Singer-Songwriter/Multi-Instrumentalist Unveils One-Man-Band ROCK Record on the INTIMATE AUDIO label:
GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE says: "Smart pop tunes that are crammed with interesting guitar parts and tones ... Like what the Beach Boys might do if they were on an acid trip that was on the verge of getting out of control. Yeah!"(CLICK for more Info)


(Interview Conducted by Dale Turner on 10 December, 1999)

This internet-only lesson originally appeared on Guitar One magazine's web site as the third of three “shred lesson” installments run in conjunction with G1's March 2000 issue. (The lessons were removed from G1's server March 2002; I've been given the rights to reprint 'em here!) That issue included extensive interviews with three of shred's most prized pickers—Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Joe Satriani—and is still available as a back issue.

(Note: The interviews appearing in the magazine are totally different from the interview/lessons found on this site.)

(*This unique lesson with Joe Satriani features Satch, in his own words, addressing his monstrous legato technique. Here you'll find tips to get your own hands up to snuff, as Satch reflects upon the teaching techniques he himself used back in the day.)

On Developing Legato Technique...

Joe Satriani: “Back when I used to teach guitar—I used to do that as a job—the thing I notice that came up a lot during lessons was that guitar players wanted to ‘get stronger.’ And in their frustration to ‘get stronger’ they would try all sorts of things—like putting rubber bands around their fingers and play, all sorts of stuff. And when you watch a beginner play, they press 10 times harder than someone who's been playing for 10 years; they waste a lot of their strength and hinder themselves and their ability to play by using too much force. But when your hammering-on and pulling-off, it's actually all about accuracy, not just ‘be as strong as you can.’ Find out where the perfect spot is to hammer-on and pull-off, and then expend energy only to do that, and get rid of everything else. Ask yourself: ‘When I put my finger down on a string, do I feel that it's the most efficient spot? Should the string be a little bit more in the center, or off to the side of my fingertip? Am I feeling the finger bone blow that?’ And that needs to be addressed on a personal basis, because my flesh, my bone, and my callouses change day to day, and they're unique—everybody’s hand is different; everyone’s fingers are different. But that approach suddenly relaxed my muscles and tendons and freedom me up to be more musically responsive. In other words: You could really start whipping your fingers around in a real musical rhythm, instead of just thinking ‘brute force.’”

“So I'd have my students do a simple sort of ‘non-musical’ exercise [hear Fig. 1], being very careful to hammer-on absolute perfect—getting the best possible finger placement—then picking as little as possible on that first strike of three notes, trying to eliminate the sound of the pick entirely.”

“Don't worry about strength. Concentrate on sound and placement. If you feel any pain, stop. Make sure you're always totally relaxed and there's no pain, tension, or stiffness whatsoever.”

“The other version of that would be too hammer-on / pull-off between the index and middle fingers, and then hammer-on / pull-off between the index and pinky fingers, going to the next string, then keep moving it across [hear Fig. 2].”

“You can align your fingers one per fret—index finger first fret, middle finger second fret, that kind of thing—and do trills. I used to do that a lot, fluttering between index and middle, index and ring, index and pinky fingers [hear Fig. 3A].”

“Then I'd maybe trilled using my index and middle, middle and ring, ring and pinky fingers [hear Fig. 3B].”

“You can spend all day coming up with all the alternative versions of this. And don't worry about notes, so that you can turn off certain anxieties about: ‘What key am I in?’ Just blindly from up with every finger shape you can think of and vary the amount of stretching.”

“But I had to make sure that this didn't take up too much of a student’s time, so I would go through two- and three-octave major scales. I would have them do the scales on one string, and then I would have them play the scales without any set fingering—as high and as low as you can on the guitar. And the easiest way to introduce the idea seemed to be doing a three-octave-plus scale, playing it four-notes-per-string [hear Fig. 4].”

“But I was always afraid of doing that because practicing that way sometimes reinforces a pattern of exercise that creeps into the way a person actually plays music.”

“My experience taking some lessons with Lennie Tristano, the great bebop piano player, really made an impression on me. He couldn't stand it when he heard people playing anything that anything like it came from an exercise book. He thought that was the most ridiculous thing ever; it was just horrible to him. So his style of teaching was to not have a set fingering or a set picking pattern, but to play everything everywhere on your instrument—play as high and as low as you can go, in every possible place, harmonized in every possible way, and make absolute no mistakes [laughs]. He'd say: ‘If you wanna pause for 15 seconds before you play the next note, that's okay with me. But don't play a wrong note. Wrong notes don't work.’ And if you made a mistake, the lesson was over, and that was it. And I had a couple of six-note lessons, I swear!”

Like this JOE SATRIANI Lesson? Well.....

TONS more of my 100% FREE ONLINE GUITAR LESSONS can be found on my PsYcHo LiCkS 101 Page:

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Learn riffs and licks in styles ranging from jazz and blues, to funk and full-blown shred! Or go gonzo on this page's picking/technique exercises! Also featured are numerous rhythm guitar lessons geared towards the multi-stylist! All w/MP3 & TAB.

© 2000 Cherry Lane Magazines
All Rights Reserved
Used with kind permission

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