Grammy-nominated DragonForce has end up being a family name for any type of fan of melodic strength metal, and also that pivotal trait is largely credited to none various other than the massively creative shredder, Herman Li. Although based approximately a classic style inspired by guitarists such as Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai, it’s an easy enough to tell Li apart from his heroes provided his palpable technical strategy to the guitar.

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Photo by Florian Stangl

Herman is renowned for his virtuoso solos, showboat stage moves, and 80s power steel tone merged into one, with pace and also melody as the cutting edge of the sensational Dragonforce. His impacts go beyond the previously mentioned top-shelf slingers, as Jason Becker play a huge part in Li’s understanding of ingredient while citing Jeff Beck as one of his major sources the inspiration as well as notorious rhythmic football player such together Keith Richards.

What Guitars go Herman Li Use?

Herman Li dram an Ibanez EGEN18 which is his signature guitar model. He’s played his EGEN guitars throughout many of his career. Inspired by the initial S Series, the EGEN is a an innovative and innovative draft guitar. Li has likewise used several various other guitar models during his career.

See the complete list that Herman Li guitars and also gear below.


Ibanez EGEN18

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FinishTransparent Violet
Years Used2007 come Present

The EGEN18 is Li’s first signature Ibanez guitar and also the an initial model in the E-Gen line. It was very first known as the EGEN1 yet was renamed the following year. It is based on Li’s vault S-series guitars, a line that served Herman mighty fine up until his climb to stardom. Still, it boasts number of model-specific characteristics, such as the Kung Fu fixed on the upper horn, prolonged sculpting ~ above the bottom cutaway, and also a few more attributes crafted under Li’s requirements.

The Ibanez EGEN1/EGEN18 model is among Li’s three key guitars on stage and his most iconic guitar. It has actually a flamed maple optimal on a mahogany body, i m sorry is attached to a maple and also walnut neck with a rosewood fingerboard that looks for sure ferocious.

It has actually custom DiMarzio HLM pickups that were generally designed to produce Herman’s powerful, distinctive sound. To assistance Li’s wild whammy stunts, a modified variation of the leaf Zero tremolo bridge has likewise been provided.

This alteration limits the movement of the bar to offer Li an ext control end the sound of his insane whammy licks. It gives him the capability to acquire the perfect pitch of the keep in mind he wants once he does vibrato. The Egen 18 also has a Luminlay fretboard for clarity during dark phase shows.

The an initial Egen 18 that Li obtained from Ibanez is his favorite. He has actually used the etc so regularly that its initial Matte end up has been totally buffed to do it into a gloss end up guitar. He has actually cracked the body of the guitar multiple times and also has also cracked the headstock once, which that filmed self while it to be being addressed on a YouTube video.

Li has actually grown rather attached come this etc over the years together he himself has agreed to have played this etc to hell and also back. When asked why he did not change it once it broke, he claimed that this details model is unique and also sounds better than any other piece in his catalog. The original 18 is just irreplaceable because that him.


Ibanez EGEN8

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FinishPlatinum Blonde
Years Used2010 come Present

The EGEN8 is a less expensive variant of the EGEN18, which was Li’s an initial signature model. This one, choose the 18, is likewise modeled after the Ibanez’s S series guitars. Nevertheless, its specs and craft room a tad toned under in comparison to the original EGEN issue.

It has a flamed maple optimal with a rosewood fingerboard and also an afri mahogany body. The edge III tremolo replace instead replace the 18’s leaf Zero piece, and also the pickups are Ibanez Vintage rather of DiMarzio HLMs.

In despite the of the reality that it lacks particular premium features, the EGEN 8 is still among the greatest performing six-strings in the industry with a unique seal of quality and craftmanship and also needless to say, a standout item in Li’s collection. Together yet another seminal piece for the stage, it likewise became the first introductory axe right into the Herman Li world, together the guitarist intended that to it is in a guitar that motivated musicians.

As a funny fact, this etc was Li’s weapon of selection to challenge Megadeath’s Kiko Loureiro to a shredding battle, one the he take it on blindfolded and absolutely destroyed.


Ibanez S470

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FinishMahogany Oil
Years Used1995 to 2006

The S470 has actually a special place in Li’s guitar arsenal. That flaunted this sleek beauty, beauty in one of the many iconic songs of DragonForce, favor ‘Through the Fire and also Flames’ and also ‘Operation Ground and also Pound.’ it was one of the pieces that set the floor basis for his EGEN signature line. Additional to spending over a decade as Li’s key go-to along with its sibling 540S, it recorded the band’s breakthrough tune, “Through the Fire and the Flames”.

Ibanez introduced the S470 electric guitar in 1992 as part of its S series. It attributes a beautiful mahogany human body bolted to a maple wizard II neck v a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with ‘S wave’ position markers. Its features encompass the famed Ibanez development pickups and a ZR double-locking tremolo bridge which debuted in this model. And also the herbal wood end up looks gorgeous.


Ibanez EGEN18 Custom

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FinishMatte Purple
Years Used2015 to Present

Herman has gone to an excellent lengths to maintain his EGEN18 transparent the years. The is no surprise that he has actually a especially customized model of his favourite EGEN18 etc to relieve pressure off indigenous his initial issue.

This distinct customization requires the enhancement of some LED lights on the neck. The fretboard period inlays currently glow purple, when it also has a special trick increase its sleeve. The guitar has a unique new feature called the ‘Chase Mode’.

In this mode, green LEDs laid the end on one next of the fretboard glow follow to the frets that Li has his finger on. This provides it a great tool because that live performances and also adds to the flair that Li’s guitar mastery. Spec-wise this etc is the same as other EGEN18 models owned by Herman.


Ibanez EGEN18 DRG

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FinishDragon’s Blood
Years Used2016 come Present

The Ibanez EGEN18-DRG is among Herman Li’s most recurred Signature guitars. This time, it sporting activities a Dragon’s Blood red finish, introduced in 2006with a an ext aggressive look and also sound when compared to other variants. The Dragon’s blood model, together the surname suggests, is much more focused on the in its entirety theme the Li’s band, the ‘DragonForce.’

This etc model, as with its various other variants, has a mahogany body that comes topped through flamed maple. It features the trademark Kung-Fu fixed modeled utilizing Herman’s hand and also the usual practice DiMarzio pickups. As per usual it sports the Edge-Zero tremolo bridge, which allows Li do any variety of crazy dive-bombs to his heart’s content.

The scalloped fingerboard is Herman Li’s own touch. This design makes it simpler for the to bend notes on the higher frets. The body shape is designed to enable for good flexibility and playability – perfect for heavy rhythm downstrokes and shredding.

Li has been seen playing this etc underwater during a show on a cruise ship in 2018. This was not his very first time play an Egen 18 underwater throughout a show. He has actually done this numerous times, although he claimed it to be to be retired after ~ finishing the band’s 2018 tour.


Ibanez JEM7v Steve Vai Signature

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FinishWhite
Years Used2019 come Present

The JEM7v is a sick-looking guitar that it is provided a punchy tone worthy of among the world’s biggest guitarists. Gift a large Steve Vai fan, the no surprised that Li owns this signature design by Ibanez. This guitar has a white body through floral fads on the pickguard and ‘The Tree that Life’ inlays in the fretboard. The body lumber is alder, while the neck is a 5-piece maple/walnut with an ebony fretboard.

The guitar has DiMarzio evolution pickups and also split-5 wiring. It additionally has Steve Vai’s signature Monkey fixed on the bass side the the guitar body wing. The guitar features in Li’s live Twitch streams and also on the DragonForce YouTube Channel. This is quickly one the the many iconic Herman Li guitars of all time.


Ibanez 540S7

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FinishBlack
Years Used2006 come Unspecified

Ibanez presented the 540S7, a seven-string S collection solid body electrical guitar, in 1991. FujiGen produced it in Japan (a factory in Japan). The 540S7 was Ibanez’s first seven-string guitar exterior of the world series, and also the first seven-string etc in the S series.

It has a mahogany body attached to a maple neck through a rosewood fingerboard through pearl dot stress marks and also a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard. It attributes DiMarzio Blaze pickups, which motivated Herman in developing his ultimate aggressive tone. It additionally has a Lo-Pro edge 7 double-locking tremolo bridge, i beg your pardon is perfect because that Li’s wild whammy techniques.

Li has actually used the Ibanez 540S7 in songs favor ‘Revolution Deathsquad’ and ‘Storming the burning Fields’. He additionally utilized the in the bridge section of ‘Operation Ground and Pound,’ just before the second verse starts, and likewise used it in the outro the ‘Heartbreak Armageddon.’


PRS Herman Li custom 2021

FinishPink-Purple Burst
Years Used2021

Li’s PRS tradition 2021 is basically a one-of-a-kind, unique-looking instrument. The combination of purple with maple, an edge Zero double-locking system, and HSH configuration do this guitar, unlike any kind of PRS model. It likewise comes through Fishman pickups with a translucent rainbow finish. Insane!

The two guitars are very similar in specs yet differ on the bridge. And the PRS does leave the end Li’s signature Kung Fu grip the he had actually on the Ibanez. It’s definitely interesting to view if this guitar renders it into production.


BC rich Herman Li Custom


FinishCustom Purple
Years Used2020 to Present

This BC rich USA tradition guitar to be specifically produced Herman Li as an experiment and features some similar specs to his standard Ibanez line. The guitar functions a mahogany body through a fiery flamed maple top, finished in purple. It has actually purple DiMarzio humbucking pickups with a single-coil in the middle. The standard rosewood fretboard suits his play style

Its Sophia double-locking tremolo bridge has actually been boosted so that can easily withstand Herman’s ‘flying etc whammy trick’. The neck-through-body design enables for extra-long sustain and also flavorful articulation. This guitar has a heavy, clear ton that’s well-suited for strength metal.

Li’s technical prowess allows him to do the most of any type of guitar, and you have the right to see the in full display when he unveiled this etc on his YouTube channel.


Ibanez EGEN 7-String Custom

FinishChameleon Purple
Years Used2011 to Present

The Ibanez EGEN-7, unlike its other EGEN siblings, is a one-way custom, meaning it is unavailable because that the masses come buy. It’s a seven-string variant of the initial EGEN model, i m sorry was produced Li’s one-of-a-kind use because that a couple of specific songs like ‘Fallen World’, ‘Give Me The Night’, ‘Heart of The Storm’, and a few others.

According to Li, the neck top top this etc is a copy that the original Ibanez 540S7 neck, and the leg on this one is referred to as Edge-Pro, i beg your pardon is a slightly modified version of the Edge-Zero featured on the EGEN18.

The Edge-Pro leg is likewise used by Li’s other bandmate and also another guitarist the DragonForce, Sam Totman. The main reason is the convenience of exchanging guitars on-stage and also making replace instead instead on tour. The EGEN 7 is an additional one the Li’s three many iconic (the other two gift the EGEN18 and also EGEN8) and also favored guitars for performing live.

Timetable reflecting Each guitar Played through Herman Li in ~ Each point in His Career


MakeModelColor/FinishYears
IbanezS470Mahogany Oil1995 come 2006
Ibanez540S7Black2006 to Unspecified
IbanezEGEN18Transparent Violet2007 come Present
IbanezEGEN8Platinum Blonde2010 come Present
IbanezEGEN 7-String CustomChameleon Purple2011 to Present
IbanezEGEN18 CustomMatte Purple2015 come Present
IbanezEGEN18 DRGDragon’s Blood2016 come Present
IbanezJEM7v Steve Vai SignatureWhite2019 come Present
B.C Rich Herman Li CustomCustom Purple2020 come Present
PRSHerman Li practice 2021Pink-Purple Burst2021

Herman Li Amps Overview


If she a guitarist yourself, you’ve more than likely heard that this monstrosity. You have the right to save every sound you create in the studio as a preset ~ above the Kemper Profiler PowerRack and recall the effortlessly on-stage. A solid 600-watt power amp is pre-installed, and the amp modeling and also emulation are the same to the initial Kemper Profiling Amplifier. The is housed in a 19-inch rack-mountable enclosure too.

The Kemper Profiler PowerRack enables Li to create his own amp profiles that he can accessibility at any time and also play v as desired. Together a result of this, that has complete control over the sound of your profiled amps, thanks to Kemper’s high-tech wizardry. It’s a must-have because that guitarists like Herman Li, who space both studio and stage savvy.


Rocktron Prophesy II

Years Used: 2008 to Present


The Prophesy II boasts an tremendous DSP processing power with almost infinite tone-shaping possibilities. The drop-out-free DSP handling engine constructed around double 24-bit/66MHz Motorola chips was among the finest in that time.

Back in the day, the Prophesy II by Rocktron was among the can be fried flagship impacts processor units easily accessible on the market. It have to be pretty evident that it discovered its means into the arsenal of someone as legend as Herman Li. Li says that the Rocktron Prophesy it is intended the shredder sound of the 80s the he loves.


Bogner Uberschall 120-Watt Tube guitar Amp Head

Years Used: Unspecified


For Li, the Uberschall guitar head is a worthy investment since it permits him to unleash the wrath the his extreme high-gain networks like nothing. A typical clean channel with plenty that headroom and control over parameters favor volume, gain, bass, middle, treble, and also presence is included.

Bogner arisen the 100W all-tube Uberschall guitar head especially for severe, heavy, and also aggressive music, fitting Li’s criteria perfectly. In addition, the tube-buffered results loop allows him to run all of his wild effects through it, making the even far better suited to his needs.


Peavey JSX 412

Years Used: Unspecified


This, one can say, is Li’s miracle ring. Yes, the hot Hand is a maker that sits favor a ring ~ above his appropriate hand and is it is provided by a 3-axis accelerometer that converts motion right into a dynamic and exact expressive signal. This signal deserve to be used to regulate filter sweeps, journey levels, modulation, and wet/dry mixes, amongst other result settings.

When Li shakes the hot hand, it creates intense vibration, allowing him come imitate exotic sounds comparable to those heard in video clip games. This is only one example of that capabilities. The expression ring have the right to be supplied in assorted ways, including to develop whammy and wah effects.

This miracle ring is for sale ~ above the market, yet only Li has actually been able to carry it come justice. Herman Li himself has said the it is like the secret hi-tech weapon in his etc rig.


Boss ST-2 power Stack


The ceo ST-2 strength stack pedal can handle most of Li’s distortion needs, indigenous fat crunch come super high gain. The features simple controls, such as the sound knob, which combines the amplification level and sound character simultaneously.

When he’s on-stage, he can quickly crank in anything from vintage grit and also punchy journey to full-on assault distortion, allowing him to do anything through dramatic ton swings through ease. As soon as the gain is dialed down, the ST-2 to produce a rich and full clean tone, making that a versatile tool in Li’s armory.


Boss PS-5 super Shifter


Ibanez’s WD7 Weeping Demon is a polytheistic wah pedal v a wide selection of knobs that might be supplied in assorted playing styles and also settings. In addition to spring and also regular footboard action, the incorporates a switch-free footswitch, auto-off delay, flexible Q and also low-pass filters, and a selectable frequency range. The friction and also tension of the pedal can both it is in adjusted.

Even indigenous the outside, this pedal has actually a rough appearance befitting a steel musician prefer Li. The Ibanez WD7 is a tremendous all-around pedal v a tank-like design. This renders it another an excellent piece of equipment in Li’s pedalboard.


DigiTech HM2 Harmony guy Intelligent pitch Shifter


Dunlop etc picks it seems to be ~ to be increasingly popular among modern guitar players. Your extensive selection of gauges, forms, sizes, and also materials allows the player to discover the perfect pick for their distinctive playing style, many thanks to their diverse selection.

Musicians of any type of genre know that a pick is vital part of your tone, from standard country come nu-metal.

Every an excellent player understands that their choose is one intrinsic component of your tone, and also Dunlop etc picks, which are made the premium materials and have the perfect mix that dimensions, carry out the ideal grip for a speedy player prefer Herman Li. Therefore it’s no surprised that this picks have end up being Li’s go-to companions, whether he’s off-stage or on-stage.


D’Addario NYXL0946 super Light height / continual Bottom, 9-46


NYXL0946 is a hybrid collection that combines the short strings that a typical light collection (.046) v the high strings the a super light set (.009). As a result, the collection has the required basic low finish on peak of the an excellent flexibility offered by the high strings. This is perfect because that a player choose Li, who loves to include all that quick shredding and also the stunner whammy tricks into his playing.

These strings are apparently break-resistant, which offers that extra little bit of freedom, confidence, and also power to the player, especially on-stage. Therefore it’s clean why Herman Li prefers these.


Line 6 Relay G90 Digital Wireless guitar System


The Line-6 G series here is responsible for one of Li’s main responsibilities while he is top top stage. He supplies it as his sole wireless system.

All the pomp is justified since heck he also played v it underwater. That’s crazy! He claimed that no matter exactly how high the jumps through this on-stage, over there hasn’t been a single time that failed.

The G90 also includes a Cable ton Simulator feature, which permits you to adapt the sound of the relay wireless device to the sound of your favorite cable. On peak of that, it has 12 compatible channels and a 300-foot line-of-sight. It would make any type of guitarist salivate, and it is perfect companion because that Herman Li’s erratic on-stage persona.


Wrap Up

Li and Dragonforce came to be a critically acclaimed action in 2006 ~ above the release of the suspect “Inhuman Rampage” back in 2006 following the relax of their breakthrough hit solitary “Through the Fire and Flames” back in 2004. Ever since the band’s seminal success, Herman Li became a sought-after household name and also reference to guitar players approximately the human being for his unparalleled virtually inhumane prowess and also gentle personality.

While the latter years have seen a much more stepped-back Dragonforce, Li’s been wasting no time endorsing signature models, partnering up v several peak names in the industry, and also further cementing his name as a referential number in the civilization of guitars. This is there is no a doubt a man who stays for his craft and nothing else.

Herman Li has quickly come to be one that the most recognized and renowned guitarists. He has won two steel Hammer golden Gods ‘Best Shredder’ awards and also four Guitar world Readers’ Polls.

Li’s fascinating for video games is checked out in his music. He typically uses sound samples from old arcade games. For example, in the Inhuman Rampage track ‘Through the Fire and also Flames’, Li provided repeated Pac-Man-like sounds.

Herman trust that examining the instrument itself is the best method to construct as a guitar player. Together a result, Herman continuously improved his E-GEN signature guitar collection from 2008 to 2019. Currently, that is functioning on a brand-new guitar come fit his evolving watch of the instrument.

Li’s playing style is defined by rapid legato and staccato licks, exotic range runs (such together the harmonic young or Phrygian leading scale). He also used a far-ranging amount of an intricate whammy bar techniques, fast sweep picking riffs, tremolo picking, double-handed tapping, along with some crazy fast and also juicy shredding. Honestly, if he is no a guitar god, then that is?


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My surname is Chris and I’ve had actually a passion for music and guitars for as lengthy as I have the right to remember. I started this website with few of my friends who are musicians, music teachers, equipment heads, and also music enthusiasm so we could administer high-quality guitar and music-related content.

I’ve been play guitar due to the fact that I was 13 years old and also am one avid collector. Amps, pedals, guitars, bass, drums, microphones, studio, and recording gear, ns love it all.

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I was born and raised in west Pennsylvania. My background is in electrical Engineering, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. With my design experience, I’ve arisen as a designer of etc amplifiers and effects. A true enthusiasm of mine, i have designed, built, and repaired a wide variety of etc amps and electronics. Here at the etc Lobby, our aim is to share our enthusiasm for Music and also gear with the remainder of the music community.