Zakk Wylde talked about developing his guitar style, explaining to Nikki Sixx on how he avoided certain things on purpose:
“Billy Sheehan said, ‘You know you’ve really changed the game when you’ve influenced people not only that they end up copying your thing or sound but they go intentionally out of your way not to sound like you.’
“So that’s when you’ve really influenced people. You don’t wanna sound like King Edward [Van Halen] or anything like that? Don’t tap.
“I remember with Ozz when I first got in the band it was like, ‘How am I gonna be me?’ I won’t play with a whammy bar, I’ll get rid of that.
“I have them [whammy bars] now, but I intentionally went out of my way when I first joined the band. No tapping, no whammy bar, no diatonic scales or harmonic minor. You know, three notes of scale.
“This way you just won’t sound like that if you don’t do it. When GN’R was the biggest biggest thing – if you don’t wanna be like Slash get a Flying V or an SG. Just do the opposite of him. Or get a Strat!
“You don’t wanna sound like Jimi Hendrix? Don’t play a Stratocaster – get a Les Paul or get a Flying V. It’s something that’s complete opposite of him. Get a guitar that doesn’t have a whammy on it! Don’t use a Uni-Vibe pedal. You just cross things off the list.”
“Getting back to when I first joined the Boss [Ozzy] – I just crossed off all these things and the only thing I was kind of left with was pentatonic scales. And I love John McLaughlin and he’s the king of it, as far as blazing pentatonic scales and picking them all. And Frank Marino is huge on me.”