DREAM THEATER's JOHN PETRUCCI: Playing Eight-String Guitar 'Helped Open Up A New World Of Dimension And Range With The Instrument'

June 21, 2023

During an appearance on the latest episode of the "Iron City Rocks" podcast, DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci was asked how playing an eight-string guitar has changed the way he approaches writing songs, having that extra dimension to the instrument. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, here's the thing: honestly, it didn't really change things at all, which was my intent.

"Way back on the third DREAM THEATER record, 'Awake', when we went in to record that record, or write that record, I got my first seven-string," he recalled. "I came into the studio. I'd never played a seven-string before; I was always a six-string player. And then we started writing with it, and I wrote 'The Mirror' and 'Lie' and 'Caught In A Web' and all these songs that are on 'Awake' that just became these cool fan iconic DREAM THEATER moments. I didn't think much of it. And so I wanted it to be seamless. And it was. So when it was time to kind of consider, what would an eight-string bring to the table? What would an even more extended range do? I sort of wanted to have that same experience. So I purposely didn't play eight-string at all — I never played one — until I got the prototypes of my Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty eight-string. And then I really had the same kind of experience. We wrote the song 'Awaken The Master' that's on 'A View From The Top Of The World'; that was the first thing I wrote on it. And so just because it was one of my signature guitars, it felt really familiar. The extended range and the things about it that are different didn't throw me, but it kind of just helped open up a new world of dimension and range with the instrument. So, [it's] so much fun."

DREAM THEATER kicked off its "Dreamsonic" tour this past Friday (June 16) at E-B Center At Cedar Park in Cedar Park, Texas. For the final song of their set, "The Spirit Carries On", they were joined by tourmates Devin Townsend and ANIMALS AS LEADERS.

The 29-city "Dreamsonic" trek will wrap up July 26 in Phoenix, Arizona. Along the way, the trek will make stops in Orlando, Florida (June 23); New York (June 28); Cleveland, Ohio (July 8); and Denver, Colorado (July 15),to name a few.

"The Alien", a track from DREAM THEATER's latest album, "A View From The Top Of The World", landed the band its first-ever Grammy in the "Best Metal Performance" category at the 64th annual Grammy Awards, which was held in April 2022 in Las Vegas. DREAM THEATER's previous Grammy nominations were for the song "On The Backs Of Angels", from 2011's "A Dramatic Turn Of Events" album, and the single "The Enemy Inside" from 2013's "Dream Theater".

"A View From The Top Of The World" was described in a press released as "DREAM THEATER at its musical finest, expanding on the sound they helped create while maintaining the elements that have garnered them devoted fans around the globe." The seven-song album also marked the second studio album with InsideOut Music/Sony Music. The artwork was created by longtime cover collaborator Hugh Syme (RUSH, IRON MAIDEN, STONE SOUR). "A View From The Top Of The World" was produced by Petrucci, engineered and additional production by James "Jimmy T" Meslin and mixed/mastered by Andy Sneap.

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