“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

Do you want to know who I am? Who the hell is Crappystruth?? Click this link below to learn more about me.



21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. dude I sort of undertsand what you mean.Its pointless to criticize techniques like shredding coz it takes lots and lots of talent. all I criticize is the notion that faster is better. there’s a limit to what a human can pickup.and a lot of shredders in youtube for example crosses this too often and it just becomes noise! also a lot of shredders do nothing but shred! when all you do is shred you lose the impact and emotion of it. you get tired of it u know.and john petrucci mite not be good a gud shredder like the ones you’ve mentioned but he still has some nice songs. he doesn’t abuse the same technique again and again. I do agree however that angelo is a bad musician.
    oh and thanks for the article.

  2. btw way whats with you moderating??? a true rocker never believed in censorship!!

  3. I was reading your post and I had a good laugh. You must be the most un-original guitarist with taste like that. You clearly have no Soul when you play or else you would have put Dragon Force on the suck list and not guys like Zack, Dime, or Slash. I Also disagree completely with the comments about Patrucci’s lessons. His lessons have helped my guitar playing tremendously and I’m positive most will disagree with you on that as well.

    So why don’t Shredders get noticed? Well, most play runs super fast that sound great but have no emotion. It’s like having a robot play you the 5th symphony. Sounds impressive but doesn’t move you. My favorite Shredder at the moment is Alexi Laiho. He manages to use every trick in the book and makes it sound so amazing and fresh even though he’s playing old school type runs. It’s his melodies that hook you and the speed is insane!

    My alternate favorite guitarist from the past is Paul Gilbert. Theres a guy with soul and technique.

    My favorite guitarist of all time is Slash because he made his guitar sing and played solos you can hum along too that were so well put together and memorable.

    Dimebag for originality, speed, soul and pure insanity.

    It’s about Soul and technique not pure accuracy and technicality. I love Shredding but you need to have the soul behind it or else you just waisted years trying to be a guitar god.

    • Well said, the key point is being memorable. I don’t practice shred style techniques because they are so easy to forget and soul deprived. I have never walked away from listening to one of the fancy shred style guitarists feeling like I have learned something new about life. This is probably why I thought they were good when I was just starting out.

  4. Whats to say..Crappy..you are so correct…the best is yet to be…..

  5. Shredders are the most overrated guitarists in rock history. They play with no emotion, and I’m almost completely convinced that most of them play the way they do for the attention and not for the love of their art.

  6. Shawn Lane was not even close to being as good as Allan Holdsworth…and he himself called Allan his idol.

  7. Obviously, shredding has to be defined but not by some dickhead, that claim’s that great musician’s suck.

    To me shredding is the pursuit of mastering the guitar to full extent of any style, Be it Blues to Flamenco. I prefer neo-classical metal but that doesn’t mean Tommy Emmanuel can’t shred on his Maton acoustic.

    So where’s your solo album? Email it to me and ill compare it to “Suspended Animation” and put a pole on my website about who’s a better shredder, you or Petrucci, eh?

    MAB is one of the greatest shredders of all time, he can play 21 notes a second and is completely ambidextrous for dual hand shredding. Not only has invented heaps of techniques and the double Neck guitar, there is not many guitarist’s that even come close to his speed and precession. So he can’t write songs as good as Satch…but neither can you so shut the fuck up?

    Dimebag is a pioneer in metal and shred guitar and you wish you had half the talent he had. RIP Dimebag, Groovy Metal master of the Black tooth Grin.

    By the way, Here’s a just a few Grand-Master Shredders you left out of your limited list that need recognition:

    – Micheal Romeo, Joe Stump, Rusty Cooley, Theodore Ziras, Neil Zaza, Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine, Al Estrada and Chris Poland

    Crappy here,

    Thanks for your comment, Gastric Bypass.

    The fact that you like a number of bad players is YOUR PROBLEM. I’m pointing out the obvious. So, I should submit my materiel to be reviewed and evaluated by you, a two-bit hack and your group of musically illiterate pole-smokers for your “dog-shit” website. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of guys whacking-off to some garbage players on your sausage-fest site. I’d have no part of it. Nor do I need to prove myself to the likes of yooouu.

    “Grand-Master Shredders????” What kinda fuckin’ dork are ya??!!!!!!
    Only young teenagers speak like that!!!

    I will comment on the names you’ve written:

    Michael Romeo: Very good player in a very, very good band. More than the sum of their parts.

    Joe Stump: Is an Yngwie Clone and a bad one at that. EVERYONE who’s I.Q. is over 80 knows this.

    Michael Angelo: Michael can…blah blah blah blah….. BOOORING!!!! I’ve commented about this JOKE on my “Shredding What Is It??!!!” column. Go read it. Oh wait!!! You supposedly did…

    John Petrucci: On my “Shredding What Is It??!!!!” column. Nope don’t bother….

    Rusty Cooley: Is an updated Michael Angelo, and that’s a BAD thing. Is he good? Not really, but he might improve.

    Theodore Ziras: Pretty darn good technician. All three of his albums sound like he’s practicing in his room. Nothing too musical, yet. But maybe….

    Neil Zaza: A pretty big Eric Johnson clone, I can think of some worse things than being an E.J. clone. Still another guy who abuses the front pickup. Nice bends sometimes but the guy just can’t seem to find his own voice. Maybe one day he will, then we’ll see what he can do. I think it could be good. Pleasant guy though.

    Vinnie Moore: Very, very good player and under-rated. Vinnie got lost in the shuffle of it all when being a talented player suddenly became a “bad” thing, and fell through the cracks. To bad his Ibanez signature line sucked. Thanks Ibanez!!!

    Tony MacAlpine: An angry, bitter and very, very rude prick with boring lines. But, he’s a relatively decent and ass-kissing employee. Just ask Steve Vai. Tony’s playing is just flat-borring. Tony’s music is like eating cheap unsweetened vanilla ice-cream. At the beginning it tastes like it will be good, but…….nope, it’s shit. Hey Tony, to bad you can’t play fast!! Ya big crybaby!!! By the way, you looked better with Jheri Curl than your current cue-ball look.

    Al Estrada: He does a good EVH copy….cause he’s in a VAN HALEN TRIBUTE BAND!!!!…..so fuckin’ what!!!

    Chris Poland: At best, average. BAD left hand. Plays the same 3 licks over and over and over, okay bends, vibrato’s sometimes okay but mostly poor. Doesn’t own a BRIDGE PICKUP. Never met a neck pickup he didn’t like. Okay ideas, poor execution.

    Douche-bag/Black-rotted-toothed grin: I think the names say it all…. SUCKS SHIT!!!

    Happy Holiday’s!! 😀


  8. I don’t even see a single video post on your YouTube of you playing guitar, so either upload something more shredder-iffic than
    “Damage Control – Petrucci”,
    “No Boundaries- Michael Angelo”
    or “Cemetery Gates solo -by Dime bag”
    to back up your heinous claims, or just fuck right off before stating your shit stained opinions about Shred legends way better than you ever dream to be. \m/

    Crappy here,

    Damage Control : There was none.
    No Boundries: He’s surrounded by them.
    Cemetery Gates: That’s where you’ll find him.

    Yep, three shitty players whose cock YOU suck. When they’re a REAL legend, I don’t knock them. The fact that you like weak players isn’t my problem, Jock-rot.

    Happy Holidays !! 😀

    Crappy oxxo

  9. Well a distinction should be made between “name” players (such as those you’ve mentioned) and their fanboys and imitators.

    Many of the players you mention do more than just shred. They write songs, have considerable harmonic and chordal skill, can play in different styles, can read charts, and play other instruments. Some are formally educated whereas others are straight ahead rockers who have a specific tone for which they are known and they run with it. Ususally in these cases they are associated with a band that has more to offer than mindless noodling – such as clever arrangements, interesting time signatures, great vocals, novel tone, fresh chord progressions. There is usually much more going on than just running lines.

    But representatives of the latter group (the wannabees) can usually be found on YouTube and/or sitting in Guitar Center for hours on end noodling away (though never buying anything) thinking that some record executive is going to walk by and go “Dude, you’re just what I’ve been looking for. Someone who just runs lines and sweeps like a madman ! I’m signing you to a million dollar contract right. You are just SOOOOO FASSSTTTTT !”.

    I suggest that its this latter group that seems to be responsible for most criticisms of shred. For example while not everyone likes Steve Vai few would say outright that he cannot play or has not talent.

    Side Note: There is a growing subset of shred fans who reject the elder statesmen of shred such as Vai and Satriani (and typically anyone associated with G3) and are always referring to some up-and-coming YouTube “god” as being the next greatest thing. These guys are like hipsters in that they openly reject anything well known with the belief that obscurity equals being cool. This is the ultimate irony since shred has never really ever been mainstream but its now been around long enough to have spawned intra-generational tension. After all Vai,Satriani, and Malmsteen are getting up there in years so little surprise that the younger crowd might take shots at them.

    The problem as I see it is that the wannabees really want to be recognized as advanced players without paying their dues. Just because you can whip out a rendition of some Michael Angelo piece from 1986 doesn’t mean a lot if thats all you can play. Furthermore there is a world of difference between playing it in your garage or at Guitar Center and playing it in a club of strangers, which is where most of these guys never go. Sure they play the family barbecue or some friends party. Of course they love you.

    Let me give you an actual real life example that illustrates this perfectly…

    I once encountered a self-declared “lead guitar specialist” who was attempting to market himself as a studio musician. The clueless studio owner gave him a shot because the guy was the son of a prominent local politician. This guy was absolutely useless as a studio musician yet was adored by the local shred crowd whose admiration for his sweep arpeggios and tapping led him to horribly overestimate his general musical abilities. He couldn’t play chords of any significant complexity nor could he play lines other than of a minor tonality. Nor could he play without distortion yet he was alleging to be a “studio musician” the very nature of which demands versatility and harmonic knowledge.

    When asked to play over a progression calling for a major tonality he would always run the relative minor over it since thats really all he could pull off. He stopped playing altogether in frustration when asked to solo over a Gm7-D7-Fmaj7 progression (a well known ii-V-I progression that any experienced musician should be able to navigate with ease and fluidity). He was asked to leave but not before criticizing everyone (“This song sucks, this studio sucks,
    I’m a lead guitarist – I let other people handle the chords!”). Wow – a guy who outsources chords ! Never heard of that one before.

    I’ll give you another example. A promoter booked his son’s band into a 1500 seat theater as an opening act for a 45 minute set. The word on the street was the guitarist was “dyanmite – the next Malmsteen”. Turns out that this was the first “real” gig the guitarist had ever played ! We had to sound check for him as he had never even played through anything but a practice amp. He was pale with fear and shaking like a leaf. Once their set started he did okay for about 10 minutes but then his string broke… so he STOPS playing. Dude you NEVER stop playing. The rest of the band is glaring at him, the stage crew is glaring at him, even the singer’s Dad (the promoter) is glaring at him. He just couldn’t recover.
    Well someone handed him his other guitar and all he could do was run the same sweeps and taps for every song. He never found his way. They stopped after 20 minutes amidst a growing round of booing).

    And so it goes. I think many people respect achievement and accomplishment but so many of these guys want to act like they are guitar gods but they can’t even begin to hang in a professional situation. Their licks are usually a rehash of 80s licks, they don’t learn chords, they don’t gig, and they don’t work on their tone. No wonder people don’t like them.

  10. I loved your article trashing Jimmy Page because well…. somebody has to do it.

    But that aside, you need to listen to some more fucking music.

    Joe Pass. Heard of that guy? He played circles around every guy on your list. He also made some very good music, had an immense knowledge of harmony, and was a gifted improvisor. Most of the dudes on your list, although being talented instrumentalists, make absolute shit for music.

    Crappy here,
    I took lessons from both Joe Pass and Joe Diorio many years ago. I still have some of the paper work from those lessons somewhere around. Both men are super knowledgeable and quite cool.

  11. Haha this is gold. By the way, I have a curiosity. I know Satriani isn’t a shredder, but what’s your opinion on him ? I’ve read a few pages of your blog, but no talk about him for now (be it good or bad), only mentioning him.

    Also, when I tried to listen to Petrucci’s greatest songs, I just couldn’t do it.. They fucking annoyed me. And I didn’t find any song I could like and I tried hard ^^ There is an exception, Tunnel Vision, which is kinda decent (imho), but for the rest..

    So I just can’t understand why people like petrucci, he may be ok technically but his songs are crap ? For a person who loves satch, vai, gilbert.. I tought I could understand his music, but it isn’t the case. Until reading this, I thought I had a ‘problem’.. ^^

  12. Great list, I think A. Starodoub is the best

  13. This is the thing, take for instance Malmsteen, a person who admired classical music more than his own creation, his goals were misguided. He probably could have have stuck to classical music, but he thought it would be interesting to blend his personality and dazzle the kids, and it failed. Listening to these shred Tsars gets to be boring because they are trying to personify rock for more than it is. To say that Clapton, a blues missionary, who is more successful at the bank due to his style, sucks is wrong because he gets his message across better, and art is about getting your message out to people. Same with Led Zep, and I don’t think one person on your list of favorites would insult Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton. In fact I read somewhere that Steve Vai really admires Jeff Beck.

    These shred Tsars have backed themselves into a corner because they are over the top and easy to forget because they don’t touch people, just more “21st Century Schizoid Men…nothing they have they really need”

  14. You seem pissed off that the rest of the world doesn’t share your opinion. Face it most regular music fans don’t care that much about shredding. To me it’s only a tool which can add to an already good song.

    Most of the guys on your list are good players but not all of them write music for regular people. They are mainly appreciated by other musicians and so are relatively unknown. Bottom line is you can’t force people to like a certain type of music and it’s silly to think people are stupid or uneducated because they don’t share your musical tastes. If someone likes say Prince that’s what they like. Nothing wrong with that.

    I personally find guys like Vai boring because after I get past the initial wow at their technical ability, I don’t feel drawn to hear their music again . Van Halen on the other hand may not be up to the technical prowess of Vai, but he has created music that is loved played daily for 30 years. It’s up to a musician to create music that people love. If their fan base is small based on what their music that’s just the way it goes.

  15. You seem to operate under the, very flawed, logic that speed and shredding are the most important parts of guitar playing. Shredding can be a very useful guitar technique, but its still just one technique, if all you can do is scale and shred (without knowing any chords) you’ll find yourself limited in band situations. While playing fast is admirable a great guitarist will also know when to play slow, and follow the old proverb of less is more (nothing annoys me more than hearing a solo where the guitarist is trying to play as many notes as he can as fast as he can) just like nothing can be more emotive in a solo than a guitarist holding a bend for an extended part of the solo…as for your critique of thumb placement, you may see it as lazy but I find using the thumb to bar a couple of strings frees up the rest of my fingers to allow me to play chords that would not ordinarily be possible, and is a great tool if you are playing both lead and rhythm parts in a song (rhythm being a vital skill you ignore, great guitarists will know how to play both lead and rhythm as it is essential to understand both if you are ever going to work with other guitarists)

    Crappy here,

    Hi Robert, here are 2 quotes from my column:

    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”

    And from the end of the column:

    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.

    Robert, you do what most people do with probably everything in life. You focus on what suits you (a.k.a what’s convenient for you) and not the real meat and potato’s. Go back and re-read the entire column and you’ll see these “TRUTHS” stand on their own individually, and within the context of my column. Thanks for stopping by and check out the rest.

    Crappy. xo

  16. I say get a life you are very depressed get a life……………

  17. Dude, nobody knows Roy Ashen and TJ Helmerich; nice work! You write like you were at GIT back in the day; maybe we met? I used to jam with those guys and you are right: monsters! I was in Oslo a few years ago and heard this amazing sound coming from a boat in the harbour; walked down there and this guy was sitting back in a chair sipping a beer and playing some stuff to equal those guys: Ole Stavtieg is his name.

    You are right about fame; there definitely is an attraction to ‘stupid’ and not just in America. People are more comfortable with someone like themselves, rather than a virtuoso (George Bush (baseball team prop/failed businessman) vs Jimmy Carter (nuclear engineer), etc.) But there is also the fact that fame is random and a herd mentality exists among humans. JK Rowling just proved this by writing a book under a pen name that was critically acclaimed but nonetheless sold about 50 copies. Then it came out that she was the author and it sold 50 billion. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-19/j-k-rowling-and-the-chamber-of-literary-fame.html)

    Now that I’m thinking about it, there’s a third factor: people will swallow what is shoved down their throats. Think of any given ‘insert a teen or teens here’ band created by corporate music marketers. Which is why we need to kill the music industry and make it art again, in a world where everyone knows Roy and TJ and Ole’s names and One Direction only dance in their parents’ garages. But I do have to give credit to anyone who goes out and plays songs they have written themselves; at least there is some integrity there.

    Keep doing your thing; you’ve got a funny and pointy blog here.

  18. Hello, sir. I wanted to offer that in my opinion, John Mclaughlin is among the most talented musicians of the last century, as well as this one. His composition, guitar skill and willingness to explore have been my single greatest influence. Seeing the original Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1972 was a life altering experience.
    Thanks and best

    Pete Fedorenko

    • Shawn Lane said in some old interview that the only guitarist whose solos he had trouble transcribing by ear was Jonn McLaughlin because of the rhythmic complexity of his solos. Shawn has also described McLaughlin as “the master of the pick”. Steve Morse – a great alternate picker himself – has also said similar things about John McLaughlin’s technique. McLaughlin’s influence can be clearly heard – along with Holdsworth’s, Coltrane’s etc. – on Shawn’s collaborations with Jonas Hellborg.

      On another note: where’s Marco Sfogli?! He’s by far the best since I first heard Shawn Lane’s Powers of Ten in 1998. There’s some Kee Marcello, Andy Timmons and Joe Satriani influences in his playing, but he’s even better than those, especially in the songwriting department.

      Crappy here,
      Hey man, I appreciate your comment and thanks for posting it. Before I begin the list, I mention that this is only a partial list. There are a number of people on this list that are only known by a small group. So, by me mentioning those few, will open new doors for some. Although Shawn Lane is my personal favorite and arguably the greatest electric guitar player to ever live, and likely ever to live, Shawn is still relatively unknown. May he rest in peace. Unlike many, many people who feel they need to be influenced by their hero’s heroes, I’m not one of them. These players are still human and make human mistakes. I dig Eddie, but can NOT stand Clapton. I hear nothing redeemable about anything Clapton has ever done.

      Thanks, C.T.

  19. Omg, what a dumb article. To have the audacity to bash a whole country and its citizens because you feel they don’t respect shredding “enough” and view it to your standards…please. You sound not only very highly uneducated and stupid, but you act as though insulting Americans and generalizing them at every turn somehow makes you “knowledgeable” and “cool” to the point you’re trying to make. It DOESN’T. It makes you completely IGNORANT.

    Have a nice day!

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