Zakk Wylde: Guitar Boot Camp
In this classic lesson, Zakk Wylde leads you through his brewtal guitar boot camp!
Okay, maggots, fall in and let the supreme sergeant of shred, Zakk Wylde, show you how to be all you can be with his 100 percent brewtal guitar boot camp!
In this classic Guitar World Berzerker Boot Camp lesson from 2004, Zakk tells the story behind his drive and rise to success, and demonstrates the exercises that help him remain one of the hardest-rocking guitarists of all time.
1) GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT
When I was a kid, I lived for football,” Zakk says. “I was a linebacker, and I loved contact — I loved taking people out. I was so into it that at one point I wanted to go to Penn State because all the great linebackers usually come out of there.
“When I was around 11, I went to a football camp and I met the legendary [ex–Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker] Jack Lambert, who was a huge influence on me when I played ball. I idolized him. In fact, I still do because he’s the real deal; he’s totally devoid of bullshit. I remember him telling us something that remains with me to this day: ‘Anybody can play football, but if you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, then get the hell out of here and go home, because I don’t want you on my team.’
“That’s the bottom line right there — you don’t go out there to get your brains bashed in with the intent of ending the season with a seven-and-nine record. Fuck that! You go out there with the intention of winning the Super Bowl or you shouldn’t fuckin’ bother. I have the same mentality with guitar: you either strive for greatness or you go home, ’cause you’ve gotta give all or nothing.
“I wanna be the very best at what I do, because I love it much. Because of that I’ll try my damnedest to live up to the likes of Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Frank Marino, John McLaughlin — all the great guitar players I look up to.”
So what caused Zakk to shift his focus from football to rock guitar?
“I was a huge Black Sabbath and Ozzy fan, and I loved the stuff Tony Iommi and Randy Rhoads were doing on guitar so I decided to start playing. I took lessons from a guy named Leroy Wright. I was, like, 15 at the time, and he was 25, and when I saw him playing it blew me away. When you hear somebody play, it’s exciting, but when I actually saw him play, I thought it was the coolest thing on the planet. I was so intrigued by the whole thing that I just went, ‘That’s what I want to do with my life!’ And to this day I’ve still got the same hard-on. All I’ve got to do is listen to great players and I go, ‘Man, I can get better.’ You can never get tired of that."
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