Guitar Player’s Guitar Hero 2007 Competition

GP’s third annual Guitar Hero slugfest threw down at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall on October 12, 2007, and it delivered a blitzkrieg of thrilling moments. The stage was a firestorm of mad chops, impassioned guitar faces, and creative expression. Joe Satriani and Steve Lukather “three-peated” as judges, and they welcomed GH newbies Nuno Bettencourt, Elliot Easton, Greg Howe, and Mike Varney to the panel. Brendon Small—the co-creator of Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse, as well as death metal’s newest star with his smash soundtrack to the animated series, Dethalbum—hosted the event. During a mid-battle break, Bettencourt stepped onstage to demo Digidesign’s brand new Eleven amp-modeling software, and then badgered the other judges for help until Howe joined him in a guitar jam.
Publish date:
Updated on

We also instigated a cage match between the real and virtual worlds of guitarcraft by pitting GH06 champion Trey Alexander (with his Peavey HP Special plugged into a Mesa/Boogie Stiletto) in a duel against Guitar Hero III expert Mark Johnson on “Lay Down” by Priestess. First, Johnson rocked the tune on the Guitar Hero III video game, and then Alexander took over to perform the song’s riffs live with the GH07 house band (which included GP associate editor Jude Gold, Bass Player senior editor Jonathan Herrera, and Keyboard editor in chief Ernie Rideout). Activision/ Red Octane also supplied an XBox 360 kiosk for the event, giving the GH07 crowd a chance to play the much-anticipated Guitar Hero III a couple of weeks before its release. Finally, to make things even bigger and badder this year, we added a mammoth video screen to the show, so every riff, solo, and arpeggio pummeled the audience with Cinemascope-like impact.

In the end, Tennessee’s Ladd Smith was chosen as the GH07 champion. (We’ll feature him in an upcoming GP interview.)

California’s Danny B. Harvey was the second runner up, and Alberta’s Les Robot was the first runner up. Truly, if you love guitar, this was the place to be.

But you probably weren’t there, were you?

Happily, there are at least three ways you can experience the onslaught of GH07: You can flip through this photo essay, you can view renegade video at YouTube, and you can click to the official GH07 site at The official site is pretty cool, because you can vote for your favorite guitar hero—as often as once per day—and automatically put yourself in the running for some kick-ass prizes. Do you agree with Joe, Steve, Nuno, Elliot, Greg, and Mike? Judge for yourself who’s the hottest player. Power to the people!

Calling All Shredders!

The GP editors are already collecting entries for the 2008 competition. If you want a chance to compete, click to for details. Players of all styles are welcome—even acoustic guitarists. Good luck!