With The Collective, tech-metal savants Scale the Summit released one of 2011's most thrilling instrumental albums. Featuring the guitar team of Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier, the Houston-based quartet construct the kind of songwriting both progressive-minded listeners and straight-up metalheads can both get behind.

Scale the Summit are currently out on the Adventure Metal Across America tour along with Canadian up and comers Today I Caught the Plague.

Since we know he's a certified geek at this sort of thing, Noisecreep asked Letchford for a list of the five guitarists who have most inspired him and his playing. Check out his list below and make sure you catch Scale the Summit next time they roll into your city ... you won't be disappointed.

Guthrie Govan

Premiere Guitar

"Best known for his solo album Erotic Cakes, tons and tons of session work, and being all around in my opinion the best guitar player alive right now. Not only does he have some of the most dynamic and technically proficient playing, he also has incredible improv and songwriting skills. One of the first guys I have come across that is known as a "shredder" but can also actually write songs. His song 'Waves' has inspired a lot of my song writing and got me to start using a lot more of the sliding technique."

John Petrucci


"One of the pioneers in the progressive metal world with his band Dream Theater. His work with Liquid Tension Experiment really helped to inspire the band to have the confidence in the beginning to play instrumental when most everyone doubted us. As an overall influence, both their albums have heavily influenced me with my overall song writing."

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

"Eric Johnson has some of the best taste when it comes to melodic phrasing and he is who inspired me the most to play the "less is more" melodies that really make the guitar sing and keep the listener entertained without needing the "shred" or "shock" aspect of the guitar."

Biréli Lagrène

Biréli Lagrène

"Biréli Lagrène performed a concert at my music college just about seven years ago now and it was one of the absolute best guitar performances I had ever seen and really set the bar high. He plays more in the jazz world and has since then really disappeared. He was a child prodigy from France, finding videos of the guy at age 13 already playing with amazing chops. He collaborated with drummer Dennis Chambers under the group name Front Page, which is also the album name. One of the best "modern" jazz records I have ever heard. Biréli Lagrène really helped me branch my playing more outside of the metal realm and really add a lot smoother, clean guitar lines and progressions to Scale the Summit's music."

Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott

Dean Guitars

"Dimebag was the reason I started to take guitar seriously in my early teens. There really isn't too much to it, he is the reason I play guitar professionally now and owe him everything for helping me figure out what I wanted to do at an early age."

Scale the Summit's latest album, The Collective, is available now via Prosthetic Records. For more information on the band, you can visit their website:


Watch Scale the Summit's Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier Play Through "Wales"

Catch Scale the Summit on the Adventure Metal Across America tour along with Today I Caught the Plague:

5/30 Richmond, VA – Kingdom

5/31 Charleston, SC – Jimbos

6/1 Nashville, TN – Rocketown

6/2 Little Rock, AR – Downtown Music

6/3 Dallas, TX – Tomcats

6/4 Albuquerque, NM – El Rey Theatre

6/5 Flagstaff, AZ – Cinnabar

6/6 Las Vegas, NV – Cheyenne Saloon

6/7 Fullerton, CA – Slidebar

6/8 Camarillo, CA – Rock City

6/9 San Jose, CA – Refuge

6/10 South Lake Tahoe, CA – American Legion

6/11 Ogden, UT – Mojo's

6/12 Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre

6/13 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room

6/14 St Louis, MO – Foxhole

6/15 Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews

6/16 St Paul, MN – Station 4

6/18 Austin, TX – Mohawk (Inside)

6/19 San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit

6/20 Houston,TX – TBA