"How fast can you play?"
"What guitar do you have?"
"Who is better, Van Halen or Steve Vai?"
For metal fans in the 80s, these were common and important questions. Tune in to MTV, pick up a magazine, or walk into an instrument store, and more often than not you'd be exposed to what is now known as shredding - the fast, virtuoso soloing popularized by musicians like Vai and Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads and Dimebag Darrell. Inspired by these pioneering guitarists, thousands of young musicians would spend hours at home in their bedrooms, perfecting both their playing and their poses.
Though shredding fell out of favor during the grunge/alternative rock era, it has become increasingly popular again in recent years, spurred by the rise in popularity of bands like Children Of Bodom, DragonForce, and Trivium. Drawing on more than 70 exclusive interviews with key shredders past and present, author and guitarist Greg Prato has assembled the definitive guide to the fastest players of them all.
Greg Prato is a New Yorkâ€“based writer and author whose books include Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History Of Seattle Rock Music, Survival Of The Fittest: Heavy Metal In The 1990s, and A Devil On One Shoulder And An Angel On The Other: The Story Of Shannon Hoon And Blind Melon. His writing has also appeared in publications including Guitar Player, Vintage Guitar, and Rolling Stone.
Alex Lifeson is a Canadian guitarist best known for his work with the band Rush, with whom he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. He is also included on Rolling Stone and Guitar World magazines’ lists of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Uli Jon Roth is a German guitarist best known for his work with Scorpions and Electric Sun. He has also recorded a number of solo and classical works, and is the inventor of his own line of customized "Sky Guitar" Stratocasters.