Vai Miniset

This is the forum for all Steve Vai-related discussion including Steve's albums, videos, performances and frequently asked questions.
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Tony K
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Hello everyone!

As you can tell I am new here, and I am only 13 years old. But I have a love for Vai's music and I wanted to figure out a way to honor that. So I have decided to do a Vai miniset just for fun, and if all goes well maybe perform it sometime next year. I will need to learn the songs, find a bass player and drummer, and then go find a gig. I thought it would be a great challenge, and maybe you guys would like to know about it. I will be checking back to this thread periodically to show everyone my progress.

The set I have choosen is:
Die To Live
Frank
Yankee Rose (Instrumental Version)

I am still on the song learning part, and I have finished Frank. It took three days of hard time with my guitar, but I have finished. How rewarding! I plan on starting Die To Live today, and then doing Yankee Rose last.

Any help/suggestions are glady taken, and I am sure I will have many, many questions of my own.

Thanks everyone!

Tony 8)
Tony K
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11.9.06

First question!

How does Vai pull off those squeals at the begining of Die To Live? I know to hold your thumb close to the end of the pick, but I just can't get it down consistantly.
cadiz
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Repetition.
Splish
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Tony K wrote:Hello everyone!

As you can tell I am new here, and I am only 13 years old. But I have a love for Vai's music and I wanted to figure out a way to honor that. So I have decided to do a Vai miniset just for fun, and if all goes well maybe perform it sometime next year. I will need to learn the songs, find a bass player and drummer, and then go find a gig. I thought it would be a great challenge, and maybe you guys would like to know about it. I will be checking back to this thread periodically to show everyone my progress.

The set I have choosen is:
Die To Live
Frank
Yankee Rose (Instrumental Version)

I am still on the song learning part, and I have finished Frank. It took three days of hard time with my guitar, but I have finished. How rewarding! I plan on starting Die To Live today, and then doing Yankee Rose last.

Any help/suggestions are glady taken, and I am sure I will have many, many questions of my own.

Thanks everyone!

Tony 8)
13 year old learning Steve's stuff?? good luck!! XD

Splish
slash89
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Tony K wrote:11.9.06

First question!

How does Vai pull off those squeals at the begining of Die To Live? I know to hold your thumb close to the end of the pick, but I just can't get it down consistantly.
Do you mean the tapped chord harmonics? If so the trick is to hit the guitar 12 frets (one octave) higher than you are holding the chord. So when you are playing a A Major chord your left hand is fretting notes on the second fret. That means that you have to tap the three notes on the 14 fret. This will cause a nice cling :)

If you refer to the pinch harmonics, just try to let your pick and thumb hit the string at the same time. One way to check that thyis actually works is to just pick a single note, then very gently touch the string with your right hand. This does not need to happen fast. Always remember to use a lot of distortion!

Steve also plays natural harmonics in this song. This is done by gently placing your finger(s) over a fret barely touching it. It is very important to not press the string to hard down. Some of the best places to do this are the 5th,7th and 12 fret etc.. Remember that it works on all the strings!! :)

All the techniques mentioned above requires a fair amount of time to get right. It can be frustrating, but never give up!

Hope this helped. Don't be afraid to ask if you are wondering about something :)


Peace,
Kristian :)
djhollowman
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Hi man, welcome to the forums!
I'm relatively new here myself, but I'm not nearly so new when it comes to Steve, or to playing guitar!
Now, y'know how your music teacher/guitar tutor/guitar mag/website/whoever always tells you to keep practising?? Well, they're right! Just think about the things you feel you play well - it's cos you know 'em! And because you play what you like, and like what you play, you keep doing it - which is simply another way of saying that you're "practising"! The trick is to practise what you CAN'T play too! Don't get lazy, or fall back into your comfort zone - keep building strength in your fingers. You will undoubtedly have days where you feel you can't hit a single note right, and other days where you feel like you're flying. As your experience and technique improve you'll have more flying days! Never give up.
And look for the Steve Vai 30-hour workout right here on these forums too! That'll keep you busy! Look under Little Black Dots here in the forums.
Specifically to Steve's music, there are a wealth of tab books, tab websites and tutorial DVDs out there - always worth checking eBay etc!
Best of luck!
Tony K
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Splish wrote:
Tony K wrote:Hello everyone!

As you can tell I am new here, and I am only 13 years old. But I have a love for Vai's music and I wanted to figure out a way to honor that. So I have decided to do a Vai miniset just for fun, and if all goes well maybe perform it sometime next year. I will need to learn the songs, find a bass player and drummer, and then go find a gig. I thought it would be a great challenge, and maybe you guys would like to know about it. I will be checking back to this thread periodically to show everyone my progress.

The set I have choosen is:
Die To Live
Frank
Yankee Rose (Instrumental Version)

I am still on the song learning part, and I have finished Frank. It took three days of hard time with my guitar, but I have finished. How rewarding! I plan on starting Die To Live today, and then doing Yankee Rose last.

Any help/suggestions are glady taken, and I am sure I will have many, many questions of my own.

Thanks everyone!

Tony 8)
13 year old learning Steve's stuff?? good luck!! XD

Splish
Its hard, but on days where our house isn't busy, I can get up six hours of practise in a day, guitar is my passion! 8)
If you refer to the pinch harmonics, just try to let your pick and thumb hit the string at the same time. One way to check that thyis actually works is to just pick a single note, then very gently touch the string with your right hand. This does not need to happen fast. Always remember to use a lot of distortion!
Ok, This is what I meant, I mean, I know how to do them, but I can get it down consistantly, to the point where I can be playing, and say, I want a squeal here, and do it. I am about 50/50.

Thank You!
repettion
Well, my practice regimine has been this lately: After getting home from school, I play for as long as I want (typaccaly at least three hours), then at night, I will stricly practice, A. The Vai song I am currently learning (This worked great with "Frank") or B. speed exersices. Typaccally the Vai song, for 50 minutes, and exersices for 10 minutes. Vai songs build chops anyways!

Thanks again for all of your help!

Tony K! 8)
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Big Bad Bill
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Tony K wrote:11.9.06

First question!

How does Vai pull off those squeals at the begining of Die To Live? I know to hold your thumb close to the end of the pick, but I just can't get it down consistantly.
You mean the 14th fret harmonics? On the video, Steve looks like he's slapping the strings at the 14th fret. In practice I found this produced inconsistant results. What does work is simply laying your middle finger over the strings at 14th frets. The harmonics ring out loud, clear and consistantly!
djhollowman
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I believe we have two different things going on here, namely pinched harmonics and touch harmonics.
Pinched harmonics first then. (This is NOT what Steve's doing in the video for Die To Live BTW, those are touch harmonics, or possibly tapped harmonics)
Tony, to do pinched harmonics, try pulling the tip of your pick up a bit into the contact area between you thumb and forefinger, almost in a kind of "rolling" method like you're trying to pick up a hair from a smooth surface(!?), so that less of the pick tip is exposed. The other trick is to really HIT the string! Be aware too, that it makes a tremendous difference WHERE on the string you hit! Experiment with "squeals" by picking above the bridge pickup, move along a bit towards the neck, keep going and you'll soon hear pinched harmonics at very different frequencies! Get some wide and fast vibrato going in your fretting hand too, to really emphasise the effect! Listen to Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society/Ozzy, he's the KING of squeals!! If you check out the intro to his BLS song "Stillborn" you'll hear him create a song intro by playing only one note, but pulling pinched harmonics from it all over the length of the string to give a really unusual effect!

Now, touch harmonics. These are essentially a version of natural harmonics. I'm assuming you know about those? (lightly touching the string with fretting fingers over eg. 12th fret, pick as normal, but remove fretting fingers quickly? Yes??) The strongest natural harmonics occur at the 12th fret, and produces the same note as the open string but an octave higher. You also get nice clear ones at the 7th and 5th frets, and they also occur all over the length of the strings, but some are harder to produce! Well, touch harmonics are essentially the same, except the big difference is that by fretting a note, you are effectively moving the guitar's nut and thus shortening its length. So for example, if you fret the low E string at the 2nd fret, the harmonic note that would have been over the 12th fret would now be found over the 14th fret, cos it's 12 frets higher than where you're fretting, make sense?? This is where you need 3 hands! 1 to fret the note, 1 to rest on the harmonic on the 14th fret, and 1 to pick it! You can get around this at least 2 ways. One way would be to fret the 2nd fret of your open E again, pick the string as normal, now using first finger of picking hand lightly touch the string over the 14th fret, and you should hear the same note you're fretting (F#) but an octave higher. Another way to do it is to lightly touch it with the first finger of your picking hand whilst picking the new note with your pick, which you would hold with your thumb and 2nd finger - tricky to explain, much easier to demonstrate! Think of it has fretting a note and picking it with the same hand, cos that's basically what it is!
There's also, of course, tapped harmonics. This is where instead of lightly touching the 14th fret, you would actually tap the fret firmly and quickly with your picking hand forefinger (or whichever you would normally use for tapping!). Try this example: fret a normal open G major chord, then with a finger from your picking hand, tap (quickly, cleanly and quite firmly!) the 15th fret of you low E string, then the 14th fret of your A string, then 12th fret of D string, then 12th fret of G string, then 12th fret of B string, and finally 15th fret of high E string. You should get a kind of arpeggiated version of your G major chord but an octave higher! Obviously you can't strum this, you would have to hit each string individually, that's why it sounds arpeggiated. Also, it's worth pointing out that it's probably better if you try these examples with your electric guitar plugged into an amp, cos if you don't you often hear false notes when you tap, which is actually just the part of the string between both your hands ringing, but it can sound awful and be very off-putting cos you think you're playing the wrong notes or your guitar's outta tune!!!!

And I haven't even mentioned what happens when you combine harmonics with the whammy bar!! Divebomb, anyone? Check Steve's "Bad Horsie"...

hope some of this helps man!
:guitar :headbang
Tony K
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That sumed it up perfect! Thanks!

Now to question 2:

What is the correct fingering pattern for a small run at the beggining of the "Die To Live" solo like...

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---------------------15p10-
----------------13----------
-----------12---------------
-------10-------------------
----8-----------------------
-6---------------------------
I cant get it right???[/code]
Petie
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Tony K wrote:That sumed it up perfect! Thanks!

Now to question 2:

What is the correct fingering pattern for a small run at the beggining of the "Die To Live" solo like...

Code: Select all

---------------------15p10-
----------------13----------
-----------12---------------
-------10-------------------
----8-----------------------
-6---------------------------
I cant get it right???[/code]

Those notes are doubled up if I remember correctly. Fret the '6' with your index finger, then the '8' with your ring finger, then for the second strike, fret with your index finger. Then your ring finger will be well positioned to fret the '10' on the next string, then you fret the 10th with your index finger for the second strike. Etc.
Tony K
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Petie wrote:
Tony K wrote:That sumed it up perfect! Thanks!

Now to question 2:

What is the correct fingering pattern for a small run at the beggining of the "Die To Live" solo like...

Code: Select all

---------------------15p10-
----------------13----------
-----------12---------------
-------10-------------------
----8-----------------------
-6---------------------------
I cant get it right???[/code]

Those notes are doubled up if I remember correctly. Fret the '6' with your index finger, then the '8' with your ring finger, then for the second strike, fret with your index finger. Then your ring finger will be well positioned to fret the '10' on the next string, then you fret the 10th with your index finger for the second strike. Etc.
Thank you, that helps a lot!
Zongadude
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Tony K wrote: I have finished Frank. It took three days of hard time with my guitar, but I have finished.
Hello Tony,

Do you mean you can actually play the crying guitar solo in the middle of "Frank" ? The solo that consists only of 5th and 7th fret harmonics shaped up in a melody by the use of the whammy bar ? :shock: I think this is one of Steve's most complex guitar work to master. I'm very impressed.

Anyway, keep up the hard work, and have fun in the process. I wish you achieve the goal you set up for yourself. If you believe in it, it will happen.
jam-man
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And put up a video so we can see it!!!
Tony K
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Zongadude wrote:
Tony K wrote: I have finished Frank. It took three days of hard time with my guitar, but I have finished.
Hello Tony,

Do you mean you can actually play the crying guitar solo in the middle of "Frank" ? The solo that consists only of 5th and 7th fret harmonics shaped up in a melody by the use of the whammy bar ? :shock: I think this is one of Steve's most complex guitar work to master. I'm very impressed.

Anyway, keep up the hard work, and have fun in the process. I wish you achieve the goal you set up for yourself. If you believe in it, it will happen.
Well, the thing with that solo, is I first got the notes down, and then I just worked with the recording for a few hours, and I had it down. I really found it very difficult, but what dosen't kill you makes you a better guitarist! But then again, my back is against the wall learning Die To Live, it is so hard. And I am feeling desperate. The thought going through my head is, ok, I got that down, now I have to do this, which is hardest, and then Yankee Rose wont be that bad aside from the intro.

Id like to record Frank soon! However, I don't have a camera, unless I borrow my friends, so the videos might be a while.

However, I have stopped working on Die To Live for a bit. I was getting through parts, but there was just stuff that astonished me, so I stopped for a while and I am currently killing myself with speed and other exersices by Vai himself, like the angle drill..

Is this a good idea?
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