Marty Friedman Says He Can’t Do What YouTube Guitar Stars Are Doing
Marty Friedman understands the guitar's popularity has been on the decline amid rock's fade from the mainstream and credited YouTubers and their ingenuity for serving as the new playground for inspiration as the guitar has begun to rise back to prominence.
The former Megadeth axeman and all-around virtuoso spoke with Ultimate-Guitar about the guitar's resurgence and how internet-based creatives are currently inspiring him and countless others. He even counted the more comedic approaches some guitarists have taken as being among the best examples of what is making the instrument so exciting again.
"I am motivated by everybody, and I'm so excited to see the direction guitar has come over the past few years due to people learning things from YouTube. I'm very excited," beamed Friedman before taking note of two individuals who stood out in particular.
"I like Mateus Asato, he's from Brazil and he's just a beautiful guitarist. There's another guy called Ichika from Japan and although his style is so completely different from mine — so much so, that I doubt I could even pick anything up from it — I just like the way he plays. I enjoy it," he said.
"There are a ton of super guitar players out there now and it's a very exciting time for guitar in general. The guitar was at risk of being completely extinct not too long ago," added Friedman before citing the popularity of rap and the shift it spurred regarding what type of gear musical instrument retailers were selling.
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"Rap music just became so incredibly huge that guitar stores were not selling guitars, they were just selling DJ equipment and rap stuff," explained Friedman, who honestly admitted, "I'm not sure what gear rap people use, I'm sure it's some sort of microphones or something. This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever said because I have no idea what they use to make their music. It's not that I dislike rap — I actually like a lot of rap music. Some of it is really clever."
He called rap the "death knell of guitar," but turned his focus back on its newfound popularity through the internet.
"Even if you're not aiming to make guitar your life, you're experiencing the absolute joy of playing and how fun it is to play at whatever level you're at," he offered, "So, the guitar just got a lot of life breathed back into it and that's thanks to a lot of people just showing how fun it is and showing the great things that you're able to do with the guitar. I absolutely love to see it."
Friedman then professed, "A lot of guys are making comedy out of guitar on the internet and that's the best thing to happen recently," and relayed that some people may have passed on the opportunity to learn guitar if it weren't for "fun YouTube videos."
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Despite being regarded as one of the world's greatest guitar players, he also confessed that he doesn't possess the same creative abilities as some of these popular YouTubers and marveled at what they're able to generate.
"These guys are not just good players, they're also fantastic at creating content with guitars. It's not easy to do," he said. "I would really be hard-pressed to come up with these ideas that these people are coming up with."
Quite humorously, the shredder explained, "If you asked me to come up with a guitar solo, it would come out like taking a piss — that's no problem. But to come up with 20 minutes of fun content and editing it all together and making it fun for anybody, not just guitarists, that is a super talent that I have a ton of respect for."
The compound effect is that these digital stars also serve as a gateway to heavy music, which has a holistic benefit. "I'm thankful for them too because a lot of people have discovered guitar through these guys and they've discovered my music through these guys," Friedman acknowledged, "So I want to give big props to these guys and I'm so thankful they exist."
The third installment of Friedman's Tokyo Jukebox covers album series is set to arrive on April 16. To hear two new songs off the record, head here.
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