John Petrucci: Hearing Steve Morse play for the first time was a "life-changing" moment

Steve Morse (left) and John Petrucci
(Image credit: Johnny Louis, Sergione Infuso/Getty Images)

Guitar Player recently got electric guitar legends Steve Morse and John Petrucci together for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on technique, guitar design, the music business, practice, and a whole lot more.

During the chat, the two shred titans revealed their admiration for one another, with Petrucci citing the first time he heard Morse's playing as a "life-changing" moment.

Introduced to Morse by the older brother of a friend, Petrucci first heard the former's electrifying rock-by-way-of-bluegrass style via The Bash, a song by Morse's band, the Dixie Dregs.

“It [The Bash] totally blew my mind,” Petrucci said. “I couldn’t understand how anybody could play like that. I wasn’t very familiar with bluegrass, but Steve mixed it with rock in such an exciting way. His technique and phrasing hooked me immediately.”

Overall, the Dream Theater axeman said, "There are moments that you can pinpoint and say they were truly life-changing, and for me, hearing Steve Morse play guitar was one of them.” 

Morse and Petrucci's lengthy conversation is filled with a number of other similarly insightful tidbits and stories, but perhaps none are more amusing (or terrifying) than Morse explaining how he used to – during leaner times on the road – get... creative with his guitar practice.

"Sometimes on long trips there just wasn’t any time to practice," Morse explained. "What I would do was, I’d put this fleece pad – like one of those shoulder-belt pads – on the steering wheel, and I would drive with my knees while playing the guitar. If the road was crowded, I wouldn’t do that, but if I was on an interstate and no cars were around, sure, I could manage it. 

"It’s only a few inches from the guitar neck to the steering wheel," he continued, "so you can get your hands back on the wheel pretty quickly."

[Editor's note: Before our legal team finds this article, Guitar World does not endorse the practice of playing guitar while driving, no matter how empty the road is.] 

To read the full conversation – which also covers, among other topics, how the guitarists each came to endorse Ernie Ball Music Man, how they collaborate effectively with keyboard players, and how they work as band leaders – pick up a copy of the latest issue of Guitar Player at Magazines Direct.

The publication of the conversation comes just days after Ken Scott – a producer who's worked with Jeff Beck, the Beatles, Mick Ronson, and Pink Floyd, to name just a few – stated that Morse, above all others, stood out as the best guitarist he has ever worked with.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.