Skip to main content

How to Play Heavy Metal Guitar with Alex Skolnick

Learn about musician Alex Skolnick, one of Howcast's metal guitar experts, in this video.


Hi, my name is Alex Skolnick. I've been playing the guitar since I was ten years old. When I was in high school, I joined a band of guys in their 20s called Legacy. We recorded our first album when I was 18 and changed our name to Testament. I spent the next five years on tour with groups such as Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Judas Priest, White Zombie, and Iron Maiden. I got a lot of great reviews in guitar magazines and started showing up in reader's polls often as best thrash guitarist.

When I was 19 years old I developed an interest in jazz guitar and world music. This had a profound effect on my development as a musician and a guitarist. At 20 I got hired to write a guitar instruction column for Guitar World Magazine. I was the first thrash guitarist ever to do so. In the early 90s I left the band to pursue other musical interests. I recorded an album with the progressive metal band Sabotage. I played with Ozzy Osbourne. I was one of only ten guitarists ever to do so. I moved to New York in the late 90s to really pursue jazz full time. I got a degree from the New School University jazz program. I released my first jazz album, Goodbye to Romance, and it got great reviews in Downbeat, JAZZIZ, and a lot of other magazines. I've recently released my fourth jazz album, Veritas, which reached the top of the iTunes jazz charts, the top ten.

In 2005, I rejoined Testament and our reunion launched the band back to the big leagues. We did our highest charting album ever, called the Formation of Damnation. That received a Golden God Award. And we've since rejoined a lot of the bands we used to tour with. We're about to do a second album, a reunion album. It's called Dark Roots of Earth. I'm about to release a memoir. You can follow me on Twitter or on my website,

I hope you enjoy my Howcast series on How to Play Heavy Metal Guitar.

Popular Categories