GuitaWorld.com is revisiting Steve Vai's classic mag column, "The Ultra Zone," for this crash course in ear training. As I mentioned last time, a valuable method of training your ear is to practice singing the notes that you play on the guitar. I’d like to elaborate on this fun approach and offer you some specific advice on how to go about doing this on your own.
The late Frank Zappa made his first Guitar World cover appearance with the March 1982 issue. The cover calls him "America's Most Misunderstood Genius," and the original story by John Swenson starts on page 34. Here's part one of that interview. Check back for part two later this week.
Everyone remembers Tina S., right? She's the 14-year-old French guitarist who's been blowing everyone's mind with her effortless renditions of Eddie Van Halen's "Eruption" (Watch it here) and her tribute to composer Antonio Vilvaldi (Watch it here).
Originally intended to mimic the sound of a muted trumpet, it didn't take long for guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa to make that sweet, sweeping "wah-wah" sound an integral part of the rock and roll lexicon.
I recently had the honor of watching Steve Vai during an unaccompanied soundcheck and was surprised by what I heard. There was something different about his sound, a ballsy low-mid energy that gave his tone the kind of depth and earthy elements it had back in his mid-Eighties Flex-Able/David Lee Roth period. I later learned that the source of this scorching tone is Vai’s new set of DiMarzio Gravity Storm pickups. Whereas his Evolution pickups featured cutting attack, in-your-face presentation and extremely dense upper harmonics, the Gravity Storms are warm and fat, with a kicking low-end edge.
Former Star Trek and T.J. Hooker star William Shatner, 82, has released the music video for "Ponder the Mystery," the title track from his new album, which was released October 8. Although the song features Steve Vai on guitar, Vai does not appear in the video. The guitarist (and background singer) in the video is Billy Sherwood, the album's producer.
Former Star Trek and T.J. Hooker star William Shatner, 82, has announced another album. His latest effort, Ponder the Mystery, will feature guest appearances by guitarists Steve Vai, Al Di Meola, Vince Gill and Robby Krieger of the Doors and will be released October 8.
Dave Weiner has been a member of Steve Vai’s band for more than a decade and has toured the world with him seven times over. On their latest tour, Weiner was given the opportunity to not only play with Vai’s band, but also to open with a solo acoustic set, supporting his instrumental album, A Collection of Short Stories.
If you look at the elements of that record, it contains many of the things I enjoy doing today. It has history, melody, and the lyrics are wonderful. Along with its enchanting and exquisite melodies, West Side Story has attitude and a tremendous amount of frenetic energy. It's emotional, theatrical and technical. It's everything.