Ask John Petrucci Anything!

The guitar god wants your questions, now!

Ultimate Guitar

Today we got something special for all of our beloved UG users, really special.

We're giving you a chance to ask the one and only John Petrucci of Dream Theater anything you want. The only condition is that the rest of the community approves it.

So we've done this before, but here's a brief explanation anyway - you guys share your questions in the comments and/or upvote/downvote the questions by other users based on your preference. We'll sum up your votes in due time and personally present the top-rated questions to Mr Petrucci.

A few basic hints - please check if the question you want to ask hasn't been submitted already. Also, avoid questions that can be answered with one word, meaning that it's better for the question to start with "how" rather than "what."

So let's see what you got, guys!

338 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hi John, You have one of the best lead guitar faces ever. Do you think it's helped or harmed you in the bedroom?
    What are some artists that you are listening to currently? What where the most influental artist on your new record? Any chance for a new Liquid Tension record? What would you do if someone magically took your guitar-skills one day and you had to start from zero?
    John, What's your approach to songwriting? Where does your inspiration come from and how does that evolve (solo or collaboratively) into a finished product?
    Hi John, what is your opinion on Devin Townsend and his music? Are you a fan of his music?
    Hello Mr. Petrucci! What do you think of Babymetal? (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (serious question though)
    Hi John, Would there be any chance of doing the Nightmare Cinema thing again? Jordan can play guitar, and I'm sure Mike can plucka da bass if you ask him to!
    Dear Mr J. Belushi .... any plans for a new Blues Brothers Movie ?
    Its no secret that your style has been influenced by numetal, the song jaws of life off our your solo album sounds heavily influenced by the hit Limp Bizkit single, "Eat You Alive" had you hheard this song prior to writing the album?
    replica_ · Sep 05, 2014 12:01 PM
    replica_ · Sep 05, 2014 12:23 PM
    12_Years_A_Slav · Sep 06, 2014 12:26 PM
    replica_ · Sep 05, 2014 01:27 PM
    Shavyi · Sep 05, 2014 06:15 PM
    replica_ · Sep 05, 2014 12:29 PM
    Dynamight · Sep 05, 2014 06:17 PM
    chaoticfables · Sep 05, 2014 10:29 PM
    I hope your question makes its way to John ...unlike the "Ask Pixies Anything" and "Ask Soundgarden Anything" sessions which still haven't materialized
    thanks, bud. the Ask Soundgarden Anything did come up on the site. search for "soundgarden" under the "interviews" section, you'll find it there
    Mr. Petrucci, A lot of guitarists that play 7 strings name you as an inspiration for doing so, what made you pick up an extended range guitar?
    Hi Mr. Petrucci, first I just want to say that you're my all time favourite guitarist and thanks for the inspiration. And now to the question. Would you ever consider Steven Wilson to produce a Dream Theater album?
    This seriously needs to happen. Everything SW touches is gold, and I can only imagine his input helping the album to be phenomenal.
    It wouldn't happen. Steven wouldn't want to because he only likes to produce when he's a fan of the band.
    Hi John! When was the last time you tried to play something but couldn't because it was too difficult?
    rebel rocker
    Hi John, Are there any new bands that you've seen that you think have a very promising future and could end up being the torch bearers for rock/prog/metal one day, like Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Metallica etc have been for this generation?
    Hey John, Could you please start up a short youtube series on "How to play this" while waiting for your barbecue chicken to get done?
    Hi john You have amazing finger-skills. Do you think it's helped or harmed you in the bedroom?
    Steve Vai has his bees, Brian May has Astronomy, Jeff Beck has his cars, and Marty Friedman is a celeb in Japan. Do you have any notable hobbies outside of guitars?
    Hey John, I was wondering about your bodybuilding. As of what made you start working out heavily and if you could tell us a bit about your gym routine.
    Irwin Navarro
    Hello Mr. Petrucci.. 3 questions.. 1) Will you ever considering doing a collaboration with Marco Minnemann in the future? 2) What do you and the rest of DT think of Avenged Sevenfold? 3) How did you and Mike Mangini collaborate on the drum parts on the album Dramatic Turn of Events? How was the experience of being the person who wrote the drum parts for that album..
    When I asked him and Mangini at a meet&greet they said that they mostly jammed the tunes and looked at Johns arrangement and did some small changes.
    When you have downtime is there a style of playing that you try out that isn't what we would expect - do you play Jazz, Classical,Blues etc at home ?
    Blues something we wouldn't expect? What? His guitar solos are filled with Blues licks.
    Hi John, Mike Portnoy was an invaluable member of Dream Theater before he left. Since then, I have noticed changes in ideas and song structure. How has Mike quitting the band changed the creative process? Are you mostly in control now?
    Jim #4
    Dear Mr Petrucci, what do you enjoy more. Playing Solos or a heavy riff like "the shattered fortress" or "this dying soul"??
    Uhh... what's your favorite color? Seriously though, my real question: What's the story behind the Count of Tuscany? What made you decide to write the song as a sort of tour through the Count's estate? It's my personal favorite Dream Theater song, and I'd love to hear the thought process behind the lyrics.
    i hope this doesn't get picked... it was a real life experience of Johns from when he went on a tour through an old castle and it was really creepy. thats the short version. the lyrics were a bit beefed up and expanded upon to make an interesting story, but it was a real life experience for him.
    Those lyrics sound like a story you'd tell a 4 year old. They're really childish and not scary at tall.
    ive heard he doesnt like to talk about it. like a few of the tracks on that album they are dark and deeply personal. one is about a car crash i think, and this one he won't even disclose the original event that inspired it.
    A Nightmare to Remember is the car crash song I think, but I think it was LaBrie that was in the crash though. Someone who knows more can surely clarify.
    I know your songs and solo sections are very precise and follow specific chord structures, thereby leaving less room for improvisation live. But do you guys just ever turn to each other on stage and go, "All right. Jam in E."?
    Hello John, First off, it was an honor meeting you during your guitar clinic tour earlier this year. Thank you again for the inspiration. Question Time: What is the one question that you get sick of being asked during interviews, and what is one question that you have never been asked before during an interview? (And the answer to that question!)
    Have you considering using an 8 string guitar on future Dream Theater stuff...or even on a solo album ?
    He already recorded a solo album, called Suspended Animation, released in 2005. I found it and bought by the time on his own merchandising site.
    I feel a little stuck with my guitar playing, any tips to get back on the road?
    How did you develop (a) your speed and (b) your style ? I say that because if you hear a snatch of a solo, you always know its a JP solo
    Dear john Could you please provide with some songwriting tips such like methods, techniques and the approach of your composing ? thanks a lot !
    Hello Mr. Petrucci My question is what is the limit of the function (x+2)/(x^3+8) as x approaches -4?
    lim f(x)=112 x-->-4
    ? that is not correct, (but I want john to answer)
    Yeah its wrong.When I calculated I missed the "/" and multiplied instead.
    I can't believe I get to talk calculus on UG! this is awesome statistically, musicians are also good at at math, so I actually had a hidden agenda with my question, which is, "John, how smart of a dude are you?"
    Jesus, come to the math/science help thread in the pit. You'll love it.
    a fellow pastafarian on this site? dude, this is just getting better and better. (for those of you who need enlightenment)
    Hello John Do you have a tip for memorize the licks and navigating between of them?
    Great question! Would love to hear this from him especially because he is so great in improvising!
    Hi JP, As a guitarist of exceptional skill and talent, when you're listening to other guitarists who obviously aren't as technical nor skilled, what would you listen for? and how would you comment constructively in the scenario?
    Well, here's a physiological one: Can you successfully bend-down your pinky without the adjacent ring-finger tagging along? I for one can't do it all the way (that is, the RF starts closing down after the pinky), and I've seen this ability either existing or missing in different people whom may or may not play an instrument. Using the pinky is the most tiring part of my playing, and considering how effortlessly (so it seems) you execute complex pinky-usage through whole concerts, it would be interesting to know if your physiological predisposition was in your favor.
    Dear John! 2 questions please: 1- I would like to know how does one get accepted into berkley , what are the requirements and do you have any tips to really nail the audition (I'm pretty sure I heard somewhere that they have an audition) 2- Do you have any tips on good learning methods to learn guitar theory and music theory in general? I found it quite hard to learn on your own. Thanks in advance , big fan , come to israel!!
    How difficult is it to push on and be genuinely creative as you get more succesful if the record company and the fans expect you to make the same record over again ?
    How has having to balance a professional career as a touring musician, plus the publicity and other engagements, plus trying to have a home life affected your practice regimine since the "Rock Discipline" days?
    dear John, if you went back in time to the start of your guitar career but had to play a genre other than prog-metal what would you play ??
    Hi Petrucci With the youtube guitar community growing are there any particular guys on there that you enjoy watching? I remember hearing that you mentioned Rick Graham once before, so I'd be interested to hear if you've checked any others out.