July 15, 2005
Background: Tolan began playing acoustic guitar at the age of eight, started lessons with a local teacher at 12, and focused his study on the shred virtuosos of the neo-classical school after hearing Yngwie Malmsteen for the first time. Soon, he increased his practice regimen to up to eight hours on weekdays, and eight to 14 hours on weekends. Summer programs at the Berklee School of Music enhanced his skills—especially his study with faculty member and notable shredder Joe Stump.
Armed with a mature sense of musicality, and a full spectrum of shred-guitar chops, Tolan’s playing reminds neo-classical fans of his Malmsteen and Becker influences—which is no small feat for any guitarist to accomplish, but nearly unheard of for someone Justin's age.