Why I Like Shred Guitarists


05_JasonBecker_Promo

There comes a point that music goes all different avenues.  The poppy repetitive beats and lyrics that you her from Taylor Swift to going as far back as the Beatles.  However, many music has lyrics repeated in groups like the Ramones, Dream Theater, Megadeth, etc.  Why?  This is how you create vocals to add melody.  Although, instrumental music is in existence for the creation comes from the sound of just the instruments.  One thing that comes to mind is the way some guitarist shred like a crazy  wind speed of a F5 tornado.

In the picture above is Jason Becker.  Let me have fun telling you a few things about him.  Jason is just an awesome guitarist who has many influences from Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton and even Marty Friedman.  Speaking of Marty, he and Becker created a neoclassical group called Cacophony. With the both of them, shred guitar playing was always expected. After the break up of the group, Friedman would join Megadeth, and Becker created a solo album called “Perpetual Burn.”  The true nature behind Becker’s playing lay in Cacophony and the solo album that appear with instrumental shred.  Tracks Perpetual Burn” and “Altitude” are key to the second wave of neoclassical music that Becker was part of along with guitarists Yngwie Malmsteen and Uli Jon Roth.   Later in life, Becker would meet  David Lee Roth to work on Roth’s solo album, “A Little Ain’t Enough.”  However, Becker was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the shocking age of 19.  Therefore, he had no chance to finish the album and tour with Roth.  Despite his disadvantage of playing guitar, he has outlived ALS and still makes music by using a computer system invented by his father.  Becker is definitely a god guitarist that earned respect as a musician.  For you fellow bloggers that might be interested into learning more about Jason, you can watch the documentary “Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet.”  I highly recommend it for anyone who loves a lot of different music genres.

John_Petrucci_of_Dream_Theater_2014_at_Mitsubishi_Electric_Hall_Düsseldorf

Another guitarist who I have a huge respect for is Dream Theater’s own John Petrucci.  It all started with going to Berklee College of Music along with band mates Mike Portnoy (Ex drummer of Dream Theater) and John Myung (bassist of DT).  Dream Theater started off as Majesty before later turning into what they would be called for over 25 years.   Petrucci’s playing is found in many of the band’s albums including “Images and Words” and “Awake.” The group had a huge success with the release of both these albums.  Going back a little over 20 years ago, Petrucci plays tunes like “Pull me Under” and “Under a Glass Moon.”  It is not hardly noticeable that these songs not only became huge hits for “Images and Words,” but they truly remark Petrucci’s influences: Rush, Deep Purple, Metallica, Steve Vai, and many others.   Going into the “Awake” album, I have mentioned before that this one is heavier playing of guitar.  What blows my mind even more away is John using a seven stringed guitar.  I am a huge fan of guitarists like him, Rusty Cooley, and Tony Macalpine that are well-known for showing casing their virtuosity on seven string.  Song such as “The Mirror” and “Lie” are one of two tracks performed on seven stringed guitar.  No doubt also, Petrucci is very respected for shredding capabilities.  You can see below in the YouTube video of him performing his jaw dropping sweep picking in “Lie.”  Many Dream Theater songs including “Illumination Theory,” “The Shattered Fortress,” and “Enigma Machine” give out speed picking techniques required to the listenable crazy music.   Watch out, this group will change the tempo anytime it is necessary to create blow out of your world music.

Herman_Li

For over the last four years, one guitarist that I have drawn my advised attention to is Herman Li of Dragonforce.  Born in Hong Kong and moving around in Europe, he would eventually join ZP Theart and English power metal Dragonforce.  Back when I was about 16 or 17, I had listened to “Through the Fire and Flames” thanks in large to music video game Guitar Hero 3 that one of my relatives introduced to me.  The technical demanding that anyone can find in this group’s music, is nearly impossible to miss. Li and fellow guitarist Sam Totman together, bring the unique fury of power chords and single chromatic notes established in almost any Dragonforce song.  Want to know something even better? Both of these guitarists create genius dual guitar solos using excessive whammy bar and super turbo speed on their guitars.  The listener can find the awesome keyboard playing with the guitars on tunes like “Fury of the Storm,” “The Warrior Inside,” “Valley of the Damned,” and “Extraction Zone.”  Now you may ask well who the hell has influenced Li to play guitar in such a technical damning way?  Just by looking at the structure of Dragonforce’s songs, there are many single notes played at a 4/4 beat measure.  Typically, this is found in thrash metal groups such as Slayer, Metallica, and Megadeth.  In an interview with Roadrunner Records, Herman was quoted saying Friedman is a huge influence to Dragonforce’s music and it maybe difficult to detect, but it is squeezed in there.  Another couple of big influences was Joe Satriani, Michael Romeo of Symphony X, and John P of Dream Theater.  These come as no surprise since their style of playing has taught Li to become more creative with the guitar.  And Dragonforce continues to release albums.  Back in August of 2014, they released studio album number six, “Maximum Overload,” which features lead singer Matt Heafy of Trivium in three tracks including “The Game.”

Of many guitarists that I continue to discover on a regular basis, tons of them are trying to get their music out.  Almost every musician has a musical background.  Therefore, expect guitarists to have similar, different, or the same music tastes in some cases.  Whether you listen to Becker, Petrucci, Li, or the other guitarists I mentioned, they all play fantastic.  Why?  Many of them are the shred guitarists ready to unleash speed whether it is on a six or seven string guitar.  Speed along with melody is what makes the music come from their head into the air.

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5 thoughts on “Why I Like Shred Guitarists

  1. Shredders do have their place I guess. I remember my first Yngwei Malmsteen album in the late 80s and it was astounding. But I have been disappointed in the longevity of this style. Compared to the stuff produced by Jimmy page, there is a distinct lack of timelessness and inventiveness. They’re inventive I guess from a technique point of you, but it’s the emotion that that makes the music memorable.

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  2. I write songs for all voices. My lyrics are some of the poems I’ve written that I put to music. My goal is to have someone hear my songs and put their own take on them. Since I don’t write music I have all my songs recorded on CDs that are very, very rough. I love following music and I’m glad I’m now in the “club.”

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