Mateus Asato says Ariana Grande makes “the best instrumental tracks for guitar players”

Mateus Asato playing guitar
(Image credit: Mateus Asato/Instagram)

As one of today’s standout electric guitar players, Mateus Asato is usually heralded for three aspects of his playing: his emotive melodic phrasing, effortlessly flawless technique and a jaw-dropping ability to combine the two.

As such, given the virtuosic nature of his playing, you’d expect that Asato draws from a wide berth of his guitar-playing peers for inspiration. While that may be the case, the neo-soul sorcerer recently took to Instagram to reveal who he thinks, above everyone else, makes the best instrumental music for guitarists.

His answer? None other than global pop sensation and chart-smashing vocalist Ariana Grande.

Now, that may certainly come as a surprise, and it’s a proposition that many guitar lovers will be quick – with or without a case – to dismiss, owing to the fact that Grande’s repertoire isn’t usually associated with the guitar.

However, to prove his point and convince the naysayers, Asato paired his claims with a video of him unleashing a blazing fretboard masterclass over the top of Grande’s 2016 track, Bad Decisions.

And, unlike Asato’s most recent social media six-string posts – which have been all about melodicism, phrasing and delicacy – the cover in question is an absolutely devastating display of Asato’s guitar-playing powers.

It’s a high-octane, no-holds-barred barrage of sleek neo-soul tricks, which sees Asato support his argument by decking Bad Decisions out with a blinding flurry of double-stop slides, lightning-fast scale licks and an entire canvas of hammer-on and pull-off passages that seemingly leave no fret unplayed.

Wielding his HSS-configured S-type Suhr locked into the neck pickup, Asato also ensures his whammy bar gets a fair share of the action, sporadically pinging and pulling the tremolo to decorate his energetic palm-muted runs and off-kilter bends.

Asato isn’t the only guitarist to recognize and celebrate the potential of Grande’s repertoire from a guitarist’s perspective, either. In 2020, Tim Henson showed his appreciation for the pop star by dropping a guitar-heavy remix of Grande’s track Positions.

It’s the latest in a string of social media posts from Asato, who has been working his way through a number of classic tracks. In the past few months, Asato has tackled ABBA’s Dancing Queen, The Beatles’ In My Life and Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World.

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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.