Create a deeper sense of subdivisions.
Discover ways to combine odd groupings.
Perfect the Yngwie pattern.
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I had the pleasure of getting involved in a project after some duration back wearing down Steve Vais playing on David Lee Roths Eat Em and Smile album. Safe to state my fingers were fried after 90 days of practicing, but there have been so many strategies to understand from. Late 80s and early 90s Vai is actually something to behold, as he was featured in huge bands and changed the facial skin of instrumental guitar. I wish to look at some technical areas of what he’d do with regards to linear lines and expressions. My hope is that by learning them, it is possible to take them and make sure they are your personal. Lets dive in!
Ex. 1 is really a classic Vai-ism in D minor. Its a descending line loosely based around some triads with several extra bits devote. The initial beat centers around a D minor triad (DFA), the next beat hovers around a B diminished triad (BDF), and the 3rd beat uses an A triad (ACE) to provide a V-I pull back again to the main note on beat 4. I really like the thought of the two-note pull-off accompanied by a slide to transition between your cells.
Ex. 2 is comparable to Ex. 1 when it comes to layout, however there are some twists. Especially with the two-note-per-string hammer-ons shifting down two positions. This legato smear of notes is really a trademark Vai-ism that arises in a great deal of his solos and improvisations. We finish the line with an enormous position shift right down to a G Minor pentatonic pull-off phrase. A notable ornament of Vais spectacular playing.
Vai and Joe Satriani share lots of common ground with regards to legato playing. They’re known when planning on taking three-note-per-string phrases and cramming notes in to the beat for an awesome washy sound. However, Vai sometimes would really concentrate on the odd subdivisions these patterns would create. A sure sign of the influence Allan Holdsworth had along with his angular-sounding lines. In Ex. 3 you can observe how I’d approach this by combining sextuplets with septuplets.
Ex. 4 is another legato run in E minor. However, this time around were adding a tapped note at the 12th fret on each string near the top of each legato roll. Dont be alarmed by the subdivisions in the transcription, they are more of a pointer towards the groupings. My performance note is always to practice this slowly as eighth-notes or slow 16th-notes before accelerating. When things are ticking along well, just do it now!
This phrase (Ex. 5) opens with a fairly unique sequence for Vai: a five-note pattern played over a 16th-note rhythm. It is possible to hear this pattern on a few of his Alcatrazz material, and within the tapping runs in solos such as for example Big Trouble. The quintuplet uses notes from the minor pentatonic (ACDEG) disseminate over two positions. Each pattern starts with a tapped note before pulling off to a chord tone. Then, I skip a string and play a descending three-note group. I keep on with this up to the very best string before descending a line based around an Fmaj9 arpeggio (FACEG).
Vai has some ferocious picking runs so when I hear Guthrie Govan get into full-on shred mode I could especially hear the Vai influence on him. Ex. 6 features an ascending run of sextuplets in A. This phrase features mostly ascending notes on each string before last two beats where we come across an Al Di Meola/Paul Gilbert-style pattern.
Ex. 7 is really a flurry of notes, however there’s some sense to how they’re played. Remember that that is phrased with three-note-per-string patterns. If we dissect the fingerings a little, I take advantage of the classic Yngwie pattern of six to kick things off and I take advantage of three sets of seven before wrapping with three sets of five. Dont think about these in relationship to the beat, but more for building the run. Practice with even 16ths or eighth-notes initially. With regards to playing it at full speed, pick just like the wind!
These unusual, almost symmetrical, patterns arrive in all forms of places in Vais playing. Ex. 8 is really a fun Vai phrase that outlines a number of minor 11 arpeggios. Each pattern is identical, so its far better play this with sweep picking and shoot for a straight feel. Try saying the term hippopotamus when playing through quintuplets to fall into line the syllables with the subdivisions. When Vai plays these, he lets them blur slightly, turning them into sheets of sound. Or sometimes he uses them to simply highlight the very best note by sweeping so fast that its almost inaudiblein an awesome way!
So there we’ve it, eight technical linear lines inspired by the amazing Steve Vai. Learning lines from your own favorite artists is good, but it surely starts to count once you get rid of the concepts and re-shape them your personal way. Vai is really a well of inspiration for a great deal of guitarists. Long may he continue!
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