Monday, February 6, 2012

The #95 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Sam Totman

We're up to #95--this guy can play fast:

#95:  Sam Totman, DragonForce
21 years as an active guitarist
(five of his solos--I apologize for the 15 second pause--have no idea why that's necessary but it's the YouTube video that shows Totman's best work...)

Samuel Totman was born April 26, 1979 in London, England.  He is one of the lead guitarists and the main songwriter for DragonForce.  
Totman moved to New Zealand at an early age.  He began playing classical guitar at age nine and trained for many years.  Sam was a member of Demoniac, which also featured future DragonForce guitarist Herman Li.  The group released three albums but not achieve much success.  Demoniac split in late 1999 and most of the members formed the power metal group DragonHeart, which later changed its name to DragonForce. 

The group had toured with Halford and Stratovarius before releasing their debut album Valley of the Damned in 2003.  This led to several sold-out concerts in Asia and Europe.  DragonForce released their follow-up, Sonic Firestorm, in 2004, followed by Inhuman Rampage in 2006 and Ultra Beatdown in 2008.

When keyboardist Steve Williams and bassist Steve Scott left to form Power Quest, Totman played guitar on their first two albums, Wings of Forever and Neverworld.

Totman began his career with a Kramer Vanguard FR440S.  Shortly after their debut album, Sam bought a Jackson RR3 and he occasionally used an Ibanez RG that belonged to fellow group guitarist Herman Li.  Then, Ibanez made a signature VBT700 "V Blade" guitar for him, a V shape with DiMarzio pickups.  Totman used that along with the Ibanez IC400 Iceman, removing the AX1 neck pickup and replacing the bridge AX2 pickup with a DiMarzio Evolution bridge pickup.

Currently, Totman uses the Ibanez STM1, which is his signature Iceman guitar that was released in 2008, and the Ibanez ICT700 Iceman with DiMarzio D Activator pickups.  Occasionally, he will play an STM1 prototype, a black Iceman with trapezoid inlays and an Edge II bridge.  

Sam used a Laney GH100L amplifier for several years with Laney TT412S and Laney TT412A 4 x 12 speaker cabinets.  He uses Peavey XXX cabs with his new setup.

Totman is one of the fastest of what has become known as the "shredders", or basically playing the guitar as fast as you can.  Of course, playing notes fast isn't the only criterion involved in choosing who the best guitarists are.  But Sam certainly has that going for him.  He ranks at #95 for the Rock Era...

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