“SHREDDING” What is it???!!

SHREDDING. What is it? Who does it? Who does it RIGHT? Who does it WRONG? How can I tell the difference? How can I be sure to do it right? Why should I give a shit? Why is shredding so bashed on? Why is shredding so misunderstood?

Shredding is a subject that is the biggest debated, most heatedly argued about subject in all of the guitar world. People who actually totally suck are held up as guitar hero’s. Real players who are truly legendary are at best glanced at, then forgotten, but normally ignored. Why is this? How and why has this reversal occurred? From the 17th century towards the end of the 20th century (1991 or so to be specific) a musician was treated with the highest respect if he was of an incredible ability. The most well known and relatively recent examples of this are: Nicolo Paganini, Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin. And these legends seem to have faded.

These and so many countless other musicians of a supernatural caliber have been ignored with almost no exception (Coltrane is one modern day musician occasionally talked about). Some guitar players who’ve had their day in the sun to varying degrees are Edward Van Halen, Randy Rhodes, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and, Joe Satriani. There are others….. just fill in the blank.

Here are some of my thoughts as to why we have this continuing problem. WE as Americans are pathetically fuckin’ stupid. And sadly, it’s not limited to music. So, we have illiterate morons in varying degrees all over the country graduating and not graduating from high school with no way to tell the difference. Today when someone is gifted at something and their at a typical school k-12, the scumbag-puke, low-life students of the school will insult, berate and relentlessly harass these people and treat them as outcasts, just for using their minds. This is what we have still. But, with music we have championed mediocrity like I still can’t believe.

Shredding is:

1. Having perfect technique and applying it.

2. Having total technical command of the instrument.

3. Having very good to great musical knowledge: theory, arps, scales etc, in addition using a metronome for timing, to build lines along with all the nuances including but not limited to bending to pitch and correct vibrato. Meaning how it works and making it work for you.

4. Taking all of the above to create lyrical phrases and overall well thought out compositions and the ability to improvise very good phrasings to beautiful phrasings over any progression. Blending fast as well as slow to create a well balanced audio piece of art…….

………………..This is the GOAL

Playing guitar is one of those things that is constantly evolving and you’re always getting better (in theory). Even if you can’t do something today, tomorrow you will hopefully be a little better. Why is shredding always attacked? Because the people who attack it are lazy, jealous, resentful, butt-fuckin’ slobs who will never put in the flight time to do it right. And that lack is carried over into and through out their pathetic lives. Misery loves company. And, since we Americans overall are fuckin’ miserable, wretched slugs, this is what we do. Bitch about, bash, attack and insult talented people because we aren’t willing to do what it takes ‘THE WORK” to accomplish greatness ourselves. You know….like when you insult the Japanese saying, ” Look at those rice patty slopes playing shredding guitar! They’ll never be as good as an American!” Yep, I’ve heard you fuckers say this kind of shit when you thought no one was around. Well, the Asians and Europeans kick ass on guitar and fewer and fewer Americans relatively speaking are putting in the “CORRECT” time into burning ourselves. It doesn’t have to be this way.

But, until enough of you filthy fuck’s clean up your own shit, it’s gonna stay this way. Here’s a partial list of awesome players to check out, you stinkin’ jackals:

1. Shawn Lane …..the number 1 greatest of all time. So very, very far above any and all others.  The greatest who ever lived and will ever live. Rest In Peace, Shawn. Musically speaking, G*d himself spoke through this man.

2. Alan Holdsworth—Living Legend

3. Greg Howe—Outstanding player by any account

4. Larry Mitchell—–has a fluidity, class and style that’s so original and a breath of fresh air. Shredding without shredding.

5. Frank Gambale—an original burner  with terrific phrasing

6. Bret Garsed—-along with T.J. have produced some of the best guitar music recorded.

7. Roy Ashen and T.J. Helmrich— the two most incredible 8 finger players I’ve ever heard.

8. Al Di Meola

9. Yngwie Malmsteen   The guy who pioneered shred. Yngwie did what Ritchie Blackmore was always too inept to do. Yngwie consistently has outstanding vibrato, bends and is about as clean of a player as they come. And, Yngwie was also responsible for ending the abuse of two handed, one finger on the right hand hammer-on-pull-off’s that ran rampant in the very early 80’s.

10. Jason Becker

11. Kei Morioka    Of all the terrific Japanese players I’ve heard, and their are many, including but not limited to the most well known, Akira Takasaki, Kei Morioka is head and shoulders above them all. In fact, I believe Kei Morioka is one of the top 5 greatest electric guitar players that has ever lived. Bar none.

12. Randy Rhoads

13. Michael Lee Firkins

13. Craig Collins Turner   www.craigcollinsturner.com

14. Marty Friedman

14. Scott Henderson

15. Chet Thompson

16. Steve Morse

17. Paul Gilbert  Fantastic alternate picking an fun shapes.

18. Steve Vai    Maybe you’ve heard of’em? Hey Stevie, thanks for that aborted abomination “Sex and Religion.”  Steve, without a doubt, is one of just a tiny few of the most lyrical players to ever lift a guitar.

19. Dallas Perkins     Fairly unknown but I just like his playing. He’s been very creative over the years and a helluva nice guy.

20. Jake E. Lee  The greatest live performer I’ve ever seen. And, the best live performer of Randy Rhoads material too.

21. Joe Holmes


23. The DeMarco Brothers, Freddy & Johnny    Terrific duo and their CD Shipwrecked is too damn cool.

24. Patrick Rondat

25. Luca Turilli       Along with keyboardist Alex Staropoli

26. Todd Duane    You had so much promise. Especially with Lale Larsen on keys. Maybe if you had taken some classes on marketing and “self-promotion” instead of wasting away with a cover band for over 10 years. Todd, another name is called “schmoozing. That’s the secret you couldn’t figure out. Now that you’ve got a family without having had any success prior to having a family, you are finished, my friend. Just sad. Todd, I remember when…..

27. Chris Impellitteri        He was burning during Yngwie’s formative years. I’ve always liked Chris’ playing and was very happy when he parted ways with Graham ” I’m a drunk and love Coors too much” Bonnet. I still don’t hear the appeal of Grahams vocals.

28. Ronni Le Tekro

29. Kiko Loureiro    Isn’t too bad…

30. Brian Carol aka Buckethead      Brian and I were introduced to each other many years ago (yes, without the bucket and mask) and I found him to be a very quiet and pleasant guy. I find Brian’s music overall to be just too peculiar for me. I very much like the Nottingham Lace version live. The version where you hear a guys voice at the beginning in the back yell, “Buckethead thank you for coming!” There are others. Brian can burn, there’s no doubt. But, I have a low threshold for heavily discordant, incoherent material. His “Leatherface – gore” theme is amusing but wears thin fast for me. Brian’s the best thing ever to happen to G n’ R. That’s one band I may have to do a post on. I just don’t fuckin’ like ’em.

31. Bruce Bouillet    of Racer-X   Got all of Paul’s sequences down and to speed within a week or so of Paul teaching them to Bruce. And, I’ve always felt Bruce was a better player than Paul, which is no slam to Paul at all.

32. Chris Arvan  Was Paul Gilbert’s replacement in Racer-X and had no problem in any way at all filling Paul’s shoes. Those of you fortunate enough to hear Chris absolutely rip live when he was 19/20yrs old know this is true. Chris had some very cool and creative ideas, and was a noticeably much better player than Paul. Chris (and Bruce), as a relatively unknown player(s), was able to read the writing on the wall and see where the guitar scene was going early enough and did what was best for him and save himself. Which, in the end, is really all any of us can do. Cool man. That goes for Bruce B. too.

33.  Arkadiy Starodoub  This guy kicks some fuckin’ ass.

And, let’s not forget the guitar player who started it all, and saved us all with the guidance and leadership of the number one greatest rock frontman in rock history, Diamond David Lee Roth. Yep, I’m talkin’ about Edward Van Halen. Edward, who showed us all what it meant and still means to be a showman and combine that with a fantastic and unique playing ability. To have the ability to go-off with a smile on his face and have tons of fun doing it. While at the same time inspire millions and millions and millions to pick up a guitar and learn to have our own brand of fun too. And, for us to try to live our dreams.

There is one maybe two of these players (Alright!! Maybe more!!) who have an odd ball way of picking which I don’t recommend doing.

Honorable Mention

            These players don’t necessarily fit into the category above, but they are terrific in their own right, and I happen to really like much of what they’ve done over the years (Except for shithead Rob M.). And, I wanted to have a section called “Honorable Mention.” But, there are some people from above who are more appropriate to be in here. So at some point I’ll adjust the above list slightly. You just may be surprised! Like who???? You’ll just have to check back, won’t cha!!
Warren De Martini of RATT   Warren is one of my very favorite players. Warren is what I call a “Finesse” player and a bona fide original. This guy is just so damn smooth. He’s got just enough speed to let you know he can, and yet, never over does it. His phrasing is always very tasty. Warren’s got this lite touch with great dexterity, really cat-like, and flavors his leads with a wide array of colors and textures without ever getting too weighted down or old. And, just enough aggression when it’s called for. Warren never over plays anything, and when I listen to him, he sounds as though he’s somehow channeling energy like he’s a magician that makes it happen out of nowhere. Warren is just one helluva well balanced and creative player, with seemingly no end to his creative ideas executed perfectly every time. Just great.
George Lunch…err..ahh  Lynch of Dokken and Lunch Mob    I liked George’s materiel most with Dokken. His intro to Paris is Burning Live is terrific. The songs were very cool and George is another player that never over plays. He’s got speed and puts it in where appropriate and a very unique vibrato where he slides up and down the neck very fast. Really creative and another real original. I’ve always felt George and Warren seemed to be from the same musical neighborhood. They are very similar in some way that I can’t seem to explain, but still different enough that one doesn’t sound like a copy of the other. And, still have established more than enough individualistic style, that you won’t confuse one for the other.
Vivian Campbell of DIO   Viv was Ronnie James Dio’s first guitarist when Ronnie went out on his own. Songs like Rainbow in the Dark and Last in Line show off what Viv could do in a very aggressive way. But, I just never dug his tone. It sounds like very crunchy, over cooked fried chicken sounds when you’re chomping on it.
Andy Timmons    This guy does a lot of stuff really, really well. A versital player who really came into his own starting in the middle part of the 90’s, but kicked ass before that point. Plus, he’s a cool guy.

Anton Oparin   I’ve been watching this kid for a few years now, and so far, this kid is for real and all of you better lookout!! He’s endorsing Gary Kramer guitars, which I think suck. But some of Anton’s guitars have 1 pickup, a single humbucker. So you can really hear what he’s doing. And what he’s doing is pretty damn clean with and without distortion.

Although this is the Honorable Mention section, I have to say, FUCK THIS PRICK AND FUCK YOU ROB!! …

…Rob Marcello    Because I’m quite pissed off with Rob, I’m very reluctant to say anything good about this clown. Ya know Rob, here in America among the civilized few, it’s customary to say thank you when someone goes out of their way to make arrangements to HELP you get your fuckin’ ass into this country!! I normally expect to be kissed when I’m getting fucked. So to that, thanks Rob. This Swede can burn “okay” with pretty good phrasing and ”okay” songs.  There, ya happy Rob?!! Now, stick it up your ass!!

Who sucks? For a guy who has a B.A. in music and has had it for over 25 years, Michael Angelo still can’t come up with a half way decent tune. What the fuck??!! Michael has been able to make a living doing clinics around the world, teaching his brand of PAINFULLY BORING, USELESS, BRAIN NUMBING, 30+ year old ideas (that sucked the first time around) to a brand new, fledgling group of guitar players and how to pick fucked up. His speed, at best is barely adequate. But……his stuff with Holland wasn’t too bad. Hey Mike, have you finally learned your lesson about “locking” the doors on your equipment truck? And, maybe it’s not such a good idea to park it overnight in a K-mart parking lot!!  Ya think?!!!

Zakk Wylde. Every time I see or hear this filthy, grimy, shit-throwing monkey I wanna puke. Zakk is the type of savage that people immigrate to avoid. Go read my page on him.

John Petrucci. Almost as fuckin’ boring as Michael Angelo. John may very well be Michael Angelo’s long lost twin brother. John’s 2 hour instructional video is the largest collection of the most utterly useless bunch of sequences and exercise’s I’ve ever seen in one place. Look, if I wanted to hear Paul Gilbert Junior I’d listen to Russ Parrish. John’s phrasing sounds as creative as listening to bricks hit a wall.

Slush of G n’ R…..ugh!! yuck!! Even coming across a picture of him, I swear I can smell his dirty, unwashed presence.

Dimebag Darrell …….one sloppy-ass player. This has nothing to do with the tragedy of him being killed. So, don’t send me your shit.

Herman Li and Sam Totman.   I am a very fair guy. I always give credit where it’s due. Before I cut loose on these two I will say their songs are fun and very enjoyable. Mainly because their bandmates have enough talent to save their asses by creating enough stability to support their bullshit. Herman and Sam are perfect examples and poster boys of two sloppy-ass, fuckin’ rank novice hacks that use delay and chorus effects both set on 11 because they can not play anything clean to save their lives. I liked (and still like very, very much) this type of playing when it was done clean and correctly the first time it came out, in the 80’s!! Watching these two dorks live, puts a knot in my stomach and to think, this is what it’s come to. Herman has very cool hair, maybe he’s got a future as a spokesman for L’Oréal, “After all, aren’t you worth it?”

And of course the legendary masters of suck: Santana, Clapton, Page, Lifeson. I’ve got posts on them here.

Read my other posts and more to come….

On the fence section:

Richie Kotzen… I can’t fairly put this guy in the “who sucks” section, but I sure as hell won’t put him in the positive section either. I suppose he’s in this section called “on the fence.”
         Now, this guy I have a personal issue with that overshadows his playing ability. So, that will heavily influence my comments here, but not enough to be inaccurate about his playing. Richie has a very serious problem for close to 20 years now with chasing women who are already in a relationship with a man (one woman I knew among them), rather than him (Richie), just finding his own, unattached, unmarried, single woman. And, Richie not understanding what it means when a woman says, “no, I’m not interested!,” as one woman told him loudly while in line at the fuckin’ bank. By Richie continuing to doing this, this is an invitation to death.
        Richie started his career signing a deal with Shrapnel Records which was one of the two labels that was the standard operating procedure for shred players to sign with in the 80’s and 90’s. Relativity Records was the other label but Relativity Records treated their talent roster better. Normally, when you sign to a label, it’s for one maybe two albums with an option for another one or two depending how well the first one(s) sell. Richie was being herald at this time as the next Steve Vai, which I instantly thought was as ridicules as saying, it’s nice to French-kiss the back-end of an angry skunk. Richie signed to do not 1, not 2, not even 3, but seven albums with Shrapnel. This is the move of a blithering fuckin’ idiot. But, this is the first of a number of Richie’s major career fuck-ups.
        Richie’s playing style is made up of doing, or ripping off licks and shapes done by other, better players who did it better, and Richie just replaying them. He pulls it all off technically pretty well and pretty cleanly. But, in the end it’s still a lackluster effort. His songs on his first few albums were “okay” at best and I feel better than his current stuff. Richie’s vocals are bland and lifeless, he should stick to guitar only.
        Because of Richie’s constant bullshit antics over too many years, he will never have or be what he possibly, but unlikely could have had and been. So, in the end, he is exactly where he should be, a border line, second rate, hired gun. A hired gun that is only, strictly picked when all the good players are busy with other projects. As harsh as this may sound, Richie is no where near as bad as the rip-off king,  John Petrucci.

Oh! by the way, anchoring your picking hand’s little finger or any finger on the body of the guitar is total bullshit. DON’T FUCKIN’ DO IT!!!  I don’t give a fuckin’ shit how fast some prick plays doing this, he’ll play FASTER picking from the wrist and not anchoring. Pick from the wrist. And stop with the drunken spider fretting hands too!!! One more thing, get your thumb off the top of the neck and having it hang over on to the fretboard!! A guitar is a musical instrument, not a fuckin’ baseball bat, you brain damaged, vivisection monkeys!!

People who only hear fast notes with every shred player have the musical equivalent/development of a kindergartner. The vast number of people who make this “no feeling” statement are really at the baby food stage of musical development. Or, they’ve been repeatedly beaten about the skull with a ball-peen hammer. Another way to recognize these musically illiterate people, is how they hold a spoon or fork, like they’re a 2 year-old child using a sandbox shovel. And, breathe outta their wide-open mouth while eating. For many of you, just look in the mirror.

Another thing, and this applies to so many of you fucks, in fact just about all of you who are under the age of 25/30….. if you fall into this category I’m talkin’ directly to you. Except for MY ENLIGHTENMENT and very rare, fluke exceptions, none of you shit-kickin’, nose-pickin’, paint chip eatin’, snot eatin’, brain-dead vegetables knows what the fuck it means to shred. It goes so far, very far beyond mere speed. Even after I’ve given countless specific instructions both directly and between-the-lines, so many times to you filth beneath my feet, you still feebly try to talk shit. But, really, why should I be surprised.

And, for those of you over the age of 50 or are hung-up on the 60’s hippie bullshit ( and look how well the 60’s “let’s change the world” turned out for all of you. Many of you became the rich, hypocritical, yuppie, capitalist pig’s you claimed to be so fuckin’ against in the 60’s. I love and believe in capitalism and am a capitalist myself. Unlike you fake fuckers, I’m up-front about it. ), if you didn’t understand the shred scene during it’s heyday during the 80’s, which is the BEST and most prolifically abundant and fruitful musical decade so far, you just never will. And that is pathetically sad in it’s own right.

Well, that’s it for now, kiddies. I may expound another time in a new post or increase this one. So, what are YOU going to do? Continue to suck….. or do something about it?

Until next time…..

Love, Crappy  xo

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