52 guitarists, week 7—Marty Friedman

Back in the late 1980s, I was a massive Metallica fan. I loved plenty of other heavy metal bands, but few came close to Metallica for me. A close second was Megadeth. That was until 1990 when Rust In Peace was released with the new Megadeth lineup that included Marty Friedman. It was at this time and with this new material that Megadeth became the greatest heavy metal band ever in my opinion. Marty Friedman’s solo work was—and still is—mind-blowingly amazing.

Also, he had hair to die for. I’m man enough to admit that.

At the time, I only cared about the work Marty was doing in Megadeth. His guitar playing was so precise and blisteringly fast that I couldn’t wait for each new album to be released. What his playing seemed to do to Dave Mustaine’s own playing too just made me one very happy Megadeth fan. As far as introductions go, his work on Hangar 18 is mighty impressive.I don’t think that song will ever not impress me.

What really impressed me as someone who was trying to play the guitar—which is sadly still the case—was the fact that Marty’s picking technique was somewhat unorthodox. Here was a man who was not playing guitar using the standard picking style. There was hope for me yet.

Not that I’ve ever thought I could be a player like Marty Friedman though. That thought just makes me laugh.

No, Marty Friedman’s technique simply made me realise that I needed to work on the playing style that worked for me. What’s the point of playing guitar if you’re not going to be comfortable doing so?!

Then I discovered the guitar work Marty Friedman did with Jason Becker in Cacophony. I may have given up on guitar playing for a while at that moment. Quite simply … Damn! I discovered a new-found appreciation for a skillset I was already in awe of.

It was at this stage that it seemed Marty left it all behind and moved to Japan to focus on multiple musical projects. This is certainly not a path many people would choose, but I have to appreciate that Marty seemed to focus not on commercial success and fame, but instead on musical happiness. I have nothing but admiration for such an approach to guitar and life in general.

Of course as a fan of true guitar talent, I’m always pleased when Marty Friedman shares his talent with any kind of new musical release. So as long as there are moments like this one below, he’ll remain an inspiration to me and a guitarist I look up to.

I don’t think that song will ever not impress me.

What really impressed me as someone who was trying to play the guitar—which is sadly still the case—was the fact that Marty’s picking technique was somewhat unorthodox. Here was a man who was not playing guitar using the standard picking style. There was hope for me yet.

Not that I’ve ever thought I could be a player like Marty Friedman though. That thought just makes me laugh.

No, Marty Friedman’s technique simply made me realise that I needed to work on the playing style that worked for me. What’s the point of playing guitar if you’re not going to be comfortable doing so?!

Then I discovered the guitar work Marty Friedman did with Jason Becker in Cacophony. I may have given up on guitar playing for a while at that moment. Quite simply … Damn! I discovered a new-found appreciation for a skillset I was already in awe of.

It was at this stage that it seemed Marty left it all behind and moved to Japan to focus on multiple musical projects. This is certainly not a path many people would choose, but I have to appreciate that Marty seemed to focus not on commercial success and fame, but instead on musical happiness. I have nothing but admiration for such an approach to guitar and life in general.

Of course as a fan of true guitar talent, I’m always pleased when Marty Friedman shares his talent with any kind of new musical release. So as long as there are moments like this one below, he’ll remain an inspiration to me and a guitarist I look up to.

Seriously … What an amazing right hand picking technique. I hope there’s a lot more to come from this guy.

This is not a top guitarists list and there is no significance in the order the guitarists are placed in the list. This is simply a collection of guitarists that have been influential to me.

2 thoughts on “52 guitarists, week 7—Marty Friedman

  1. I’ve been enjoying this series, but waiting to jump in and comment–waiting for one of my heroes to pop up. Welp, here’s one of them. I discovered Marty around 1990 via the Cacophony albums. Though I’d been playing guitar casually for a couple years at that point, Marty’s playing on “Speed Metal Symphony” and “Go Off” was a big influence on my decision to get serious, set goals, and actually start practicing. And yeah, that whacked-out picking technique! It totally baffled me, yet gave me hope. I was so obsessed with figuring out “the right way to pick”… thinking that there was some magical technique that was the key to the Lamborghini. When I saw Marty’s jacked-up hand position I was like holy crap, maybe it’s not that critical after all. I continued to follow Marty through his Megadeth years and solo albums. On an unrelated note, I’m thoroughly convinced he’s somehow become immortal, because the guy doesn’t seem to be aging 😀

    1. Haha. I think he’s a vampire.

      Thanks for your comment too. I often think my picking technique is seriously flawed. But then I see others picking in a similar way while playing generally much better than me. I now focus on what is comfortable to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.