Marty Friedman Says This Ex-Megadeth Guitarist Can’t Be Copied: ’I Couldn’t Do It, It’s Impossible’

Former Megadeth guitar player Marty Friedman recently sat down with Ultimate Guitar to discuss his work and career. Since he’s best known for being a member of Megadeth and is often regarded as the best guitar player that the band ever had, he was asked whether he has any favorites who either came before or after him. Reflecting on the band that had some of the most proficient guitar players pass through its lineup, he replied:

“After I left Megadeth, I didn’t really follow a few of the guys that they had after me. I’m sure they were fantastic because that’s just the kind of band it is. But if I think of other Megadeth guitarists, I think of how Chris Poland was in the band before I was in it.”

He continued:

“I hated copying his stuff, I couldn’t do it. It was just too alien. Like any, you know, super musician, they’ve got their own stamp on it and there’s no way for one person to step into that other person’s shoes. It’s impossible. I love his playing. I hated trying to copy that. Just a super, super guitar player, and a great guy, too. We toured together once.”

And, as expected, Marty also praised Kiko Loureiro, Megadeth’s current guitar player who he had the honor to perform with this February in Tokyo, Japan. Marty added:

“And also, Kiko is just a super phenomenal talent. I remember, shortly after he joined the band, he sent me a video of him playing, I think it was ‘Tornado of Souls.’ He sent me a video from YouTube, and he was like, ‘Dude, check this out.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, man, you’re totally kicking ass on this.’ I was very excited.

Megadeth - Kiko Loureiro Practicing "Tornado of Souls"

“You know, if someone’s gonna, like, carry the torch, I was very relieved that it was someone as great as Kiko. And he’s just a super, super-talented guy. And I can see why Megadeth is doing so well. He adds a great thing to the band. You know, there’s never been any slouches in the Megadeth Guitar Department, but those are the two that really stand out to me.”

Further down the interview, Marty was also asked to share a few details about his current live gear and compare it to what he’s using in the studio. For him, however, things seem to be rather simple since he’s using pretty much the same setup on both fronts. Friedman commented:

“Well, this is easy, because they’re both exactly the same. I’ve been so fortunate to have signature models of everything these days. My signature Jackson MF-1 guitar, signature Engl ‘Inferno’ amp, and signature EMG pickups.”

Marty Friedman - Live in Japan "TOKYO JUKEBOX TOUR 2021"

“And if I have that combination, I can pretty much do anything, anywhere. So that’s what you’re hearing live on this tour, and that’s what you’re hearing on my last four records. Well, I guess the pickups came, maybe three records ago. But it’s that, that’s all it is, really. And I use a Maxon AF-9 Auto Filter, occasionally, and that’s it, man.”

This February, Megadeth fans were gifted something they were waiting for for a very long time. The thrash legends, led by Dave Mustaine and featuring a whole new lineup, welcomed Marty Friedman to the stage. For this show, which took place in the Budokan Arena in Tokyo, Japan, Marty performed three songs with Megadeth, “Countdown to Extinction”, “Tornado of Souls”, and “Symphony of Destruction.”

Interestingly enough, Dave Mustaine recently praised Kiko Loureiro as the best guitar player that Megadeth ever had. In a recent interview, he said:

“This is the best group of people I’ve ever worked with. When I first heard Kiko play, I was enthralled. Megadeth has had guys like Jeff [Young] and Marty [Friedman], but Kiko is the best we’ve ever had.“

“I don’t say that because Kiko is in the band now; I say it because it’s the truth. Kiko is the best guitar player out of all of them. When Kiko came in, the wounds from my personality conflicts with Shawn and Chris were fresh, and I had this paradigm of how things were, which I knew I needed to change.“

We'll Be Back — Megadeth | LIVE Performance | SiriusXM

“But Kiko and I got along, and I eventually knew he was a good fit, personality-wise. So, I said to Kiko, ‘Look, you’re gonna join Megadeth, and your life is gonna change.’ And we had Chris Adler helping us on drums, and I hoped he would stay, but he decided to stay with Lamb of God.“

“So Chris recommended Dirk, and I fell in love as soon as he came in. I could tell that Dirk was the sweetest man, a phenomenal drummer, and very humble. With that, I told Dirk the same thing I told Kiko when he joined: ‘Your life is gonna change, so be ready for it.’“

Since Marty Friedman is adored among Megadeth fans and is most often labeled as the best guitar player that the band ever had, Mustaine was asked to elaborate more on calling Kiko the best. He said:

“Marty is a superb guitar player, one of the best in the world. I’ve said a lot about Marty, but above all else, people need to know that I feel that Marty is a great guitarist. Kiko is better for Megadeth.“

Holy Wars — Megadeth | LIVE Performance | SiriusXM

“That has nothing to do with skill as much as it has to do with the whole pie. What is their outlook toward touring? What is their outlook toward recording? What is their outlook toward songwriting? We all know that Marty is a unique guy who goes to the beat of his own drum.“

“That’s great, but it wasn’t great for Megadeth. I love the music we made together, but people change, and we change with it. Kiko and I share a mindset, and I needed that. I need someone who will contribute and has a shared mindset regarding touring, recording, and growing musically.”

Photos: Shadowgate (Marty Friedman 21)


  • 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.