Marty Friedman: 'Playing Fast Is Utterly Unimportant'

"Individuality is the characteristic that I hold in highest regard," the guitarist says.

Ultimate Guitar

Former Megadeth guitarist Mary Friedman recently shared his thoughts on the matter of crucial guitar feats, placing fast playing among the "utterly unimportant" ones.

Along with a guitar lesson featured in his latest Guitar World entry, Marty shared an interesting introduction, saying:

"When it comes to evaluating a musician, individuality is the characteristic that I hold in highest regard. We all have our heroes and favorite players from whom we've learned a great deal through trying to emulate their playing styles.

"In rock, for example, most players list Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as major influences, and in metal it's not uncommon to hear the names Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde or Dimebag Darrell mentioned as primary influences.

"In that sense, many of us have learned from the same sources," the guitarist further pointed out. "The trick is to take those influences and push yourself in your own unique and distinct direction. Though it may be easier to learn other people's solos - which is fine if that's the goal you're pursuing - I believe it's much more rewarding to go out on a limb and take some musical chances, just to see what new and different sounds you can discover in the pursuit of forming a style that you can eventually call your own."

Focusing on fast playing, Friedman noted, "For example, playing fast is not the be-all and end-all of anything. In fact, it's utterly unimportant. But if you are like most guitar players, you'll want to be able to play fast, because everyone wants to play fast. So to my mind, you might as well try to do it in a way that's cool and different from everyone else.

"The first step to playing fast in a unique way is to find things that are easy for you to play. For this, I suggest using patterns rather than things that you hear on recordings or have found in a book or magazine," the guitarist concluded before shifting to specific exercise figures. Along with the previously featured video, you can check them out below.

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I love Marty to death, but I couldn't help notice the irony in him saying "don't just copy off something you learnt in a magazine or book" and then goes on with "but here's something for you to learn."
    More click-bait by using a quote utterly out of context as a "controversial" title. The guy frankly has a point, and even contends that playing fast can be cool and different when done right. UG feeds the trolls yet again.
    Well i gues sthe fascination by playing fast is mostly if you cant do it. I'm really shitty at playing guitar and i wish i could play fast stuff like Necrophagist. But well i guess having soul in the music is more important than anything. I'd rather being able to play like a good Jazz artist or Tommy Emanuel, than a Muhammed Suicmez although i really fancy his stuff. Although there some exlclusion liek Animals As Leaders, its insanely fast and has soul to it, very unique if i say so
    Marty's point was that playing fast shouldn't be the only thing in guitar playing. The speed doesn't really matter. What matters is if you can make it sound interesting. I think it's important to be able to play fast and have a good technique because that way you can express yourself a lot better. If you want to play a fast part but can't do it, your technique is limiting yourself.
    Says the guy who used to be in Megadeth... I mean yeah, he's got a point, but it's like Slash trying to tell us that you can be influenced by more than blues rock!
    Just being in Megadeth doesn't stress it enough. Marty makes a great point, and he has matured since... but he was one of the fastest, most technical and most unique guys of the 80sCacophony - Desert Island
    I'd read the whole article though. U-G just likes to click-bait us now, it's pretty much been their M-O since like '06
    If you actually listened to Megadeth, you'd hear the sheer emotion coming from Marty's guitar during every solo. It's not the fact he's playing fast that's interesting, it's how beautiful he makes it sound.
    I do listen to Megadeth, do yourself a favour, take what I said with a pinch of salt.
    I guess you never heard his solo albums - Scenes(1992) and Introduction(1994)
    Dragon Kiss is phenomenal too. Probably Marty's best solo aside from Tornado of Souls.
    while today's average shredders are like listening to a highschool-girl talking hundreds of nonsensical word p/m, this is like listening to the cosmos revealing to you the answers to life.
    I don't get it. Is he saying I should shred?
    dat picking tho'..
    that hair.
    Agreed 100% \m/