Tuesday, November 6, 2012

'GUITAR GODS: Nick Martinelli''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
Originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Wednesday, March 16 2005 @ 13:32:50 GMT 

Nick Martinelli is a wicked guitar player, instructor, web designer, and owner of the extreme guitar site, The Shred Zone!

While Nick's guitar playing skills are considerable, most of the press he receives is due to his company, Net Fusion Designs, (he's created sites for Rusty Cooley, TD Clark, German Schaus, and other shredders) and his instructional shred-site, The Shred Zone, which has thousands of daily visitors interested in improving their guitar technique.

I had a chance to speak to Nick last year - check it out!


1) What are your current projects?

Currently, I’m working on a few new sections for The Shred Zone.com (www.theshredzone.com) including a large awards event, new contest giveaways, brand new lessons, and tons of cd reviews. The Shred Zone.com is a huge labor of love and is a great avenue to help guitarists at all levels come together to network and learn new things. I have been running the site for nearly four years now and it grows larger every week.

I started playing guitar back when I was 14 years old. I still have the hand me down beater guitar stashed away in a closet. For me it was a slow start. I only had guitar magazines and what ever tablature I could find to learn from. Back then I wish I could have had access to the knowledge that can be found on the internet today. I didn’t know what scales and modes were or even how to build chords. I learned this and more when I started taking lessons from Chicago-area guitarist TD Clark (www.tdclark.com). So a few years later after getting “online” I decided to develop a website that could help players that were in the same predicament as I was. Along with that, starting the website aided in my own private studies as well because I was able to put together lessons for guitar players to practice and learn from. As far as other current projects go, I’m actively seeking musicians to form a band in the Chicagoland area. I will also be putting together some video lessons for The Shred Zone.com applying many of the skills that are taught at the site. A Shred Zone.com cd is also in the works as well.

2) How does this (do these) differ from your past work?

Well there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t get a chance to hone my skills as a guitarists and web developer. When I was younger, I always dreamed of being able to contribute back to the music community that I identified with growing up. So many bands and musicians have influenced me over the years and though I may not be a rock star, The Shred Zone.com has become one of the most widely known websites for guitar players on the internet today. It’s amazing getting to meet people from around the world who know who you are because of the website you’ve created. I’ve been able to make some good friends these past few years, including shred god Rusty Cooley, German Schauss (Eso), Tom Hess (Hess), Tom Naumann (Primal Fear), Stefan Leibing (Primal Fear), Vernon Neilly, and Francesco Farreri to name a few. Along with that, it has given me the avenue to network with great record labels such as Lion Music, Boosweet, Nightmare Records and Progressive Arts, among others.

3) Do you have one project that you are most proud of as a guitarist?

The project that I am most proud of would definitely have to be The Shred Zone.com. It’s been a great way to communicate to millions of guitar players from around the world. The internet is a wonderful thing and it gives all guitar players the true power of unlimited knowledge and musical growth.

4) Can you give our readers a run-down of your basic gear (live and/or studio)?

1975ish White Gibson Flying V (Currently at Cremer’s Guitar Works in North Aurora, Illinios for full restoration). We’re restoring it as close to original as possible. Let’s just say the last previous owner beat her to hell and back! Jackson Rhoads- Customized with Seymour Duncan pickups, locking tremolo bar and a kill switch that replaced my tone knob. Jackson King V- Soon to be customized with newer Seymour Duncan pickups and kill switch. Probably a cool paint job too. Kramer Vanguard- Nuclear yellow color, stop block bridge, 24 fret and the coolest reverse headstock in the business. Has coil taps so I can switch from humbucker to single coil in a single pull. Takamine Nylon string guitar, with large cutaway. Not modified, all stock. For those classical and latin inspired jams! Ovation Tangent MOB47 acoustic. With built in preamp and tuner. It’s the newest addition to the family.
Note: All my guitars are named after Drew Barrymore characters from her movies. I think you can figure out why...
Strings: Everly Strings
Pickups: Seymour Duncans - 59’s for necks, Super Distorsion Trembuckers, Full Shreds. I’m going to put an Invader in my newly restored Gibson Flying V. Duncans are the best pickups on earth and all my guitars are loaded with em’.
Digitech Whammy Pedal for those screaming highs, Dive-bombs and harmonies! Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Standard Ibanez TS-9 Tubescreamer (the pedal no guitarist should be without) Boss EQ pedal, it never gets turned off! Boss Chorus Ensemble Boss Metal Zone (used for playing out when I don’t have a good amp to play through)
Rocktron Chamelon - good workhorse preamp with lots of different tones and sounds. Mesa Boogie 50/50 power amp (newly acquired)
Furman PLP-VIO power condition (it has a purple faceplate!) Alesis 3630 Stereo Compressor (acts as a noise gate as well) Behringer 5 band parametric EQ for tweaking those hard to reach spots BBE Sonic Maximizer 360 - it’s never been turned off. It will kick any tone into the stratosphere. A MUST OWN!
Picks: Dunlop Stubby 3.0 mm (thick clear purple jazz style)

5) Who would you cite as early influences, and who are you favorite new players?

That’s a tough question but a good one, nonetheless. Where do I begin? Well my first guitar hero I would have to say would be Mr. Randy Rhoads. I got into Heavy Metal music back when I was in Junior High (6th grade to be exact). There used to be this killer radio station in Chicago called the Blaze and they played everything from Cinderella, White Lion, Ratt, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden, Poison and everything in between. When I heard “Crazy Train” for the first time, I was hooked on Randy’s wild and energetic leads. To this day that solo sends chills down my spine. Randy was amazing player and he has been on of my biggest influences. As soon as I was old enough to work, I saved up and got a Jackson Rhoads guitar so I could be that much more connected to his playing.
Next up, are the Metal gods Judas Priest, I can remember getting an “Axe Attack” compilation on vinyl, and playing “Breakin’ the Law” over and over again. Judas Priest had the most profound effect on me as a guitarist and a metalhead. The riffin’ of Glen Tipton and KK Downing are unmatched in the world of metal. They have to be one of the best guitar teams ever. Glen with his more moody and melodic leads fuse perfectly with KK’s over the top wild speedy fretboard antics. Riffs like “The Green Manalishi,” “The Ripper,” “Living After Midnight,” “Rock You Around the World,” “Reckless,” and “Hell Patrol” are just a few of my personal favorites and I still jam along with each of them every week.
Another mile stone band for me was Iron Maiden. Steve Harris’s leading bass work accompanied by the galloping guitar licks of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith won me over early on. “Killers” and “Iron Maiden” where the first two Heavy Metal releases I ever owned! They really helped define my rhythm playing early on.

Vinnie Moore is one the top instrumental guitarists that has ever graced this universe. His playing is super melodic and catchy at the same time. Vinnie has always inspired me and always will.
More recently, Stefan Liebing and Tom Nauman of Primal Fear because you haven’t heard real metal until you’ve had your ass kicked their power hungry intensity!

I have so many guitar heroes to mention so I’ll name those who come to mind right now. George Lynch is one of the most bad ass guitarists that has ever walked the planet. His leads are bone crushing and his riffing is more deadly than a snake bite. Vitto Bratta (White Lion) for his soulful and energetic lead playing. Warren Dimartini (Ratt) because no one can lay down fat pentatonic leads like he can, plus he and Robin Crosby wrote the book on writing catchy riffs. Michael Schenker, for flying V’s and “Doctor Doctor”--enough said! Kai Hansen and Michael Weikath from Helloween fore fathers of power metal.

From the acoustic world, Stunz and Farah are two of the best nylon guitar players I’ve ever heard. Just think, non-stop shred on nylon guitars, scary isn’t it?

Other bands that have largely influenced me are: Ion Vein, Stratovarius, Stryper, Iced Earth, Hammerfall, Savatage, Dokken, Labyrinth, older Queensryche, Cinderella, Poison, and Ratt.

6) Can you give a few tips to aspiring players?

Becoming a good guitar player is easy, becoming a great one is real work. I’ve always worked at it and always will. Practice is very important, I have spent countless hours learning and applying scales and modal theory and chord/progression building.

Using a metronome while practicing scales and arpeggios is a tip I highly suggest to players out there who want to drastically improve their skill sets. By doing this you will defiantly beef up your natural timing and playing speeds. For starting out with a new scale or mode I usually work at 100 bpm until I have it memorized and my fingers have become comfortable with the fingering of it. Then I bump it up by 10 bpms using quarter notes. When I feel confident that it can be played through ten times perfectly, then its time up kick it up a notch. By the time I hit 180 bpms I usually kick it back down to 100 bpm, but at 16th note beats and continue on up again.

7) What are your future plans?

Keep working and evolving The Shred Zone.com. Release some CDs, and buy some more Flying V’s and an ENGL Savage 120 amp!

8) Thanx for talking to us, Nick!

Well I’d like to thank you, David, and Tinfoil Music for taking the time to interview me. I really enjoyed sharing my experiences and knowledge with aspiring guitar players out there. I hope that they will take the time to check out the website and even contribute it if they’d like to.
Words of advice to guitarists out there... Take time to learn as much as you can. There are so many different styles of music/guitar out there, like jazz, flamenco, latin, shred, blues, rock, metal, fusion and etc. You can spend a lifetime playing and never fully master all of them. That’s what makes playing the guitar so great, endless opportunities! Thanks again guys.

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