Steve Vai on the importance of music theory: “A person has to balance how much technique they need to get their point across”

Steve Vai
(Image credit: Mariano Regidor/Redferns via Getty)

While there are some guitar players who hail from a strong academic background and possess theoretical know-how, there are others who are known for their relaxed, self-taught approach to playing.

Steve Vai firmly fits into the former camp – having been educated by Joe Satriani before attending the famous Berklee College of Music – while players such as the late Gary Moore and Stevie Ray Vaughan, both of whom couldn’t read music, honed their craft by listening and replicating.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer,

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.