Why Marty Friedman Hopes the Traditional Guitar Solo ‘Dies a Slow and Painful Death’
That's a surprising take from one of metal's more celebrated players, but in the new interview he breaks down exactly why he feels so strongly about the current state of guitar soloing.
Why Marty Friedman Takes Issue With Most Modern Guitar Solos
In the most recent issue of Guitar World, Friedman details his opposition to guitar soloing as we mostly know it today. He explains, "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 feels that falling into the mindset he mentioned above "killed guitar solos in American mainstream music." He explains, "The obligation to say, 'I need to do something flashy and get out' – and that’s where the death of the solo notion comes in."
The guitarist, who primarily works as an instrumentalist, admits that he has a little more space to work with in using his guitar in place of vocals. "So, rather than say, '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," comments the guitarist.
What Marty Friedman Wants to See From Guitarists
“I hope the traditional guitar solo dies a slow and painful death. Guitar solos need to be inventive,” Friedman stresses in the interview. “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."
He continues, “We need guitar music that makes those people feel something. It’s the responsibility of guitarists to bring something to solos that will achieve that.”
The guitarist concludes, “Things look promising because there’s a ton of great guitar work. There are a lot of exciting approaches out there by people who look at the instrument in cool ways."
But, he continues, “All that other eight-bar and tapping stuff; 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.”
What Marty Friedman Is Doing Now
The former Megadeth guitarist has released 17 solo records since 1988. His most recent album was 2021's Tokyo Jukebox 3. The guitarist returns to the road in March, kicking off a U.S. tour that runs through mid-April.
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Gallery Credit: Chad Childers, Loudwire