A close-to-the-heart talk with THE MAN…
Steve Vai is a very expressionistic guitar player. He has been around for many years, and we tend to think that we, more or less, know all there is to know about the man with the fast guitar moves… Never the less, an almost two-hour close talk with his Facebook fans, revealed what could be summed up in 10 pieces of good solid advise.
Check the out here… maybe there’s something you can learn too… 🙂
“At this point in his 30-year career, there’s not much about Steve Vai that hasn’t been covered before. Luckily, some of our more astute Facebook fans kept Vai busy for nearly two hours to talk about everything from the influence of his former boss Frank Zappa to some setlist spoilers for his upcoming Rock in Rio gig. Check out a few highlights from Vai’s expansive Q&A below.
1. Vai is digging into his archives for his next project.
Right now I’m working on the record that will be included in the 25th-anniversary edition of Passion and Warfare that will come out next year. It’s music I’ve written or tracked between Flex-able and Passion and Warfare, kinda like the missing link. It’s pretty bizarre and wild. As a matter of fact, I just played Andy Alt one of the weirdest solos I think I ever did and he said, “That was the most inside-out, backward, and flipped thing that ends up being so right!”
2. When it comes to Vai’s immaculate technique, 11 is the magic number.
Practice very, very slow and perfect. If every note doesn’t sound like it has its own personality, roundness, depth, and other perfections, then start slowly. Then slowly bring the speed up and master perfectly, effortlessly, and beautifully what you’re playing at least 11 times in a row without making one mistake. Then get a little faster. Patience is of vital importance, but of even more important is that you enjoy every note and put your full attention into the soul of every note.
3. His 10-hour workouts are a thing of the past.
If I still did those I would be as good as some people think I am.
4. Improvisation and composition are neighbors in Vai’s solos.
Sometimes when I’m in the studio working on a solo, I break it down and work on one section at a time until something comes out that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard or played before. I usually can’t do that on the fly, so I’ll need to meditate on an idea. I then work on that idea until its vocabulary becomes second nature to me. So certain solos may be duplicated live very close to the original but there’s always space for pure improv. I enjoy doing both equally.
You shouldn’t have to be thinking of what to play but instead, just let it come out and give it your attention.
5. Tone is a supremely unique journey.
6. Learning a new tune is largely a mental exercise.
7. Replacing Yngwie and Eddie Van Halen? No problem.
8. When it comes to nerves and stage fright, Vai focuses on the present.
9. Whammy-bar antics are a little less destructive with Vai’s latest guitars.
10. Thanks to a pop diva, Vai’s beekeeping hobby is back on track.