Dream Theater’s John Petrucci Names ’Most Important Thing’ About Guitar Playing, Recalls What He Noticed Playing Through Joe Satriani’s Rig

In a new interview with Guitar World, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci recalled playing through Joe Satriani’s rig back when they were doing the G3 tours. Discussing the very nature of the guitar and where the secret to one’s tone is, Petrucci said:

“The guitar is a tactile instrument. You’re using the flesh of your hands to interact with it, and regardless of everything else you use, the sound you make comes from you. Every guitarist sounds different, and that’s because every guitarist is different. That’s the beautiful thing about playing the instrument.”

Summer Song - Joe Satriani & John Petrucci - Live Best Buy Theater, NYC HD

He then proved his point by looking back on playing through Satriani’s rig. He adds:

“I remember being on a G3 tour with Joe Satriani. I’ve always been so enamored of him – his skill and his tone. One day I asked him, ‘Can I play through your rig?’ And the funny thing was, once I played through his rig, I didn’t sound like Joe at all – I sounded like me. And I was hit with the realization that, because the guitar is a tactile instrument, so much of the tone came from my touch.”

The point here was that the tone essentials, the very basis of it, lies in your playing. Not just your hands but also the way you use them, or are accustomed to utilizing them. Petrucci said:

“That’s something very important to keep in mind. Try to understand how you affect the tone of your guitar. It’s your gift. Embrace it and use it. No matter what else goes into guitar playing, you are the most important thing that you bring to the table.”

As of this moment, Petrucci is on tour, supporting his solo album. Well, it’s more than just a “support” of a solo album but rather a spectacle for all prog fans. Accompanying him on drums is none other than former longtime Dream Theater bandmate Mike Portnoy.


Apart from Mike, he’s also up there jamming with bassist Dave LaRue. With this 3-piece formation, Petrucci tackles his latest solo album, 2020’s “Terminal Velocity.” Along with that, there are a few other songs from his 2005 debut solo record “Suspended Animation.” His current touring schedule, which you can check out at this location, goes on until November 20.

Photos: MorganaPhotolive (Dream Theater (27153401432)), Robbie Drexhage (Joe Satriani)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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