What does Steve find difficult to play?

Discuss playing styles and techniques, or share your own here.
Oliver_Reed
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I guess this is a question to Steve himself or to the moderators who can answer on his behalf - but what does Steve find difficult to play?.

The reason I ask is that I've just watched all of the "Live At The London Astoria" DVD and - as always - Steve just makes it look so easy, so effortless and sooo fun!.

But is there anything which Steve worries about playing? Or thinks "uh oh - tricky bit coming up here"? I certainly have bits I'm not too confident with - so I'm wondering if Steve does too.

Cheers
Ollie

PS. Speaking of "Live At The London Astoria", "Whispering A Prayer" reduced me to tears again. Same thing happened when I heard it live at the Manchester Apollo in the UK - its just such an emotional piece.
Andelusion
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There is a part on the Astoria DVD audio commentary where Steve does say there's a index finger and thumb picking phrase that he sat practicing for hours before or something.

Obviously though he pulls it off as clean as a whistle :lol:

Would be interesting if Mikey or someone could find out which Songs of his (or any for that matter) he always found tricky or a challenge to play!
Ryan Layton
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he said there are some arpeggios in Blue Powder that are 'a bitch to play' but with a little practice you can play them easily.
SkinnyDevil
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Everything, I think.

I recently read an interview (I'll try to hunt it down and provide the link here) where he was talking about the songs from "Alien Love Secrets" and mentioned that the whole R&B style guitar playig thing is exceptionally difficult to do well, and that his song "Boy From Seattle" was very difficult.

Hang on, I'll find the interview.......

OK, here it is:

http://www.djnoble.demon.co.uk/ints/STEVEVA.IO0.html
STEVE VAI ON JIMI HENDRIX

I've also read that all pf "Passion & Warfare" he found extremely challenging to pull off at the time (though I'm sure it's not so hard now).
The Prez
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I'll tell you probably the hardest thing for him to play si stuff that he 'hasn't' played. Weird styles of music that he's not as familar with.
shader
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I heard that he had some difficulty playing "Tender Surrender" (and i can see why! that legato blows me away)

This is something we need Mikey or Steve Himself to post on. (preferably the latter...c'mon Steve, you haven't posted in a while :P)
smj
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Hey all,

Some people might disagree with me....but after hearing the G3 shows....I don't think Steve's forte is as an improviser. This has nothing to do with technique.....just the natural flow of ideas.

Even more specifically....when it comes to the jam portion of the shows, and you hear all 3 guitarists together......you can really hear the contrasts in playing. Joe sounds much more at home when playing a basic blues progression than Steve does.....Joe grew up on blues. His ideas are stronger, and the phrasing is much more natural. Steve himself admitted in the Astoria commentary that playing in the style of SRV is almost impossible for him.

This is certainly not taking anything away from Steve. He's one of my favorite players of all time.......but he's not John Mclaughlin, Pat Metheny, or SRV......and they're not Steve either.

Sean Meredith-Jones

http://www.seanmeredithjones.com
Psychlone
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Well, I can personally verify that Steve has said "Kill the Guy With the Ball" is very difficult, physically speaking. Very tough on the wrist.

I'm kind of glad to hear that "P&W" was difficult for him. That makes me want to give up playing slightly less. :)
badasstommyboy
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smj wrote:Hey all,

Some people might disagree with me....but after hearing the G3 shows....I don't think Steve's forte is as an improviser. This has nothing to do with technique.....just the natural flow of ideas.

Even more specifically....when it comes to the jam portion of the shows, and you hear all 3 guitarists together......you can really hear the contrasts in playing. Joe sounds much more at home when playing a basic blues progression than Steve does.....Joe grew up on blues. His ideas are stronger, and the phrasing is much more natural. Steve himself admitted in the Astoria commentary that playing in the style of SRV is almost impossible for him.

This is certainly not taking anything away from Steve. He's one of my favorite players of all time.......but he's not John Mclaughlin, Pat Metheny, or SRV......and they're not Steve either.

Sean Meredith-Jones

http://www.seanmeredithjones.com
very well said. I don't think improvisational blues is Vai's strong point. Satriani just grooves along with the blues thang bobbing his head along.
The Prez
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smj wrote:
Steve himself admitted in the Astoria commentary that playing in the style of SRV is almost impossible for him.




http://www.seanmeredithjones.com
Really? I find it easier to play SRV type blues and bluesy type songs than vai material. I don't see how it could be hard for someone who was as much open to music as vai was.
tim_knox
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I think in the Astoria DVD he was talking about the classic "blues" style in general, not specifically SRV. But i think that SRV just had this wierd ability to always know where to go and still have that really bluesy feeling. Vai says he can only do blues Vai-style which is exemplified by his rendition of Little Wing and Jiboom.
guitar_love
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PS. Speaking of "Live At The London Astoria", "Whispering A Prayer" reduced me to tears again. Same thing happened when I heard it live at the Manchester Apollo in the UK - its just such an emotional piece.
o dude yeah, same here man, i remeber when i heard that piece i relized i was cryin,in front of my gf...how emmbarsin lol, nahhh, she understood. lol.

peace
Magmas
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Well I think once we get ahold of 'fire strings' we will know what it means to be a difficult piece for steve to play.
karlon
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Friends,

I have something to say about the blues because I think it is one of the most underestimated style of guitar playing to our generation.

When I was younger (around mid 90s), I used to adore guitar "gods" like Slash, Kirk Hammett, Yngwie, etc. I heard Joe Satriani for the first time one day and I thought that's it, you can't top that. I did not like like clapton and the older guys, or rather I felt they were outdone, outmoded, etc. What can Clapton do that Slash cant??? Joe Satriani's modal playing mixed in with occasional bluesy lines is the way to go, so I thought.

Now after all these shredding years, I'm beginning to rethink my attitude. While I'm not discounting the greatness of Satriani, Vai, and the other shredders, I have to say I now understand what Vai means when he says he can't play the blues like SRV. I now understand why Clapton, B.B. King, SRV, and the other guys are called LEGENDS.

There is so much more to the blues than just running your fingers up and down the pentatonic scale. It is much more than just doing a blues lick. It is the execution. It is the timing. It is the subtle flick of the fingers and the exquisite attack of the pick. This was something that was not obvious to me when I was younger. It's only lately that I've learnt what the blues was all about, after listening to a lot of Clapton and BB King. These guys are not over the hill, these guys are guitar players in the real sense. And among the shredders that I admire and listen to, only Eric Johnson has consciously strived to attain this 'mentality'. I know because he says so in one interview, like he's intentionally trying to avoid over-soloing and focusing instead on the subleties of the blues and jazz. You can probably hear the difference in the first G3; Eric stood out from the bunch and from what I read, he is actually trying to sound 'mature'. The others are simply still having too much fun with 'shredding'.

I still love the shredding type of playing, but I just feel that anyone who says Clapton and the older guys are over the hill and how the blues are boring, oldstuff, I have to say they are missing the point. And now it seems Vai agrees to what I'm saying. Am I arrogant or what?? :lol:


Karlon
Atomictoyz
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Polka :)


Its really tough to play when you have Weird Al doing like a virgin in your head! Everything is tough when your laughing :)


Peace,
Dennis
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