featured stories

In her latest lesson, virtuoso Nili Brosh analyzes techniques and approaches made famous on records from the venerated '80s record label.


Chops: Advanced
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Work through sweep arpeggios in the style of Jason Becker.
• Add more chromatic notes to your improvised solos.
• Make your riffs more compelling with unexpected rhythmic subdivisions.


Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Shrapnel Records introduced the world to some of the most virtuosic rock and metal guitarists to have ever plugged into a high-gain amp. Starting in the ’80s, an era that has subsequently become infamous for guitar gods, Shrapnel’s founder Mike Varney carefully selected the cream-of-the-crop players for his unique record label.

Some Shrapnel alumni are best known for sweep picking, others for insane alternate picking, and yet others for emphasizing legato fretwork. But all of them are known for playing a lot of notes in a very musical way. What made many of these players great, in my opinion, is that each took a unique approach to playing and writing within the fairly specific “shred” genre.

Read MoreShow less

Photo 1

A somewhat rare 6-string puts the groovy and gonzo guitar design aesthetic of 1960s Japan on full display.

Does size matter? Well, according to yours truly, size does matter—especially when it comes to guitars. Being an extra-large dude, I've often gravitated to guitars that are, well, extra large. I love my big Gretsch Tennessee Rose and old Harmony Rocket because they just feel right in my hands and strapped up. I've owned plenty of “tiny" guitars, but I've never really bonded with any of them. Even a Telecaster seems a little small to me! So, I'd like to talk about one of the biggest of the vintage made-in-Japan electrics: the Marlin PA-25.

Read MoreShow less

Guitar-shop phobia, a barely playable Fender, and Yoko Ono factor into the post-punk Dane’s replies to our handful of questions.

Read MoreShow less