Last weekend the 2011 version of NAMM in Anaheim, California, saw many of the usual artists coming to present new products, signature series and so on. Steve Vai was there as he often is, this year to present his new Ibanez Euphoria signature model, an acoustic model not too dissimilar to Joe Satriani’s JSA Series as you can see below:
While he was there, the guys at Music Radar took their chance to briefly catch up with him, here’s an excerpt of their interview, with something I find quite exciting:
Last year, the film you co-produced, Crazy, was released. Do you have any other such projects happening?
“There are a couple of things I’m working on that I’m very excited about. One of them is a whole new division for Favored Nations. I’m partnering with a company in New York, and what we’re going to do is develop a completely new model for a record company. It’s still way early to talk about, but it’s going to be very contemporary. Ever since I started my first label at the age of 20, I’ve always been aware of how the music business works. Trends can happen, and things can change, but there’s always opportunity.
“The other thing is something that’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s called Guitar TV – an internet station, 24/7, streaming all of the greatest guitar performances ever. Basically, it all started when I asked myself, ‘What would I like to see?’ That’s how a lot of good ideas come about. So we’re going to be launching that at some point. Guitar TV is going to be all guitar, every genre, the greatest performances. Being it Joe Pass, Eric Johnson, Hendrix, Satriani – all the greats, here they are.
“Not only that, but it’s going to have some really cool features. At any point, you can click on it and go to a Wikipedia page and read about the artist. You can click on another place and go to their website. You can click and buy their CDs. And what’s really cool is, you can click on the guitar the artist is playing and learn everything about the instrument. You can even find where you can buy the guitar, too. It’s crazy! The whole thing is built, and the man who’s going to be running it, Andy Alt, is talking to companies about content. I can’t wait to get it off and running. I figure, if I want something like this, there’s got to be other people who want the same thing.”
Now let’s hope it won’t suffer the fate of Pandora in this country. For the whole interview, head over to Music Radar 🙂
You know, when I hear Steve Vai say, if you want to be successful, focus on your strength, I’m really tempted to just dump bothering with sweep picking and focus on something else like string skipping. Heck that’s what Paul Gilbert does and it serves him pretty well. Though he has an advantage over me: humongous fingers, so that’s that argument out of the window. In all seriousness, I don’t really know what my strengths are. Sure there are some types of techniques I can practice more easily than others but that’s not to say that it’s because I’m better at that technique than this technique, and if you want to be as wide a portfolio in your fingers as you need to play that music that’s dying to come out, you have to get all the trump cards.
As it happens, I’m getting a pretty good feeling about using Guitar Pro as an aide to my routine. Yesterday, I did an arpeggios exercise and it went down pretty well. This may be because it involved barring the cords with the ring finger which is somehow easier than using the index finger the way I was struggling a couple of weeks back. But really having this loop constantly going that you can leave at any time and rejoin when you’re ready is just what I needed.
In fact, I’m sure I spend more time on one particular tempo than I did when using the track on the CD. In a way that means more time spent on technique practice but in essence this could be anything. I could decide to practice an AC/DC riff and just loop it until I get it, don’t worry, I won’t shook you all night long just yet 😉 Now today’s dreaded sweep picking exercise went down much better than I feared. Sure I didn’t get past 56bpm but I wasn’t expecting to even get that fast considering I was going for 8 groups of sextuplets within 2 bars. That’s 48 notes to play in total, not impossible obviously but one needs to have a pretty good grasp of the technique to pull that off. What I did notice though is new sore areas on my finger tips due to repeated play, almost as if it forces me to use an area of my finger I wasn’t really using before. Or you know, it could just be the repetition that was reaching its break point.
The point though is that I was feeling more confident and prepared to play that sweep picking exercise and I could even afford the luxury of focusing on not letting the notes ring too much. Ironically I noticed I was playing the F# diminished arpeggio wrong all those weeks, oops, but it took me almost no time to re-adjust which is telling me something.
I don’t know, maybe I’m having too high hopes but for now I’m enjoying the apparent progress 😀
Here’s 3 very inspiring videos posted by Guitar Center of Steve Vai discussing How to be a successful guitar player, his early years and why he uses the gear he uses. I recommend watching that first video, it somewhat continues along the same theme approached in the previous video I posted and is full of very interesting insights, which, if you’re like me, you can take to heart and carry with you in the times you can find to practice the instrument.
Justin Sandercoe of Justinguitar.com has posted a recent interview with Guitar Maestro Steve Vai. The interview mostly focuses on practice, inspiration and contains some pretty good advice for aspiring guitar players (or musicians really). Check it out:
Fun little interview from the folks at Music Radar with Satch prior to his embarking on his tour to promote Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards, here’s an excerpt:
Craig Charson asks, What can you do on the guitar that Steve Vai can’t, and vice-versa?
[laughs] “Oh, that’s a good one. I’m sure there’s lots of stuff. Well, for one thing, ever since Steve was a little kid, he always had the ability to play very complicated flatpicking passages than I never could. I’m less disciplined when it comes to that. He has a great command over his hands, and he’s more disciplined. I think that’s why he was able to play those very difficult Zappa passages, which later became part of his writing style.
“As far as what I can do that he can’t…I don’t know. I think it would be far easier for him to play like me than the other way around.”