Rusty Cooley’s Corner – The King of Shred


Only the best and brightest guitarists are featured on my site.  From up and coming to legends.  If you don’t know who Rusty Cooley is, you’re going to find out.  This page is to familiarize you with the King of Shred, Rusty Cooley.  Rusty’s resume is long and distinguished. Talent like this is very few and far between.  Rusty receives praise from fellow guitarists all over the world.  With over 30 years of music, instructional videos, and teaching, Rusty Cooley has amassed a huge fan base with his electrifying playing.  Whoever said that shred is dead, hasn’t been introduced to the King of Shred, Rusty Cooley! –Andrew Catania

Guitarist Rusty Cooley received his first guitar on his 15th birthday and never looked back. Unsatisfied with local Instructors, Rusty began teaching himself through Doug Mark’s Metal Method and various other instructional books and video’s. During High School, Rusty took music theory classes and also attended the National Guitar Workshop. He performed solo guitar in high school talent shows and performed such pieces as Van Halen’sEruption” and Randy RhoadsRevelation Mother Earth” solos. During his senior year, Rusty was offered his first teaching job at the same store, that just three years earlier, he had bought his first guitar. Some of Rusty’s early influences included: Rhoads, Malmsteen, Becker, Gilbert, Holdsworth, Paganini, Bach, Vai, Gambale, Moore, MacAlpine, Taffolla, Friedman, Howe, Kotzen, Firkins, and Housholder. He was also influenced by many styles including Jazz, Classical, Funk, Blues and even Country if you can believe that. There were times when Rusty was pulled in so many different directions by music, he didn’t know if he wanted to be a Classical Conductor or a Jazz guitarist.

After graduating High School, Rusty continued studying Music Theory at the local college, as well as Music History and Class Piano. In 1989, Rusty joined the local rock band Revolution. Revolution wrote, performed and recorded all original music. They became one of Houston’s top drawing bands. Revolution opened for national acts like Badlands, Nitro, Every Mothers Nightmare, and South Gang. In 1992, Revolution released a four-song EP. Revolution’s music was once described as Skid Row meets Yngwie Malmsteen. Revolution made two appearances on a local TV show called “Metallurgy” and “Metallurgy Unplugged.” Rusty also taught guitar on a college TV show called “Stay Tuned.” In 1993, Rusty quit the band due to musical differences and started a new band Dominion. Dominion wrote and performed locally as well but was short lived and broke up in 1995. Also, during 1995 Rusty entered and won the “Guitar Master Series” winning the title of “Best Guitarist” in Houston.


1996 marked the beginning of a new direction. Rusty bought his first 7-string guitar and decided it was time to go for it on his own. Rusty went back to the woodshed and started working on his guitar playing intensely pushing himself to new levels. Along with this came a whole new list of influences that fueled the fire.  Shawn Lane, Derek Taylor, Buckethead, Todd Duane, Scott Stine and Haji’s Kitchen. It was during this period that Rusty began to work on instrumental guitar compositions. These songs represented his desire to record an over-the-top guitar instrumental release featuring state of the art chops and strong melodic content. Rusty was selected as a runner-up in the AIM “Jason Becker Scholarship Search.” Rusty hosted three episodes of a local cable show called “World Class Guitar Techniques,” which aired in the Houston area. Rusty taught for the National Guitar Summer Workshop in 96, 97, 98 at the Austin and Connecticut Campuses.

In October 1997, the band Outworld was formed to record and perform instrumental music. In March 1998, Rusty was invited to join Shrapnel recording artists Haji’s Kitchen but had to decline due to relocation problems.

In 2000, Rusty released an instructional CD-ROM “Shred Guitar Manifesto” and gained endorsements with Jackson Guitars and Seymour Duncan pickups. Rusty also started doing guitar clinics as well. Rusty’s presence on the Internet was growing, and his music started getting great reviews, which followed with interviews and instructional columns. His music was featured on several compilation CDs as well. Outworld performed at the internationally acclaimed “Bang Your Head Festival” in Houston and was featured on Robb’s Metalworks a San Antonio, Texas Heavy Metal TV show. In August 2001, Rusty left Outworld and Houston to move to Alpharetta Georgia. After a short time in Georgia, two more instructional CD-ROMs “Extreme Pentatonics” and “The Art of Picking” where released. Soon after, Rusty was asked to headline Jemfest in Orlando, Florida in 2002. Additional endorsements followed: EMG pickups, VHT Amps, and Digital Music Co. In late 2002 the instrumental CD was finished, and Rusty began looking for a record label. He also had a custom eight-string guitar hand made by Bill Conklin of Conklin Guitars.


In 2003 some exciting events occurred and soon Rusty signed with Lion Music and the debut CD was released in January. In April, Rusty was given the honor of the “7th Fastest Shredder of all Time” in Guitar One Magazine. In May, Rusty moved back to Texas. Not wanting to be known for shred skills alone, he and Bobby Williamson reformed Outworld as a vocal band. While undergoing a number of personnel changes, Outworld recorded its self-titled debut CD which was released in late 2006 to both critical and artist acclaim. With the success of Outworld’s debut CD, and increasing notoriety in guitar circles, Rusty garnered a significant number of endorsements with Dean Guitars, EMG pickups, Diamond Amplification, Morley, Intellitouch, SIT Strings, Spectraflex CablesRocktron, Maxon, GHS strings, VHT, Conklin, and Eventide. And 2007 saw the development and release of his Dean Signature Guitar, the RC7 Xenocide. Rusty has also been featured in Guitar Player, Guitar One, Guitar World, Guitar Techniques magazines, Axe and written his own column for Guitar Player magazine titled “Metal Guru”. With a stable and impressive band lineup, Rusty is currently writing and recording Outworld’s second CD which promises to capitalize on the strengths of the debut CD and demolish all expectations. In August 2007 Outworld won 10,000 in a Famecast contest similar to American Idol where viewers watched and voted for the favorite artist.

In 2010, Rusty formed the band Day of Reckoning.  With its blistering guitar work, scorching vocals, and heavy sound, Rusty knew he had all of the ingredients for a successful group.

“Remember to live, eat, sleep and breathe music for the mind, play from your heart and never be swayed by the current trends.” -Rusty Cooley





Rusty Cooley Signature Series Power Wound 7-String picture

“Outworld” Self-titled debut release 2006
“Rusty Cooley” Self-titled debut release January 2003
“Book of Reflections,” Lion Music April 23, 2004
“Shawn Lane Remembered Vol.” May 28, 2004. Lion Music
“Warmth in the Wilderness 2” A Tribute to Jason Becker. Lion Music
“Prog Power 4” A showcase sample
“Prog Power 3” A showcase sample
“The Alchemist” Liquid Note Records
“Fresh Blood Vol. 4” Progressive Arts Records
Guitar 2001 Magazine Presents “Lick This.”
Guitarapalooza Vol. l.
Ballbuster Magazine “Ball One Strike One.”
Generation Ibanez “Across the Miles.”
Revolution, self-titled 4-song EP


Instructional products (DVD, VHS and CD ROMS):
Shred Guitar Manifesto
Extreme Pentatonics
Basic Training
The Art of Picking
Rusty Cooley performance/clinic
Rusty Cooley Performance/Clinic 2

Television appearances:
Stay Tuned
Metallurgy Live
Metallurgy Unplugged
World Class Guitar Techniques
Robb’s Metal Works


Rusty Cooley Info:!rusty-cooley/c6au–tab–audio/57315

Xenocide-Rusty Cooley Signature Guitar Cable – Dual Straight Plugs



Left To Follow official video

Seven string acoustic demo

Performance video of Left To Follow Rusty in the Studio






Won Best Guitarist in Houston, Texas 1995

Ranked as one of the top 10 fastest shredders of all time in Guitar One magazine April 2003

Ranked as of the 100 Wildest Guitar Hero’s of all time Classic Rock magazine April 2007

Listed as one of the 20 Most Blazing Shredders of all time February 2008 Total Guitar magazine.

Given an Honorable mention in Guitar World magazine’s 50 fastest guitarists of all time July 2008. 

Listed by True Fire as one the 100 plus guitar players you should know.

Guitar World magazine’s readers poll the 50 fastest shredders of all time listed at 7th 

In the “Speed King’s” issue of Guitar World magazine was listed in the top 4 of the fastest alternate pickers! 

Guitar Girl’d: Listed as one of the top 10 hottest male guitarist 2013 

Runner-up in the Jason Becker Scholarship Award at A.I.M. 


Headliner of JemFest in 2001 a charity for Steve Vai’s make a noise foundation 


Rusty Cooley’s Guitar Asylum TV Channel 55 Houston, TX, Panama City FL, on  NBC Saturday night,  following  Saturday Night Live  

World Class Guitar techniques KTLZ 22 Houston 

Stay Tuned Huntsville TX college access channel 

Metallurgy Live Houston TX 

Metallurgy unplugged, Houston, TX 

Robb’s Metal Works San Antonio, TX 

Internet performance 

Murial Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night broadcast live in over 200 countries

Famecast live.  Outworld was voted best metal band and won 10,000 in a live performance that was broadcast live on the internet.


Signature Equipment and Endorsements:

Rusty Cooley RC 6, RC7 and RC8 strings Dean Guitars 

Rusty Cooley signature guitar strings SIT Strings

Spectraflex Rusty Cooley Xenocide guitar cable

Rusty Cooley signature Swiss Pick

Reckless Wear signature shirts and accessories

Other endorsements
EMG Pickups

Bogner Amplification

Splawn Amplification

Peavey amplification
Maxon pedals

Morley pedals

Intellitouch tuners
Radial Engineering

24 Volt Mod

Affliction Clothing
Xavier clothing

Sikk Shades

Venator Watches

SIT Strings

Rusty on Itunes:



Rusty Cooley is a true master of the guitar. He possesses untouchable chops combined with the fiery conviction that is unheard of in any spectrum of music. His teaching manner is laid back, yet encouraging, and never condescending. Rusty is an inspirational force, pure and straightforward.”
Oli Herbert   (All That Remains)

Wow!! Thanks for writing. You are an amazing musician, and I am very

Excited that you enjoyed our music. I bought your shred guitar manifesto cd rom, and it helped me make huge advances in my playing. And I would say that it influenced some of the licks on our record as well. Anyway, keep shredding, talk you soon.

Buz Mcgrath (Unearth) Who from a musical standpoint has influenced you lately and might show up somehow some way in your present or future work? 

John Petrucci: There is a guy who kicked my ass in a major way – Rusty Cooley who I have become friends with. He is an ultra special ultra shred monster man, a real kick in the ass. As I’ve said, it’s like you think you can play and then you hear that stuff!”


“If there was an Olympic sport for command of the guitar then Rusty Cooley is one of the greats.”
– Mark Tremonti Feb 2008 Total Guitar magazine.

“Rusty is a super shredder from Texas with some truly scarifying chops. On 6-, 7-, and even eight-string guitars he lays down phenomenal picked and legato runs and then can sweep pick the whole place clean with death-defying arpeggios. Furthermore, he’s one of the first players to take advantage of the internet and earn a sizable web following via his site. Rusty is a prime example of the 21st-century” super shredder.”
This quote was taken from the book Shred! The Ultimate Guide To Warp Speed Guitar by Rich Maloof and Pete Prown.

“He makes Yngwie look positively pedestrian!” – Neville Marten Guitar Techniques magazine editor August 2006 issue.

“Yep, we’ve got US Uber-Shredder, Rusty Cooley on board to drive your digits crazy! So enjoy this different video column that should have you out- sweeping Yngwie, Out-legatoing Satriani, out-tapping Eddie and out-picking Petrucci. Whether this takes you a week or several years is down to your hunger for shred chops of doom!”
– Jason Sidwell Guitar Techniques magazine August 2006.

“Smoken’  Good Grief, fast mo-fo!”

“Hey, brother! Thank you for the totally fresh and ripping CDs and the mention in the liner notes.  I am totally honored.  Congratulations, man.  Good luck with it, my friend. Peace out.”
-Jason Becker

“Upon receiving Rusty’s instructional series, I saw my technique improve drastically. He is a killer player with tons of talent and songwriting expertise. Highly recommended.”


You are an amazing musician, I bought your Shred Guitar Manifesto cd rom, and it helped me make huge advances in my playing. and I would say that it influenced some of the licks on our record as well. Anyway, keep shredding, talk to you soon.
– Buzz McGrath -UNEARTH

“I’ve never heard anyone tear up a guitar like he does… that ain’t no hype… he outshoots them all.”
-Ron Thal

“Over the top 7 string….Rusty is an excellent player, on the cutting edge, taking guitar into the 21st century.”
-Michael Angelo Batio

“Rusty’s music and technical ability cannot be labeled as anything, but from another realm other than Earth, there is no other explanation!”
-Tony Smotherman

“With its imposable fast multi-positioned A minor arpeggio “Shred Guitar Manifesto” is downright scary.”
-Chris O’Bryne, Guitar One magazine

“Rusty Cooley is much more than my guitar teacher—he is my guitar mentor.  Under Rusty’s guidance, my playing ability and understanding of the fretboard have grown exponentially. Rusty is a living guitar legend, and learning with him is an invaluable experience. There are great guitar players, but there are few who like Rusty, are also GREAT teachers. For anybody who is serious about playing guitar, don’t miss the opportunity to learn from Rusty Cooley. You’ll be glad you did.”

Lee Labrada    

President/CEO Labrada Nutrition 

When I first saw Rusty Cooley play the guitar, my jaw hit the floor.  I was speechless in excitement.  I had never seen anyone ever play that well.  That day changed my life.  I knew that I had to accomplish so much much more than I ever thought was humanly possible.  To this day, I am still under his influence (no pun intended).  Every day, I always see where I can improve even though I have excelled and gotten a lot better, but I know this is just the beginning of my journey.  I have found the Messiah, the true profit of shred guitar.  He is the reason that I keep moving forward.  I am truly blessed, not only to be his disciple but to his friend.  Thank you, Rusty, much love my brother!!!!!

Chris Storey

To learn from Rusty Cooley is to learn from perhaps the most innovative, technique driven and vastly accomplished guitarist of all time…
His knowledge, methods, and ideas are the much-needed stepping stones to a much bigger and broader musical world.
Thank you, Rusty, for your time, your effort and you’re all rounded coolness.
Matty Brown – Melbourne, Australia

We used it in an interview with Rusty Cooley earlier this year, which is probably the single fastest player that I’ve interviewed. Just as a point of example, I actually never measured this before, but we had to produce tabulator for this last interview that I did with him, and towards the end of the interview, he just started, because he’s a super enthusiastic guy, and he said, “Well, you know, we’re trying to crack the code here.” I was like: “What are you doing? We’re done.” He’s like: “No, no, no, we are cracking the code.” So, I had taken the camera down already, and he just starts picking as fast as he can, so I ran over and put the thing back on. And when I tabbed it out later, it was like 16th notes at maybe 245 beats per minute, which is a good 20 or 25 beats per minute faster, I think than what you will hear comfortable from even really great players like – I don’t know – John Petrucci or Michael Angelo Batio.

And again, it’s not all about speed, but I mentioned this in the context of what were talking about earlier as far as athletic ability. There is something that some of these players bring to the table that is special. That is like a Usain Bolt-level of athletic skill that just comes from somewhere that maybe the rest of us can’t replicate. We know how Rusty’s technique works, though, the cleanliness and the accuracy part of it. That’s what we talk about in Cracking the Code. Whether you actually get up to that speed or not, that’s an athletic issue and I think I don’t know how much control we really have over that, but it’s fascinating to watch.  

“Cooley’s debut cd will make shred fans stand up and take notice while proving he’s mastered the modern guitar hero idiom”
-Dan McAvichey, Guitar Nine Records

Congratulations on all of the notoriety your excellent playing has brought you. I just listened to some cuts from your band on your My Space site and to some stuff on your site and was very impressed with the guitar work. When I first heard you over 10 years ago you showed a lot of promise but I think you have delivered on that promise and then some.
All the Best,

Mike Varney
Shrapnel Records Inc.



Dedicated to the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Guitarist!