Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman gave a brutally honest word of advice to young guitarists, telling them to steer clear of the instrumental domain. He also touched on an interesting matter of musician jealousy.
Chatting with Guitar Messenger at this year's NAMM convention, Marty commented, "First of all, instrumental music - don't even go there. Instrumental music is a tough genre. It's the funnest thing to play, because you don't have to deal with any singers. But in reality, it's a very limited amount of people who can stand it. To be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of instrumental music, myself.
"It sounds hypocritical for someone who's released so many instrumental albums, but I think that's the standard to which I make my instrumental music," Marty continued (via GuitarMessenger.com). "It's like for someone who can't stand instrumental music; it has to be at this level of stuff. It's far beyond showing your chops and showing what you can do."
Friedman then gave the "all over the place" approach a solid bashing, noting, "And the worst thing is how versatile you are, because I don't want to hear a country song, a blues song, a metal song, a rap song all on the same album. A lot of instrumental guys tend to do that because it's like a resume, which is fine for a resume, but not for a listening album."
The axeman then confessed that in order "to develop your own identity as a guitarist, it's fun to do instrumental stuff, but get into a band. I love playing in a band the best. Bands are where it's at. The more you play with your band, the more identity you will have as a guitarist," he said.
Sharing more grim vibes, Marty added, "Instrumental music is kind of a dead-end street. I hate to be negative, but these are the realities. There are only so many people who want to listen to that much guitar and most of them are guitar players."
Focusing on musician jealousy, Friedman continued, "Guitar players don't even like to listen to guitar players. I'll tell you, if I hear some fantastic guitar player, I'm either jealous that he's so good and I can't do that, or I think I don't like what he's doing and I would never do it that way; I just don't like the way the guy plays. Those are the only two options. I rarely hear a great guitar player go, 'I like it, I want to listen to it.' I either wish I could play like that, or I don't like the way this guy plays. It's like that."
Acknowledging that his fanbase consists of many guitar players and appreciating the support, the guitarist said: "If I was only doing instrumental music, I think I would pull my hair out. There's a time and place for it. When I do it, you can bet that there's no stone unturned. It's going to be the rad stuff and it's definitely not a show-off type of thing and it's not an arrogant type of thing. I've been making instrumental music; some people expect that from me. So if I'm going to do it, it's going to be something even I'm happy to put out.
"My advice is, collaborate with as many people as you can. Play in a band. Being by yourself, doing everything by yourself ... unless you're someone like Prince, who's a god, I wouldn't want to put all that work on you. Be part of something great," Marty concluded.
So that was a lot of honesty coming from the renowned guitarist - do you agree with him? And have you ever experienced the musician jealousy Marty just mentioned?