Berkleemusic Lesson Steve Vai on “Jibboom” and Musical Meditation

April 22, 2011

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 Learn more at

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