You can download the podcast episode here.
One of the biggest things that really pisses me off in the world of metal is how people criticize metal guitar shredders! Guys like Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Paul Gilbert, and Rusty Cooley all get equally blasted for not having any “feeling” or “soul”, or that they play “mindless scales quickly” in their guitar playing. To these people who criticize them, unfortunately, they only think inside the box and don’t ever consider why these guitarists want to play in a different style! They aren’t always going to play the blues scale or the pentatonic scale just because so many other guitarists do! I don’t understand at all! I don’t really care if people think this way because opinions are like assholes and everyone has one, but the way people harp on about it is what drives me nuts!
Being a guitar player myself, I know that playing a solo by Yngwie Malmsteen is much more difficult than playing a solo with the blues or pentatonic scale due to the tremendous amount of speed that he plays his solos and also the melodic approach he puts towards his guitar playing! In this Youtube video here, you can see just how much skill and accuracy it takes to play “Far Beyond the Sun”:
It is difficult as hell and anyone who actually plays guitar knows this!
As much as I like shred guitar playing, I also do like a lot of blues driven solos as well. I am not that narrow-minded, so don’t think that I only like guitarists who play at 800 MPH! A good example of a great guitarist who complements both a bluesy and a shred approach is Ritchie Blackmore. In this Youtube video, you can see how he shows his skills as a guitarist:
Ritchie Blackmore is easily one of the greatest guitar players of all time. In fact, he is one of my all time favorite players as well! My own guitar playing is heavily influenced by him and he is indeed one of my idols and biggest inspirations! So the mix of both blues and shred really complement each other well with his style of playing!
One of the biggest misconceptions about shred guitarists is that “they have no feeling” cliché that everyone seems to misunderstand. When you play the same scales that the shred guitarists use on an acoustic instrument like a violin, viola, or a piano, it sounds like a classical masterpiece. A lot of people like to hear these scales performed on those instruments, so why is playing it on electric guitar any different? I don’t get it! It’s the same scales, same style for the most part (with of course added effects that the acoustic instruments were limited to), so why do people always say these great guitarists have “no feeling”?
I know I may be a little uptight here on this rant, but lately it has started to piss me off! The other day I was in a guitar store playing a guitar from the rack and I was playing a little lick from Sonata Arctica. If anyone is familiar with them, they are pretty fast so I was playing a pretty fast guitar part. Anyways, as I was playing this, some guy came up to me and told me that I needed to start “playing slower” and “to start expressing myself more”! I was really pissed off at this because first of all, I can play whatever the hell I want to play! He had no right to say that to me. If he likes to play blues scales all day, am I going to go up to him and start criticizing him on his playing? NO! That would be selfish of me to do that! Also, whenever I go to a Youtube video that features a guitar shredder, you have almost half of the comments on the videos saying this: “He has no feeling, look up Jimi Hendrix” or “Mindless shredder who has no expression”. Don’t believe me? Go to those videos and see those comments for yourself! I don’t get why people would waste their time looking up guitar players they don’t like! It really makes no sense to me!
To conclude this little rant of mine, I just want to say that just because these guitarists play a different STYLE than what the average guitarist plays does not mean that they have no artistic integrity or that they are “mindless scale playing guitarists”! These guys have a lot of talent. In my personal opinion, I think playing this style of guitar is the hardest to master! I like blues scales too, but I don’t say that they “play too slow” or that they “need to play more notes”. That would be very hypocritical of me! I respect all good guitar playing no matter what the style is! I know everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but when some guy tells you in a guitar store that I have “no feeling”, I am bound to get a little pissed off! So my advice is to keep an open mind and understand that everyone plays different styles at different speeds and that all of these genres and styles should be well respected!