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We're going to be setting up shop in beautiful Vail, Colorado August 2-6, 2015 for the ultimate guitar experience. If you were with us during the inaugural run in 2014, glad to see you again! If this is going to be your first year, I wanted to take this opportunity to personally give you the rundown…

Now, there were a few things that we all loved about 2014. Every day offered an open forum and atmosphere for questions and answers during clinics and classes, and then at night we all jammed together. One of the wonderful things about Vai Academy is I get the opportunity to jam on stage with literally EVERY camper.

If you're there, you're jamming with me at some point!

Once again, it's all ages and skill levels. Whether you just picked up your first guitar for your tenth birthday or you've been playing for 40 years since your tenth birthday, we want you here, plugged in, and ready to play!

This year, our master classes will be taught by two guitar giants—Eric Johnson and Sonny Landreth. You’ll have the opportunity to receive special attention from them. Those are the similar elements to last year.

Now, one of the main things about Vai Academy is to do something different each year. Last year, our theme was Song Evolution. This year, it's All About The Guitar—literally.

So besides all of the jamming, we're going to focus on the actual instrument. It's something I've always wanted to do, but it's even eluded me, oddly enough. We'll be highlighting aspects of the guitar that even seasoned players are relatively unaware of. However, we should all be aware of them. This includes everything from how guitars are built, how different body shapes create tones, how different woods sound, how neck dimensions affect sound, how fretboards are built, how to properly string a guitar, how to set intonation, and so much more.

This was my train of thought. You have an attraction to the instrument. You pick it up. You start playing it. You can find your groove and your notes, but you may not really understand the tiny nuances and idiosyncrasies of the guitar itself. That's what we're going to show you.

In keeping with this theme, we'll have some of the world's best luthiers and foremost experts teaching classes about every nuance of our favorite instrument. Ibanez is filming a special video of a guitar built from scratch, and you'll get to see that axe up close and personal.

So, in between all of that riffing on stage, learning your instrument inside and out, and basking in the glory that is summer in Vail (or VAI-L), you'll leave with some lifelong new friends. That's what I love about this.

I'm here to have a good time, share some knowledge, and learn a few things. I hope you're there, too—with your guitar of course!


Registration opens Tuesday, Jan. 27 on at 8 a.m. PST / 10 a.m. CST / 11 a.m. EST


"The layout of the day, similar to 2014, will have actual guitar clinics where attendees will be able to sit, observe, talk and enjoy a true guitar experience with Eric Johnson, Sonny Landreth, and myself. Those will be worked into the schedule of each day. The rest of the classes will adhere to our theme of All About The Guitar. If there are four or five classes during the day, the majority will be geared toward this theme taught by some of the industry's most respected luthiers and experts. Then the whole night is just jamming."


"There are things people are unaware of that they can benefit from knowing. They're really simple — like the proper way to string a guitar and what kind of wood to choose. Most people who pick up a guitar have no idea that the kind of wood itself has an impact on the tone of the instrument. There's a pitch to the neck. It vibrates. If you tap a body, there's a pitch to it. That's just one example. Understanding some of these nuances can help you identify more with the kind of sound you are looking for out of a guitar and how to shop for that perfect instrument for you. This can only aid the player in hunting down their own unique sound."


"Couple Vail with our atmosphere of open playing with others and being in an environment with all guitar lovers—that's pretty awesome."