Tis BOOLsheet wrote:
I don't know if this is partly due to Steve's loss of technique, which has been very obvious over the years, or part of the production.!
Loss of technique? I haven't noticed it over the last few years. If you compare to Passion and Warfare, than yes. But he was in his late twenties/early thirties back then. He's 52 now. I think that's normal. Ussain Bolt will not break records at that age (but still be faster than me in my prime). I read your opinions on the Petrucci boards, but I don't agree. Vai's approach to music was always different from other shredders. Vai never was the most technical guitarist out there. He was always more of a composer than a rock guitarist.
When it comes to his guitar playing, I believe is views on technique changed. Playing fast is not a priority anymore. He comes up with other stuff, like the bends on Gravity Storm or keeping a note in pitch with the whammy bar while sliding his left hand up and down the neck. That takes some practice.
comparing it to his 20s-30s. You're right that it is normal to a certain extent. However, there are those who either stay the same or get better with respect to technique-- i.e. John Petrucci. So we are
on the same page in noticing that compared to his 20s-30s he has lost technique.
I never considered Vai to be a shredder. But Vai is, obviously, a virtuoso, and so technique is extremely important to that extent. I don't agree with you that he was ever more of a composer than a rock guitarist-- I'd rather say he was/is a rock musician. He's not ONLY a guitarist...he's a musician. The classics, P&W, ALS, are guitar albums without question. P&W is an exploration of the guitar.
The bends on Gravity Storm are cool and that kinda thing does take practice. But he always did cool things like that. I don't see that sorta thing as new for Vai. Technique isn't limited to playing fast by the way. Vibrato, articulation, tone, are all part of technique. It's extremely important to almost everything, not just playing fast. Loss of speed is probably the least of my concerns with respect to Vai's current playing.