In a recent interview with MusicRadar, Slipknot guitarist Mick Thomson shared his knowledge of the instrument with readers by revealing his five best tips for guitarists.
PICK UP A BASS
Thomson stressed the usefulness of “break[ing] out of the mould by picking up another instrument. “It’s exercise for your fingers: you have to stretch more because of the scale length,” he said. “Simply for the athletics, playing bass is great for guitar players, and offers a different perspective musically.”
STUDY PAUL GILBERT
For those wanting to improve their technique, Thomson suggests turning to YouTube and searching for Paul Gilbert’s guitar tutorials. “Early on, a lot of my picking development came from a Paul Gilbert video on VHS. That three-note per string thing (9, 10, 12 on the D, 9 on the G and back) is something I did a lot when I was younger … I remember seeing it when I was around 14 because a friend had it… we looked at each other like, ‘What the fuck just happened?’ That’s not even human. That’s not even real.”
ADD YOUR OWN COLOUR
Thomson believes musicians should add something unique to their sound, a sentiment he uses in his own work with Slipknot. “There probably aren’t a lot of metal bands that use bends as much as us. I have to stop myself, because I do a lot of ghost bends, like on the song ‘Eyeless’ – when I recorded that, I thought it was cool having the bottom drop out by using the wang bar… Anything that adds texture, colour or uniqueness to what you do is a tool, so make something interesting.”
Maintaining balance in your music is difficult, but it’s something which Thomson knows separates a good song from a bad one. “I learned a long time ago that crazy shred guitar is pretty much only enjoyed by the person playing it and the other people trying to play it. It’s fun to throw it in there and surprise people so they think, ‘Ah, the guitarist really knows what they’re doing,’ but you also don’t want to alienate everybody. It’s hard to write a good song – you have to balance musicianship, musicality and listenability, without being some radio-rock candyass kinda thing.”
LEARN FROM OTHERS
Thomson references his work with Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, who died in 2010, when highlighting the importance of learning from others. “You see new perspectives and techniques in other players; you can absorb a lot of it subconsciously. It’s not like you go out and think you will change your perspective. It’s natural and inevitable to take on some characteristics that you learn from each other.”
Slipknot's new documentary 'Day Of The Gusano' is set for a worldwide premiere on Wednesday September 6 through Universal Music Group. Read the full interview with Mick Thomson at MusicRadar.