Feast your eyes on Steve Vai’s Ibanez JEM guitar he named “Evo” after the Dimarzio Evolution pickups installed in it. Photographed by Lisa S. Johnson in Los Angeles, August 28th, 2010, for the pictorial masterwork, 108 Rock Star Guitars, “Evo” was hand-selected by Vai. Guitars are like snowflakes in that no two are exactly alike. Steve tested four identical production models of the Ibanez Jem before choosing this particular one to be his main squeeze. There was just something about her feel that moved him.
I could never overstate the importance of a musician’s need to develop his or her ear. Actually, I believe that developing a good “inner ear” — the art of being able to decipher musical components solely through listening — is the most important element in becoming a good musician.
The mind of a songwriter is often wired differently than that of a guitarist. Though the two cross paths often, it’s rare to see a pro-level guitar player (particularly a lead guitarist) and a successful songwriter embodying the same human being. Some exceptions might include Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Clapton and Brad Paisley. But usually it takes two.
Before getting to the “Sevens” lick, I’m going to break down the technique involved so that you will be able to apply this idea to creating riffs of your own. The genesis of the lick was in trying to find a new way to play a major-seven arpeggio. I started out by breaking it down into two notes per string, as shown in FIGURE 1a.
You don’t need to go very far to find a cool-sounding scale that can jazz up your blues solos in no time. We’ll be looking into the mixed blues scale, which combines the notes from the minor and major blues scales to outline the underlying blues chord changes, while retaining a healthy dose of the blues at the same time.
Taking techniques from different instruments and applying them to the guitar can open up a whole new approach to the instrument and add freshness to your playing and ideas. In this lesson, we will look at approaching the guitar in the style of a sitar and Indian mandolin. A sitar has many strings (up to 20, to be exact). Ironically, out of all of these strings, most of the time only one of them is used to do the actual playing.
First off, what is noodling? Well, it depends on who you ask. But for our purposes, I'll say it is generally the act of unorganized or undisciplined practice. Those of us who have been playing for a long time know it takes dedication and sometimes sacrifice to accomplish a certain goal.
Think about the minor pentatonic scale; almost immediately, the mental image of that familiar box shape is probably conjured in your mind's eye. The fact that we can instantly recall various patterns due to their spacial layout over the fretboard is a great thing. But what if we're relying too heavily on existing scale shapes?
I’d like to focus on riffs and rhythm ideas that represent what I think of as “the real deal” metal. I’ve designed these riffs to help you build up both your pick-and fret-hand technique in regard to executing pure metal ideas like these with power and precision.
In this lesson, you will learn how to play and apply 4th chords to the I7, IV7 and V7 chords of a blues progression in order to bring a modern vibe to your comping ideas, as well as learn a study that you can use to hear these shapes in a musical situation.