Tuesday, October 09, 2007

True Guitar Heroes

Here I go again, writing about stupid guitar solos!

When I was in the 7th grade I was really into shredding on the guitar, and so I sought out the best shredding guitar music that was available to me in West Lafayette, IN. Luckily, I was born at just the right time, because by the time I was 12 years old, "totally shredding" in a rock and roll song has become about the coolest thing a guitar player could possible do. Then I discovered from Guitar Magazine that there were people who made entire albums that were all guitar solos. I bought an album by this dude named Steve Vai. I remember I would listen to the song "For The Love of God" by Steve Vai on cassette and just totally get the chills. I remember thinking that in addition to being a face-meltingly shredding song, it was a really intense and passionate song as well. Now I just think it's kind of funny. I mean, don't get me wrong, the guitar playing on this song alone is enough to make you weep, but seeing people play this song on YouTube is a special kind of comedy (and tragedy?). It's kind of endearing that people would really go to the trouble of learning and memorizing this song note-for-note. Granted, it is kind of considered the holy grail of shredding by most people who know about that stuff, but it turns out that knowing all of the licks and being able to play them is not necessarily all there is to it. Look at the following two videos. Which one of these young hispanic men would you say does a better job (both in therms of technical proficiency and manly passion) playing this song?

I have my opinion, but I would like to hear yours.

The whole scene of shredding other people's songs in front of a webcam in your mom's living room and putting it up on YouTube is something I could see myself getting a little bit more into. But it appears as though this scene is dominated by dudes from Mexico and Brazil, specifically. What is it about these countries that allows them to bring up such fine shredders? I really don't think that young shredders like this could exist in this capacity in the United States (although I would be delighted if they were to show up at my doorstep and prove me wrong!), simply because Americans are too lazy to try really hard at something that isn't even that cool anymore. If these fellows had been born in the U.S., they would probably be really into creating mash-ups or playing Halo or liking Pitchfork bands or some other activity that is kind of obvious and unexceptional, and when you think about it that way, it just seems like so awesome that these shredders exist against what seem like insurmountable odds to a gringo like me. I think it takes a predominantly Catholic, slightly-richer-than-the-average third-world country to raise these special guitar stars. The elements collide, the stars align, a young man notices a discarded Joe Satriani album on the street as he is walking home from classical guitar lessons and picks it up. The cycle continues, the miracle lives on!

Whoa, time for bed!


rachel said...

I personally like playing both of the videos at once as if they are having a big shredding battle. Guy # 1 will always be "on top," but Guy # 2 is like the Paganini of the guitar.

M. H. Dixon said...

Yesterday I had them synced up perfectly and it was really great.

noxidgerg said...