Guitar Lessons You Must Learn From Steve Vai To Greatly Improve Your Guitar Playing - Part 2  -  Ensuring Your Musical Greatness


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You can learn a lot from great guitarists (such as Steve Vai) IF (and ONLY “if”) you know what exactly to look for. Fact is, the musical greatness of Steve Vai is NOT due to his guitar playing arpeggio mastery or fast picking (or any other skill). Instead, it is the result of the “musical freedom” he achieved to fully express himself.

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In part 1 of this guitar lessons from Steve Vai article, you learned some of the most important lessons about the musical greatness of Steve Vai and how you can benefit from them in your guitar playing. Here are several more:

Steve Vai Musical Greatness Secret #4: Ability to Transform Complex Musical Rhythms Into Great Sounding Music

Similar to virtuoso guitarist John Petrucci, Steve Vai has mastered the ability to lock in his guitar playing and play in perfect time while playing over many complicated time signatures. In addition to playing in perfect time, he understands how to control the feeling of tension in a song by playing on and in between these beats. The result is: music that sounds great and smooth even in odd time, rather than an obvious attempt to play something complex for its own sake.


How to get killer guitar playing like Steve Vai using this concept:

  1. Do not make the mistake of neglecting your rhythm guitar skills and make sure to invest the time into becoming a tight and creative rhythm guitarist. The rhythm guitar mastery of Steve Vai didn’t develop by accident and neither will yours :).
     
  2. Similar to lead guitar phrasing (where “how” you play the notes is infinitely more important than “what” notes you play), focus on “tightness”, articulation and accuracy of your rhythm guitar playing. Check out this guide for recording guitar in the studio to learn how to practice elements of perfectly tight rhythm guitar playing.
     
  3. Learn to play guitar in odd meter (any time signature that has an odd number of beats per measure) and challenge yourself to make odd meter sound musical and smooth. As a cool exercise, take any guitar riff from any famous rock song that is in 4/4 time and challenge yourself to transform it into any time signature, such as: 3/4, 5/4, 7/4, 11/4, etc. This will challenge your musical creativity greatly and you will often come up with brand new guitar riffs that you never considered before. (If you don’t know how to do this, get a guitar teacher to help you with your musical creativity in this area).

Steve Vai guitar lesson Note: I strongly encourage you to do the above exercise even if progressive rock guitar playing (in the style of Steve Vai or John Petrucci) is not your main style. Why? Because the level of musical creativity that will develop from doing this will carry over into more simple rhythm guitar playing and songwriting (and it’s simply fun to do :) ).

To learn more ways to improve your rhythm guitar playing, read this article about how to play awesome rhythm guitar riffs.

Steve Vai Musical Greatness Secret #5: Ability To Write Highly Expressive Music Using Many Songwriting Approaches

Similar to John Petrucci, Steve Vai is known for having an extremely versatile songwriting style, consisting of MANY compositional techniques (influenced by a broad range of musical styles). Sometimes he uses a simple rhythmic idea to create an entire song or solo, other times he may start with a melodic motive, and yet other times he may begin by thinking about the order of the musical sections (“form”) first before composing a single note. Most importantly, realize that the key to the originality and creativity of Steve Vai is the fact that he does NOT rely exclusively on his guitar to write music.

How to get killer guitar playing like Steve Vai using this concept:

You do NOT necessarily need to learn lots of musical styles like Steve Vai did (unless your goals call for it), but I DO strongly encourage you to use multiple approaches for writing music. When you start doing this (instead of using your guitar to “go fishing” for musical ideas as your only songwriting approach), your musical creativity will soar. Learn a lot of new songwriting methods in my 5-part article series about songwriting.

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Steve Vai Musical Greatness Secret #6: A Deep Love For The Process of Getting Better At Guitar

Steve Vai is well-known for his long, disciplined and regimented guitar practice routines. While impressive, the KEY to his resulting musical greatness was NOT in the raw number of hours Steve Vai put into practicing. Fact is, Steve Vai would still have achieved musical greatness today if he practiced only a fraction of the hours that he did.

No, it’s not because Steve Vai possessed musical greatness from birth or because Steve Vai was naturally so incredibly disciplined.

Instead, it was the fire, passion and LOVE for the process of mastering guitar that fueled Vai's intense desire to practice guitar daily. THAT was the driving force behind ALL actions that helped Steve Vai reach his musical greatness. In fact, this is a common thread among all great guitarists. I talk about this at length in this article about guitar playing greatness.

How to get killer guitar playing like Steve Vai using this concept:

Good news: you do NOT need to practice 10, 8, 5 or even 3 hours per day to become a great guitarist. Here are the things you MUST do, have and become if you want to maximize the progress towards reaching your goals:

  1. You MUST want to become a great guitarist bad enough.
     
  2. You must learn how to make your guitar practicing effective AND fun at the same time.
     
  3. You must avoid mindless guitar practicing. Learn exactly what things must be practiced to achieve musical greatness and how to practice them to get big results. (This musical goals manifestation page will show you how).
     

Now that you have a much deeper understanding the musical greatness of Steve Vai, apply these ideas to YOUR practicing, to achieve your musical goals much faster. To truly tap your own musical greatness and achieve massive results in your guitar playing, find a great teacher who can help you play like Steve Vai as you are reaching your musical goals.


Get the training you need to become an excellent guitarist like Steve Vai by taking online electric guitar lessons.

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