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Misha Mansoor on why he “hates” writing guitar solos: “It's more of a chore than anything”

Misha Mansoor
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic)

Misha Mansoor is a visionary: his guitar and production work under both the Bulb and Periphery banners broke new ground in the metal scene. But one component of the genre he doesn't vibe with – even though it's often regarded as essential – is the guitar solo.

In a new interview with Jude Gold's No Guitar Is Safe podcast, the djent god reveals that he “hates” doing solos, saying they're his “least favorite part of a live show”.

“I don't particularly enjoy writing them,” he explains. “I don't think I'm a good soloist – it's more of a chore than anything. I'd rather just let someone else deal with that stress.

“But I'll probably not be able to pawn them all off. No-one wants the glory in the band, everyone just wants someone else to have it, so the guys are gonna fight me. And they're going to be like, ‘No, we've taken the solos on this one, so you need to do one on this one because we're not gonna do it.‘”

Mansoor's aversion to guitar solos is also due to the added pressure that comes with performing them, he explains.

“The spotlight's on you, and if you mess up, there's just more anxiety there. I don't love that. I'm much more of a rhythm player than I'm a lead player, so I think I'm just much more comfortable defaulting to that.

He continues: “I think when I do solos and when I write them, there's a part in the back of my mind that's just like, 'This is good for you, do it because it's gonna help and it's going to be good.' But I never love it, and I always just try to get out of doing it.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Mansoor is asked why he cites fusion master Allan Holdsworth as one of his favorite guitarists, despite not being keen on solos himself.

“You know,” he replies, “when I was working on my chops, I was trying to be John Petrucci, and I was trying to be Allan Holdsworth, then trying to be Guthrie [Govan]...

"All these guys that are just way beyond the level I'll ever be, even if I spend the rest of my life trying to understand that, but I just wanted to get in his head...

“It's like, ‘How are these the choices that he's making in the moment? How is this his instinct? How is he hearing this? What is he hearing that I'm not hearing that would make him approach it in such a way?’”

Misha Mansoor recently released Parabolica, the debut single from his first-ever solo album, Moderately Fast, Adequately Furious

Notably, and in line with his recent comments, the track is devoid of guitar solos in the traditional sense, but what it lacks in leads it more than makes up for in shifting time signatures, chunky drop-tuned riff work and silky textural cleans. 

I'm a Staff Writer at Guitar World. I've played guitar for 15+ years and have a degree in Music Technology (Mixing & Mastering). I suppose that makes me qualified to talk to you about this stuff? I'm into all genres of music, but first and foremost I love all things rock and metal.