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Former Megadeth Guitarist Marty Friedman: “Playing Fast Totally Sucks”

Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman spoke in an interview with Total Guitar and explained his thoughts about fast guitar playing. He said:

“Here’s a great tip: one thing you want to avoid is playing fast unless it’s absolutely necessary. If it’s not needed, then playing fast totally sucks.

I hear so many people that are brilliant at playing fast, but the second they end their run, what they play completely negates anything that was cool about the fast stuff. It becomes completely lame; people spend way too long on the mechanical things.
When someone holds a note or plays a great melody, that’s what sounds beautiful. If you’re playing fast, whether it’s sloppy or accurate is something only guitar players will be able to notice.

Not only that, they also don’t give a shit. When you play a melody, that’s when you’re singing, and if it’s out of tune or not good, even your grandmother can notice that. That’s how much more important it is.

If you get a call from Elton John about doing some session, he’s not going to want to hear your 8-finger tapping arpeggios… he’ll send you straight out the door. Sir Paul McCartney won’t want your insane diminished shit either – you’ll get fired. So think big and focus on your vibrato, make sure each note sounds nice. That’s how you sound professional.
For all the kids learning how to play fast like their heroes, the hard thing is to distinguish the notes being played. Usually, the guys that play fast have a limited vocabulary, so find something where they played at a medium tempo, and it’ll probably be very similar to what they’re playing really fast. So if you learn the slower stuff, it will give you big clues to what they’re doing fast.

I was a big Frank Marino fan as a kid and used to wonder how he played ultra-fast. By learning the slow stuff and speeding it up, boom! I had it. Saying that, Frank Marino is one of the tastiest fast players on the planet. Same with Steve Lukather… those are the guys with large vocabularies.”

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