Steve Vai and Tosin Abasi-championed virtuoso Matteo Mancuso really is superhuman – watch him play his mind-melting new single Drop D live

Matteo Mancuso playing guitar live
(Image credit: Roberto Sommacal/YouTube)

Last week, Matteo Mancuso shared his new single Drop D, which introduced many guitar fans to his unique playing style and masterful instrumental electric guitar abilities.

It was a stellar effort from the young player, whose six-string skills have already attracted plaudits from the likes of Steve Vai – who named him one of five guitarists taking the instrument to the next level – and Tosin Abasi, who called him “a virtuoso beyond virtuosos”.

The Yamaha Revstar-wielding titan can also include Joe Bonamassa and Al Di Meola on his ever growing cast of A-list fans, and Drop D proved why such praise is entirely warranted.

Showcasing his unorthodox picking technique that takes cues from bass guitar playing, the single was a certified lick clinic, and saw Mancuso announce his arrival onto the international guitar scene in spectacular style.

Now, footage has emerged of Mancuso performing Drop D live, which proves beyond doubt that, yes, Matteo Mancuso really does possess superhuman skills.

Streaming the studio-recorded version of Drop D is one thing, but witnessing Mancuso playing it live in the flesh is a totally different beast. Indeed, those who have only heard the track would be none the wiser to Mancuso’s eye-opening technique.

Here, though, said technique – as well as Mancuso’s incredible accuracy – can be marveled at in all its glory. 

From the breakneck blues passages to the heavy riffing towards the end, Mancuso doesn’t miss a beat, and even throws in some additional improvisation just to really flex his chops.

Oh, and that gravity-defying solo run in the studio version? It’s even better here: clock the 3:25 mark if you want your socks to be fully blown off.

Having witnessed Drop D live, it’s no wonder that Steve Vai called Mancuso “the evolution of guitar”, and that Joe Bonamassa said he hadn’t “seen anyone reinvent like this since Stanley Jordan”.

“His improvisational ability is light years ahead,” Al Di Meola has previously noted – a sentiment we now have a new appreciation for. “How did he get so good and so fast?”

Drop D is the first single from Mancuso's debut LP – what will inevitably be one of 2023’s standout guitar albums – The Journey, which is available to preorder now ahead of its July 21 release.

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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.