Rusty Cooley, is a guitarist from Houston, Texas known for his highly refined guitar technique. He is regarded as one of the fastest guitarists in the United States and a master of the "shredding technique of guitar. Guitar Player magazine called him "the leading light of the post-Malmsteen shred-volution."

Early Life

Rusty received his first equipment (a Peavey T27 guitar and a Peavey Decade amp) on his fifteenth birthday. From that day on Cooley immersed himself in music, practicing upwards of 4 hours a day. Rusty took guitar lessons for a while but became dissatisfied with local guitar instructors and decided to become self-taught. He relied on instructional books and videos like Doug Marks's Metal Method, Ted Greene's "Chord Chemistry" and "Modern Chord Progressions" books, REH instructional videos, as well as, Robben Ford's instructional DVD's.

His early musical influences were guitarists Randy Rhoads, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Vinnie Moore and Tony MacAlpine.

After only three years of playing he became a guitar teacher at the music store where he had purchased his first guitar.

After high school Rusty went to the local college and studied Music Theory.

Solo Work

Rusty was unsatisfied with local musicians and began to work on solo music in early 1996. He also began playing 7-string guitars exclusively at this time. His debut solo album Rusty Cooley was released in 2003 on Lion Music.


Cooley has collaborated with ProTone Pedals, testing their new Jason Becker Perpetual Burn Signature distortion pedal, as Becker himself has suffered from ALS since 1990 and as such, is no longer able to play guitar. ProTone Pedals has posted several videos of Cooley testing prototype versions of the pedal on YouTube - one such video featuring a comment from Cooley himself, citing Becker as one of his biggest influences and stating that working on the pedal was something he considered an honour. ProTone has more recently been working on a Rusty Cooley Signature pedal in addition to this. Cooley has collaborated with Dean Guitars to produce a signature 7-string model, of which several versions exist. Cooley's lead work was featured on Arnold Schwarzenegger-themed parody metal band Austrian Death Machine's second album, "Double Brutal." Cooley is currently working with a new band, Day of Reckoning (


Rusty has been a guitar instructor since his third year of playing. He has also released five instructional products, done lessons for magazines (such as his Metal Guru column) and posted many lessons on sites such as Shredaholic. In addition, he has taught for the National Guitar Workshop three times (1996, 1997, 1998) and given many clinics. Rusty has many successful students, such as Chris Storey (ex All Shall Perish) and Mica Roth, former member of Hybreed.


Currently Rusty is endorsed by Dean Guitars, EMG Pickups, Morley Pedals, GHS strings, VHT, Rocktron, Eventide, Maxon and more recently Peavey amplification.

He was previously endorsed by Jackson Guitars and, more recently, Ibanez Guitars.

His signature Dean model was released at NAMM in early 2007. It features a super-strat style body with a deeply sculpted lower horn ( in order to perform the widest stretches when playing in high positions), EMG 707 pickups, volume control and a 3-way switch.

In 2011 Dean Guitars has released an 8 string version as well. Nicknamed the "Dean RC-8" it has the same features of the seven string version but with the implementation of a fanned fretting system and EMG 808 pickups.



  • Rusty Cooley - Rusty Cooley (2003, Lion Music)
  • Book of Reflections - Book of Reflections (2004, MCD, Lion Music)
  • Outworld - Outworld (2006, Replica Records)
  • All Shall Perish - Awaken the Dreamers (2008, Nuclear Blast, guest)
  • Austrian Death Machine - Double Brutal (2009, Metal Blade Records, guest)
  • Derek Sherinian - Molecular Heinosity (2009, InsideOut Music, guest)
  • The Sean Baker Orchestra - Baker's Dozen (2009, Lion Music, guest)
  • After the Burial - In Dreams (2010, Sumerian Records, guest)
  • Rings of Saturn - Infused (2014, Unique Leader Records, guest)

Instructional products

  • Shred Guitar Manifesto (2000, DVD, Chops From Hell)
  • Extreme Pentatonics (2001, DVD, Chops From Hell)
  • The Art of Picking (2001, DVD, Chops From Hell)
  • Rusty Cooley Performance/Clinic (2003, DVD, Chops From Hell)
  • Rusty Cooley Performance/Clinic 2 (2003, DVD, Chops From Hell)
  • Basic Training (2007, DVD, Chops From Hell)
  • Rusty Cooley Fret Board Autopsy - Scales, Modes & Patterns Level 1 (DVD, 2008, Rock House Method)
  • Rusty Cooley, Fret Board Autopsy - Scales, Modes & Patterns Level 2 (DVD, 2008, Rock House Method)
  • Arpeggio Madness: Insane Concepts & Total Mastery (DVD, 2011, Rock House Method)

Television appearances

  • Stay Tuned
  • Metallurgy Live
  • Metallurgy Unplugged
  • World Class Guitar Techniques
  • Robb’s Metal Works
  • Rusty Cooley's Guitar Asylum TV

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