Slipknot guitarist Mick Thomson shared his thoughts on shredding, saying that while shredders were among his guitar idols growing up, too much shred can easily alienate the listener.
He told Total Guitar:[metalwani_content_ad]
“I remember seeing [Paul Gilbert’s instructional videos] when I was around 14 because a friend had it and at one point he pulled out the drill.
“We looked at it each other like, ‘What the fuck just happened?’ That’s not even human. That’s not even real. How can anybody do that, which was so far beyond my comprehension.
“Once you dive in and start, obviously it takes a while to practice, you’ll get better. It’s different for each individual. Think about Usain Bolt: if he didn’t have something special about him, everyone would run like that!
“I always tended to play too fast because it felt fun, but unless I was jamming along to ‘Master of Puppets,’ I was playing too fast.[metalwani_content_ad]
“My speed was above a lot of that stuff because I was doing so much practicing. Instead of legato, I gravitated towards every note picked – though it’s one thing to rip on a string and another to make your hands sync up properly.
“I like a lot of those ’80s shred guys – the Chris Impellitteri tuitional is insane: it’s like watching Yngwie’s lessons doubled in speed! When I first saw that, I spat my drink out wondering what the fuck just happened.
Thomson then noted:
“I learned a long time ago that crazy shred guitar is pretty much only enjoyed by the person playing it and the other people trying to play it!
“It’s fun to throw it in there and surprise people so they think, ‘Ah, the guitarist really knows what they’re doing!’ but you also don’t want to alienate everybody.[metalwani_content_ad]
“It’s hard to write a good song – you have to balance musicianship, musicality and listenability, without being some radio-rock candyass kinda thing.
“There was time when I was around 18 when I figured it’s actually harder to write a great thrash riff than it is figuring out a solo.
“I would sit down and work out parts from [1986’s] ‘Doomsday for the Deceiver’ by Flotsam And Jetsam because it was one of my favorite thrash records.
“I loved songs like ‘Metalshock’ because the picking was so fast and the chords moved around quick. I incorporated the lead stuff into the rhythms – it was like playing lead rhythm! It’s a bit like how Stu Hamm plays lead bass.