Saturday Shredder Double Header: Tony Iommi

No two ways about it, Tony Iommi stands tall as the architect of metal. Countless riffs and inventive solos later, after forty-five years and innumerable line-up changes, Sabbath in its various incarnations has set a standard for every heavy band that followed. These days, you can probably find more bands influenced by Sabbath than by the Stones or Beatles, seriously.

At any rate, here are two classic Iommi performances from 2009, with Dio, Geezer, and Vinny Appice (Heaven and Hell).

Saturday Shredder

Michael Schenker is one of the all-time greats, a criminally underrated player. Into the Arena showcases many of his classic moves. Check out the ascending triadic invention starting at about 2:35, leading into some smooth melodic playing, culminating in a six-string D major arpeggio. Just a really cool instrumental track from start to finish.

Saturday Shredder Doubleheader

Eric Johnson’s Cliffs of Dover has to be considered in any discussion of all-time virtuoso guitar pieces. It’s not quite as aggressive as your typical shred tune, nor is it in a minor key. And yet, thanks to Johnson’s incredible technique, flawless tone, and seemingly effortless musicality, it just soars. Here he is at the 2009 NAMM show. Sound quality is not the greatest, especially once the drums kick in, but the six-minute intro is a great compendium of melodic phrases that you should steal and make your own, like right now.

And I couldn’t pass up this terrific rendition by a band at the Kingwood High School talent show in 2008. These guys captured it perfectly.

Saturday Shredder: Paul Gilbert

This one is from a couple years ago, but it’s a great one. Nothing like taking a classic early-’90s power ballad and infusing it with classic Van Halen riffage. Extra points for the double-neck guitar, as well as for Gilbert tapping up the neck while singing the chorus. Fun stuff.