Zakk Wylde explained how he managed to sound original when he joined Ozzy Osbourne as the new guitarist during a recent appearance on Loudwire.

Back in 1987, Zakk Wylde joined Ozzy Osbourne to replace Jake E. Lee. Even though he parted ways with the band lots of the times, he remained the longest playing guitarist with Osbourne. Currently, he is both working with his own band Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne. He dropped five records with Ozzy while he released an album almost every single year with Black Label Society.

In the recent conversation he joined, Zakk detailed how he avoided sounding like Yngwie Malmsteen and Eddie Van Halen when he joined Ozzy Osbourne. He revealed that he didn’t use any of their signature techniques during this period.

To prevent the resemblance between his sound and Malmsteen, Zakk didn’t use a single harmonic minor and sweep picking. On the other hand, he needed to stop tapping in order to avoid the comparisons with Eddie Van Halen.

Therefore, he only had pentatonic scales and chicken picking to create his own sound, which he used in his early times with Ozzy Osbourne. Even though Zakk narrowed down all the techniques and scales, he managed to deliver in the master class.

Zakk Wylde on his early times with Ozzy Osbourne:

“When I first joined Oz, one thing I did do, I was just like, ‘Alright, how am I going to be me? Well, if you don’t want to sound like Yngwie,’ because you got to figure – this is 1987, you don’t want people saying, ‘Oh, what are you? You’re an Yngwie clone!’

Well then, I’ll get rid of Harmonic Minor and get rid of sweep picking. Don’t do it if you don’t want to get compared to him.

‘And you don’t want to be compared to Eddie Van Halen? Don’t have stripes on your guitar and don’t tap.‘ So I just crossed off – even the whammy bars – so it would force you not to have it so you’d have to think of something else.”

He continued:

“So, it was no Harmonic Minor, no tapping, and then I was like, ‘Well, I won’t do the classical thing either because that’s Randy’s thing and now I’m playing with Ozzy, so we’ll get rid of that…’

Then we’ll get rid of the whammy bar, and all the diatonic stuff because everybody was doing it. So it was just like, ‘Alright, well, what’s left?’ Basically, pentatonic scales and chicken picking.

And I just love the sound of it anyway just because it’s so musical-sounding. Chicken picking type stuff and just pentatonic. I got 60 crayons to work with and just leaving me with like four crayons and see what you can do with four crayons.”

You can check out the video below.