Marty Friedman says social media guitar stars saved the instrument from extinction

Marty Friedman
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffair/FilmMagic via Getty)

Marty Friedman has heaped praise on the emerging generation of social media electric guitar stars, saying, "It's a very exciting time for the guitar."

While in conversation with Ultimate Guitar, Friedman was asked about the up-and-coming guitar heroes who inspire him, to which he replied, “I am motivated by everybody and I’m so excited to see the direction guitar has come over the past few years. I’m very excited.”

The Megadeth man singled out Mateus Asato and Japanese guitarist Ichika Nito for specific praise, saying that their eclectic styles has helped breathe new life back into the guitar.

Said Friedman, “I like Mateus Asato, he’s from Brazil and he’s just a beautiful guitarist. There’s another guy called Ichika from Japan and although his style is so completely different from mine, I just like the way he plays. I enjoy it. 

“The guitar just got a lot of life breathed back into it and that’s thanks to a lot of people just showing how fun it is and showing the great things that you’re able to do with the guitar,” he continued. “These guys are bringing the instrument to a whole new level. There are so many people who may have just given up on guitar had it not been for these fun YouTube videos.”

The heavy metal maestro also noted the role that emerging guitarists played in saving an instrument that was “at risk of being completely extinct not too long ago”.

“Rap music just became so incredibly popular that guitar stores were not selling guitars, they were just selling DJ equipment and rap stuff," commented Friedman. "It’s not that I dislike rap – I actually like a lot of rap music. But, guitar-wise, rap was almost the death knell of guitar.

On the future of the guitar and the next generation of axe slingers, Friedman noted, “I’m thankful for them, because a lot of people have discovered guitar through these guys and they’ve discovered my music through these guys. I want to give big props to these guys and I’m so thankful they exist.”

Mateus Asato recently made an appearance on singer-songwriter Annalé's new single Goodbye, which was released one month after the social media sensation announced he was taking a break from music.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.