John Peter Petrucci (born July 12, 1967) is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater. With his former bandmate Mike Portnoy, he has produced all Dream Theater albums since their 1999 release, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory until their 2009 release, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, and also produced alone their 2011 release A Dramatic Turn of Events and 2013's Dream Theater. He also sings backing vocals for Dream Theater. Petrucci was named as the third player on the G3 tour six times, more than any other invited guitarists. In 2009 he was named the No. 2 Best metal guitarist by Joel McIver in his book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists. He was also named as one of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time" by GuitarOne magazine. In 2012, Petrucci was ranked the 17th greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine readers poll.

 

Biography

John Petrucci was born on July 12, 1967 in Kings Park, New York to an Italian American family. He picked up the guitar at the age of eight because his older sister was allowed to go to bed later in order to practice the piano. However, he decided to quit the guitar when his attempts to stay up late were unsuccessful. He picked up the guitar again at the age of 12. Petrucci has said he committed to practicing guitar 6 hours a day when he discovered it was his passion. His early influences were bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and later he got more into progressive and metal genres with Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden, Dixie Dregs and Metallica.

Eventually, his childhood friend and future Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore invited John to join his cover band. John attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with childhood friend John Myung (bass), where they met future bandmate Mike Portnoy (drums). While in Berklee they often covered two of their biggest influences, Iron Maiden and Rush. These three, in addition to Kevin Moore, formed the band Majesty. Because there was already another band with the same name, the group later became Dream Theater.

While Petrucci is most commonly associated with Dream Theater, he is also in the project band Liquid Tension Experiment, and has appeared as a guest on records by other artists, such as the Age of Impact album by the Explorer's Club.

Petrucci has released a guitar instructional video, Rock Discipline, which covers warm-up exercises, exercises to avoid injury while playing, alternate picking, sweep picking, chords and other techniques for developing one's guitar playing. Petrucci also has a book named "Guitar World presents John Petrucci's Wild Stringdom", which was compiled from columns he wrote for Guitar World magazine under that title.

In 2001, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai invited Petrucci to tour with them on the popular G3 guitar tour, which exposed him to a massive number of new fans and inspired a solo album. The album, Suspended Animation, was released on March 1, 2005, and was available for order from his web site. Petrucci also appeared on the 2005 and 2006 G3 tours, and in 2007, went on G3 tour again, this time with Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani. In a recent video with Larry DiMarzio, Petrucci announced that he is working on a follow up to his 2004 album, Suspended Animation and a new Dream Theater album.

Petrucci also wrote and recorded two instrumental soundtrack songs for a Sega Saturn game titled Digital Pinball: Necronomicon. Each track is roughly two minutes long, and are named simply Prologue and Epilogue. In a spoof rock band, Nightmare Cinema (which was the Dream Theater members changing instruments for a gig), he used the "alternate stage name" Johnny James.

In 2012, Petrucci was invited once again to join Joe Satriani in his G3 tour with Steve Morse. His Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini, and his former G3 bass player Dave LaRue accompanied him on the tour.

Dream Theater bandmate Jordan Rudess revealed in an interview that Petrucci is a practicing Catholic. He currently lives in St. James, New York with his wife Rena Sands, a guitarist in the all-female heavy metal band Meanstreak, and they have three children—twins Samantha and Renato, and Kiara. He is the uncle of Jake Bowen, a guitarist in the progressive metal band Periphery. He is also an avid fan of bodybuilding and dedicates much of his off time to weight training. He is a voting member of NARAS.

Musical Style

Guitar technique

Petrucci is respected for his variety of guitar styles and skills. One of the most notable of these is his high speed alternate picking which, as he himself claims, requires a "strong sense of synchronization between the two [playing] hands." John is notable for frequent use of the seven-string electric guitar, which he says he uses as a writing tool, taking advantage of the extended range for heavier riffing and to play extended range runs as part of a solo. Moreover, Petrucci often combines his metal shredding technique with a slower, emotive soloing style. His influences as a guitarist include Steve Morse, Al Di Meola, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen and David Gilmour.

Petrucci is the only band member in Dream Theater to have contributed lyrics to every album. He has written lyrics for at least three songs for every single album. These include, among others, Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper, The Spirit Carries On, The Great Debate, In the Presence of Enemies, and Through Her Eyes. Petrucci uses real-life experiences for lyrical inspiration, as can be heard in the songs The Count of Tuscany, A Nightmare to Remember and Endless Sacrifice.

Singing

Petrucci has acted as a backing vocalist live since the Awake Tour. He is a baritone, producing a sound darker than that of James Labrie's tenor voice. He also has a role in writing the vocal melodies for Dream Theater, as shown on demo versions of Wither and Spirit Carries On, on which he performs the vocals.

In live performances before Mike Portnoy departed, he only sang small sections of backing vocals or harmonies, with Mike performing the majority of the backing vocals. After Mike Portnoy's departure, Petrucci has taken on some his singing duties in songs such as The Dark Eternal Night and War Inside My Head, with other backing vocals being on a backing track.

Guitar Rig

Studio albums

*only amplifiers/pre-amp are shown

Live

  • Images and Tour - Mesa Boogie Triaxis Preamp (x2), Mesa Boogie Stereo Simul-Class 2:Ninety Power Amp (x2), Lexicon PCM70 (x1), Samson Wireless Unit (x1), TC Electronic 2290 (x1), TC Electronic 1140 HS Parametric EQ/Preamplifier (x1), Mesa Boogie Matrix Midi Switching (x1), Mesa Boogie Abacus (x1).
  • Waking Up the World Tour - Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+ (x1), Mesa Boogie Triaxis (x2), Mesa Boogie Stereo Simul-Class 2:Ninety Power Amp (x2), TC Electronic 2290 (x1), Lexicon PCM70 (x1), Dunlop Rack Wah (x1), Custom Mark Snyder Rack Interface (x1), Alesis Data Dump (x1), Mesa Boogie Matrix Midi Switching (x1), Mesa Boogie Abacus (x1), Furman Power Conditioner (x2). Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4x12 Cabinets With Vintage 30 Speakers (x4). Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller, Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x2).
  • Touring into Infinity - Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+ (x1), Mesa Boogie Mark IV (x1), Mesa Boogie Rackmount Dual Rectifier (x2), Mesa Boogie Triaxis (x1), Mesa Boogie Stereo Simul-Class 2:Ninety Power Amp (x2), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x1), Mesa Boogie Matrix Midi Switching (x1), Furman Power Conditioner (x4), Custom Rack Interface (x3), TC Electronic 2290 (x1), Lexicon PCM80 (x2), Dunlop Rack Wah (x1), DBX 166A Compressor/Noise Gate (x1).
  • Metropolis 2000, Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York - Mesa Boogie Triaxis (x1), Mesa Boogie Formula Preamp (x1), Mesa Boogie Mark IV (x1), Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+ (x1), Mesa Boogie Rackmount Dual Rectifier (x1), Mesa Boogie Stereo Simul-Class 2:Ninety Power Amp (x2), Dunlop Rack Wah (x1), Voodoo Lab GCX Audio Switcher (x3), Digital Music Corp Stereo Line Mixer (x2), TC Electronic 2290 (x1), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x2), Custom Rack Interface (x3), Furman Power Conditioner (x4), Lexicon PCM70 (x1), Lexicon PCM80 (x1). Custom Audio Electronics RS-10 Midi Foot Controller (x1) with Custom Audio Electronics RS-10 Expander Module (x2), Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller (x1), Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x3). Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4x12 Cabinets (x6).
  • World Tourbulence - Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+ (x3), Mesa Boogie Nunya Preamp Custom Made for John (x1), Dunlop DCR-1SR Rack Wah (x1), Eventide DSP7000 (x1), DBX 166A Compressor/Limiter (x1), TC Electronic M2000 (x1), TC Electronic M3000 (x1), TC Electronic 2290 (x2), Digital Music Corp Dual Stereo Line Mixer (x1), Digital Music Corp GCX Audio Switcher (x1), Korg DTR-1 Digital Tuner (x1), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x1), Furman PL-Pro Power Conditioner (x1), Furman AR-Pro AC Line Regulator (x1), Custom Rack Interface by Mark Snyder, Ernie Ball Volume Pedals (x3), Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Overdrive (x1), Custom Audio Electronics RS-10 Midi Foot Controller with Expansions, MXR Phase 90 (x1), Axess Electronics CFX4 Control Function Switchers (x2), Framptone Talk Box through a Mesa Boogie Nomad, Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4x12 Cabinets With Celestion Vintage 30 Speakers (x2).
  • Train of Thought Tour - Mesa Boogie Road King (x3), Mesa Boogie Lonestar (x2), Digital Music Corp Stereo Line Mixer (x1), TC Electronic 2290 (x2), TC Electronic M3000 (x2), TC Electronic G-Force (x1), Eventide DSP7000 (x1), DBX 266XL Compressor/Noise Gate (x1), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x1), Dunlop CryBaby Custom Shop Rack Wah (x1), Custom Mark Snyder Interface (x1), Furman AR-Pro AC Line Regulator (x1). Mesa Boogie 2x12 Cabinets (x2), Mesa Boogie 4x12 Cabinets (x2). Skrydstrup SC-1 with XT Extension Module (x1), Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller (x1), Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x1), Boss TU-2 Tuner (x1), Boss Digital Delay Pedal (x1). Custom Steel Diamond Plate Foot Rests (x2).
  • Octavarium Tour - Mesa Boogie Road King (x3), Mesa Boogie Lonestar (x2), Digital Music Corp Stereo Line Mixer (x2), TC Electronic 2290 (x2), TC Electronic M3000 (x2), TC Electronic G-Force (x1), Eventide DSP7000 (x1), DBX 266XL Compressor/Noise Gate (x1), Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal (x1), Boss PH-3 Phaser Pedal (x1), Boss TR-2 Tremolo Pedal (x1), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x1), Dunlop CryBaby Custom Shop Rack Wah (x1), Custom Mark Snyder Interface (x1), Furman AR-Pro AC Line Regulator (x1). Mesa Boogie 2x12 Cabinets (x2), Mesa Boogie 4x12 Cabinets (x2). Skrydstrup SC-1 with XT Extension Module (x1), Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller (x1), Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x1), Boss TU-2 Tuner (x1). Custom Steel Diamond Plate Foot Rests (x2).
  • Score - Mesa Boogie Custom Built for John "Nunya" Preamp (x1), Mesa Boogie Formula Preamp (x1), Mesa Boogie Rectifier Stereo 2:One Hundred Power Amp (x1), Dunlop Rack Wah (x1), TC Electronic 2290 (x1), TC Electronic M3000 (x2), Eventide DSP7000 (x1), MXR EVH Phaser (x1), MXR Wylde Overdrive (x1), DBX 266XL Compressor/Noise Gate (x1), DOD SR830QX Dual 15 Band Graphic EQ (x1). Skrydstrup Power Conditioner (x2), Skrydstrup Preamp Switcher (x1), Skrydstrup Effects Switcher (x1), Skrydstrup Custom Rack Interface (x2). Custom Steel Diamond Plate Foot Rests (x2).
  • G3 Tokyo 2005 - Dual Rectifier (x2) Road King (x2)
  • G3 2007 tour - Mesa Boogie Mark IV (x2), Mesa Boogie Formula Preamp (x1), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x1), Digital Music Corp Stereo Line Mixer (x1), Dunlop Rack Wah (x1), DBX 166A Compressor/Noise Gate (x1), Boss DS-1 (x1), MXR Stereo Chorus Pedal (x1), MXR EVH Flanger (x1), MXR EVH Phaser (x1), TC Electronic 2290 (x1), TC Electronic M3000 (x1), Eventide DSP7000 (x1), Axess Electronics Switchers. Axess Electronics FX-1 Midi Foot Controller w/Extension Module (x1), Boss TU-2 Tuner (x1), Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller (x1), Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x1).
  • Chaos in Motion Tour - Mesa Boogie Mark IV (x2), Mesa Boogie Lonestar (x1), Korg DTR-1 Rack Tuner (x1), Dunlop DCR-2SR Rack Wah (x1), DBX 266XL Compressor/Noise Gate (x1), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x1), Keeley Modded Boss TR-2 Tremolo Pedal (x1), MXR EVH Flanger (x1), Keeley Modded Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer (x1), MXR EVH Phaser (x1), Hermida Tech Zendrive (x1), MXR Wylde Overdrive (x1), MXR Stereo Chorus (x1), Boss DS-1 (x1), Eventide Timefactor Delay Pedal (x1), TC Electronic 2290 (x1), TC Electronic M3000 (x1), Eventide DSP7000 (x1), Digital Music Corp Stereo Line Mixer (x1), Mesa Boogie Rectifier Power Amp (x1), Furman AR-Pro AC Line Regulator (x1), Axess Electronics CFX-4 (x3), Axess Electronics GRX-4 (x2), Voodoo Lab Pedal Power (x2), Framptone A/B Box (x1), Radial JD-1 Passive DI Box (x1). Axess Electronics FX-1 Midi Foot Controller w/Expander (x1), Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller (x1), Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x1), Boss TU-2 Tuner (x1), Easy Button (x1). Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4x12 Cabinets with Celestion Vintage 30 Speakers (x6). Custom Steel Diamond Plate Foot Rests (x2).
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 10th Anniversary Reunion Tour - Mesa Boogie Mark IV (x2), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x1), Dunlop DCR-2SR Rack Wah (x1), MXR EVH Flanger (x1), MXR EVH Phaser (x1), TC Electronic 2290 (x1), Digital Music Corp Stereo Line Mixer (x1), DBX 266XL Compressor/Noise Gate (x1), Keeley Modded TS-9DX (x1), TC Electronic M3000 (x1), Eventide DSP7000 (x1). Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4x12 Cabinets (x2). Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller (x1), Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x1). Axess Electronics FX-1 Midi Foot Controller w/Expander (x1), Boss TU-2 Tuner (x1).
  • Black Clouds and Silver Linings Tour - Mesa Boogie Mark V (x3), Voodoo Lab GCX Switcher (x1), Korg DTR-2000 Rack Tuner (x1), Dunlop DSR-2SR Rack Wah System (x1), TC Electronic C400XL Compressor/Gate (x1), Keeley Modded Tube Screamer (x1), MXR EVH Flanger (x1), MXR EVH Phaser (x1), TC Electronic 1210 Spatial Expander/Stereo Chorus/Flanger (x1), TC Electronic M3000 Reverb/Delay (x3), Eventide H7600 Harmonizer (x1), Custom Patch Bay for Pedalboard Connections (x1), Furman AR Pro Power Conditioner (x1), Mesa Boogie High Gain Amp Switcher (x1), Axess Electronics GRX4 Audio Switcher for Pedal and Effects Switching (x3), Axess Electronics CRX4 Control Function Switcher (x1), Furman Aura Pedal (x1), Radial DI Box (x1). Axess Electronics FX-1 Midi Foot Controller w/Expander (x1), Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller (x1), Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x1), Boss TU-2 Tuner (x1). Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4x12 Cabinets with Celestion Vintage 30 Speakers and Custom Grills (x8). Custom Steel Diamond Plate Foot Rests (x2).
  • 2010 Iron Maiden Supporting Tour - Mesa Boogie Mark V (x3), Dunlop Rack Wah, Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra
  • A Dramatic Turn of Events Tour - Mesa Boogie Mark V (x2), Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II (x1), Dunlop DCR-2SR Rack Wah, Mark Snyder Custom Rack Interface (x1), Axess Electronics Switchers, Framptone A/B Box (x1), Keeley Modded TS-9DX (x1), Analog Man King of Tone (x1), Analog Man TS808 Mod (x1), Boss PH-3 Phaser (x1), MXR EVH Flanger (x1), Carl Martin Compressor (x1), Furman AR-Pro Power Conditioner. Axess Electronics FX-1 Midi Foot Controller (x1), Dunlop DCR-IFC Wah Controller (x2), Ernie Ball 25k Stereo Volume Pedal (x1), Boss TU-3 Tuner (x1), Custom Steel Diamond Plate Foot Rests with Buttkicker Drivers (x2). Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4x12 Cabinets with Celestion Vintage 30 Speakers (x3), Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 2x12 Cabinets with Buttkicker Drivers (x3).
  • Along for the Ride - Mesa Boogie Triaxis (x2), Fractal Audio Axe-Fx (x1), Mesa Boogie 2:90 (x2, one for Mesa 1x12 cab, one for the stage foot stands with Mess Rectifier 1x12 cab), Dunlop Rack Wah (x1)


Since the Train of Thought World Tour, John has used two footrests made by Patrick Slaats (who also designs Jordan Rudess's keyboard stands), such that they are book-ends for his pedalboard. These are utilised whenever Petrucci plays difficult-to-play passages within his songs, as he practices using proper classical guitar techniques - meaning that he rests his guitar on his left thigh when sequences get difficult. Before this, he used regular stage monitors to do this. He stated in the Live at Budokan DVD that he also has a "spit shield" around his cabinets, in order to avoid getting them defaced by Mike Portnoy's "gobs of goobers". He stopped using the spit shield on the A Dramatic Turn of Events tour due to Portnoy's departure.

A detailed gear diagram of John Petrucci's 2002 Dream Theater guitar rig is well-documented.

Guitar Tunings

John Petrucci plays most songs in standard tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E), although he also uses a variety of other tunings as listed here:

*all songs are from Dream Theater except indicated

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