John Petrucci

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John Petrucci
Dreamtheater - Wacken Open Air 2015-1619.jpg
John Petrucci in 2015
Background information
Birth name John Peter Petrucci
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 49)
Kings Park, Long Island, New York
Genres Progressive metal, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1984–present
Labels Roadrunner, Sound Mind Music, Magna Carta
Associated acts Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Explorers Club, G3, Nightmare Cinema
Notable instruments
Ernie Ball Music Man "Majesty" (2013–present)
Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Signature Model (1999–present)
Ibanez JPM John Petrucci Signature (pre-1999)

John Peter Petrucci (born July 12, 1967) is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. With his former bandmate Mike Portnoy, he has produced all Dream Theater albums from 1999's Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory to 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings, and has been the sole producer of the band's albums released since Portnoy's departure in 2010. Petrucci was named as the third player on the G3 tour six times, more than any other invited guitarist. Joel McIver's 2009 book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists ranks Petrucci second, after Dave Mustaine.[1] He was also named as one of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time" by GuitarOne magazine.[2] In 2012, Petrucci was ranked the 17th greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine reader's poll.[3]


John Petrucci was born on July 12, 1967, in Kings Park, New York, to an Italian American family. He picked up the guitar at the age of eight because his older sister was allowed to go to bed later in order to practice the piano. However, he decided to quit the guitar when his attempts to stay up late were unsuccessful. He picked up the guitar again at the age of 12. Petrucci has said he committed to practicing guitar 6 hours a day when he discovered it was his passion. His early influences were bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and later developed an interest in progressive rock and heavy metal, exemplified by Rush, Yes, Iron Maiden, Dixie Dregs and Metallica.[4][5]

Eventually, his childhood friend and future Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore invited Petrucci to join his cover band. Petrucci attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with childhood friend John Myung (bass), where they met future bandmate Mike Portnoy (drums). While in Berklee they often covered two of their biggest influences, Iron Maiden and Rush. These three, in addition to Kevin Moore, formed the band Majesty. Because there was already another band with the same name, the group later became Dream Theater.

While Petrucci is most commonly associated with Dream Theater, he is also in the project band Liquid Tension Experiment, and has appeared as a guest on records by other artists, such as the Age of Impact album by the Explorer's Club.

Petrucci has released a guitar instructional video, Rock Discipline, which covers warm-up exercises, exercises to avoid injury while playing, alternate picking, sweep picking, chords and other techniques for developing one's guitar playing. Petrucci also has a book named "Guitar World presents John Petrucci's Wild Stringdom", which was compiled from columns he wrote for Guitar World magazine under that title.

In 2001, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai invited Petrucci to tour with them on the popular G3 guitar tour, which exposed him to a massive number of new fans and inspired a solo album. The album, Suspended Animation, was released on March 1, 2005, and was available for order from his web site. Petrucci also appeared on the 2005 and 2006 G3 tours, and in 2007, went on G3 tour again, this time with Paul Gilbert and Joe Satriani. In a recent video with Larry DiMarzio, Petrucci announced that he is working on a follow up to his 2004 album, Suspended Animation and a new Dream Theater album.[6]

Petrucci also wrote and recorded two instrumental soundtrack songs for a Sega Saturn game titled Digital Pinball: Necronomicon. Each track is roughly two minutes long, and are named simply Prologue and Epilogue. In a spoof rock band, Nightmare Cinema (which was the Dream Theater members changing instruments for a gig), he used the "alternate stage name" Johnny James.

In 2012, Petrucci was invited once again to join Joe Satriani in his G3 tour with Steve Morse. His Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini, and his former G3 bass player Dave LaRue accompanied him on the tour.

Dream Theater bandmate Jordan Rudess revealed in an interview that Petrucci is a practicing Catholic.[7] He currently lives in St. James, New York, with his wife Rena Sands, a guitarist in the all-female heavy metal band Meanstreak, and they have three children—twins Samantha and Renato, and Kiara. He is the uncle of Jake Bowen, a guitarist in the progressive metal band Periphery. He is also an avid fan of bodybuilding and dedicates much of his off time to weight training. He is a voting member of NARAS.[8]

Musical style[edit]

Guitar technique[edit]

John Petrucci during a concert in 2012.

Petrucci is respected for his variety of guitar styles and skills. One of the most notable of these is his high speed alternate picking which, as he himself claims, requires a "strong sense of synchronization between the two [playing] hands." John is notable for frequent use of the seven-string electric guitar, which he says he uses as a writing tool, taking advantage of the extended range for heavier riffing and to play extended range runs as part of a solo. Moreover, Petrucci often combines his metal shredding technique with a slower, emotive soloing style. His influences as a guitarist include Steve Morse, Al Di Meola, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen and David Gilmour.[5][9]


Petrucci is the only band member in Dream Theater to have contributed lyrics to every album, and his lyrics have been used for at least three songs on each. These include, among others, "Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper", "The Spirit Carries On", "The Great Debate", "In the Presence of Enemies", and "Through Her Eyes". Petrucci uses real-life experiences for lyrical inspiration, as can be heard in the songs "The Count of Tuscany", "A Nightmare to Remember" and "Endless Sacrifice".


Petrucci has acted as a backing vocalist live since the Awake Tour. He is a baritone, producing a sound darker than that of James LaBrie's tenor voice. He has also written vocal melodies for Dream Theater. Petrucci's role as a vocalist expanded following the departure of Mike Portnoy, who had been Dream Theater's primary backing vocalist and occasionally even shared lead vocals with LaBrie. In live performances, Petrucci now replicates some vocal parts originally sung by Portnoy, with others being recorded samples.


Petrucci is a long-time user of Musicman guitars and Mesa Boogie amplifiers. His pedalboard setup has changed a little over the years, usually changing to different modulation or overdrive pedals, while maintaining a similar setup and sound throughout - the key to his tone still remaining the Mesa Boogie distortion.[10][11][12]

A handful of brands have released John Petrucci signature guitar gear:

  • MusicMan released John Petrucci signature guitars
  • Dunlop released John Petrucci signature "jazz" guitar picks
  • TC Electronic released the Dreamscape John Petrucci signature fx pedal.

In the beginning of 2016 two new releases were announced: the Dunlop John Petrucci signature Cry-Baby wah, and the Mesa/Boogie JP-2C John Petrucci guitar head amp, which is available is three different versions: regular, rackmount or Limited-edition.[13]



  • John Petrucci
  • John Petrucci BFR
  • JPX
  • JPXI
  • JP12
  • JP13
  • JP15
  • JP16 (With Floyd Rose Bridge)
  • Majesty
  • Artisan Majesty


  • Ibanez JPM


  • Taylor Acoustic Guitar (916ce, 856ce, 712ce Taylor's 30th anniversary)

Amps and Effects:

  • Mesa/Boogie JP-2C John Petrucci signature Mark Series amp head
  • Fractal Audio Axe FX 2
  • Framptone A/B Box
  • TC Electronic Dreamscape John Petrucci Signature
  • Dunlop DCR-2SR Crybaby Rack Module "John Petrucci signature Cry-Baby wah"
  • Axess Electronics Switchers
  • Keeley Mod TS9DX Flexi-4X2
  • Analog Man King Of Tone
  • Analog Man TS808 Mod
  • BOSS PH-3 Phaser
  • MXR EVH Flanger
  • Carl Martin Compressor
  • Mark Snyder Custom Interface/ Switcher
  • Furman AR Pro Power Conditioner

Pedals Board:

  • RJM Mastermind GT/22 MIDI Foot Controller
  • Axess Electronics FX-1 MIDI Foot Controller
  • Ernie Ball 25K Stereo Volume Pedal
  • Dunlop Crybaby Remote Pedal
  • Boss TU-3 Tuner
  • Dunlop Crybaby Remote Pedal for Center Stage
  • Custom Steel Diamond plate Foot Rests with Buttkicker Drivers installed for that ultimate thump!


  • Mesa Boogie Traditional Rectifier 4X12 Cabinets with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers


  • DiMarzio Signature Crunch Lab (Bridge)
  • DiMarzio Signature LiquiFire (Neck)
  • DiMarzio Signature Illuminator (Since 2013)


  • Ernie Ball RPS


  • Jim Dunlop Signature JP Shield Black Jazz III

Cables and Connectors: Mogami Neutrik

Guitar Straps:

  • DiMarzio Black Cliplock

In Ear Monitors:

  • Sensaphonics 2 XS

Other pedals that have been spotted on his board include:

  • MXR EVH-117 Flanger
  • MXR EVH Phase 90
  • TC Electronic Helix Phaser
  • Ibanez TS9DX Tube Screamer
  • Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer
  • TC Electronic PolyTune 2
  • Boss TU3[13]


Solo albums[edit]

With Dream Theater[edit]

Studio albums

With Liquid Tension Experiment[edit]

With G3[edit]

With Jordan Rudess[edit]

As a guest[edit]


  • Working ManVarious Artists (A tribute to Rush) (1996)
  • Dragon AttackVarious Artists (A tribute to Queen) (1997)
  • Guitar BattleVarious Artists (1998)


Year Title Notes
1993 Images and Words: Live in Tokyo First Dream Theater live DVD. Includes extended version of "Take the Time."
1995 Rock Discipline – VHS John Petrucci does a DVD on guitar warmups, tricks, exercises, and his gear.
1998 5 Years in a LIVEtime The only live Dream Theater DVD with Derek Sherinian.
2001 Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2002 Rock Discipline – DVD
2004 Live at Budokan
2005 G3: Live in Tokyo
2006 Score 2DVD's recorded at Radio City Music Hall on April 1, 2006 New York, US Celebrating Dream Theater's 20th Anniversary. They performed this concert with a symphony orchestra.
2007 Chaos in Progress: The Making of Systematic Chaos DVD included in the special edition of Systematic Chaos
2008 Chaos in Motion 2007–2008 Released September 30, 2008. Documents the band's 2007/2008 Chaos in Motion and Progressive Nation tours.
2013 Live at Luna Park
2014 Breaking the Fourth Wall 2DVD's recorded live at the Boston Opera House on March 25, 2014, released on September 29, 2014 on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray.


External links[edit]