June 24, 2009

Steve Vai’s Masterclass review

Okay, my idea was to write a brief summary but I had so many requests for details. So here we go:

June 23rd 2009 - Aarburg, Switzerland.

Well a guy told us we have to wait, `cause Steve Vai’s still on the soundcheck. But we have to sit all at 3:55pm. There was only a curtain between us and Steve Vai. It was great to hear him play. But it would be even better to see him jam.
Okay, they opened the doors at 3:50pm. Steve came down the stairs around 4:00pm. He was very relaxed. He said something like: "Hi, how are you doin’? Me too!" He started to play The Crying Machine. I was lucky to sit right in the front.
He asked us what our future goal is. He picked random people out. I was the third one he asked. Well, I told him: „That’s what I’m doing right now!" Steve: “And that is?" Me:“play in a band and do my solo project. I’m looking for my own sound and style. And learn as much as I can. “He seemed to be very impressed!
Somebody asked him, how he can control the guitar so perfectly. Steve made a test with us. „Close your eyes and focus your eyes to the center. Now think on your right hand. Well, you not focus the center. “Damn he had right. „Okay, focus the center, think what somebody told you yesterday. You don’t focus the center! “Damn, this guy scares me! „Focus the center and think of the person at your left hand! “I tried so hard to think on the person to my left and to focus the center. It was damn hard! Steve said; if you think about things around you, you can not control the guitar perfectly. That’s right! So, if he practises, he locks the door. No Cell phone, no computer, no TV… He meditates and focuses only to the guitar. Hat’s pretty cool, isn’t it!
He also showed us how to learn all the scales and tunes on the guitar. Well nothing new for me! We had also some music theory. That was also not new for me. But how he told us a lot of musicians doesn’t care about theory.
Steve Vai’s also telling us a lot of stories with Frank Zappa and Eddie Van Halen. For example: EVH came in to Steve’s house. To Steve’s Studio, his effect boards, his amps, and his guitars and started to play on Steve’s guitar a song. And the whole Vai-equipment sounded like EVH. I think he was very disappointed about it. After Eddie left his house, Vai started to play and the whole thing sounded like Vai. So, what Steve’s tried to tell us? It doesn’t matter what equipment you got, If it sounds like you, than you found your own tune, your own style!

He told us to learn a song perfectly. If you want to learn a song, do it perfectly or leave it! You have to play every note perfect, till you can carry on.
Steve played another song; Building The Church! Wow awesome!
He was very funny. He showed us some recordings he did on his iPhone. I think Steve loves his iPhone! There was some pretty good stuff on it. Also his dog wakening up in the morning doing a: „Waooooooh“He couldn’t stop playing his iPhone song-snippets. It was very funny.
He also taught us how to write a song. One guy from the audience had to play two chords and sing some lalala stuff to it. Steve said he could do it better. So, a little song was build up bit by bit in a few seconds. And the song sounded pretty cool! I think that guy was surprised by himself.
Steve has shown us how to get the right groove! That was also amazing! I have to try this out! That was great!

At the end of the show, we had the chance to tell him what song to play! Guess what, It was one of my favourites; For the Love of God! Yeeeah!
The jam was also amazing. There was this Bass & Drum groove from his Mac. Someone started to play something, Vai answered with the same kind of style riff or lick, than the other guy came to the same kind of thing. So it was amazing how they spoke to each other with their instruments!

I think every Masterclass is a bit different. He always asked if we have questions, what we wanna know about… And it was one hour longer than planed!
If you have the chance to go to one of Steve Vai's Masterclasses, GO! No matter what it costs! I actually couldn't afford it, but if you want something, you get it! Even you have to eat pasta, drink water for a month, like I did!
That was not my first Guitar clinic, but by far the best I’ve ever seen! Thank you so much Steve, again! He IS a guitar god! And a very friendly, pleasant and normal guy!
Okay, here’s the worst photo of me ever taken. But hey, it’s the only one with Steve Vai! How can somebody look so naff? (I’m talking about me!) Well I had only my cell phone with me, and the lightning was so bad! So, sorry for the bad pictures I took. If you want to use any pictures, please ask! Thanks!

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  1. Yay, cool, I'm so happy for you! :D


  2. Sounds cool. I see, you had you fun. Did you take your Guitar and some Equip. with you for the Masterclass or did they share some instruments to play?

  3. Oh yes I had! They had a HUGE amp for Vai and a tiny amp for the jamers. xD They also brought a Steve Vai Signature model Ibanez along! I didn't want to jam with a god, but it was amazing to watch them how they started to have a conversation with the guitars! Steve is amazing! He can let people do, what they've never done before!