According to Grady, Cooley''s blazing technique was the reason for turning to a high-tech camera system for the documentary (Cooley''s hands were too fast for Grady''s digital camera).

Unlocking the Secrets of Shred 5 Questions with Rusty Cooley

A big part of Troy Grady''s search to unlock the secrets behind shred started with Rusty Cooley, a technically savvy guitarist hailing from the great state of Texas, where everything is bigger. According to Grady, Cooley''s blazing technique was the reason for turning to a high-tech camera system for the documentary (Cooley''s hands were too fast for Grady''s digital camera). You can see a clip from the upcoming movie of Cooley giving the shredcam a run for its money here.

Cooley is the guitar mastermind of Outworld, a metal band whose debut album has garnered quite a few rave reviews and is busy redefining what it means to be heavy. He was able to set aside a few moments out of his busy schedule to speak with us about his passion and what it was like to work with Grady.



Who initially inspired you to pick up the axe and start wailing away?
Well, my first real guitar hero was Randy Rhoads, but that wasn''t until I had already started playing. Before that I had just been air guitaring it to some Ted Nugent records.


How did working with Troy Grady on his documentary come about?
Troy initially came down and took lessons with me before he started the project, I believe.


What was that experience like? Was it strange, having someone analyze every note of your playing?
It was very cool. It was hard to play with that camera strapped to the guitar, and it also limited what I could play because of where it was attached, but it was cool. And it wasn''t like he was analyzing my playing; he was just breaking down my technique.


Did you have to use a special guitar to film, or were you able to choose your own? Which guitar did you rely on for the film, and why?
I used my own guitar, one of my Ibanez Universes. I used it because it probably had the freshest strings (laughs)!


Any thoughts on practice regimens, like metronomes or scales? Do they help, or should you be more concerned with just playing?
I think a good practice schedule is important in order to progress quickly, otherwise you can spin your wheels and never get anywhere. I never used a metronome, but I''m not against them. If you find it helps you, then go for it. Playing fast takes lots of practice and dedication, so you need to make sure you are doing what you love. A good teacher can be very helpful, and you should also study your theory so you know what you''re doing!


» Want to see the trailer for Grady''s documentary, Cracking the Code? You can view it here.
» Check out Rusty Cooley and his projects at rustycooley.com.

The author’s Collings D2H rests on his favorite Fender amp combination for acoustic guitar: a Bandmaster Reverb atop a 1x12 extension cab with an Eminence Maverick inside. The amp has a custom-made baffle board with two 8" speakers, so can go it alone for smaller gigs.

Interested in plugging a flattop into your favorite silver- or black-panel beauty? Here’s what you need to know.

Have you ever tried to plug your acoustic guitar into a classic-style Fender amp? There are some hurdles to overcome, and this month I’ll provide some advice on how to get past them. But first, some background.

Read More Show less

A lightweight, portable amp series developed after months of forensic examination of vintage valve amps.

Read More Show less

Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

Read More Show less
x