John Petrucci: Recording Guitar is Like Trimming Your Beard

John Petrucci
(Image credit: Rayon Richards/Future)

John Petrucci's had a busy 2020.

In addition to releasing Terminal Velocity his first new solo album in 15 years – we also learned yesterday that Petrucci had re-teamed with former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy (who also played on Terminal Velocity), Dream Theater bandmate Jordan Rudess, and King Crimson/session legend Tony Levin to reform the prog-rock supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment.

With all of these endeavors to chat about, Petrucci recently sat down for an interview with, where he was asked about improvisation, and if he ever has a tendency to “go back and re-record” something that he initially improvised.

To this, he had an amusing, and quite insightful, answer.

“Yes I do, I do but a lot of times I’ll end up using the initial recording because for whatever reason it happened organically and it’s better," Petrucci said. "There’s something to overthinking where you could actually take away from the feeling of it, so you’ve got to be careful with that. You have to kind of know when to stop.

“It’s like trimming the beard – if you try to get it exactly symmetrical you might just go in a little too much and next thing you know you’ve got to shave the whole thing off!”

Food for thought! In the meantime, Terminal Velocity is out now, while Liquid Tension Experiment's first new album in over 20 years is slated to arrive in Spring 2021.

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, and

Jackson is an Associate Editor at and He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.