The latest guitar hero to fall under our scrutiny is someone many found out about first through the video game Guitar Hero.
When ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’ was included for that game people who hadn’t already discovered Dragonforce became aware of the technical wizardry and speed play that’s become the group’s hallmark. The song’s official video even focuses on just how much practice goes into the performance, with an extended picture-in-picture sequence during the guitar solo.
It’s safe to say that Herman Li has turned the heads of music fans and performers alike who don’t necessarily even know his name. But aside from the years of practice, what do you need to get the sound that’s made him famous and take his place in the next big music video game franchise?
Herman’s picks of choice are Dunlop Tortex Medium picks, able to hold up under the pressure of the performance he gives. His three stage guitars are all Ibanez Egen models, using the Egen 18, Egen 8, and the Egen 7-String for different songs. Tuning is standard and the strings are 9-46 gauge except for his seven-string, which uses 9-59. He uses a wireless unit to feed this to his All Access Midi Controller by Rocktron, which is worked by a tech backstage.
On stage Herman has a Dunlop Wah controller and Digitech Whammy. These also feed into the Midi Controller, which also incorporates a second Dunlop Wah, a Korg rack tuner, a Multi-FX controller, two Digitech Harmonymans, and a host of Boss products including the Chorus Ensemble, Power Stack, Super Octave, and Super Shifter.
The attention to detail that goes into mastering the quick, complex fingering required for a Dragonforce song is definitely clear in the whole of Herman’s rig.
Even if you don’t want to duplicate his sound completely, you have to respect the care and attention he’s taken – and we think you’ll see as this series goes on that it’s shared by many if not most of the greats.