Watch John 5 split the shred atom on playthrough video for new single Strung Out – his love letter to playing guitar

John 5 has released a surprise new single titled Strung Out, and shot a playthrough video for it that demonstrates pretty much every mainstream shred technique – plus a few off-menu flourishes – on his custom gold Fender Telecaster, all in under three minutes.

The release was followed with the promise of some more Creatures shows in the future, occasions that John 5 (aka John Lowery) says he is looking forward to and during which he  will definitely perform Strung Out. 

But, of course, in the meantime there is the small question of a world tour with Mötley Crüe, in the interim, as John 5 takes over from co-founder and guitarist Mick Mars who had to step down owing to long-standing health issues.

The indicators were all there that John 5 was just itching to do… Well, just to do something. There have been rehearsal videos posted to his Instagram, reassuring Crüe fans that the material – including some deep cuts – was in safe hands. He also revealed his touring rig for the forthcoming Crüe shows, a relatively straightforward rig of Marshall JVM heads, custom Telecasters, a Gibson Chet Atkins acoustic guitar, and a handful of Boss pedals.

A statement that accompanied the release of Strung Out suggested that he was all but jumping out of his skin to perform.

“This song is called Strung Out because I am so obsessed with playing guitar that when I don’t play and create new music for a while, I start to go a little insane,” he explained. “There’ll be more Creatures shows sometime in the near future and I really look forward to playing this song live.”

Will there be an album, too? Time will tell. His previous solo album, Sinner, was released in October 2021, and for obvious reasons was not accompanied by a substantial tour with the Creatures. 

John 5 has got lots of time to make up for, and on Strung Out, he makes the most of a two minute and 56 second run time to blitz through an eye-watering display of virtuosity, set to a mid-tempo groove.

Nuevo-Telecaster sci-fi noise via killswitch? Check. High-speed alternate picking? Check. Legato? Check. Tapping? Check. 

He even plays the bass guitar on it, too, favouring a Gibson Thunderbird because why not – that’s exactly the sort of sounds that will be filling out the lower registers at these much-anticipated Crüe shows with Nikki Sixx in full effect.

See below for full dates.

Motley Crue and Def Leppard tour poster

(Image credit: Def Leppard / Mötley Crüe)
Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.