Marty Friedman
Marty Friedman
Musician Info
BornDecember 8, 1962 (age 50). Laurel, Maryland, United States
Years-Active1981 - Present
GenreMegadeth, Cacophony, Hawaii, Tourniquet
Notable InstrumentsGuitar, Bass, keyboard, shamisen
Associated acts'

Martin Adam "Marty" Friedman, (born December 8, 1962) is an American Jewish  guitarist, well known for his tenure as the lead/rhythm guitarist for heavy metal band Megadeth, which lasted almost a decade. He has resided in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan since 2003, and has hosted his own television programs, Rock Fujiyama and Jukebox English on Japanese television.

Early career (1982–1989)Edit

Friedman is a largely self-taught guitarist known for his improvisation and for fusing Eastern musical with Western music and other styles, such as neo-classical, thrash metal and later progressive rock. When playing, Friedman often uses arpeggiated chords and various customized scales and arpeggios, some of which relate to Asian (Chinese and Japanese), Middle Eastern and other exotic scales, which are different from the typical minor/major pentatonic and 7 modes based off of the Major scale. He also occasionally uses sweep picking.

He has a very unorthodox right hand picking technique, namely the angle in which his hand is clenched goes against the conventional palm mute frequently used in Metal music. He also frequently uses the upstroke as opposed to the down stroke, especially on the high strings (strings B and E). His solos tend to target certain notes that relate to the rhythm chords played underneath his leads. He utilizes vocal-like bending techniques and asian influenced note-bends(including rapid pre-bend, double bend,slow release and bending from an 'outside note'), rather than just hitting the target note itself. These qualities make Friedman's solos unique and hard to duplicate using an alternate picking approach. Friedman often approaches fast licks with an upstroke and rather than strictly pick from the elbow or wrist, he'll also pick moving his fingers.

Marty took up the guitar at age 14 after seeing a KISS concert. Almost immediately he formed a band and started playing original songs, the reason being that originals are easier to play than covers. "Because," he says, "even if you screw up, you just claim that the song is written like that and no one can challenge you." The mother of one of Marty's friends ran an event center with a two-level stage, and Marty and his friends used it as a rehearsal space. Soon word spread about their band, and, since they were in a rural area, people would come from miles around to socialize and listen to music. "Rehearsals" very quickly became live shows. Marty formed and played lead guitar in several other bands, including Deuce, Hawaii (which had previously been called Vixen), and notably Cacophony. Cacophony featured neoclassical metal elements and synchronized twin guitar harmonies and counterpoints shared with guitarist Jason Becker. He played guitar on the 1987 album "It Won't Be Long" by Christian rock band Shout. In 1988, he recorded demos for Jet Red that eventually were released as bonus tracks on the 2009 Jet Red release "Flight Plan".

Megadeth (1990–2000)Edit

When Cacophony broke up in 1989, Friedman auditioned for the thrash metal band Megadeth after a tip from fellow guitarist Jeff Loomis. Friedman was initially rejected by Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine for having multicolored hair. However, after undergoing what Mustaine called "Rock School 101", Friedman officially joined Megadeth in February 1990. Friedman's audition can be seen as an Easter egg on the Megadeth DVD Arsenal of Megadeth. The first album he recorded with them was Rust in Peace which was released on 24 September 1990. Rust in Peace was certified platinum by the RIAA in 1994 and was nominated for the Best Metal Performance Grammy at the 33rd Grammy Awards.  He further developed his style of playing exotic scale solos from the Cacophony era, and integrated it into the music of Megadeth. In July 1992, Megadeth released Countdown to Extinction, which was a more commercial album, aimed at a wider audience, and sold double platinum. Friedman played on Megadeth's further releases Youthanasia (1994), Cryptic Writings (1997), and Risk (1999). After a total of five studio albums with Megadeth, in December 1999 Friedman announced his departure from Megadeth. His last show with them was on January 14, 2000. Later, he stated that he got tired of playing metal music and felt that he could not evolve as a musician. In an interview with in March 2007, he claimed that he wanted Megadeth to move towards a more aggressive sound and that he'd rather have been playing straight pop music than the pop-influenced metal Megadeth was playing at the time. During Friedman's time in the band, they sold over ten million albums worldwide.

Japanese lifeEdit

Friedman currently lives in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. He also appears on Japanese television and as a columnist for a major Japanese music magazine and a national daily newspaper.

He became a regular member of the cast of TXN's musical TV program Hebimeta-san (ヘビメタさん) (anglicized as "Mr. Heavy-Metal") with Japanese idol Yoko Kumada before the show came to an end in 2005. He had his own heavy metal TV program called Rock Fujiyama alongside Shelly, Ken Ayugai (Kenny Guy), Yorimasa Hisatake (Rock Ninja Yorimasa) and ex-Scanch member Rolly Teranishi from April 2006 until March 2007. In November~December 2005 he toured with singer Ami Suzuki on her "Suzuki Ami Around the World" live house tour, which took place in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

He was featured on Jukebox, a television program in which Marty and two Japanese people translate the lyrics of various English songs into understandable Japanese. He has also made guest appearances on the television programs Eigo de Shabera Night and Tamori Club.

Friedman is also a member of the Japanese musical group Sound Horizon which has contributed soundtracks to various anime and video games.

In 2008 Friedman played the role of Paul Weinberg, an English language teacher, in Isshin Inudou's Gou-Gou Datte Neko de Aru.

In 2009, Friedman appeared on The Quiz Show, a Japanese TV drama starring Sho Sakurai as a guest professor.

In February 2010, he made a guest appearance on guitar for the Ramones' song "California Sun" when CJ Ramone toured Japan.

He also launched a record label under Avex Group, Gokukara Records.

Shortly after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Friedman began auctioning off a great variety of his musical equipment and paraphernalia that he used as a member of Megadeth, including some of the earliest productions of Jackson Kelly. A message attached to each Ebay item stated that all proceeds would go to the GlobalGiving foundation, in an effort to help those whose livelihood had been wiped out by the disaster.

In 2011, Friedman participated on guitar in the recording of the future 2012 hit "Mōretsu Uchū Kōkyōkyoku Dai 7 Gakushō «Mugen no Ai»" by the popular Japanese girl group Momoiro Clover Z. A year later, on December 5, 2012, out came an album by a mysterious group Metal Clone X produced and arranged by him. It contains metal covers of Momoiro Clover Z's songs. The band members were not revealed.

Marty Friedman announced his marriage (via a city hall ceremony) to a 41-year-old Japanese cellist at his birthday party in December 2012.

Amps and EffectsEdit

  • Fractal Audio Axe-FX II processor (current)
  • Engl Special Edition (current)
  • Engl Powerball (2011 tour)
  • Custom Audio Electronics CAE 3+ preamp (former)
  • Bogner/Halfer Triple Giant (former)
  • Crate Blue Voodoo (as power amp, former)
  • VHT 2150 power amp (former)
  • Maxon AF-9 Auto Wah



  • Discography


  • Discography


  • Discography


Date of release Title Label
September 24, 1990 Rust in Peace Capitol Records
July 14, 1992 Countdown to Extinction Capitol Records
October 31, 1994 Youthanasia Capitol Records
June 17, 1997 Cryptic Writings Capitol Records
August 31, 1999 Risk Capitol Records


2003 Where Moth and Rust Destroy

2013  ANTISEPTIC BLOODBATH by Tourniquet

Marty Friedman • lead guitar: The Maiden Who Slept in the Glass Coffin


Date of release Title Label
1988 Dragon's Kiss Shrapnel Records
1992 Scenes Shrapnel Records
1994 Introduction Shrapnel Records
1996 True Obsessions Shrapnel Records
2002 Music For Speeding MF Music
2006 Loudspeaker Avex Trax
2008 Future Addict Avex Trax
2009 Tokyo Jukebox Avex Trax
2010 Bad D.N.A. Avex Trax
2011 Tokyo Jukebox 2 Avex Trax

External linksEdit

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