“As a tapping player, you don’t want to be thought of as Yngwie Malmsteen. You wanna show the broken, punk-rock ‘Oops-my-finger-slipped-there-whatever’ sloppiness”: Marnie Stern is back to make math rock scrappy again

Marnie Stern holding her Fender Jazzmaster
(Image credit: Nick Johnson)

10 years ago, Marnie Stern resided near the top of a pile of players that – following the vacuum of early-00s ‘landfill indie’ – redefined the role of the alternative guitar player. 

In doing so, she set something of a template for the current generation of math-rock virtuoso wunderkinds, lawlessly intersplicing genres, time signatures and blazing two-hand tapping techniques into two-minute maelstroms. However, unlike today’s digital native guitar heroes, she did it with a punk-rock scrappiness that you rarely hear from such technical players.

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Matt Parker
Features Editor, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is Features Editor for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.