An interview with Joe Stump: Rock Guitar Secrets
|Get ready to be blown away by rapidfire
shred metal guitar work. In the 45-minute instructional DVD Chop Builder
for Rock Guitar, heavy metal guitarist Joe Stump shows you the secret to
raging guitar chops: disciplined practice. That may sound odd at first.
After all, Stump says, "rock guitar is all about picking up the guitar
and vibing out"but attaining that kind of freedom in the shred
metal style doesn't come by accident. It takes work, and in this DVD, Stump
provides exercises and practice routines that can guitarists build speed
and improve technique.
"To play in this style, you have to love to practice. It requires a huge amount of maintenance," Stump said, in an interview in the DVD. "A guy that's a great athlete can't decide all of a sudden that he's going to McDonalds, eat six Big Macs, wash it down with a tequila, and then he's going to pay a game the next day in the NFL." Shred metal guitar playing is the same, he said. It takes constant upkeep.
Stump practices between three and six hours a day, and that dedication has earned him spots touring with some of hard rock's heaviest acts. In addition to his seven solo albums and four with his band Reign of Terror, he has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia. He's toured with and opened for Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dokken, Savatage, and Robin Trower. Stump's remarkable speed and virtuosity have been lauded in publications like Guitar World and Guitar Shop, and his 1994 album Night of the Living Shred was a Grammy semifinalist for best instrumental rock album. He has been a professor at Berklee since 1993 and instructs hundreds of students a year to play hard rock, shred, and high-tech speed metal guitar.
The shredding style of guitar began in the '70s and early '80s, when European players like Richie Blackmore, Gary Moore, John Roth, and Yngwie Malmstein began building solos using the influences of classical composers like Bach, Paganini, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven. Stump himself has spent years studying classical music, and fuses influences of violin pieces with metal in his original compositions.
Stump's DVD focuses on developing the physical and technical aspects of playing, but he is no stuffy, dry instructor. His approach is informal, laid back, and practical. You'll feel like you're sitting in a room with a regular guya regular guy with superhuman chops, that is.
The DVD includes interview segments, live performance, as well as hands-on lessons. These are sandwiched between two dazzling solos he performs specially for the DVD, the first an unaccompanied guitar cadenza, and the second a solo over "Demon's Eye," a cut from his Supersonic Shred Machine solo album.
In the instructional segments, Stump presents basic tools to help guitarists
develop their chops. He considers the metronome to be the key to developing
technique and command of instrument, so he shows how to practice with
the click. He encourages players to work on scale exercises by subdividing
the beat, one note per click, then upping the speed to two notes per click,
then triplets (three notes per each click of the metronome), then four
per click. Guitarists work with scale patterns that move across the stings
as well as up and down the entire neck.
Then, Stump presents tremolo picking, to develop right-hand agility. "It's an easy way to unconsciously work on alternate picking," he said. By turning the metronome up a few notches or working with unfamiliar keys or note patterns, even experienced guitarists will find ample challenge. He also covers double pickingplaying each note in the scale twice. This is seen frequently in classical compositions, but was also a trick of the old-school traditional European hard rock masters who were Stump's early inspirations.
Stump composed the etudes on the DVD, and each sounds like a guitar solo in itself. In the final exercise, he teaches a fierce Eurometal groove that moves around the entire neck of the guitar. "The good part is, you don't have to kill yourself to still play itand it sounds good even if your skills are not yet developed." His etudes sound like real metal solos, not dry exercises. "That's so that it sounds like something you'd play in the context of a metal tune," Stump said. "It's more fun to practice that way, and you're making the connection it's not just a cool exercise. You can see clearly how you can use it. "
The DVD may be used by a broad range of guitarists, as the straightforward technical exercises become increasingly difficult at "real" hard rock tempos. "This is about technique building," Stump said. "It's not so high tech that only advance players can appreciate it, but it doesn't alienate those who haven't been playing as long as I have."
Pick up Chop Builder for Rock Guitar and work with "Shred Lord" Joe Stump to improve your technique, increase your speed, and take your guitar chops into the stratosphere.
|Learn more about Berklee Press DVD "Chop Builder for Rock Guitar" by Joe Stump.|