Dream Theater Guitarist John Petrucci’s Biggest Influence

Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci has spoken about his early days as a guitarist, and what got him playing in the first place. You can watch the full video interview below.

Speaking with Dunlop the shredding king said, “I started when I was a young kid…I grew up in New York in Long Island, everybody had a band. Everybody played guitar, drums, whatever, so you know…the musical environment was rich.” He added, “…When I was 12 was when I really started to take it seriously.”

While we all have many guitarists who have inspired us over the years, for most, there is one player who stands above the rest. “For me it was Steve Morse,” Petrucci explained. “It was funny. I started playing guitar and getting into [Led] Zeppelin, Rush, ACDC, Sabbath and stuff like that, and one of my friend’s friends was like ‘Dude you got to check this out,’ and it was the [Dixie] Dregs.” It was at that moment that the renowned guitarist found his calling in life, “I had never heard anything like this before. And that was it. I fell in love with the way he plays, his compositions, his technique. I was just a practicing geek from that moment on.”

Petrucci went on to discuss his signature Jazz III guitar pick, which is a combination of the original Jazz III and Ultex Sharp picks, “…when I started getting into playing, and I really wanted to practice a lot, and get better and better, I got the shredding Michael Angelo Batio video, and he was using the Jazz III, and he was playing these ridiculous things. I had to get that pick.” However, it wasn’t long before Petrucci came across a pick, which produced a tone that he preferred even more, the Ultex Sharps, “…these picks are great they sound really good, like I notice the difference in the tone. The way that the mold glided off the strings was great… but the size wasn’t happening, and I just put that away.” Then, one day, Petrucci started thinking, “…why can’t we do a Jazz III shape that’s the Sharps kinda mold,” and the John Petrucci Jazz III guitar pick was born.