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World Music Features

The Littlest Shredder

By Phil Freeman
Published October 7, 2008

We here at Global Rhythm have seen Yuto Miyazawa play live, and we assure you this eight-year-old's unholy shredding is no trick.

You may have seen him on YouTube, or on the Conan O’Brien show, and assumed the unholy shredding you were hearing come from a Japanese boy barely the size of his own guitar was dubbed in after the fact. Well, we here at Global Rhythm have seen Yuto Miyazawa play live and in person, and we assure you it’s no trick. He’s been playing since the age of three, and after five years, he’s more than capable of ripping up the fretboard like his idol, Randy Rhoads (he even plays a full-sized black-and-white Flying V, similar to the Ozzy Osbourne/ Black Label Society guitarist’s trademark instrument).


“My father was a guitar player in high school, or college,” he told us (through an interpreter). “I saw videos of him playing when I was about three, and that’s what made me want to play.” And there’s another musician in the family – well, sort of: “I have a younger brother. He likes playing drums, but it’s not serious. He just likes to hit things.” Miyazawa’s live repertoire includes two Ozzy classics – “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley,” solos included – and other hard-rock tunes, like a Cream-style take on “Crossroads.”


“I like to sing and play at the same time,” he says. “I don’t understand English, so I have to try to learn the lyrics off a sheet. I just listen to the music first, and learn the words afterward.”


For the moment, Miyazawa is forced to perform backed by adults, but his ambition is to be more than a childhood novelty act, so eventually he’ll have to start working with his peers. “I want to have a band [of musicians] my own age when I get older,” he says.

“I want to start a band in elementary school, but there aren’t that many real musicians this young. If I find someone my own age, I would love to play with them.”