Want to Learn the Climactic "Ralph Macchio" Portion of the 'Crossroads' Guitar Duel? Watch This Video!

Whipping out a Superstrat and belting out Ry Cooder's and Steve Vai's solos from the famous Crossroads guitar-duel scene has been a nifty little party trick since the movie came out back in 1986.

Now, however, thanks to a fairly new YouTube channel called Digil Music Tabs, it just got a little easier to pull off. Digil has posted a lesson video featuring the climactic, classical "Ralph Macchio" portion of the guitar duel (played by Vai), complete with animated tabs. You can check it out above. As many guitar fans know, the slide/blues portion of Macchio's solo was played by Cooder; however, Vai plays the classical section—the famous bit that wins the duel, if you will.

I think one of the commenters (on the original YouTube video) puts it best:

"This is the greatest 'Crossroads Guitar Duel' presentation and tablature video that exist on Youtube! It shows the tabs as played, slows down the tempo without going off key or tune. Seriously, if you can't learn the song with the help of this video, then just put down the guitar and pick up the harmonica or something. It's impossible to make it any easier than this."

We're not sure if we'd go that far, but he makes an interesting argument.

"The Eighties was a decade of unrivaled guitar heroism," wrote Troy Grady in a ridiculously popular (and rapidly aging) GuitarWorld.com lesson called Diminishing the Devil: Steve Vai's 'Crossroads' Fours. "And one of its greatest heroes is also one of its greatest villains. Vai's nefarious turn in Crossroads sent legions of kids scurrying to their metronomes in hot pursuit of his blistering neoclassical chops. In fact, for many of us, Vai's incredible playing in [the film] was our introduction to the neoclassical style."

Of course, the Crossroads guitar parts (throughout the film) were played by several guitarists, including Vai, Cooder, Arlen Roth and classical guitarist Bill Kanengiser. For more about this topic, be sure to read 'Crossroads' and Its Unsung Guitar Hero, Arlen Roth.

Anyway, as luck would have it, Grady posted a brand-new Crossroads-themed video—"Steve Vai's Crossroads Paganini Quotation"—on January 9. You can watch it below; it shows Grady, who is one hell of a guitarist, playing one of the juicier bits of the solo—shown via two camera angles.

For more content dedicated to the guitar playing in Crossroads, check out the Diminishing the Devil link above and this GuitarWorld.com lesson, also courtesy of Grady: "Troy Grady Breaks Down Steve Vai's 'Intimidation Lick' from 'Crossroads'." Enjoy—and good luck!

Also, if you just can't get enough Vai, pick up the all-new February 2018 issue of Guitar World, which features an exclusive master class by Vai himself, videos and all.

(Image credit: Larry DiMarzio)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.