1.12 The Noughties & The Present Day
The arrival of widespread use of the Internet – and in particularly platforms such as Myspace and Youtube - heralded a sea change in music culture: no longer would artists have to better their way to gain an audience via securing a record deal, they could cut out the middleman and upload their musical endeavours to a global audience armed with little more than a PC and an Internet connection. This DIY culture would have massive ramifications for the industry as a whole, and this combined with the widespread downloading of music for free has undoubtedly harmed the financial opportunities for many record companies and bands, but equally has provided exposure and the possibility of careers to a multitude of artists who previously may have found themselves locked out.
This was particularly apparent for niche genres such as shred: players could gain a following via their own websites, MySpace, YouTube – and latterly social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and the rest – and capitalise this by selling CD’s and downloads of their music directly to the end user/fan, as well as offering guitar lessons and similar to provide additional income streams.
In the mainstream metal arena acts such as Killwitch Engaged, Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold, Alter Bridge – not forgetting Sacred Mother Tongue of course - and many others have kept the flag flying for shredtastic soloing and guitar exploits, utilising all the speed picking and swept arpeggios that the genre became famed for.
Players such as Guthrie Govan (a guitar player of almost unprecedented all round virtuosity), Marco Sfogli and one of Andy’s personal favourites Paul Wardingham also emerged to keep the underground shred fans supplied with new talent, and many of the old guard have continued to enjoy a sustained fan base.
It is unlikely that we’ll witness such a fertile period as the 80’s ever again in the rock and metal guitar world ever again, as that period was in many ways the final learning curve for the instruments technical development, but the advancements the players discussed here inaugurated have coalesced to give you, the avid guitar student, a rich tapestry upon which to build your art.
Listen to as many of these players as possible, hunt out new guitarists, and try to absorb the elements of what these guys offer so you can build your own style. And now, to work…