Herman Li thinks he’s “not the best guitar player”, but says he’s always learning

“Playing a Dragonforce set is not easy, it asks a lot of you.”

Herman Li on stage. He is playing a bright purple guitar and is wearing illuminating green shades.

Image: Elsie Roymans / Getty

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It seems Herman Li remains ever humble despite the many accolades to his name that brand him as one of the top shredders in the game. The guitarist believes he’s “not the best guitar player” and says he wants to get better.

The DragonForce guitarist is often recognised in many “top guitarists” lists and reader polls for his fast technical ability, so it seems his ever-growing curiosity to learn more could well be the secret to his success.

When asked where his creativity comes from for his long guitar solos in an interview for Metal Hammer’s latest print edition, Li says, “I don’t think I’m the smartest guy in the room. I’m definitely not the best guitar player – I’m not in the top thousand in this world.

“But I want to get better. That’s how the creativity came around, because the amount of knowledge in the guitar world is unlimited – so I’m always learning.”

Li’s super speedy playing takes its toll, according to the musician, and he also suggests he has “another 10, 15 years” of being able to play the way he currently does.

“I’m being realistic. Playing a DragonForce set is not easy, it asks a lot of you. It’s not like we can pace ourselves – you know, some bands can play forever, right? But if you want to see DragonForce live, you better come now, I’m telling you. This is not forever,” he says.

And this isn’t the first time Li has spoken of being a guitarist who always wants to continue learning. Back in 2022, he spoke of how watching the next generation of up and coming shredders online makes him feel “not good enough” sometimes: “The more we learn, the more we see, It makes even us pros feel like ‘Oh my god, we’re just not good enough,’” he said.

“I feel really lucky that I’m still excited when I listen to music and see players play. I look at [people on] TikTok, ‘What? How do you play that?’ On YouTube, I’m always impressed by the players out there. That power, that hunger in the youth…”

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