JOHN PETRUCCI on Learning Guitar without Tabs and YouTube

JOHN PETRUCCI on Learning Guitar without Tabs and YouTube

Most young guitarists (and other players) today have a few good things when it comes to learning to play the instrument. Internet, YouTube and tabs are very helpful when it comes to perfecting one’s skills.

Dream Theater‘s John Petrucci did an interview with Cosmo Music recently where he spoke about his ways of learning how to play guitar in times where Internet wasn’t even a word.

Petrucci commented: “I remember when Yngwie came on the scene and he had that solo with Steeler – just unaccompanied. When I heard that for the first time I was like, ‘What the f**k?!’

He went on telling: “I remember just trying to learn all of those riffs. Slowing it down, putting the record on, putting it on the slower speed so it was like an octave lower.

Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen

No tab back then! My friend had a cassette player that had a variable speed thing and I literally sat there and learned every one of those riffs – just practice them over and over and over and over. I did that with Di Meola and Allan Holdsworth.

Because you can’t see the person play, it wasn’t like YouTube. When you’re young and you’re listening to this, you don’t even know what you’re listening to. Let’s say you have delay on and you hear these kind of ghost notes and you’re like, ‘What the f… How do you play that?!’

I remember listening to Boston and trying to learn how to harmonize solos and literally not knowing how to do that – my guitar just doesn’t sound like that no matter what I do… Hearing ‘Eruption’ [by Van Halen] for the first time, and he does the hammer-on part and it’s phaser on it and the delay – it didn’t sound like guitar to me, I couldn’t comprehend how that was a guitar.

And now kids are getting really, really good at a really young age because they can see how all of this is done. Just look it up, ‘Oh, that’s how you’re doing it.’ But back then, you just literally did not know what the technique was and you had to discover it.

There was a lot of listening over and over and over. And hearing like Satriani do some crazy whammy bar thing and going, ‘How is that a guitar?! The note is way too high, it’s a spaceship! My guitar can’t do that!’

Watch full interview with Petrucci below.

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