Nita Strauss Names One Guitar Technique She’s Still Not Good at, Reveals What She Learned from Marty Friedman

While discussing her work on the new solo album “The Call of the Void,” Nita Strauss reflected on her playing techniques and named one that she believes still needs some work on her end.

Nita touched upon this issue while talking to Guitar World. When asked about giving her best tip for sweep picking, she replied:

“It’s all about starting off slowly and cleanly. Then you start doing it a little less slowly and keep going from there – don’t think ‘fast’ in terms of how you imagine it, think ‘less slow’ every time you slightly increase the tempo.”

NITA STRAUSS - Dead Inside (ft. David Draiman of Disturbed)

“That’s the only way you can get fast and still sound very clean. It’s very painstaking. Honestly, getting good at sweep picking for me was like rolling a heavy ball up a steep hill. It has to be baby steps, one bit at a time.”

Up next, the interviewer told Nita that, even though she’s often associated with the legato technique, on her new album’s opening track “Summer Storm,” it can be heard that she’s doing more work with alternate picking. She then replied by saying that she still doesn’t feel very confident in her alternate picking skills:

“I still don’t think of myself as a good alternate picker! It’s never been a strong point. I don’t know if there was one particular exercise that helped. I just knew I wanted to approach this record as a more rounded player. I took more time with it, too.”

NITA STRAUSS - The Wolf You Feed ft. Alissa White-Gluz (Official Music Video)

To elaborate further, Nita also explained how this album took a lot more time and effort in all aspects compared to her solo debut “Controlled Chaos,” including the nuanced aspects of her playing techniques:

“I made ‘Controlled Chaos in three months. This one took three years, from a very different perspective in terms of how I played, having vocalists, working with outside writers to help me understand the subtleties and nuances of creating radio songs that are completely different to the shred stuff I’m known for.”

When the interviewer then asked whether some of Paul Gilbert’s exercises came in handy for this, she replied:

“You know, there’s a fast alternate lick in that first verse that I probably lifted from his parts in Racer X’s ‘Technical Difficulties’! It definitely has that Paul Gilbert vibe to it. I wasn’t sat there trying to copy anything but I guess you’re right… there were definitely a lot of Paul Gilbert exercises happening in my house over quarantine!”

NITA STRAUSS - Victorious ft. Dorothy (Official Music Video)

Nita’s new album also featured none other than former Megadeth legend Marty Friedman on the closing track “Surfacing.” When asked what she learned from Marty, Nita said:

“I’ve learned so much from Marty over the years. He knows what he wants. This collaboration was such an education for me, as a sort-of young guitar player at the foot of the master! The first metal song I ever heard had Marty playing guitar on it. We fleshed out the whole concept together.”

“I sent him some riffs and then he sent back this crazy song with his own ideas. Funnily enough, there was a quote I read from him recently which said something like, ‘Nita’s not afraid of a little hard work!’ referring to how this song went back and forth. I wanted him to critique me…”


When asked to further elaborate on the feedback and advice that Friedman gave her, Nita said that it all comes down to the choice of notes rather than just the playing techniques:

“He would tell me how I could make melodies better and what notes I should use instead of the ones I’d initially chosen. I came out the other side a better player.”

As she then added, Marty told her that she should not be doing the fastest licks just for the sake of it. Instead, it’s about telling a story:

“He sent pages of detailed notes and through him I learned you have to know what your story is and what you’re trying to say or convey. Pick phrases that help tell the story. Resist the temptation to use your songs to show off your fastest licks.”

The day I got tricked into meeting my guitar hero, Jason Becker

“It’s about the message of the music rather than a bunch of notes you can play fast one after another.”

Sure, Nita adds that she was still into all of the famous guitar instructional videos. However, it all helped her see a broader picture and ultimately use it all to her advantage:

“I had Marty’s ‘Exotic Metal Guitar instructional DVD growing up. Honestly, I learned so much from that — as well as John Petrucci’s ‘Rock Discipline,’ Yngwie’s ‘Play Loud or Frank Gambale’s ‘Modes: No More Mystery…’ which is how I learned you can go from A natural minor to G Mixolydian or C Ionian and move between those shapes.”

“It’s just a case of taking a little walk down the neck through the different modes of the same scale. That’s when the whole fretboard opened up for me. All of these greats shaped what us guitar players do now!”

NITA STRAUSS - The Golden Trail feat. Anders Fridén of IN FLAMES (Official Music Video)

Nita Strauss’ sophomore solo record “The Call of the Void” was released on July 7 this year. The album has been in the making for a while now with some of the songs coming out way before its full release. Compared to her solo debut “Controlled Chaos,” the major change here was that it wasn’t a strictly instrumental album. She called in some of the biggest names in metal to handle the guest vocal slots, including Alissa White-Gluz or Arch Enemy, David Draiman of Disturbed, and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.

Photos: Raph_PH (AliceCooperO2 250522 (65 of 133) (52101101148)), Shadowgate (Marty Friedman 29)

  • 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 and brands like Sam Ash.