Greetings and congratulations. If you are an aspiring guitar player, I hope you'll conclude that you have just purchased the most life-changing, mind-expanding, mood-altering, cost/benefit-ratio-effective, stress-reducing, shred-inducing CD collection of your life… sort of.
This series of CDs is designed for the jammers – those who crave playing their instruments along with a band, but don't have the band to back them up.
Through the years, whenever I would mix my records I would usually do a mix of specific songs without the lead guitar. This allowed me to play along with the track or make loops to jam to, and because I figured perhaps someday maybe others would like to do the same. Voila! We have arrived at someday.
Playing to these naked tracks, or creating loops of various sections to endlessly meander over, is a phenomenal way to discover unique musical ideas from within yourself.
When we are playing an instrument and our mind enters that exclusive elusive mental real estate of our own personal muse, it can result in a form of musical meditation.
This series of play-along CDs is designed to help create an atmosphere of focus so you can shred yourself into a personally-induced inspirational nirvana.
For the most part, the tracks in this series are presented in their original form with the lead guitar removed. In some cases, I looped some solo sections to give you an opportunity to stretch out.
I suggest you import these files into a sequencer program of sorts, such as ProTools, GarageBand, etc. and create loops of various parts of the songs to jam over. On many tracks, a hit or count-off was added to the intro to indicate where the song starts. On some tracks, a small portion of the original melody guitar may have been tacked onto the intro as a guide.
I have always felt that the most important element in evolving as a musician is the development of the inner ear. This is perhaps even more important than technique as our inner ear is where our musical voice and uniqueness on the instrument comes from. You don’t have to understand music theory or the language of music to be an effective player, but you do need to be able to identify and respond to the melodic voice within and make it real on your instrument. This is the connection that our fingers have with our imagination.
In the liner notes you can download from vai.com, I give various parameters regarding the key, scale, time signature, etc. of the track, but these are just road maps that you may choose to take. There are a lot of dirt roads off the main highway. You are encouraged to experiment with alien notes. You know... the little green ones! (Liw, Liw.)
I have always been fascinated with the Language of Music - knowing all the scales and theory, etc. However, it has always been clear to me that if you allow your ears to be the defining factor regarding your note choice, your melodies can be more effective than just letting your fingers fly all over the place because they happen to know the right scale.
One way to play along with these tracks is to learn the original guitar parts that are on the album versions of the songs, but I would encourage you to take a more active role in using these tracks as a bed to lay your own creative interpretation over. There are really no rules. So sit back, flip on a naked track and dress it up with your own artistic musical apparel.
Los Angeles, 9:10pm PST
April 14, 2008