Marty Friedman (born Martin Adam Friedman December 8, 1962 in Washington, D.C., United States) is an American virtuoso guitarist. He is perhaps best known as the lead guitarist for the thrash metal band Megadeth for close to ten years. He now resides in Japan with his wife, Chihiro. He hosts his own television programs, Rock Fujiyama and Jukebox English on Japanese television.
Friedman is a largely self-taught guitarist, known for his improvisation and for fusing an Eastern musical feel with Western musical styles, such as neo-classical, thrash metal and later on into progressive rock. Going beyond traditional scales, Friedman often arpeggiates the chords over which he plays, using an unconventional picking technique favouring up-strokes. He is also known for frequent use of melodic and wide vibrato.
Prior to joining Megadeth, he formed and played lead guitar in several other bands, including Deuce, Hawaii, Vixen (not the all-female band of the same name), and notably Cacophony. Cacophony featured neoclassical metal elements and synchronised twin guitar harmonies and counterpoints. Friedman also collaborated with virtuoso guitarist Jason Becker on two albums, Go Off and Speed Metal Symphony.
After Cacophony broke up in 1989, Marty Friedman auditioned for the thrash metal band Megadeth after a tip from fellow guitarist Jeff Loomis, and joined them in February 1990. The first album he recorded with them was Rust in Peace, now considered a classic thrash metal album, and sold platinum in the US He further developed his style of playing exotic scale solos from the Cacophony era, and integrated it into the music of Megadeth. In January 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), Risk (1999). After a total of five studio albums with Megadeth, Friedman left the band in December 1999. Later, he stated that he got tired of playing metal music and felt that he couldn't develop as a musician. Recently, in an interview with Ultimate-Guitar.com he claimed that Megadeth was not aggressive enough. During Friedman's time in the band, they sold over ten million albums worldwide, and the Megadeth lineup including Friedman is widely recognized as the classic one by its fans.
Currently living in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, he travels the world giving clinics, performances and master classes in dozens of countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, and South America. He has become a major force in the Japanese music scene, playing lead guitar in the bands of some of the country's most famous performers. He also appears on Japanese television and as a columnist for a major Japanese music magazine and a national daily newspaper.
Friedman speaks fluent Japanese. He became a regular member of the cast of TXN's musical TV program hebimeta-san (ヘビメタさん) (Anglofied as "Heavy-Metal San") with Japanese idol Yoko Kumada before the show came to an end in 2005. He has his own heavy metal TV program called Rock Fujiyama alongside Shelly, Kenny Guy, Rock Ninja Yorimasa and ex-Scanch member, Rolly Teranishi. In November~December 2005 he went touring with Japanese singer Ami Suzuki inside her "SUZUKI AMI AROUND THE WORLD" Live House Tour, which took place in cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
Marty has played the guitar in support for Japanese musicians such as Nanase Aikawa, miyavi and ex-Pierrot Kirito.
More recently, Marty has been featured in Jukebox, a television program in which Marty and two Japanese people translate the lyrics of various English songs into understandable Japanese.
Friedman appeared on the track "Born Of Anger" on the album All That Remains by Fozzy. Friedman is a big fan of The Ramones, Kiss (during its early years) and Frank Marino. He has also appeared on Where Moth and Rust Destroy, the latest album of the Christian thrash metal band Tourniquet.
He is currently using an Ibanez MFM1, his signature model. It very much has apperance like an SZ model.He uses Crate amps and a Boss GT6.
In 2004 Friedman joined psychedelic trance musician Takeomi Matsuura (known by the alias Zeta) as a guitarist. Their full-length debut album was released January 4, 2007, also titled Zeta, and included remixes by psychedelic trance musicians such as Astrix and Rinkadink.
Friedman's latest album, Loudspeaker (album), was released in Japan on 26 June 2006. It entered the Japanese national chart at #33. This marks the first Top 40 chart position for any of his solo albums.