The '80s were the golden age of metal guitar, a time when every rock act had a killer axemaster in tow to provide the kind of incendiary pyrotechnics that revolutionised the art of guitar forever. The trend to have a monster guitarist was so dominant that even Michael Jackson had to jump on the bandwagon - not once but three times, with Eddie Van Halen, Slash and Steve Stevens.
As the technical ability of the new legion of players soared, new terms were invented to describe their playing - 'shred', 'full tilt' etc. - and the equipment they used evolved to meet the new challenges. The influence of Eddie Van Halen was everywhere; his use of a home-made customised take on the Fender Stratocaster, nicknamed the 'Super Strat', influenced all builders to produce their own version. Dive bombing and screaming harmonics were almost obligatory in every guitar solo, provided by the new technology of the locking tremolo arm.
There were many wannabe pretenders and clueless copyists who took the aforementioned dive bombing runs and blinding speed picking and thought that was all they needed - big mistake. It's not about speed and technique - it's about the music, bozos!
Lifelong music obsessive, regular contributor to US guitar magazines, sometime radio presenter, singer/guitarist in Star Studded Sham, true believer in the power of rock'n'roll and an amp turned up to 11.