Mick Mars on why shredding was never his thing: “My hands just didn’t want to go that fast. Melody and tone were, to me, more fitting”

“I like something that you can hum.”

Mick Mars

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Playing as fast as one can might be something many guitarists set out to achieve over the course of their guitar journey, but it certainly wasn’t the case for former Mötley Crüe axeman Mick Mars, who says that he much prefers something you can “hum” over shredding.

Asked what his favourite guitar solo was that’s written by someone else on a new episode of Ultimate Guitar’s On the Record podcast, Mars admits that he doesn’t know because he’s “got a lot”.

“There are three artists that I would have to put up there, like Johnny Winter, Michael Bloomfield, Jimi Hendrix, well, four, Jeff Beck, of course, you know. Those kinds of people were really an inspiration to me. Robert Fripp, too,” says the guitarist.

And when prompted on how evident these influences are in his own “melodic” solos, Mars replies that those are purposeful choices he made, adding: “My hands just didn’t want to go that fast. Melody and tone were, to me, more fitting, I guess. I like something that you can hum.”

“I used to hear a lot of people [at concerts] that were singing the solo, my guitar solo, and not so much the vocals. So that is what I’m talking about. You know, something you can remember, something you go like, ‘wow, oh yeah, I remember that.’ So, that’s kind of how I think.”

Also in the chat, the guitarist reflects on his first impressions of grunge music, a genre he’s witnessed the rise and fall of across his decades-long career.

“I guess that I would have to say that was another younger generation than what we were and I’m always open, whether I like it or not, I like to see where the new younger kids are taking it,” Mars says.

“That’s great to me. I mean, I like it. I might not necessarily like the music, but the progression of the music is great to see. I just enjoy hearing different ideas from young people.”

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