About Guitar Alchemy

About Guitar Alchemy

Andy and I came up with the idea for this section together. One day, we were discussing the current state of rock guitar, and both of us were concerned that young guitar players are not really learning to truly play anymore. They learn just enough guitar to bash out a few chords and that's the end of their journey. We worry that the elements of what comprises a great guitarist is becoming lost knowledge. In fact, a big part of the Dinosaur Rock Guitar mission is to preserve those elements.

The idea behind Guitar Alchemy was to profile the great Rock/Metal Guitarists in a thorough way. To discuss the merits of their playing and hopefully capture in words, what's great about their music, and why. Our aim here is to inform, inspire, and also to entertain. To provide a point of reference for players who want to learn more. Most importantly, we hope to keep alive the idea of the true Guitar Hero. To separate the masters of the instrument from the three-chord-wonders using the instrument as little more than a stage prop. We're certainly not the first people to take on this task, but we're passionate about it, and we're trying to do a thorough, honest job of it.

Please note: We hope our admiration for what these players have achieved is evident in these profiles, but we're not above using humor to poke fun at a player's quirks and foibles, nor above taking them to task when they disappoint us. We have honestly tried to be evenhanded and stop short of doing a real hatchet job on anyone. If we've offended any player or fan along the way, you're taking us too seriously. Remember, if we've taken the time to profile someone, it's because we like their work — or at least aspects of it.

Dave's bit

So. What qualifies Dave to discuss these players? I'm just a guitarist myself, who has studied these players in depth and tried to learn from them. As such, I've analyzed their songs and playing to identify how the various stylistic elements combine to make them what they are. The profiles I've written are based on my own observations and opinions. I've made no attempt to portray them otherwise, nor any attempt to conceal my own strong biases.

I admittedly favor players who are strong songwriters and who's music and guitar style employs and emphasizes Dynamics, Composition, Melody, Attitude, Emotion, and Chops. I also strongly favor the players who's music touches me on an emotional level over players that simply impress my brain with technique. I like music and guitar playing that aims at the crotch rather than at the brain! Frequently you will read me state that "there is (or isn't ) sex in so-and-so's playing." When there's sex in the style, it means that the player is aiming for my crotch and putting a tent in my shorts! When there no sex, I enjoy the music less.

John's bit

What qualifies John to discuss these players? I too have spent countless hours up in my room — guitar in hand — wondering "how did he do that?" With these profiles, I hope to convey my love and respect for this style of music and guitar playing. Maybe you'll find some things that you hadn't heard before. As popular music continues to embrace mediocrity as the standard, we hope that some of you younger players will listen to these guys, and perhaps incorporate some of their techniques into your playing.

Like my partners in crime, I'm pretty opinionated, and that will show. To me, playing guitar is about communication. The guys I like are primarily communicators, rather than technicians. They communicate a gamut of human emotions, through six strings and a piece of wood. I personally look for the all-around package. By that, I mean songwriting, musicianship, tone, and rhythm playing matter to me as much or more than soloing. I tend to like players who do more with their rhythm work than just simple power chords, and you'll see that bias reflected in my profiles.

Andy's bit

What qualifies Andy to discuss these players? As with Dave these are players that I have spent countless hours listening to. The views on the players I have profiled are my views. I may well disagree with Dave on certain players (for the most part, where I do you may well see it, if not on the artist page then in the forum. But ultimately I hope to contribute intelligent discussion on players and music in general that hopefully you the reader will want to investigate further. You may not agree with me but hopefully you may learn something about a player, or I'll make you want to check out a new player. I generally prefer players that have a European influence in their playing, with a particular fondness for Neoclassical orientated players but if a player learns their craft well they will earn my respect. Like Dave I like music that gets at the crotch, but I also appreciate a clever musical idea if it fits with the music its over — i.e. NO to soulless shredders.