Amazing interview from Michael Romeo, super prog metal virtuoso!
Liked this insight…
Q: Any advice for aspiring pro guitarists?
A: Yeah - the usual thing: practise loads, but even more it’s what you practise that’s important. Like you get all these guys who are so worried about speed and how fast you can do all those techniques - but it all really boils down to what you’re saying as a player - developing your own voice.
What’s really helped me the most over the years has been laying down rhythm tracks, getting a drum machine on there and just improvising over them. Make sure that you do this a lot, and concentrate on trying to get your own style together. You need to create a fluid way of integrating lots of different phrases - using different scales and arpeggios - and make sure you record it and listen. Really listen back to what you’ve played and be critical - see what works and what doesn’t - try and stop repeating yourself all the time as well! Gradually you’ll build your own style and your own vocabulary. Stop being concerned with whether you are as fast as this guy - or how fast you can do that technique: stop just chasing the highest metronome speed you can get, or any of that shit! It really doesn’t matter - I mean, of course you want to be fast and accurate enough to do what you have to do - but you want to really concentrate on actually saying something you know?
There was definitely a time when it was all about the speed and I think that’s what turned a lot of people off this sort of playing. The whole Shredder thing became negative, and it got kinda stupid. Sure, use your speed - but use it in the same way that you use your bending and vibrato: all are important.
So my advice is don’t overlook anything, it’s all equally important: the theory and the techniques, they’re all tools you need in order to develop your own style: gradually you’ll get there!