father’s technique. I think most guitar players are just excited to see somebody do something they didn’t think was possible. We’d sit and play together, but what Frank was doing was musical. I couldn’t grasp it at a young age—it was too sophisticated for me. He’d show me inversions of chords and composition devices—moving triads around the neck and stuff. It sounded neat, but I didn’t always understand what was happening musically. </p> <p> I do the Zappa Plays Zappa tour because I want to get Frank’s music more into the public eye. I want him to be better understood. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about his music and him as a person. First of all, Frank was really a composer who used a rock band like an orchestra. He could hear stuff in his head and just write it down. I didn’t have a musical background; I was just a guy who learned things by ear—more a guitar player than a musician. The first thing I learned was the incredibly fast passage toward the end of “The Black Page.” It took me a good five or six months, and I had to totally change my picking technique in order to play this thing. I’d have to play it really slow for hours and hours and <em>hours</em>. I definitely think Frank would enjoy that we go to such great lengths to get it right with Zappa Plays Zappa. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>PETE TOWNSHEND by Ace Frehley</strong> </p> <p> I got all my rhythm work from listening to Pete Townshend and Keith Richards. I think Pete is a wizard when it comes to chords. He can play the same chord in, like, 20 different positions, doing inversions, suspensions… Just listen to <em>Tommy</em>. I’m a huge fan. </p> <p> Pete has a great right hand as well as a great left hand. “Tattoo” is a great picking song, but of course he’s known best for his power strumming, like on “Pinball Wizard,” and his power chords, like on “My Generation” and the chord that opens “I Can See for Miles.” His rhythm work was just amazing. </p> <p> The first time I saw the Who was the same day I saw Cream for the first time. They were both performing at a Murray the K show in Manhattan. [<em>The revue-style show, presented by disc jockey Murray Kaufman, was called </em>Music in the Fifth Dimension<em> and presented at the RKO Theater from March 25 to April 2, 1967.</em>] I was cutting school, and a friend and I snuck into the show and got down in front. It was the Who’s first New York show. I think the headliner was Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. </p> <p> I saw the Who perform again, at the Fillmore East, in 1968, the day after Martin Luther King got shot. [<em>The civil rights leader was assassinated on April 4, 1968.</em>] The Who weren’t going to play because they were worried about riots, and I believe they ended up doing a short show. Ironically, Paul Stanley [<em>Frehley’s former Kiss coguitarist</em>] was there too, but we didn’t know each other at the time. </p> <p> <strong>ALVIN LEE by Mick Mars</strong> </p> <p> Sometimes I feel I should’ve been true to myself as a guitar player and stuck with the blues. All bullshit aside, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Alvin Lee, Jimi Hendrix…that stuff was the total shit for me. I was brought up on those players, and they all influenced me in one way or another. </p> <p> When Bloomfield started getting too countrified for my liking, that’s when I discovered Alvin Lee and Ten Years After. Alvin brought a real explosive side to the blues. Some people said they couldn’t handle it, but I thought he was great. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>PETER GREEN by Rich Robinson</strong> </p> <p> Growing up in America, you couldn’t help but hear Fleetwood Mac’s [<em>mid-Seventies breakthrough albums</em>] <em>Rumours</em> and <em>Fleetwood Mac</em> on the radio all the time. And it was by getting into these records that I started to explore the Peter Green legacy. Obviously, he’d left Fleetwood Mac long before these were done, but I was influenced enough by them to want to know more about what the band had done before. And that’s when I discovered the amazing talent of the man. </p> <p> His playing is just so moving. Listen to what he achieves on “Oh Well” and “Rattlesnake Shake,” and it is stunning. What he does is so interesting because he doesn’t overplay. Green understands that simplicity could hold the key to the blues. </p> <p> It makes him so authentic. To my mind, Peter Green is the finest white man I’ve ever heard playing blues guitar. That’s a bold statement when you consider some of the other greats, but I genuinely believe this to be true. His playing has the soul and passion of the blues. And yet he never seems to get the recognition enjoyed by people like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Perhaps that’s because he’s so understated. If you check out something like “I Need Your Love So Bad,” what you hear is a guitarist prepared to submerge his own ego for the sake of the song. He gets the mood exactly right. He was never flamboyant like the others I just mentioned. As a result, he’s often overlooked in the list of guitar greats. </p> <p> He also has such an incredible range. You can’t ever claim that one particular song defined him in the way that you can with Hendrix. </p> <p> When the Black Crowes recorded and toured with Jimmy Page, he told us so many Peter Green stories. It was clear that Jimmy loves the man’s talent. And if he’s good enough for a giant like Jimmy to acclaim, then it reinforces my adoration. </p> <p> <strong>RON ASHETON by Kim Thayil</strong> </p> <p> It was the Seventies when I first heard the Stooges. By then, all the albums by the New York Dolls, the Stooges and the MC5 were out of print. You could only find them in used-record stores, and the nearest was six miles away. I’d check out their racks, and once in a while I got lucky. </p> <p> The Stooges’ <em>Funhouse</em> album was one that I found. There’s some crazy stuff on side two—some really great, aggressive rock solos. Ron has a particular gritty, sleazy sound with the groove that he lays down. And the dueling improvisations with saxophone made for some cool jazz noise rock. </p> <p> The Stooges didn’t do as much of that 12-bar blues stuff. They just hit a groove and then hypnotically beat you over the head with it. They just stayed with that riff for a long time. Of course, there is a lot of blues in what Ron did, but there’s something a lot looser, too, and it was freer and it utilized chaos. It was something that was definitely not present in FM rock or Top 40 at the time. “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “TV Eye,” “Loose,” “Down on the Street”… </p> <p>They’re all amazing. If rock should be about anything, it should be about freedom and rebellion, and not the stupid requirements that would be imposed upon you by the record company—like professionalism. I mean, it’s good for a person to know their damn instrument, or else you can’t come up with inventive ideas, but not to be bound by the patterns on the fretboard.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/steve-vai">Steve Vai</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/george-harrison">George Harrison</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brian-may">Brian May</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/david-gilmour">David Gilmour</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> AC/DC Aerosmith Articles GW Archive Jimi Hendrix Joe Satriani Steve Vai Van Halen Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:33:16 +0000 Guitar World Staff Exclusive: Joe Satriani Premieres "Time Machine" (Remix) from Upcoming 'Complete Albums' Box Set <!--paging_filter--><p>Today, presents the exclusive premiere of Joe Satriani's "Time Machine" (Remix), a previously unreleased version of a track from Satriani's 1993 album, <em>Time Machine</em>.</p> <p>The track is from <em>The Complete Albums Collection — Additional Creations and Bonus Tracks</em>, which is part of a new 15-disc career-spanning box set, <em>Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings</em>, which will be released April 22 through Epic/Legacy.</p> <p>The new box set compiles all of Satriani's 14 studio albums, plus the <em>Additional Creations and Bonus Tracks</em> disc, making it the most comprehensive Satch collection. Each album features new digital remasters (overseen by Satriani) and is packaged in a replica cardboard jacket and housed in a clamshell box.</p> <p>Satriani also happens to share the cover of the new May 2014 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, <a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=SatchSongPremiere">which is available now</a>. In the new issue, he and fellow cover star Zakk Wylde team up to riff on their craziest concert moments, Jimmy Page and the state of rock guitar in 2014. The new issue also features an excerpt from <em>Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir</em>, the new book by Satriani and Jake Brown (BenBella Books).</p> <p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=SatchSongPremiere">You can check out the cover of the new May issue below and find out more by clicking HERE.</a></strong></p> <p><a href=";qid=1395848434&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=joe+satriani+the+complete+studio+recordings&amp;tag=smarturl-20">The new Satriani box set is available for pre-order at</a></p> <p><strong>Albums included in the box set:</strong></p> <p> <em>Not Of This Earth</em> (1986)<br /> <em>Surfing With The Alien</em> (1987)<br /> <em>Flying In A Blue Dream</em> (1989)<br /> <em>The Extremist</em> (1992)<br /> <em> Time Machine</em> (1993)<br /> <em> Joe Satriani</em> (1995)<br /> <em> Crystal Planet</em> (1998)<br /> <em> Engines Of Creation</em> (2000)<br /> <em> Strange Beautiful Music</em> (2002)<br /> <em> Is There Love In Space?</em> (2004)<br /> <em> Super Colossal</em> (2006)<br /> <em> Professor Satchafunkilus And The Musterion Of Rock</em> (2008)<br /> <em> Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards</em> (2010)<br /> <em> Unstoppable Momentum</em> (2013)<br /> <em> Additional Creations And Bonus Tracks</em> (2014)</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/MAY%202014%20COVER%20GW.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="MAY 2014 COVER GW.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> exclusive Joe Satriani May 2014 News Features Wed, 26 Mar 2014 14:58:48 +0000 Damian Fanelli Need for Speed: The 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>From Les Paul to Paul Gilbert, Johnny Winter to Johnny Hiland, and Paco De Lucia to Al Di Meola, fleet-fingered guitarists have made their mark in every genre throughout the modern history of the guitar. </p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> exceeds the legal limit with this roundup — in alphabetical order — of the 50 fastest masters of the fretboard.</p> <p><strong>Trey Azagthoth</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Summoning Redemption”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Gateways to Annihilation</em> (MORBID ANGEL)</p> <p>When a guitarist cites Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen and Mozart as influences, you could probably bet your life savings he’s a shredder.</p> <p>But guitarist Trey Azagthoth is not the typical fret burner, preferring the brute force and bludgeoning energy of death metal over the more rarified air of instrumental rock. Azagthoth’s rough and raw solos sound completely spontaneous, eschewing the technical precision of a prewritten solo for sheer emotion that comes directly from the gut.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Mick Barr</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Part 1”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Annwn</em> (OCRILIM) <p>He may look like some geek from a Tolkien fest who has an unhealthy obsession with Gollum, but precious few players can match Mick Barr’s intensity and speed, which has reportedly been clocked at up to 24 notes per second. </p> <p>The music that Barr records under the pseudonyms Octis, Ocrilim, Or:12r3 and Orthrelm is challenging, to say the least, for its avant-garde atonal melodies. But although it may sound like noodling to the untrained ear, Barr’s bizarre scales and lack of repetition prove that he’s working on another level altogether. It’s rock, Jim, but not as we know it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Michael Angelo Batio</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Full Force”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity</em> <p>Michael Angelo Batio encompasses everything a shred guitar hero should be. Renaissance-inspired name? Check. Insanely fast, overthe- top (literally) ambidextrous technique? Check. Wacky, unconventional dual- and quad-neck instruments? Check and check.</p> <p>Casual music fans may consider Batio little more than an oddity or cult figure ( didn’t even bother writing a bio for him or rating any of his seven albums), but real guitar fans know and appreciate him as the shred god he truly is. As generous as he is gifted, Batio has revealed the secrets of his incredible technique to players like Tom Morello and Mark Tremonti as well as to readers of his <em>Guitar World</em> columns. </p> <p>Even with his help, we still can’t figure out how he plays so friggin’ fast.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Jason Becker</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Seranna”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Perspective</em> <p>A titan of neoclassical shredding, Jason Becker’s astounding arpeggios made him a youthful champion of the Shrapnel Records stable in the late Eighties. </p> <p>He went on to play with David Lee Roth but was stricken with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while working on Roth’s 1991 album, <em>A Little Ain’t Enough</em>. The condition has left him almost completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but he continues to compose music via a computer program that can track the movements of his eyes and head. </p> <p>His courage, determination and continued creativity in the face of extreme difficulty are every bit as inspiring as the dazzling virtuosity of his youthful guitar work.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Jimmy Bryant</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “China Boy”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Swingin’ on the Strings</em> (JIMMY BRYANT &amp; SPEEDY WEST) <p>Jazz legend Barney Kessel once called Jimmy Bryant “the fastest and the cleanest guitar player I have known.” Listening to Bryant’s timeless instrumental duos with pedalsteel guitarist Speedy West, one instantly realizes that Kessel wasn’t complimenting Bryant’s punctuality and hygiene. </p> <p>Bryant played a wild fusion of country and jazz equally influenced by Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz and Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys western swing, and he became an important figure on the West Coast studio scene, accompanying country artists like Tennessee Ernie Ford and Tex Williams as well as pop artists like Bing Crosby and Spike Jones. Bryant’s work with Speedy West recorded in the Fifties showcases his talents at their unrestrained peak.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Buckethead</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Nottingham Lace”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Enter the Chicken</em> <p>He may wear a KFC bucket on his noggin, but that ain’t no chicken pickin’ emanating from Buckethead’s amps. </p> <p>The guitarist known to his parents as Brian Carroll is one of the most eccentric players to ever master the six-string, one whose playing can shift in a 32nd-note triplet from downright weird computer meltdown noises to hauntingly beautiful arpeggios. </p> <p>While he’s become known to the general public through his soundtrack work on major films like Saw II and his collaborations with Guns N’ Roses and actor Viggo Mortensen, Bucket’s three dozen or so solo albums remain the best source for experiencing his mad genius.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Dimebag Darrell</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Cowboys from Hell”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Cowboys from Hell</em> (PANTERA) <p>Dimebag grabbed the baton from players like Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads and proceeded to shove it up the ass of pretentious neoclassical guitarists with his incredibly heavy, unapologetically raw pentatonic shredding. </p> <p>The solos that Dimebag recorded with Pantera and Damageplan are impressive, but his true talents exploded on the concert stage, where he could let loose with wild abandon, inspired by hell-raising crowds and shirt-raising hotties. While most thrash bands did away with solos during the Nineties, Dimebag kept the shred flag flying like the stars and bars over the South Carolina State House.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Paco de Lucia</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Rio Ancho”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Almoraima</em> <p>Born into a family of Spanish flamenco performers, the late Paco de Lucia came to the international guitar arena with a background rich in colorful history, artistic passion and centuries of mesmerizing guitar technique. </p> <p>A traditional flamenco performer from the mid Sixties to the late Seventies, he crossed over to fusion, jazz and world music audiences via virtuoso collaborations with Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell. </p> <p>What De Lucia brought to the party was the rhythmic fire of flamenco, a stunning five-finger picking style and a dizzying repertoire of rasgueados, picados and other flamenco techniques. His forays into jazz, classical and other genres have also enriched his expressiveness within the flamenco idiom. In any genre, Paco de Lucia made those nylon strings burn like molten lava.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Al Di Meola</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG “Race with the Devil on Spanish Highway”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Elegant Gypsy</em> <p>A blizzard of dotted 32nd notes in the shape of an Italian-American guy from New Jersey, Al Di Meola was one of the premier guitar architects of the jazz rock fusion genre that started in the Seventies. He’s responsible for bringing the rich guitar heritage of Spain and Latin America into the fusion arena. </p> <p>His lightning-fast left hand is complemented by distinctive right-hand palmmuting techniques that some Seventies wags were fond of describing as “that rubberband sound.” Di Meola’s work with Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, his solo efforts and collaborations with fellow guitar legends John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia have considerably raised the standard of excellence for both acoustic and electric guitar performance.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Marty Friedman</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Hangar 18”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Rust in Peace</em> (MEGADETH) <p>Marty Friedman played dueling neoclassical leads with Jason Becker in Cacophony before going on to make thrash metal history as the lead guitarist for Megadeth on their classic albums <em>Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction, Youthanasia</em> and <em>Risk</em>. </p> <p>His shredded arpeggios, hyperactive sweep picking and winning way with exotic scales have stood him in good stead, both in his Megadeth work and his current incarnation as an American expatriate who is definitely big in Japan.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Cliff Gallup</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Race with the Devil”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Capitol Collectors Series</em> (GENE VINCENT) <p>Cliff Gallup recorded only 35 songs as a member of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps before he quit the band to focus on life as a family man, but that was enough to leave an indelible impression on players like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. </p> <p>With a jazzy style that fused the influence of Chet Atkins and Les Paul, Gallup developed a sophisticated sound that made most blues-influenced rock and rollers sound downright primitive in comparison. Gallup’s cascading triplets and chromatic lines still inspire the same awe as when listeners first heard his solos more than 50 years ago. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Frank Gambale</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “6 .8 Shaker”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Passages</em> <p>In the Eighties Gambale proved that sweep picking wasn’t just for neoclassical rockers, using the technique to great effect on his progressive jazz fusion solo recordings and performances with jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and keyboardist Chick Corea. </p> <p>A graduate of GIT, Gambale returned there to teach for four years, sharing the secrets of his speed-picking technique with students. His unique approach to sweep picking along with his aggressive tone has helped him gain an audience beyond jazz fusion fans. Gambale remains an innovator, having recently developed an alternate tuning he calls “Gambale tuning,” which he says gives him greater liberty to voice any chord, including closevoiced chords.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Synyster Gates</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Eternal Rest”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Waking the Fallen</em> (AVENGED SEVENFOLD) <p>It’s easy for critics to dismiss Avenged Sevenfold because they look like a bunch of emo-punk kids who raided Axl Rose’s wardrobe, but no other band has done as much to introduce Generation Y to the shock and awe of a brilliant guitar solo. </p> <p>Justin Timberlake may be bringing sexy back, but Synyster Gates brought almighty shred to the forefront with his numerous extended no-holds-barred solos on A7X’s albums. A GIT graduate, Gates is a surprisingly versatile guitarist influenced by players ranging from Django to Dimebag.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Danny Gatton</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Elmira Street Boogie”<br /> ALBUM: <em>88 Elmira Street</em> <p>It was always a treat to watch the late Danny Gatton’s stubby fingers dance like fire on the maple fretboard of his battered Telecaster. </p> <p>The “Telemaster” fused country, blues, rockabilly and jazz into a blue-collar virtuoso style that the man himself once called “Redneck Jazz.” His unique combination-picking technique (plectrum plus fingerstyle) propelled chicken-pickin’ riffs, muscular jazz chords, blue notes and open-string banjo runs, all of which he made dance gracefully side by side. Gatton took his own life in 1994, opting out of a world where instrumental prowess is no guarantee of commercial success. </p> <p>His legend and legacy live on.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Paul Gilbert</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Scarified”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Second Heat</em> (RACER X) <p>Paul Gilbert has always been a reluctant guitar hero. He’s humble, good humored, polite and obliging, but when he straps on that guitar, he becomes the biggest, baddest monster in the entire shred forest. </p> <p>Gilbert’s Eighties work with Racer X and Mr. Big paved the way for a varied and compelling solo career. His fleet and flawless fretwork has always been tempered by highly developed harmonic sensibilities born of his abiding love for pop music.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Maestro Alex Gregory</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Heavy Metal Mandolin Boogie”<br /> ALBUM: <em>12 Jokes for Heavy Metal Mandolin</em> <p>Maestro Alex Gregory probably earned more enemies than fans in his time. He sued Ibanez over the seven-string guitar (he patented and developed a seven-string Strat with Fender in 1987, three years before the Ibanez Universe hit the market), took the title of “Maestro” (allegedly bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth in 1983) and released an album depicting himself pissing on the graves of Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. </p> <p>Even so, he’s earned the respect of many heavy friends, including drummer Matt Bissonette, bass player Dave LaRue and guitarist Albert Lee, all of whom have participated in musical projects with the Maestro. Gregory completed work on his latest album, <em>Bach on Steroids</em>, in 2006, but although the album has received acclaim from the likes of Sir Paul McCartney (“I can’t wait to listen to it in my car!”) no record label has expressed interest in releasing it.</p> <p><a href="">Click here for the video.</a></p> <hr /> <strong>Johnny Hiland</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Orange Blossom Special”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Johnny Hiland</em> <p>Ten years after the untimely death of Danny Gatton, Johnny Hiland emerged with an album released by Steve Vai’s Favored Nations label chock full of impressive country/rockabilly/blues/jazz/rock performances that rivaled those of the Telemaster himself. </p> <p>Hiland has since broken into the extremely competitive Nashville studio scene, playing on sessions for high profile A-list artists like Toby Keith, Ricky Skaggs and Randy Travis. Like Gatton, Hiland’s playing is as tasteful as it is flashy, displaying an uncanny knack for melody even as he burns up the fretboard at light speed.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Allan Holdsworth</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Fred”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Believe It</em> (TONY WILLIAMS LIFETIME) <p>Allan Holdsworth developed a cult following of jazz fusion and progressive rock fans for his work with Tony Williams Lifetime and Bill Bruford’s side project U.K., but his name became a household word in the guitar community in the early Eighties when Eddie Van Halen cited him as one of his main influences. </p> <p>Holdsworth’s flowing legato lines are inspired by the sound of the saxophone and violin, and in his quest for the perfect tone he’s experimented frequently with guitar synthesis systems like the SynthAxe. The blinding speed of Holdsworth’s left hand is truly mind boggling, but even more impressive is his ability to perfectly improvise over incredibly complex and unorthodox chord changes.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Chris Impellitteri</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “17th Century Chicken Pickin’ ”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Screaming Symphony</em> <p>It’s easy to dismiss Chris Impellitteri as another in a long line of Yngwie clones, especially since he plays neoclassical metal on a Stratocaster with a scalloped fretboard and he hired former Alcatrazz singer Graham Bonnet to front his band. But anyone who looks past Impellitteri’s hyperspeed sweeppicked harmonic minor scales will notice incendiary chromatic lines rivaling the precision and intensity of Steve Morse and bluesy phrasing that gives his playing distinct character. </p> <p>Impellitteri enjoys an impressive devoted following in Japan, where he still appears on the cover of guitar magazines, and he’s putting finishing touches on a new album titled <em>Good and Evil</em>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>John5</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “The Washing Away of Wrong”<br /> ALBUM: <em>The Devil Knows My Name</em> <p>It takes a sick and twisted mind to be able to play guitar with Marilyn Manson, David Lee Roth and country singer k.d. lang. But John5 has exhibited more than enough warped imagination and dazzling dexterity to shine in all these wildly diverse musical settings.</p> <p>Whether it’s a barn dance or a ritual virgin sacrifice to the Lord of Darkness, count on Mr. 5 to turn up with all the right licks, and the clothes to match.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>The Great Kat</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “The Flight of the Bumble Bee”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Beethoven on Speed</em> <p>It’s hard to know whether the Great Kat’s thrash metal interpretations of classical music compositions are meant to be taken seriously—especially when her albums have titles like <em>Beethoven on Speed, Bloody Vivaldi</em> and <em>Rossini’s Rape</em>—but when this Juilliard-trained virtuoso plays it’s certainly no joke. </p> <p>With a heavy leather dominatrix persona so over the top that she makes Yngwie Malmsteen seem like Tony Randall, the Great Kat would make a fine role model for young ladies who want to shred if she didn’t scare the living shit out of them.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Richie Kotzen</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “You Can’t Save Me”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Into the Black</em> <p>Richie Kotzen made his debut at the tender age of 19, quickly establishing himself as one of the fastest young guns in the whole Shrapnel Records corral. From the start, his style has been admirably fluid, incorporating techniques like tapping and sweeping to create extended legato passages of daunting complexity. </p> <p>Kotzen has lent these skills to both Poison and Mr. Big. In recent years, he’s emerged as an all-around classic rock talent, adding a soulful Paul Rodgers/Rod Stewart/Steve Marriott–influenced vocal style to his considerable resources as a guitarist.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Alexi Laiho</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Needled 24/7”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Hate Crew Deathroll</em> (CHILDREN OF BODOM) <p>An incredibly prolific guitarist who is the member of several bands—Children of Bodom, Sinergy and Kylähullut—as well as a frequent guest performer with bands like Annihilator, Godsplague and Pain, Alexi Laiho has probably recorded more notes than Bach ever wrote down on paper over his entire lifetime. </p> <p>Laiho has mastered the same sweep, tapping and precision picking techniques and neoclassical scales that placed his Scandinavian predecessors on the map, but unlike his cohorts he’s never shown any ambition to record a guitar concerto or metal opera.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Shawn Lane</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Savitri”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Good People in Times of Evil</em> (HELLBORG, LANE AND SELVAGANESH) <p>Many guitarists pursue speed for its sheer ability to impress others. For Shawn Lane, it was merely one of numerous avenues of expression that he discovered on a strange and twisted path to musical enlightenment that started when he joined southern rockers Black Oak Arkansas at 14 and culminated in his mastery of Indian music in the years before he passed away at the age of 40. </p> <p>Few, if any, guitarists can play faster than Lane could, and his arpeggio sweeps and precision-picked lines blasted more rapid-fire notes than the average human mind could comprehend, blending into a hypnotic blur that leaves listeners feeling intoxicated and disoriented.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Albert Lee</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Country Boy”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Heads, Hands and Feet</em> <p>One of the all-time greatest country guitar pickers comes not from America’s sunny deep South but from rainy, gray England. Albert Lee developed his own greased-lightning combinationpicking technique (plectrum plus third, fourth and fifth fingers) and a masterful command of country licks, open-string runs, B-bender gymnastics and all things that go twang in the night. </p> <p>He can unleash cascades of crystalline notes that fall on the ear like a gentle country rain and execute tear-jerking string bends that slither and slide like a moonshiner’s wagon down an icy stretch of road. Lee has played with everyone from Emmy Lou Harris to Eric Clapton to the Everly Brothers. Now in his Sixties, he shows no sign of slowing down.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Alvin Lee</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “I’m Going Home”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Woodstock</em> <p>Circa 1969, Alvin Lee was the fastest gun in all of guitardom. He wowed Woodstock with 11 minutes of fretboard frenzy called “I’m Going Home” and was duly rewarded with a large watermelon—presumably an organic hippie tribute to the unmitigated ballsiness of Lee’s playing. </p> <p>Lee and his band, Ten Years After, were among the cream of the mid-Sixties British blues boom—contemporaries and, some would say, co-equals of groups that featured Clapton, Beck and Page. </p> <p>More than just 10 itchy-fast fingers, the late Lee always balanced his six-string mastery with a strong singing voice, charismatic center stage presence and solid songwriting skills, making him not just another speed demon but an all-around classic rock contender.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Jeff Loomis</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Born”<br /> ALBUM: <em>This Godless Endeavor</em> (NEVERMORE) <p>Leave it to Dave Mustaine to light a fire under a guitarist’s ass. When Jeff Loomis auditioned for Megadeth at the tender young age of 16, Mustaine told him that he’d become a great guitarist one day but he was too inexperienced for Megadeth. Instead of giving up, Loomis persevered, and six years later he formed the band Nevermore with two ex-members of Sanctuary, with whom he had briefly played as well. </p> <p>Loomis’ trick bag is deep and diverse, including sweep arpeggios, atonal tapping, whammy pedal effects and tremolo picking, and his solos are like mini compositions within the songs. He may never find a spot in Megadeth’s ever rotating second guitar spot, but he’s already established himself as a worthy player.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Yngwie Malmsteen</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: "Far Beyond the Sun"<br /> ALBUM: <em>Rising Force</em> <p>When Yngwie Malmsteen released his debut solo album, <em>Rising Force</em>, in 1984, he unleashed the fookin' fury of guitarists, who were already having enough trouble keeping up with Eddie Van Halen. Malmsteen's all-encompassing mastery of speed techniques like sweep-picked arpeggios, tremolo picking, legato, string skipping, tapping and more inspired guitarists to either woodshed or use their guitars as firewood. </p> <p>Although countless imitators have challenged Yngwie's speed-king crown, none can match the iropeccable precision with which he plays each note and how he makes absolutely every one count from a melodic perspective. Even more frustrating is how easy he makes everything look when he plays onstage, pelforming kung fu kicks and acrobatically flinging his guitar without ever missing a note. Bastard.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Guy Mann-Dude</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Legend of the Loch Ness”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Sleight of Hand</em> <p>Mann-Dude was the ultimate big-hair Hollywood Eighties shredder, but unlike the bulk of preening poodle boys who clogged the classrooms at GIT, he always seemed to have his tongue planted firmly in his cheeks (instead of sucking them in to highlight his cheekbones). </p> <p>Mann-Dude certainly had the pedigree to prove he wasn’t just a joke. He had previously played drums on a post-Zappa Steve Vai project and was one of only a handful of guitarists who released instrumental shred albums on a major record label (MCA). Ever since stonewashed jeans and K-Swiss high-tops went out of style, Mann-Dude has been missing in action. Dude!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Larry Collins and Joe Maphis</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Flying Fingers”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Flying Fingers</em> (JOE MAPHIS) <p>The modern-day shred guitar duos of Dragonforce, Trivium and Avenged Sevenfold have nothing on the furious pace and precision of the performances by Larry Collins and Joe Maphis in the Fifties. </p> <p>Even more impressive is the fact that Collins was only 10 years old at the time, yet he could keep pace with virtuosos like Maphis and Merle Travis without missing a note. Check out the YouTube videos of “Flying Fingers” and “Wildwood Flower” from vintage broadcasts of the program Ranch Party to witness some of the craziest playing you’ll ever witness, including Maphis and Collins attacking a single double-neck Mosrite at the same time.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>John McLaughlin</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: "Birds of Fire"<br /> ALBUM: <em>Mahavishnu Orchestra</em> <p>Mahavishnu Orchestra guitarist John McLaughlin was the first guitarist to play jazz riffs with all the fierce intensity and brute volume of rock guitar. The world has never been the same since. McLaughlin's Seventies recordings with Mahavishnu pioneered the jazz fusion genre and rocketed electric guitar instrumental music into the Hot 100. His later acoustic work with Shakti was equally influential in forging the world fusion genre. </p> <p>The clarity, precision, profound conviction and blinding speed of McLaughlin's guitar work has always reflected the emotional depth of his lifelong spiritual devotion and the arduous discipline involved in serious spiritual practice. His dense note clusters propel us toward realms of bliss far beyond this mundane existence.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Vinnie Moore</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Lifeforce”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Mind’s Eye</em> <p>Vinnie Moore was one of the first contenders to challenge Yngwie Malmsteen for the speed-king throne, releasing the stunning solo effort <em>Mind’s Eye</em> on the Shrapnel label in 1986. While Moore sold respectable amounts of his solo albums, he never reached much of an audience beyond aspiring shred guitarists, who eagerly purchased Moore’s instructional videos in which he revealed the secrets behind his immaculate technique. Moore persevered as a solo artist through the Nineties, but in 2003 he took over the lead guitarist spot in UFO vacated by Michael Schenker.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Steve Morse</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: "Cruise Control"<br /> ALBUM: <em>Free Fall</em> (DIXIE DREGS) <p>People laughed back in the Seventies when Steve Morse first sought to combine fusion and Southern boogie with his band, the Dixie Dregs. Fans of the two respective genres here hardly on speaking terms back then, but the last laugh belongs to Morse, who is still going strong today. </p> <p>He has plied his lightning licks and tenacious technique in the service of numerous genres and bands, including latter-day lineups of Deep Purple and Kansas.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Jimmy Olander</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG “The Ballad of Conley and Billy (The Proof is in the Pickin’)”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Diamond Rio</em> <p>Originally a banjo player, Jimmy Olander quickly shifted his attention to guitar when he realized he’d get more gigs, adapting his advanced five-string banjo playing techniques for the six-string guitar. </p> <p>In addition to mastering rapid flatpicked bluegrass lines and chicken pickin’ Tele twang, Olander performs amazing pedal steel imitations using a guitar equipped with Joe Glaser string-bending devices on the G and B strings. Although Diamond Rio’s radio-ready tunes rarely give him enough room to truly let rip, when the spotlight shines on him he never fails to impress with his taste and technique.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Cary and Larry Parks</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “You Really Got Me”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Welcome to Howdywood</em> (BOY HOWDY) <p>Even the most diehard country music fan has probably forgotten the band Boy Howdy, which is best known for the hit ballad “She’d Give Everything,” but the sibling dual-guitar team of Cary and Larry Parks recorded several impressive dueling-guitar solos that deserved a much bigger audience. </p> <p>The sons of bluegrass fiddler Ray Parks, Cary and Larry grew up in the crossfire of Los Angeles’ country rock scene and the more traditional sounds they heard at home. As a result, their unique playing styles blend the chickenpickin’ twang of the Bakersfield sound, the clean cross picking of Kentucky bluegrass and the rowdy attitude of Hollywood rock, best heard on their blazing countrified cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” which comes across like Van Halen and Bill Monroe jamming at a Buck Owens concert. </p> <p><strong>SORRY: NO VIDEO AVAILABLE!</strong></p> <hr /> <strong>John Petrucci</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: "Pull Me Under"<br /> ALBUM: <em>Images and Words</em> (DREAM THEATER) <p>There are those who swear that prog-metal pioneer John Petrucci has a few extra fingers on both hands that he craftily keeps hidden during photo shoots. How else can one explain the man's ability to make six- and seven-string electric guitars generate quantum-shifted note clusters exceeding the speed oflight? </p> <p>Maybe it's the six daily hours of practice he put in during his formative years, and his rigorous studies at Berklee, where he mastered the intricacies of sweep and alternate picking. Petrucci's guitar work with Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment and as a solo artist exemplify the present-day ideal of extreme guitar discipline.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Les Paul</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Lover (When You’re Near Me)”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Best of Capitol Masters</em> <p>The Wizard of Waukesha’s technological contributions to the electric guitar and multitrack recording are so great that people sometimes overlook his accomplishments as a guitarist. His recordings with the Les Paul Trio in the Thirties and Forties helped establish the jazz guitar lexicon, but he was equally handy with a cornball melody for a Top 40 pop hit. </p> <p>A formidable fretsman and crafty stylist, his highly active brain always seemed to be a little bit ahead of the next chord change, and his nimble fingers knew how to follow. Les’ “New Sound” recordings of the late Forties and early Fifties were the perfect merger of technique and technology.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Django Reinhardt</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “After You’ve Gone”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Djangology</em> <p>A dapper Belgian gypsy with a pencil thin mustache and a miraculously nimble left hand, Django set the Twenties and Thirties alight via incendiary guitar performances with the legendary Hot Club of France Quintet and other jazz ensembles. It was a time when the very notion of the guitar solo was just being invented, and Django set a pace that guitarists today are still struggling to match. </p> <p>The astounding thing is that he did all this with just the index and middle fingers of his left hand—his third finger and pinkie had been seriously maimed in a caravan fire. Yet Django did it all: lightning-fast diminished scale runs, frisky double-stop passages and the most lyrical finger vibrato in all of guitardom. </p> <p>There’s a plaintive undertone in even the most jaunty Django passages, and likewise a playful wink lurking just behind his most heartbreakingly romantic playing. Django remains the original and ultimate gypsy king.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Randy Rhoads</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Crazy Train”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Blizzard of Ozz</em> (OZZY OSBOURNE) <p>Metal’s martyred boy-child, Randy Rhoads embraced the tapping, divebombing innovations of Edward Van Halen and brought these techniques to a new plateau in the early Eighties. </p> <p>He came out of Quiet Riot and the Hollywood hair-band scene to find fame with Ozzy Osbourne, but his life was cut tragically short before he had time to realize his full potential. During his brief yet stellar career, he played with the blazing intensity of a man who somehow knew he only had a few short years to share his gift with the world.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Uli Jon Roth</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Sails of Charon”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Taken By Force</em> (SCORPIONS) <p>Although Ritchie Blackmore gets most of the credit as a guiding light of the Eighties shred phenomenon, Uli Jon Roth established the blueprint for neoclassical metal through his highly sophisticated guitar playing with the Scorpions and with his own band, Electric Sun. Roth undoubtedly has the playing and compositional skills to dominate as a shred guitar hero, but he pursued loftier goals in the Eighties and Nineties by devoting his ambitions to performing and composing classical music instead. </p> <p>In 2003, Roth recorded an interpretation of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” and since 2005, he has frequently made surprise guest appearances with the Scorpions and Smashing Pumpkins.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Joe Satriani</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Satch Boogie”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Surfing with the Alien</em> <p>Shred was born in 1987 on the day Joe Satriani released <em>Surfing with the Alien</em>. Satch took all the rock guitar virtuosity that had gone before—Hendrix, Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, etc.—and brought it all a giant step further, adding a few new tricks to the lexicon of hot guitar moves and upping the land speed record for notes-per-nanosecond. </p> <p>But where earlier ax heroes employed techniques like tapping and dive bombing to dazzle and astound, Satriani’s mastery lies in his ability to subsume daunting technical maneuvers into beguiling, seemingly effortless melodic statements that appeal to guitar geeks and the general public alike. His secret? Satch is one guitar virtuoso who never lost touch with his rock and roll heart.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Chuck Schuldiner</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Pull the Plug”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Leprosy</em> (DEATH) <p>Chuck Schuldiner passed away in 2001, but were he alive, he would almost certainly be amused by the new legion of metal guitarists inspired by him that emerged in his absence. During the rise of his band Death, Schuldiner’s outstanding solos—which featured playing as melodic and precise as that of anyone who put out a record on the Relativity or Shrapnel labels—were often overshadowed by Death’s jackhammer rhythms and dark lyrics. </p> <p>However, anyone taking a look back at his work would instantly realize that Schuldiner could tap as tastefully as Eddie Van Halen and rip up a fretboard as well as anyone else. Eleven other guitarists shared the spotlight with Schuldiner in Death, including James Murphy and Andy LaRocque, but none shined more brightly.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Alex Skolnick</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Practice What You Preach”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Practice What You Preach</em> (TESTAMENT) <p>You simply have to admire Alex Skolnick’s dedication to the guitar. Right when Testament were ready to hit the big time, Skolnick bailed to pursue his love of jazz, preferring to make music in San Francisco clubs with players like bassist Michael Manring and eventually making his way to New York City to study jazz at the New School. </p> <p>Most players have trouble mastering one style of music, but Skolnick impresses whether he’s blasting out thrash metal solos with Testament (which he has since rejoined) or tearing up the fretboard with his jazz band, the Alex Skolnick Trio.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Timo Tolkki</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG; “Speed of Light”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Episode</em> (STRATOVARIUS) <p>Maybe the harsh Scandinavian winters are the reason why Europe’s northernmost countries boast the most neoclassical shredders per capita. Finland’s Timo Tolkki and his band Stratovarius released their first album in 1989, about the time that shred mania reached its peak, and fortunately for them they established a huge following in—where else—Japan by the time grunge took over in 1992. </p> <p>Like Malmsteen, Tolkki’s ambitions reach far beyond power metal into classical music, and his precision fretwork is inspired more by virtuoso violinists than other guitarists. This year he completed work on his “metal opera,” <em>Saana—Warrior of Light</em>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Herman Li &amp; Sam Totman</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Through the Fire and Flames”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Inhuman Rampage</em> (DRAGONFORCE) <p>When the first Dragonforce album came out in 2003, critics were convinced that Herman Li and Sam Totman’s outrageously fast guitar solos were the product of studio trickery. However, Li and Totman later proved that they were the real deal both onstage and under the scrutiny of skeptical editors right here at <em>Guitar World</em> headquarters. </p> <p>Individually, Li and Tottman boast jaw-dropping speed and precision, but when they lock horns in tightly synchronized harmonies they can make heads explode from sonic overload. Who needs amphetamines? Just put on a Dragonforce’s <em>Inhuman Rampage</em> to jumpstart your day.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Steve Vai</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “For the Love of God”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Passion and Warfare</em> <p>Steve Vai can do things with a sustainer and twang bar that surely ain’t natural and certainly indicate a high tantric mastery of all documented and undocumented alien love secrets. Discovered by Frank Zappa and fostered by David Lee Roth and Whitesnake, Vai emerged in the Nineties as a solo artist and guitar hero of major stature. </p> <p>His astounding technique defies categorization. In his graceful hands, the guitar becomes a cosmic antenna, channeling other dimensions and parallel universes. His best work combines the swagger of a lifelong rock and roller with the romantic soul of a poet. As if this weren’t enough, he’s also a first-rate composer and has great cheekbones.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Eddie Van Halen</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Eruption”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Van Halen</em> <p>Though numerous players have surpassed Eddie Van Halen’s speed and precision, Ed deserves credit for developing and perfecting the techniques that have become essential elements of the shredder’s vocabulary ever since Van Halen’s debut in 1978. </p> <p>Eddie’s tapped triplets helped players with sloppy picking technique double and triple their speed, but his incredibly precise tremolo picking showed that you still needed excellent right- and left-hand coordination if you truly wanted to impress. Although players like Night Ranger’s Jeff Watson took tapping to ludicrous eight-finger extremes, no one ever sounds as good as Eddie when he’s in the groove.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Ben Weinman</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “43% Burnt”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Calculating Infinity</em> (DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN) <p>Who says that hardcore punks can’t shred? The Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Ben Weinman pioneered a style known as mathcore, which isn’t as nerdy as the name suggests but certainly requires an IQ above 100 to be fully appreciated for its unique blend of punk intensity, technical precision and the anomalous jazz melodicism. Still think punks can’t shred with the best of them? We dare you to try and figure out one of Weinman’s solos. Go ahead, tough guy.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Johnny Winter</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Johnny Winter And</em> <p>Long before Stevie Ray, Johnny Winter was the original white-guy-from-Texas blues guitar demon. Critics have often remarked on the irony that a pale-skinned, crosseyed albino turned out to be one of the greatest interpreters of America’s seminal black musical idiom. Winter has the hardlivin’ outsider’s perspective that it takes to play the blues for real, but it’s matched with the rockera chops of a guy who came up alongside immortals like Eric Clapton and Mike Bloomfield. </p> <p>The best of Winter’s phenomenal playing is imbued with both fire and fluidity. Flurries of notes crawl all over the 12-bar grid at every conceivable angle, like a hoard of spiders fanning out in search of prey. In the whole vast river that is the blues, nothing quite possesses the eerie intensity of Johnny Winters’ best work.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>HONORABLE MENTIONS</strong> </p> <p>Our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a few other speed demons, most notably Eighties neoclassical shredder Tony MacAlpine, Outworld guitarist and shred instructor Rusty Cooley, Shrapnel disciple (and current UFO guitarist) Vinnie Moore, Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt, Australia's Tommy Emmanuel and, of course, the mighty Zakk Wylde. </p> <p><a href="">Be sure to take our poll to voice your opinion on the fastest guitarist of all time!</a></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/steve-vai">Steve Vai</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/les-paul">Les Paul</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-gilbert">Paul Gilbert</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> GW Archive Joe Satriani Polls Steve Vai Guitar World Lists News Features Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:09:05 +0000 Guitar World Staff