I’M GOING TO DISCUSS THE MAIN
lick that I use in the tune “Jibboom.” The
song has a rock-blues progression and a lot
of the concept behind it is pulling off notes.
Whenever I am working on something,
I break it down into small pieces and make
exercises out of every little piece. Now when
I first started doing that, it didn’t naturally
come that easily. What I would do—and what
I recommend you do—is musical meditation.
That means really focusing on something
until it sounds great to you, until it sounds
like exactly what you are hoping for. If you
just sit and make that an exercise, every time
you do it, it’ll become easier. That’s one of
the greatest gifts about playing the guitar:
Whenever you work on something, it gets
easier when you go to do it next time.
With this particular song, what I recommend
is not necessarily just learning how
to play “Jibboom” the way I do, but taking
the concept and making your own piece.
Every note has to have its own zipcode, its
own life, its own personality. If you meditate
on it and force yourself to stick to one
idea, you’ll find yourself going in directions
that you’ve never gone, and that’s how you
develop your own unique style.
Steve Vai is the co-author of Steve Vai Guitar
Techniques, a new online course at Berkleemusic.com. Learn more at berkleemusic.com/vai.