“I had to stop watching their videos because I wanted to pick up a guitar and try playing their stuff”: Jason Becker on being inspired by Tosin Abasi and Tim Henson

“It hurt too much,” says Becker, who was diagnosed with ALS more than 30 years ago.

Tosin Abasi, Jason Becker, and Tim Henson

Image: Paul Haggard/ Getty Images

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Jason Becker has opened up about how modern guitarists like Tosin Abasi and Tim Henson have left him wanting to pick up the guitar again despite his condition.

Becker debuted in the 1980s at the height of the ‘shredding’ craze, though his guitar-playing career was cut short at the age of 22 after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

In a new interview with Guitar World, the musician – who continues to write music today – says that while he doesn’t exactly keep up with emerging trends, there are contemporary guitarists whose music and playing have inspired him.

“I don’t know what the current trends are. I know that new styles would totally influence me, but I haven’t been listening to any music,” Becker explains.

“When Herman Li and other fantastic artists helped me auction off three of my guitars, and some donated their guitars, I looked up Tosin Abasi and Tim Henson, and I was so inspired,” he says. “I had to stop watching their videos after about three because I wanted to pick up a guitar and try playing their stuff. It hurt too much. They are so fantastic.”

The former performing virtuoso also says that he doesn’t mind being labelled a ‘shredder’ anymore as he’s learned to embrace the term as a positive thing over the years.

“It used to bother me because I felt that my music was so much more than ‘shred’,” he says. “But I have grown to appreciate that label because of all the young guitarists who have been influenced by what I did, and it feels good to hear that I may have had something to do with their talent and inspiration; so, it’s definitely a positive to me now.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Becker also reveals that he is currently working on new music, and that his new album The Strawberry Jams “will be done soon.”

In the meantime, you can listen to his 2018 record Triumphant Hearts, which features the likes of Steve Vai, Marty Friedman, Joe Satriani, and Guthrie Govan.

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