For metal fans in the 80s, these were common and important questions. Tune in to MTV, pick up a magazine, or walk into an instrument store, and more often than not you’d be exposed to what is now known as shredding—the fast, virtuoso soloing popularized by musicians like Vai and Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads and Dimebag Darrell.
Inspired by these pioneering guitarists, thousands of young musicians would spend hours at home in their bedrooms, perfecting both their playing and their poses.
Though shredding fell out of favor during the grunge/alternative rock era, it has become increasingly popular again in recent years, spurred by the rise in popularity of bands like Children Of Bodom, DragonForce, and Trivium.
Drawing on more than seventy exclusive interviews with key shredders past and present, author and guitarist Greg Prato has assembled the definitive guide to the fastest players of them all.