My first two ear training columns (Part 1 and Part 2) outlined techniques intended to strengthen your note-recognition abilities, using the guitar as an ear training tool. This month, I’d like to turn you onto some ear training techniques that use chords.
Tosin Abasi strides into a Hollywood photo studio dressed in a crisp striped jersey, jeans and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses that make him look a bit like the young Dizzy Gillespie. He’s toting a pair of the Ibanez eight-string guitars that have become his stock in trade, sleek-bodied instruments with broad, massive necks that carry the heft and menace of weaponry.
The sight of Steve Vai conversing amiably in his Hollywood studio with Korn's James "Munky" Shaffer and Incubus' Mike Einziger, both of whom could serve as alternative poster boys, is surprising, to say the least. But these guitarists, their dreadlocks, Adidas trainers and baggy pants notwithstanding, have come not to bury Vai, but to praise him.
“I was always one of those guys who was a seeker after truth,” Steve Vai says. “I want to know what’s going on.” True enough. Vai’s relentless quest “to know what’s going on” has enabled him to plumb the transductive, vibratory mysteries of the electric guitar and come up with tonalities and techniques never before imagined. His place of honor in guitar history is secure. After all, of all the guitarists who emerged in the Eighties shred scene, Vai is quite arguably the most innovative.
With only 16 guitarists remaining in our massive tournament to crown your choice for the greatest of all time, we decided it'd be nice to take a break this week and take a good, close look at the men who have made it through three grueling rounds to make it to our Sweet 16, which is being brought to you by Sweetwater Sound.