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Marty Friedman hopes traditional guitar solos “die a slow and painful death”

“All that other eight-bar and tapping stuff; that’s got to be over.”

Marty playing guitar. He has his eyes closed and one hand on the high frets, with the other picking the strings. He has long hair and wears dark clothes.

Image: Jun Sato / Getty

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Marty Friedman hopes the traditional guitar solo will “slow and painful death” as he argues for a more inventive approach to lead playing.

The former Megadeth guitarist and solo artist states that his approach to playing often sees him being a little bit “selfish” by “replacing the vocalist” to almost “sing” with his guitar. Despite his opinion – which may leave some classic shredders with ruffled feathers – he does think that some modern performers are bringing a much more fresh approach to the guitar solo.

“Usually, the lead guitarist comes in, gets an eight-bar solo, plays a bunch of stupid licks, maybe adds something hot and fancy that will impress, and then they get out,” Friedman tells Guitar World in its latest print edition. “But I’m replacing the vocalist when I’m soloing, meaning I sing with my guitar.

“So, rather than saying, ‘Here’s the obligatory eight-bar solo,’ if necessary, I’ll be selfish because that’s exactly what I want instead of a boring old solo.” He goes on to add, “I hope the traditional guitar solo dies a slow and painful death. Guitar solos need to be inventive.

“They need something to keep listeners involved, especially those who are not learning to play and only listen. Because when you’re learning to play, you tend to be impressed with anything you can’t do, right? And if you’re young and just catching the guitar bug, that excitement can be magical. It’s like, ‘How do they do that!?’ That element is awesome… but it means less than zero in everyone else’s eyes.”

Friedman goes on to call for guitar music that makes those people “feel something”, and states that the future does look promising as not everybody is churning out the same old flashy-eight bar or tapping approach, “That’s got to be over. There must be something melodically unique that connects us on a higher level. That’s what I’m looking for from guitar today, and I hope it’s what young players are searching for, too.”

And Friedman isn’t the only one to hold a controversial opinion about the art of soloing – Kirk Hammett of Metallica has also formerly argued that the average listener doesn’t care all that much about them, but rather is more focussed on the overall song or melodies used within a track.

View Marty Friedman’s upcoming tour dates via his official website.

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