Eddie Van Halen – So This Is Love (Van Halen, Fair Warning, 1981)
Eddie was a technician on guitar, so fucking good, but even though people think that’s why he’s a guitar hero, it’s not the reason they like him. It’s because he was musical. To be a good guitar player you have to have taste, and he was really fucking tasty. That can be very elusive as a player. It’s good to learn solos from guys like him, it’ll seep through into your own playing. I learned to play all Eddie’s shit, I don’t do it was well as him, because of that taste. This solo’s a perfect example – it’s all about his phrasing, his timing, his string bends, his note choices, and the way he landed on those notes.
Warren Di Martini – Back For More (Ratt, Out Of The Cellar, 1984)
Warren and George have so much in common. I think they must’ve hung out because hey both hold their pick hand with their fingers fanned out and both have really cool, unconventional vibrato – instead of moving it up and down they’d move it side to side, like a classical guitarist. It’s not easy to do, I don’t like to do it – I’m way, way not classical! Back For More’s got a killer melody, with flashy stuff in just the right spot. Warren did some great heavy metal solos. And Tawny Kitaen’s on the album cover – oh my god I always wanted to fuck her, until she became a reality TV star…
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George Lynch – Tooth And Nail (Dokken, Tooth And Nail, 1984)
One of my first concerts was Dokken, they were opening for Judas Priest. They came on, George Lynch’s hair was fucking perfect, they opened with Tooth And Nail, and it knocked my dick up around my head. George’s solo is so good, an amazing combination of melody and flash. When kids are learning to rip on the guitar it’s easy for them to forget about melody, because while anyone can learn to be fast on guitar, it’s like training a monkey, it’s not easy to be melodic. George had killer feel, especially back then. I loved his vibrato, he plays it with such conviction, and that’s what made him stand out. It’s a long solo, and in the last 16 bars there’s a melody that really gets me off, then in the last four bars there’s a fast piece of guitar by itself which is just great. I put him right up there among the great guitar heroes. Everybody wanted to be George Lynch in 1985.
Paul Gilbert/Bruce Bouillet – Scarified (Racer X, Second Heat, 1987)
I’m not as drawn to the neo-classical, Sharpnel style stuff, probably because I’m not that good at it, but Scarified is incredible. Paul and Bruce are both amazing guitarists. I’ve known Paul a long time, he’s not just a great guitar player but a great musician and songwriter too, and that combination really influenced me when I was young. I’ve got a lot of respect for that guy.
Yngwie Malmsteen – Little Savage (Yngwie Malmsteen, Rising Force, 1984)
Yngwie took a lot of shit for being fast, but he’s one of the greatest lead guitars players ever. Everything he played was tasty as fuck. Yeah it was fast, but he had insanely great feel, his vibrato, his note choices were just beautiful. His technique is flawless, his picking’s so clean it’s hard to believe. I’ve tried to learn bits and pieces but it’s hard to sound like Yngwie, I don’t know how he plays like that. After a while I just used him as an inspiration, I’ll never be as good as Yngwie Malmsteen.