Maroon 5 Producer: 'People Don't Realize That Adam Levine Is a Terrific Guitar Player'

"Very, very instinctive solo guitar player guy. Really, really good," Matt Wallace tells UG.

Ultimate Guitar

We recently had a chance to sit down with renowned producer Matt Wallace, known as the producer of Faith No More's biggest releases, but also for his work with Deftones, Maroon 5, The Replacements, R.E.M. and more.

During the chat, Matt touched on the matter of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine's guitar playing skills, branding Mr. Levine a severely underrated guitarist.


"They were on an unknown label, unknown manager, unknown band. Everything was unknown but it was just perfect songs," the producer told UG about the group's early days.

Focusing on the frontman's guitar skills, Matt added, "It was a great process and also Adam is a terrific guitar player.

"People don't realize - he's really, really good. Very, very instinctive solo guitar player guy. Really, really good. Yeah, it was great. I had a Telecaster we used on that record a lot and it was one of the permanent guitars 'cause at the time nobody really had any money."

So, check out some of Adam's guitar work below and let us know what you think.

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62 comments sorted by best / new / date

    He sure loves that whammy
    Who doesn't, it does great job in hiding your lack of skill. I know what I'm saying :/
    Tell that to Vai and Satriani. Sure, you can muck away on a whammy bar, but to make good use of it (to optimize it's potential) and to make it sound like it fits within the composition requires skill.
    Doesn't really matter if he's good. The band still plays bland, radio-friendly pap, IMO.
    I would rather have a pop band that writes and plays their own music like them (or Train being another example) than manufactured "artists." And if they like the music the write because its what they want to play great, and if not and they're writing the songs simply to sell thats good with me as well. Music is a business and I doubt that anyone here would disagree with the idea that doing the shittiest musical job for a living is better than just about any other. Example: if someone offered me a job to play in a backup band for Justin Bieber I'd do it in a heartbeat. Make a living playing guitar and still have time to play the music whenever I want... I'll take that any day of the weak. And those who say you wouldn't on principle haven't really thought long and hard about that one.
    Implying that there's something wrong with music being radio friendly. Their new stuff isn't great I'll admit but I'd suggest you Songs about Jane or Hands all over. Both great albums!
    Isn't that the problem with most bands? The band's music maybe boring/bland, etc. but within the band, there is some serious talent. People may hate FIR and BVB (bands like those, since they are usually always hated), but within them is some really good talent.
    This guys live are ****ing awesome! Pure rock and roll attitude, much guitar solos, such crowd chanting wow... really cool. I hope I get to see them again!
    I honestly feel like Maroon 5 is one of the better radio bands. Yeah, a lot of the new songs are bland as ****, but Songs About Jane is one of my favorite albums ever. Its sooo good..
    Terrific? No. I'd say he's basic, appears to have potential, but is currently not great.
    Stop making synth-heavy pop then. They'd be well off if they made another Songs About Jane .
    Have you seen the single sales from their last two albums? I think they're just fine being a radio friendly single band. But yes I completely agree they should do that
    I would be disappointed if his shredding face doesn't become a new meme.
    Doesn't help his case that he played the same standard blues licks with no rhythm in all three videos...
    Take a look at the solos from the band's first album. On the videos he's just showing off, but he does some cool stuff too. Check out Shiver. Great solo work!
    in their early days they were pretty good. I didnt like their music but it wasn't uninteresting, it was quality poprock. BUt now..... everything is sampled, autotuned, sleek and perfectly mixed into mediocrity. So dissapointing.
    Already knew. Nobody knows because they've been putting out electronic pop stuff for the last several years.
    yeah surprising since he's such a show off, I remember seeing a behind the scenes and he made sure he was filmed playing the rest of the bands instruments. "Look at me I'm talented, but a d**k!"
    Yeah he's pretty good, but no one would think it was anything special if he wasn't someone so closely associated with bland pop music.
    bend, scale, bend, scale, arpeggio, bend, hold, hit the lows, scale... We done; he's in a global band and can play the guitar, but he's no better than the kids down the local on Saturday nights... Saying this guy's good is like praising Miley Cyrus because she can actually sing.
    I'd sell out in an instant if I got to play arena and stadiums every year with multi-million selling albums and contract. If anyone on here says the wouldn't they are idiots. At least after you are done with that, go home and do what you really love doing. Might not make any money but at least you can afford to do it.
    Baby Joel
    man those videos. Only three and I already know they suck and he sucks because it's the same three blues licks over again and man he's a boring guitarist and can you believe how dumb maroon 5 are as a band just synthpop radio music which is somehow musically and culturally unimpressive because if your songs don't have guitar solos and obscurity they are sellouts and cheap pop music
    Like all the Mutt Lange touches... eventually it turns into shit. He has a magic touch and can turn the best band into shit. He laid waste to my favorite band, Def Leppard.
    I have no problem with Maroon 5's music and I think they write some catchy tunes, but this was very, very unimpressive. He's literally doing the typical repeated pentatonic licks that beginners would learn when they first start getting into lead guitar. I'd have a hard time calling him average(for a pro level), let alone terrific, especially since this doesn't really show how he does soloing over a band or backing track.
    Khetag Lagkuti
    I had an impression he has some skills, but doesn't really know what to do with them apart from playing similar licks that can impress anyone who have no idea there is more technical guitar playing.
    What kind of guitar is he using in the last video? Looks like a Yamaha SG, but it doesn't look like the logo on the headstock.
    When's the last time a Maroon 5 single sounded like it even had an actual human playing guitar rather than some stock Pro Tools loop? Yeah exactly. Who cares if people 'underrate' Adam as a guitarist when guitar is so irrelevant to his music anyway.
    just watched him playing Purple Rain, was thinking he looks so awkward or unnatural,even faked?... while playing, yet people commenting how great he plays. To be honest, I don't see it, just came here to see what others thought about his skills? Hard to hear the guitar anyway with all the other noise in the video's, and what I did hear was not very good, I thought.