Marty Friedman: Did I Ever Take Guitar Lessons

"I was no smarter or more talented than anyone else, but I was smart that I set the difficulty bar very low at the beginning."

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Marty Friedman: Did I Ever Take Guitar Lessons
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Marty Friedman was asked by Guitar World whether he learned how to play the guitar by taking lessons or being self-taught, to which he replied:

"Both. I had a very good teacher named Tim Brooks for a while, but what he was showing me was way over my head and in the wrong direction.

"It was a lot of hippie stuff, which I never cared for.

"I wanted to play aggressive high-energy guitar and not meandering Grateful Dead stuff. Luckily punk rock was easy to learn and gave me a very solid background in simple melodies and satisfaction of achievement real quick.

"Other goofballs were spending a year learning one difficult 'cool' song, and in that same time I might have had about 150 punk anthems like 'Sonic Reducer' or 'Teenage Lobotomy' under my belt.

"I was no smarter or more talented than anyone else, but I was smart that I set the difficulty bar very low at the beginning.

"What do you have to prove? Make it easy and fun. I am very thankful that I started in that way."

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Marty added:

"Even as a teen, I knew that for better or worse I was gonna always sound like myself. Even while I am constantly evolving, somehow it still sounds like me. I am thankful for that.

"That said, I don’t agree with a lot of my previous work. Some of it is really good, but as my playing evolves, I find that I am getting closer and closer to my potential, and on some of my older stuff I think I was doing many things that I would not do now.

"I put a lot more care into every hing, as you can definitely hear on Inferno and Wall of Sound. It still sounds like the same guy as I was before, but a much, much deeper and richer version.

"Notice I didn’t say 'better' - that is for you to decide. If you lost your virginity to one of my songs, there is nothing I could play now that is gonna top that for you."

Marty released his latest studio album "Wall of Sound" three days ago (August 4) via Prosthetic Record as the follow-up to 2014's "Inferno." You can stream it in full below.

'Wall of Sound' track listing:

1. Self Pollution
2. Sorrow and Madness (featuring Jinxx of Black Veil Brides)
3. Streetlight
4. Whiteworm
5. For a Friend
6. Pussy Ghost (featuring Shiv Mehra of Deafheaven)
7. The Blackest Rose
8. Something to Fight (featuring Jorgen Munkeby of Shining)
9. The Soldier
10. Miracle
11. Last Lament
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19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jinahsameer
    And here I am, an intermediate trying to play Marty's stuff and failing. I should listen to this guy's advice and take it slower, but his music is so good, i can't help but try to play it.
    vekii
    There's no harm in trying, measuring against the ideal, that only makes you try harder and grow. Keep it up and enjoy the voyage, cuz at the end, it's all about the voyage, not the goal
    ShredderMan1
    Plus at the beginning you are diing the opposite. I love joe satriani. His music is hard and at times impossible. But the dozen or so i can play notr for note early on really helped me with technique. Im metal thru and thru but satriani is so amazing i had to try and learn that stuff too. Be diverse and learn from everything Watching a guy like brad paisley or steve morse always gets me stoaked and inspired to rip some megadeth. Sounds dumb but it does
    The_Crank3
    I use to be the same way, first 6 months playing i had the nerve to try to learn songs like eruption and failed miserably. What made me improve signaficantly more later on after years of failure was going back to the basics. You have to learn how to walk before you can start running. And now learning the harder stuff on guitar is so much more easier.
    kratos379
    I don't think there's any harm in doing both. I think you could split up your time on learning a bunch of songs that are easier, while also dedicating a bit of time to learning something really difficult and beyond your level.  You'll feel better, because you'll know more songs, but you'll also feel like you're progressing forward on something really difficult. The hard songs will also make the easier songs feel even easier. 
    Lemorick
    Same goes for me with Animals as Leaders. I decided to learn On Impulse even with the song being way above my level (not even counting the solo) but today I played it at 50% of the speed for the 1st time and it made me feel super happy like I achieved the actual tempo of the song! I took the chance to perfect the hand positioning and forced myself to use all the fingers which will surely help in the long run. Smaller victories taste really good sometimes
    DrPhilup
      "I was no smarter or more talented than anyone else, but I was smart that I set the difficulty bar very low at the beginning. "What do you have to prove? Make it easy and fun. I am very thankful that I started in that way." This....This is the best advice that can be given. When you feel like you are learning more, and at a quicker pace, you will be more inclined to keep playing.
    kmitchell74
    i like this strategy marty. it is like how i bake cookies...i can either give plenty of attention to the cookies and make 4 or 5 delicious cookies or make 30 to 40 cookies that are still tasty just not as impressive. But that satisfies more people than 4 or 5 cookies 
    lyytheprozai
    I actually doubt if any of the pioneers of any genre had proper teachers, I mean, they were the first. Marty Friedman is so damn unique that no one else even remotely resembles what he plays before him
    redgravegilver
    It's Ironic how a lot of his guitar playing sounds more "East Asian" than a lot of Japanese/Chinese guitarist.
    CoconutBackward
    " "Notice I didn’t say 'better' - that is for you to decide. If you lost your virginity to one of my songs, there is nothing I could play now that is gonna top that for you."  This almost sounds like a response to people on this website.
    MegaDTSX
    I just heard that he's coming where I live (Oklahoma City) in less than two weeks with Scale the Summit!   I'm so pumped.
    Spinnerweb
    It's good fot performing live too. 15 simple songs can make a decent-length set, 2 very complex songs cannot, no matter how impressive.
    GR84
    Punk rock seems to be the gateway to a lot of new players, it's easier rhythmic patters and chords really build your confidence quick, and i think that is the key to early playing, you have to be excited and encouraged in the beginning, otherwise you see it as a chore  "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on the guitar doesn't impress the ladies when your young, but a quick dirty punk chord progression might, or a Page riff like Whole Lotta Love (not punk, but a relatively easy riff to sound awesome early on in your playing
    Anjohl
    Nirvana and other power chord stuff was my bread and butter.
    SFosterS
    Same with me...White Stripes too, I progressed kind of as Jack did through the albums and bands. Got confidence and satisfaction fast and that made it fun.