Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt: the 10 guitarists that blew my mind

4. Uli Jon Roth

“I grew up with Scorpions and my era was with Mathias Jabs on lead guitar. On a nostalgic level, he’s almost a tie with Uli, though Uli is probably the better and more interesting out of the two. After hearing Mathias, I kinda backtracked and bought Virgin Killer. It felt so loud, almost like death metal to my ears.

“Uli is a great rhythm player too, he wears his inspiration on his sleeve and it’s mainly Jimi Hendrix. Obviously he gets a lot of credit for his solos and rightfully so, they’re all fuckin’ fantastic. They’re still putting out good records. I’ve seen Uli live a couple of times, he’s always so loud. I think he should throw away his Sky guitar and get his Stratocaster back. It sounds too high-endy and sharp for my tastes, though I get that he wants to maintain his trademark single-coil sound. 

“I wanted to be Mathias Jabs as a kid. He definitely loves guitars… I believe he has a shop. I had a chance to meet him at MusikMesse in Frankfurt a while ago, he was stood right next to me. But I couldn’t do it… it was too much. They once invited us over to meet the whole band once, but I said no because I knew I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. That’s how much of an influence he was. Mathias is very underrated, but he can sure play that Explorer.”

Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences. He's interviewed everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handling lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).