Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads was born Randall William Rhoads in Santa Monica, California, on the 6th of December, 1956.

Randy’s parents where both music teachers. Following the departure of her Husband, Randy’s Mother Delores open a music school in North Hollywood called “Musonia”.

In place of a home audio system the Rhoad’s family made their own music, by the age of 7 Randy was studying classic and folk guitar at his Mothers musical school, he soon developed a keen interest in electric guitar playing and began taking guitar lessons with an electric guitar tutor at Musionia called Scotty Shelly.

After a short while Delores was approached by Randy’s guitar teacher Scotty and he told her he could no longer mentor Randy on account that Randy’s electric guitar playing ability had developed beyond his own and Randy was in fact teaching him new things.

As well as receiving electric guitar lessons Randy also maintained piano lessons with his Mother to further his knowledge of music theory.

In middle school Randy met Kelli Garni and began to teach him how to play the bass guitar, the two formed a band called “The Whore”. During this time Randy began to learn how to play lead guitar, which he had no knowledge of prior to forming the group.

The group performed regularly in backyard parties during the mid 1970’s, they soon evolved into a cover band called “Violet Fox” with Randy‘s older brother Kelle on drums. The group covered songs by such notable rock bands as “Mountain”, “Alice Cooper”, “The Rolling Stones” and “David Bowie”, Alice Cooper guitarist Glen Buxton and David Bowie guitar player Mick Ronson where among some of Randy’s earliest musical influences.

While still in his teens Randy began teaching the guitar at his Mothers music school, after high school he began teaching full time and performing music. Around this time Randy and bassist Kelli Garni formed a band called “Little Women”, the band soon recruited lead singer Kevin DuBrow and drummer Drew Forsyth and changed their name to “Quiet Riot”.

By 1976 Quiet Riot where one of the most popular rock acts in Los Angeles and became signed to CBS / Sony Records. After becoming disillusioned with Quiet Riot, Randy auditioned for Ozzy Osbourne who was in Los Angeles looking to form a new group. On the day Ozzy was scheduled to return to the UK Randy visited him in his Los Angeles apartment and played for him. Ozzy was so impressed with Randy’s guitar playing that he offered him the position of lead guitarist within minutes of hearing him play.


Randy is most famous for his Cream coloured Gibson Les Paul Custom, his Polka Dot Flying V made by Karl Sandoval and his white Jackson Concorde.

Randy relied primarily on Marshall amplification for the majority of his career and even had a series of modified, white Marshal amps made for him.

Randy was also famous for using a Dunlop Cry Baby Wah, a Roland RE-201 “Space Echo” and MXR pedals like the Distortion +, the Flanger and Stereo Chorus and the 10 Band EQ.

Musical Techniques, Concepts and Approaches

Randy Rhoads‘ Guitar Playing is characterised by powerful, heavy riffs and virtuostic lead guitar.

Randy’s rhythm playing was born out of the school of Ritchie Blackmore with inverted power chords and muted chugging on the low strings.

Randy’s lead guitar playing is characterised by fast picking and legato passages, minor, diminished and chromatic scales and confident vibrato.

Being a student of classical guitar, Randy often integrated classic themes into his rock compositions crediting him as one of the pioneers of neoclassical rock and metal.

Influence In Rock Guitar Playing

Randy Rhoads is considered to be one of the most influential guitar players of all time.

He is constantly cited as one of the most important figures in the development of hard rock, heavy metal and advanced rock guitar.

Randy’s uncompromising virtuosity delivered through his precise legato passages and accurate picking as well as his exotic use of minor, diminished and chromatic scales have credited him has one of the primary figures in the development of virtuostic rock guitar playing.

Randy is also recognised as a key figure in the development of the neoclassic rock genre with his classic inspired chord progressions and arpeggios.

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