John Petrucci Explains How He Deals With Playing Difficult Parts Live, Shares Honest Opinion on Instagram Guitar Virtuosos

In a recently conducted interview with Ultimate Guitar, Dream Theater guitarist and co-founder John Petrucci looked back on all things guitar, as well as his solo material tour, which also featured his former bandmate Mike Portnoy on drums. When asked whether there are things and other people that motivate him to keep pushing forward as a musician, he replied:

“Yeah, constantly. I mean, all you’ve got to do is, at any given time, is go on Instagram, and there’s just so many guys and girls playing incredible stuff at all different ages. The bar has been raised so high, it’s just incredible.”


“It’s inspiring playing with other people, like on this tour [solo tour], playing with Dave [LaRue, bassist] and Mike [Portnoy], it’s awesome. I say it every night, I feel like I’m back in those days when we were teenagers jamming but we’re doing it on stage, and people are watching it.

“That’s inspiring, that makes me want to push myself. I think it’s also sort of internal with me, I never get bored with playing guitar. I always want to try to get better and I still really love playing guitar.

“It’s fun for me, so I think that’s part of it, too. I never get to the point where I feel like I don’t need to try. I always feel like I’m not trying hard enough, you know?”

John Petrucci - Temple of Circadia (Official Video)

Further on, Petrucci discussed dealing with certain difficult parts and performing them live. When asked whether he has those moments where he goes ” oh, man, I’ve really got to concentrate on this one,” John said:

“Yeah. Those moments happen like every 16 bars or so. Now, when there are the parts like that, I practice those a bit more before I go on stage, and a lot of times I still don’t nail them and it’s like, ‘oh shit!’ and then I say, ‘Okay, well, I have tomorrow to try again.’ Which is a fun thing about touring.

Check out these other articles:

“But yeah, there’s tons of stuff like that, that’s a bit more challenging. That’s why you’ll see me… I’ve been doing this for the longest time I have these big foot rests and I put the guitar on my left leg, get in a classical position and really try to focus, and I wear the guitar up high and nerdy so I can play some of the stuff. But yeah, that stuff is all over my music.

Photo: Andreas Lawen, Fotandi (Dreamtheater – Wacken Open Air 2015-1619)


  • 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, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.