Rusty Cooley


musical style: 

photograph of Rusty Cooley

Rusty Cooley is a Texas-born shred guitarist. He has released a solo album on Finnish hard rock label Lion Music and a number of instructional DVDs and CD-ROMs. He has played in locally successful bands Revolution, Dominion, and Outworld. He writes a column called "Metal Guru" for Guitar Player magazine.
Guitarist Rusty Cooley received his first guitar on his 15th birthday and never looked back. Unsatisfied with local Instructors, Rusty began teaching himself through Doug Mark’s Metal Method and various other instructional books and video’s. During High School he took music theory classes and also attended the National Guitar Workshop. Rusty performed solo guitar in high school talent shows. He performed such pieces as Van Halen’s “Eruption” and Randy Rhoads “Revelation Mother Earth” solo. During his senior year he was offered his first teaching job at the same store that just three years earlier, he had bought his first guitar.

Some of Rusty’s early influences included: Rhoads, Malmsteen, Becker, Gilbert, Holdsworth, Paganini, Bach, Vai, Gambale, Moore, MacAlpine, Taffolla, Friedman, Howe, Kotzen, Firkins, and Housholder. He was also influenced by many styles including: Jazz, Classical, Funk, Blues and even Country if you can believe that. There where times when Rusty was pulled in so many different directions by music, he didn’t know if he wanted to be a Classical Conductor or a Jazz guitarist.

After graduating High School, Rusty continued studying Music Theory at the local college, as well as Music History and Class Piano. In 1989, Rusty joined local rock band Revolution. Revolution wrote, performed and recorded all original music. They became one of Houston’s top drawing bands. Revolution opened for national acts like Badlands, Nitro, Every Mothers Nightmare, and South Gang. In 1992, Revolution released a four-song EP. Revolution’s music was once described as Skid Row meets Yngwie Malmsteen. Revolution made two appearances on a local TV show called “Metallurgy” and “Metallurgy Unplugged”. Rusty also taught guitar on a college TV show called “Stay Tuned”. In 1993, Rusty quit the band due to musical differences and started a new band Dominion. Dominion wrote and performed locally as well but was short lived and broke up in 1995. Also during 1995 Rusty entered and won the “Guitar Master Series” winning the title of “Best Guitarist” in Houston.

1996 marked the beginning of a new direction. Rusty bought his first 7-string guitar and decided it was time to go for it on his own. Rusty went back to the woodshed and started working on his guitar playing intensely pushing himself to new levels. Along with this came a whole new list of influences that fueled the fire….Shawn Lane, Derek Taylor, Buckethead, Todd Duane, Scott Stine and Haji’s Kitchen. It was during this period that Rusty began to work on instrumental guitar compositions. These songs represented his desire to record an over-the-top guitar instrumental release featuring state of the art chops and strong melodic content. Rusty was also selected as a runner up in the AIM "Jason Becker Scholarship Search." Rusty hosted three episodes of a local cable show called "World Class Guitar Techniques," which aired in the Houston area. Rusty taught for the National Guitar Summer Workshop in 96, 97, 98 at the Austin and Connecticut Campuses.

In October 1997 the band Outworld was formed to record and perform instrumental music. The band consisted of Darren Davis on drums, Brent Marches on Bass and Bobby Williamson on Keys. Soon after, Outworld decided to take their music to the next level and added singer Kelly Carpenter. In March 1998, Rusty was invited to join Shrapnel recording artists Haji's Kitchen, but had to decline due to relocation problems.

In 2000 Rusty released an instructional cd rom “Shred Guitar Manifesto” and gained endorsements with Jackson Guitars and Seymour Duncan pickups. Rusty also started doing guitar clinics as well. Rusty’s presence on the Internet was growing and his music started getting great reviews, which followed with interviews and instructional columns. His music was featured on several compilation cd’s as well. Outworld performed at the internationally acclaimed “Bang Your Head Festival” in Houston, and was featured on Robb’s Metal works a San Antonio, Texas Heavy Metal TV show. In August 2001, Rusty left Outworld and Houston to move to Alpharetta Georgia. After a short time in Georgia, two more instructional cd roms “Extreme Pentatonics” and “The Art of Picking” where released. Soon after, Rusty was asked to headline Jemfest in Orlando, Florida in 2002. Additional endorsements followed: EMG pickups, VHT Amps and Digital Music Co. In late 2002 the instrumental cd was finished and Rusty began looking for a record label. He also had a custom 8 string guitar hand made by Bill Conklin of Conklin guitars.

Rusty signed with Lion Music and the debut cd was released in January of 2003. In April of 2003, Rusty was given the honor of the “7th Fastest Shredder of all Time” in Guitar One Magazine. In May 2003 Rusty moved back to Houston. Outworld was quickly put back together with former members Bobby, Kelly, Darren and added bassist Shane Dubose. Rusty also has released a performance/clinic DVD and is now Endorsing Ibanez 7 string Guitars, Conklin 8 and 9 string guitars, Rocktron Inc. and GHS strings. Rusty now teaches an online music class called “Modes Gone Wild” at and writes a column for Guitar Player magazine called “Metal Guru”.

Rusty has been featured in Guitar Player, Guitar One, Guitar World, Guitar 2001, Total Guitar, Guitar Techniques and Axe magazine as well as numerous on-line webzines.

Rusty Cooley plays a wide variety of guitars, he plays 6, 7, and 8 string guitars and has a large collection. Certain guitars stand out, such as his Conklin and Custom Jackson 8 strings (the Jackson has a custom built Floyd Rose, something very hard to find for 8 string guitars).

He now plays custom Ibanez guitars. He has an 8 string with a headstock similar to those of X series Ibanezes, but with 4/4 style tuners. It has a custom built Edge Pro 8.

“Remember to live, eat, sleep and breathe music for the mind, play from your heart and never be swayed by the current trends.” Rusty Cooley

“Rusty Cooley” Self titled debut release January 2003
“Book of Reflections”, Lion Music April 23, 2004
“Shawn Lane Remembered Vol.” May 28, 2004. Lion Music
“Warmth in the Wilderness 2” A Tribute to Jason Becker. Lion Music
“Prog Power 4” A showcase sample
“Prog Power 3” A showcase sample
“The Alchemist” Liquid Note Records
“Fresh Blood Vol. 4” Progressive Arts Records
Guitar 2001 Magazine Presents “Lick This”
Guitarapalooza Vol. l.
Ballbuster magazine “Ball One Strike One”
Generation Ibanez “Across the Miles”
Revolution, self titled 4-song EP

Instructional products (DVD, VHS and CD ROMS):
Shred Guitar Manifesto
Extreme Pentatonics
The Art of Picking
Rusty Cooley performance/clinic
Rusty Cooley Performance/Clinic 2

Television appearances:
Stay Tuned
Metallurgy Live
Metallurgy Unplugged
World Class Guitar Techniques
Robb’s Metal Works Read more about Rusty Cooley on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

Gear used by Rusty Cooley

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