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The Info List - Jason Becker


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Jason Eli Becker (born July 22, 1969) is an American heavy metal guitarist and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony
Speed Metal Symphony
in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up in 1989 and Becker began doing solo work, having released his first album Perpetual Burn
Perpetual Burn
in 1988, also through Shrapnel. He later joined David Lee Roth's band and recorded one album with him, A Little Ain't Enough. Becker's performing career was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In 1996, Becker lost the ability to speak, and he now communicates with his eyes via a system developed by his father. Despite his disability, he continues composing by using a computer and has since released with Shrapnel Collection, a "best of" album of his favorite songs and three new songs.

Contents

1 Biography and career

1.1 Hometown, birthplace, school and early years 1.2 Cacophony and solo career 1.3 Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 1.4 Perspective and the Berry Jams 1.5 Collection 1.6 Boy Meets Guitar 1.7 New album

2 Musical style 3 Equipment

3.1 Paradise Guitar 3.2 Kiesel/ Carvin
Carvin
Tribute Guitars

4 Documentary film 5 Clinics 6 Discography 7 References 8 External links

Biography and career[edit] Hometown, birthplace, school and early years[edit] Becker was born and raised in Richmond, California, by his parents, Gary and Patricia (Heffley) Becker. He was born in Richmond Hospital on 23rd Street in 1969. His maternal grandfather was actor Wayne Heffley.[2] Becker graduated from Kennedy High School where he performed Yngwie Malmsteen's "Black Star" with his band at a talent show. [1] While still in high school, Becker was introduced to Marty Friedman. He was exposed to the guitar at an early age because both his father and his uncle were guitar players. He absorbed all kinds of music from around the world and melded different aspects of each style into his playing. He cited Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
and Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen
as early influences.[3] Cacophony and solo career[edit] Becker started out playing alongside Marty Friedman
Marty Friedman
in the Mike Varney-produced duo, Cacophony. Together, they put out an album, and toured Japan and the U.S. While they never went mainstream in the U.S., they proved popular enough in Europe to sell out almost every performance. [2] In 1989 Friedman left to join Megadeth
Megadeth
and Becker began to pursue a solo career, having released his first solo album titled 'Perpetual Burn' in 1988. He has since released the albums Perspective and Collection, as well as two albums of demos, entitled The Raspberry Jams
The Raspberry Jams
and The Blackberry Jams. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis[edit] At the age of 20, he joined David Lee Roth's band to work on Roth's album A Little Ain't Enough, replacing Steve Vai, who had joined Whitesnake. In 1990 Becker won the coveted Best New Guitarist award from Guitar Magazine. [3] While preparing for the album, Becker began to feel what he called a "lazy limp" in his left leg. He was soon diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig's Disease) and was given three to five years to live. He finished the recording using lighter (thinner) gauge guitar strings and other techniques, which made it easier for him to play with his weakening hands. Although he managed to finish the album, which was released in 1991, he did not join the supporting tour due to his inability to perform on stage; former Lizzy Borden guitarist Joe Holmes
Joe Holmes
took Becker's place on tour. His ALS
ALS
gradually robbed him of his ability to play guitar, to walk, and eventually his ability to speak. He now communicates with his eyes via a system developed by his father. He remains mentally sharp and, with the aid of a computer, continues composing. In the back of the Perspective CD case, Becker states "I have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It has crippled my body and speech, but not my mind." His medical condition has remained stable since 1997. In 2003, Becker posted on his website that he was feeling better and had gained some weight, while the folder for his 2008 album Collection also mentions an upcoming book. Perspective and the Berry Jams[edit] In 1996, Becker released an album entitled Perspective, an instrumental album composed by him (with the exception of Bob Dylan's song "Meet Me in the Morning"). The writing of the music had been started before ALS
ALS
completely crippled his abilities. By using guitar, and, later, when he was unable to use both hands, a keyboard, he continued to compose while his disease worsened. However, when Becker could no longer physically play even a keyboard, his friend and music producer Mike Bemesderfer[4] helped him with a music-composing computer program that reads movements of his head and eyes, enabling Becker to continue to compose after he lost control of the rest of his body. Several years later, Becker released Raspberry Jams (1999) and Blackberry Jams (2003); the first contained various unreleased demo-tracks, and the latter contained demo-tracks and alternate versions of songs that were later reworked and published into other albums. Two tribute albums to Jason Becker have been issued. Respectively entitled Warmth in the Wilderness
Warmth in the Wilderness
I and Warmth in the Wilderness
Warmth in the Wilderness
II, they feature guitarists such as Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, Joe Becker, Rusty Cooley, and Mattias Eklundh. The album profits were sent to Becker to help him with his medical finances. Collection[edit] Main article: Collection ( Jason Becker album) On November 4, 2008, Shrapnel Records
Shrapnel Records
released a new Jason Becker album entitled Collection. The album includes three new songs in addition to some older recordings (some never before released) and features Marty Friedman, Greg Howe, Joe Satriani, Michael Lee Firkins, Steve Vai, and Steve Hunter. Boy Meets Guitar[edit] On August 20, 2010, Becker declared that he was considering releasing an album of music he recorded when he was in his teenage years. He has since released this album, titled Boy Meets Guitar, in 2012.[5] New album[edit] On October, 2016, Jason launched a campaign to fund his new album, which is estimated for release in July 2017. The campaign raised more than $100,000.[6] Musical style[edit] Considered a virtuoso guitarist and one of the top players of his time, Jason Becker studied the works of violinist Niccolò Paganini and was a playing partner with Marty Friedman. He later arranged Paganini's 5th Caprice, performing it during an instructional guitar video. Becker's compositions often include high speed scalar and arpeggio passages—trademarks of his 'shred' style of guitar playing. Often incorporating advanced techniques such as sweep picking, alternate picking, artificial harmonic accenting, and tapping; he was among the leaders of the field during the technical 'shred' guitar and Neo-Classical Metal trend of the mid to late eighties and is still respected and honored by his musician peers today. The song Serrana appearing in the album Perspective, is an example of his sweep-picking skills. [4] He demonstrated the arpeggio sequence during a clinic at the Atlanta Institute of Music. A video of this performance first appeared on his Hot Licks guitar instructional video.[7] Equipment[edit] Becker's first guitar was a Franciscan acoustic. Prior to joining Cacophony in 1987, Becker worked his way through the Franciscan, a Takamine acoustic, a Fender Musicmaster, and finally, a black "Dan Smith" era Fender Stratocaster
Fender Stratocaster
(likely a 1982 or 1983 model) with a DiMarzio Steve Morse humbucker in the bridge (seen in the "Black Star" video, circa 1986). On his message board, Becker said "I recorded SMS [Speed Metal Symphony] with my Strat." For his next guitar, Becker said on his message board "Mike Varney got Hurricane
Hurricane
to endorse us after we recorded Speed Metal Symphony. I liked how they were like Strats, only beefier." On Perpetual Burn, Becker said on his message board: "I used my white and black Hurricane
Hurricane
guitar for everything. For clean tone I went direct. For dirty tone I used a 100 Watt Marshall with a Boss Super Overdrive pedal." The Moridira Hurricane
Hurricane
guitar he used is called a Limited Edition LTD.2 model, believed to be made in Japan. (It is not a Hurricane
Hurricane
EX series, which appears to be lower quality.) His LTD.2 was a "strat copy", but with a HSS pickup setup, a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard, and unique Floyd Rose
Floyd Rose
where you don't have to cut the strings. For pickups, Becker said on his message board: "I just used the stock pickups it came with." The pickups were Japanese-made pickups. While Becker is pictured with a blue Hurricane
Hurricane
guitar on the cover of Perpetual Burn, he actually did not use this blue guitar on the album. Differences on this guitar from his first Hurricane
Hurricane
include DiMarzio pickups, a maple fretboard, and 24 frets. (Interestingly Marty Friedman recorded the whammy parts of his song "Dragon Mistress" using Becker's blue Hurricane, one of the rare times Marty has recorded whammy work.) For the second Cacophony album, Becker switched over to Carvin
Carvin
gear, utilizing 2 DC Series models, one in a trans blue finish with flamed maple top, and another one in a solid burgundy finish (This is the guitar seen in the famous "Yo Yo" video from the 1989 Japan tour with Cacophony). Both have double cutaway bodies, Kahler locking tremolo systems, 6 in line machine heads and 2 Carvin
Carvin
humbucker pickups. He used these up until he was diagnosed with ALS
ALS
in 1989. During the sessions for A Little Ain't Enough, Becker used various Carvin, Ibanez, ESP and Valley Arts guitars, as well as a Les Paul on some tracks and a Gibson acoustic for select things. Becker has also been pictured with a few Hamer superstrats as well. From 1989–1991, Becker used various guitars, most notably a Peavey custom model with the numbered fretboard markers. Also used were an Ibanez
Ibanez
Custom Shop guitar (probably based on an RG), a custom from Performance Guitars, a couple of various unknown Strat style guitars and a black Hurricane with 3 single coil pickups. As of very recently, Becker has allowed Paradise Guitars USA to release a Jason Becker signature guitar. It is similar in appearance to the numbered Peavey but with a different headstock shape. Becker used various types of amplifiers in his music. Before joining Cacophony, he used a small Peavey Studio Pro 40 with the older style Peavey vertical silver stripes on the grille cloth. During his early days Becker was also seen with a red Marshall JCM800 head and 4x12 cabinet. For the first Cacophony album, Becker used an ADAMP1 preamp. He recorded Perpetual Burn
Perpetual Burn
with a borrowed '70s Marshall half stack and a BOSS Super Overdrive and Cacophony's second album was recorded with a Carvin
Carvin
X100B stack. For the David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth
album A Little Ain't Enough, Becker used "eight different Marshall amps." He also used the SX300H head at some point during that era. After Cacophony Becker used various amps, including a "Fender M80", an unknown Marshall amp, an ADA Preamp and possibly the aforementioned Peavey combo. Becker typically used Dean Markley and SIT strings [5] Paradise Guitar[edit] In 2008 Paradise Guitars worked with Becker to design a Jason Becker signature guitar. The design is based on the Peavey with colored number fret inlays. Features include an alder body, maple neck with steel 2-way truss rod, maple 16" radius fingerboard, 24 jumbo thin frets with colored number fret marker inlays, black Floyd Rose
Floyd Rose
Pro Style floating Tremolo with Floyd Rose
Floyd Rose
Tremolo stop, Sperzel red satin tuners, 14-degree tilt-back headstock with black Paradise logo and matching tremolo and electronics plates. The pickups are DiMarzio pickups; a PAF Pro-Custom in the neck colored yellow and red, a DP116 HS-2 in the middle colored green, and a Tone Zone-Custom in the bridge colored pink and blue. These colored pickups complement the colored inlays and seem to give the guitar a rainbow effect. There is also a red 5-way switch and purple 1–11 volume knob.[8] Kiesel/ Carvin
Carvin
Tribute Guitars[edit] In 2012 Carvin
Carvin
worked with Becker to design the JB200C Jason Becker Tribute, a guitar that is modeled after the original DC200 guitar he used toward the latter part of his career. The guitar features an Alder
Alder
body with flamed maple top, maple neck with a flamed maple fingerboard, a Floyd Rose
Floyd Rose
tremolo, jumbo frets, 2 humbuckers, active electronics, and comes standard in a transparent blue finish. In 2015, Kiesel Guitars, which took over Carvin's guitar manufacturing, worked with Becker to release a second tribute model, called the JB24 "Numbers" guitar. It is the third incarnation of his "Numbers" guitar, previously released by Peavey and Paradise guitars, and is also one of the first Carvin
Carvin
guitars to feature a 24-fret bolt-on neck, alongside the GH24 Greg Howe
Greg Howe
signature model released in the same year. It features a tung-oiled ash body, maple neck and fingerboard, colored number inlays, stainless steel frets, and 3 custom-colored Seymour Duncan
Seymour Duncan
pickups ( Perpetual Burn
Perpetual Burn
in the bridge, Vintage Hot Stack in the middle, and Jazz in the neck).[9] For the official launch of Becker's signature Seymour Duncan
Seymour Duncan
Perpetual Burn Humbucker and the Carvin
Carvin
JB24 numbers guitar, Danny Young was chosen as the guitarist for both performances due to stylistic resemblance to Jason Becker and Niccolo Paganini. The Perpetual Burn performance was played on the Carvin
Carvin
JB200C. These performances led to the widespread notability of Danny Young's virtuosity in the guitar community and an authority in the tone and playing style of Jason Becker.[10][11][12][13] Documentary film[edit] A feature-length documentary film about the life of Jason Becker entitled Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, was released in 2012. The film includes interviews with Becker, his family and friends, and the various musicians he's worked with, including Marty Friedman, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Richie Kotzen, and Steve Hunter.[14] The film was generally well received by fans and critics and won many awards.[15] Clinics[edit] Atlanta Institute of Music

Year: 1989 Gear: Carvin
Carvin
DC200, Marshall Amp, Alesis quadraverb

Japan Clinic

Year: 1989 Gear: Carvin
Carvin
DC200

Discography[edit] Cacophony

Speed Metal Symphony
Speed Metal Symphony
(1987) Go Off!
Go Off!
(1988)

Marty Friedman

Dragon's Kiss
Dragon's Kiss
(1988) Inferno (2014)

Solo

Perpetual Burn
Perpetual Burn
(1988) Perspective (1996) The Raspberry Jams
The Raspberry Jams
(1999) The Blackberry Jams
The Blackberry Jams
(2003) Collection (2008) Boy Meets Guitar, Vol. 1 of the Youngster Tapes (2012)

David Lee Roth

A Little Ain't Enough
A Little Ain't Enough
(1991)

Joe Becker

Short Stories (2005)

Other works

Richie Kotzen
Richie Kotzen
(1989, producer) Daydream by the Hudson on Steve Hunter's 2013 The Manhattan Blues Project

Compilations

Guitar Masters, 1989, Roadrunner Records Metal Guitars – High Voltage Instrumentals,1998, Disky Communications Shrapnel's Super Shredders: Neoclassical,2009, Shrapnel This is Shredding, Vol. 1, 2009, Shrapnel This is Shredding, Vol. 2, 2009, Shrapnel

Tribute

Warmth in the Wilderness: A Tribute to Jason Becker, 2001, Lion Music Warmth in Wilderness 2: Tribute Jason Becker, 2002, Lion Music Jason Becker's Not Dead Yet! (Live in Haarlem), 2012, Primal Events

Instructional

Hot Licks – The Legendary Guitar of Jason Becker In The Style Of Jason Becker, feat. Max Dible. DC Music School[16]

Films

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet (2012) One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das (2012)

References[edit]

^ Rock on: Richmond world-renowned guitarist has lived more than two decades with ALS, Matthias Gafni, Contra Costa Times, March 23, 2012, access date March 26, 2012 ^ "Biography for Wayne Heffley". imdb.com. Retrieved December 21, 2013.  ^ " Jason Becker may issue previously unreleased songs written with David Lee Roth". blabbermouth.net. 2015-01-07. Retrieved 2015-11-27.  ^ Gold, Jude. "GuitarPlayer: Jason Becker". GuitarPlayer.com.  ^ "Becker confirming album project". Jasonbeckerguitar.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28.  ^ https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/jason-becker-s-new-album-music-guitar ^ " Jason Becker playing Serrana arpeggio section (from YouTube.com)". Retrieved 2012-02-28.  ^ Paradise Guitars USA Archived December 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "New Guitars of 2015 With Seymour Duncan
Seymour Duncan
Pickups".  ^ Kiesel Guitars
Kiesel Guitars
(2015-05-11), Carvin
Carvin
Guitars Jason Becker's JB24 "Numbers" Signature Model 24 Fret
Fret
Guitar, retrieved 2018-03-12  ^ Seymour Duncan
Seymour Duncan
(2014-05-08), Jason Becker Perpetual Burn
Perpetual Burn
Pickup, retrieved 2018-03-12  ^ "Blazing "Betcha Can't Play This" Supports Jason Becker's New Album Project". Guitar World. Retrieved 2018-03-12.  ^ Becker, Jason (2016-10-26). "Thank you so much Danny Young and Guitar World!...http://fb.me/4B3d6x3th". @jasonelibecker. Retrieved 2018-03-12.  ^ "Website for the movie". Jasonbeckermovie.com. July 22, 1969. Retrieved 2012-02-28.  ^ "Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet". imdb.com. Retrieved October 4, 2013.  ^ "In The Style Of Jason Becker". DC Music School. 

External links[edit]

Jason Becker's official website Becker's MySpace page Shrapnel Records
Shrapnel Records
official website Documentary film website http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/assignment_7&id=6528617

v t e

Jason Becker

Solo albums

Perpetual Burn
Perpetual Burn
(1988) Perspective (1996) The Raspberry Jams
The Raspberry Jams
(1999) The Blackberry Jams
The Blackberry Jams
(2003) Collection (2008)

Cacophony

Speed Metal Symphony Go Off!

Related

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet Warmth in the Wilderness: A Tribute to Jason Becker Marty Friedman

v t e

Marty Friedman

Solo albums

Dragon's Kiss Scenes Introduction True Obsessions Music for Speeding Loudspeaker Future Addict Tokyo Jukebox Tokyo Jukebox
Tokyo Jukebox
2 Inferno

Hawaii

One Nation Underground Loud, Wild and Heavy The Natives Are Restless

Cacophony

Speed Metal Symphony Go Off!

Related artists

Jason Becker Megadeth Shout

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 84211514 LCCN: n95061144 ISNI: 0000 0000 7841 1724 BNF: cb14044048h (data) MusicBrainz: 5cec93ac-6c6e-4902

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