Steve Vai Says Jack White Is His Guitar Hero

Three-time Grammy Award winner Steve Vai was recently asked about his guitar hero that might surprise his fans to know during an appearance on Premier Guitar’s official YouTube channel. Apparently, he has huge admiration for Jack White who was the lead singer and guitarist of the duo named the White Stripes.

Although Jack White isn’t one of those musicians who would come to mind when rock music is mentioned, he actually managed to achieve critical success throughout his career of nearly three decades. While he is best known for his work with the White Stripes, White also had success in other bands and as a solo artist.

He’s also widely credited as one of the key artists in the garage rock revival of the 2000s thanks to his achievements such as his 12 Grammy Award wins, three solo albums that reached number one on the Billboard charts, and being ranked about greatest guitarists of all time by numerous respectable magazines.

While there’s no denying that Jack White is a successful guitar player, his style doesn’t necessarily resemble Steve Vai who is particularly praised for his specialized guitar techniques and shredding. However, their rather different styles don’t prevent them from appreciating each other as guitar players.

In fact, Steve Vai named Jack White as one of his guitar heroes during a recent interview with Premier Guitar. Although Vai said his fans wouldn’t expect him to like White as they have two distinctive styles, he doesn’t listen to guitar with the shredder ears which is why he thinks White is a brilliant guitarist who is also very creative.

Furthermore, Vai thinks everything that makes White special from hearing the sounds in dimension to using his gear in a supportive way comes from a natural place. Those things aren’t done to fit in, each and every aspect of White’s artistry makes him incredibly authentic which is why he’s one of Vai’s guitar heroes.

When asked about his guitar hero, Vai said:

Jack White. Jack White is some people might not expect that someone like myself would see him as a genius or brilliant player because he’s not a shredder like me. But when I listen to guitar, I don’t listen with shredder ears. If somebody’s shredding and they are doing it in a way that resonates with me then it’s great, and there are guys that do that.

But it’s kind of like the blues in that, a lot of times I see guys playing blues and they are really just enjoying the fact that they know where to put their fingers. That’s fine but there are deeper levels to all of that. Jack, his ability to construct a guitar sound is innovative and creative. He’s unbelievably creative.

He continued:

He’s another guy that hears in dimension. So you’ve got these very interesting guitar sounds in general, and they’re very diverse. Then, with his use of gear, he does it wisely to where it serves the music as opposed to being a novelty widdly widdly.

None of that is really effective on a long-term level unless the music is there. What he plays with that sound and all of those things that are obviously natural to him that you can hear it. This is what I was referring to. I wouldn’t assume that he was projecting into the future about something he should do to fit in. He’s completely authentic.

You can see the entire interview below.