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Set Number: #1 - March/April 2006
Guitar Guru: Joe Stump

Question: Hi, I was just wondering, is it possible (realistic/playable) to play ultra fast licks on a les paul custom? I've been trying to do so and finding it really hard to get up to speed! Thanks, Anon

Guitar Guru: Hey Anon a Les Paul custom is a fine guitar for ripping and shredding. Just look at Al Dimeola during his early electric period (Elegant Gypsy, Casino , killer fast guitar shit) his main axe was a Les Paul. Gary Moore, John Norum, John Sykes ,all bad-ass players and all use Les Pauls at least some of the time. The tone and technique are all inside the player the guitar is just a tool to express it.

Question: Hey Joe, In the January 2006 issue of Guitar One Mag, you play an alternate picking lick which has the last 2 beats as 9 notes per beat played at 160bpm which you confirmed to me in an e-mail. Firstly, that is stupidly fast- the first 6 beats are at a speed of 16nps & the final 2 beats are 24nps. This makes you officially the fastest alternate picker around. I wanted to know- 1- Do you sit at home or in a studio with a metronome clicking, practising 6's @ 240bpm & 9's @ 160bpm etc or does the speed come naturally & as a by-product of playing high tech shred for years & years? Also, as a sub-part of my question- How fast do you sweep? I have NEVER heard a guitarist in the neoclassical genre who can alternate pick faster than they can sweep so i guess you can do 6's @ 300bpm which is 30nps sweeping. Have you ever thought of just doing a technique show-off song on say your next album? Nothing to do with composition, just a speed fest of 24nps ALternate Picking & 30nps Sweep Arpeggios!!!!!! That'd be sick. Anyways, thanks for reading my question & i look forward to your future stuff. Peace & the Yankees kick ass!!!!! Steve Hyland, London, England."

Guitar Guru: Hey Steve I do play and practice all the time still . I usually use the drum machine section of my trusty Korg-PX4 and work on all different kinds of things at all kinds of various tempos and time feels. I work many different alternate picked, economy picked and sweep -picking techniques but it`s most of the time in the context of a track I`m composing or preparing to record. I`m not sure what my maximum sweep speed is although I can tell you it`s certainly faster than anyone would care to listen to. I manage to get plenty of fairly sick and over the top guitar shit into most of my tunes one way or another and I do always try to push myself as a player with every newer release.

Question: Hi Joe. I was wondering how you approach ear training. Is there any particular methods you have used. I keep getting told to sing what i play in order to intergrate the sounds in my head into my guitar. Thanks, Alex

Guitar Guru: Hey Alex , as far as my own ear training goes I developed my ear the old school way by learning my favorite players solos , tunes and licks. That of course is great for developing your style, ears and also your playing vocabulary. Sight singing , interval singing and trying to play ideas you hear in your head are also great.

Question: How do get the lead sound of someone like Malmsteen or Joe Satriani? Thanks, B. Patty

Guitar Guru: Satch and Yngwie have completely different guitar tones . Joe uses a fat very saturated tone and humbucking pickups while Yngwie is a hard core strat through a Marshall purist. The sound of your guitar and tone inside your hands is a product and reflection of your combined influences. I always knew every piece of gear all my heroe`s used and managed to make my tone my own by combining elements of my influences and adding my own thing to it. But regardless of the gear the tone is in your hands.

Question: Hi Joe, what are some of your favourite bands to listen to, not including solo artists? Michael, CA

Guitar Guru: I still listen to all of my favorite players and heroes, Blackmore with Deep Purple and Rainbow, Yngwie, Gary Moore, Hendrix, Frank Marino, Uli Jon Roth and the early Scorpions stuff. Michael Schenker with MSG and UFO, Thin Lizzy as well . I also like all kinds of power metal and neo-classical stuff , a great German band called Atvance, a band from Argentina called Rata Blanca, Japan`s Double Dealer , Concerto Moon and ArkStorm, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Force of Evil.I also listen to alot of classical music as well.

Question: Which would be best, 6 fingers on your fretting hand, or 2 hands on your picking arm???? Anon

Guitar Guru: Hey Anon , I`m not sure either of those would really be all that much of an advantage. I think I`ll stick with what I`ve got , it seems to be working ok to this point.


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