He may be a multi-million selling guitarist but Mark Tremonti's attitude to his instrument is no different to the rest of us: "I'm always struggling to get better – I'm never complacent," he tells Guitarist.
Mark is as much a student of guitar technique as he is a songwriter. His tremendous growth as a player in the last five years is a testament to how these two vital elements have complimented each other.
As a player that never stops listening to others and in pursuit of new technique approaches, head of issue 335's in-depth feature on the making of the new Alter Bridge album ABIII, here he tells us about five tracks he's currently got in his sights to learn...
1. Robben Ford - Up The Line (Blue Moon, 2002)
"Robben Ford's phrasing is insane and his licks are just so different. I've got better with my ear to be able to tell where someone is going when they play but he takes it to pentatonic box areas that people don't usually play in.
"He comes up with clever little licks that you just wouldn't normally do in your little pentatonic box. He'll take you all around - things I never would have found or thought of myself. You can listen to every band that plays pentatonic stuff in the world and you still won't find one that does some of what he's doing."
2. Rock Bottom - UFO (Phenomenon, 1974)
"When I learn a song from someone like the Robben Ford I try to then balance it out by learning something that's a bit more about what I do. So I'm learning this from Strangers In The Night which is great. I'm just starting to dabble in Michael Schenker's work for the straight ahead rock 'n' roll."
3. Lenny - Stevie Ray Vaughan - (Texas Flood, 1983)
"I want to get back into learning some more Stevie Ray Vaughan because I was learning his stuff and then realised everyone else in the world was doing it. It wasn't going to be anything new. But I've been thinking about going back and relearning Lenny because I love that song."
4. Larry Carlton - Blues For TJ (Collection, 1991)
"I'm thinking of dabbling in some Larry Carlton too, and if I do that I'll have to offset it with some new..."
5. Black Label Society – Crazy Horse (Order Of The Black, 2010)
"It's devastating. I love it. Zakk Wylde is great - just pure brutality a lot of the time. It's good to learn from a guy like Robben Ford for that soft touch then dig in and try to keep up with Zakk. It's about a balance of influences because if you follow one guy too much, you'll start sounding like them."
Read more from Mark Tremonti in an in-depth feature on the making of Alter Bridge's new album AB III in issue 335 of Guitarist magazine – on sale 27 October.