Steve Vai Shares The Biggest Guitar Lesson Joe Satriani Thought Him

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Former Whitesnake guitarist Steve Vai recently spoke to MusicRadar about taking lessons from another celebrated guitar player, Joe Satriani. The musician remembered one particular lesson Satriani taught him that stuck with the guitarist for the rest of his life.

After studying music with applauded guitar players at a young age, Joe Satriani also began teaching guitar. He had several musicians as students at that time, such as Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Testament’s Alex Skolnick, Exodus’ Rick Hunolt, and many more. Perhaps one of his most notable students at that time was his fellow musician Steve Vai with whom Satriani went to the same high school.

At the young age of eleven, Steve Vai was introduced to the contemporary rock and progressive music of the era after hearing Jimmy Page’s guitar solo in Led Zeppelin’s song named ‘Heartbreaker.’ Upon hearing the song, Vai decided to start playing the guitar, therefore began taking guitar lessons from Joe Satriani in 1973. Vai played in local bands throughout his high school years following his introduction to the guitar world.

Both musicians became close friends over the years and became two of the most well-known guitar players of their generation. They even performed on stage together as two successful musicians. Fortunately for them, they have great memories to remember when they were teenagers who wanted to become rock stars someday.

During a recent conversation with MusicRadar, Steve Vai looked back on when he took lessons from Joe Satriani. The musician praised his fellow musician, saying that his teachings still serve him well in his private and professional life. Then, Vai recalled a critical lesson Satriani taught him when he was only 13 years old guitar player who wanted to have a career.

Apparently, Satriani always told Vai not to vibrate the guitar out of tune back then. Satriani said that he would sound like an idiot playing the guitar unless he didn’t give up on vibrating it out of tune. Since Vai was only 13 years old at that time, he took his teacher’s suggestion very seriously and promised himself not to vibrate a not out of tune ver again for the rest of his life.

Recalling the times he got lessons from Joe Satriani, Vai said:

“Joe is a class act, and his musical sensibilities are inspired. He has an ear like none other, and he is very precise and specific, and that has served me so well in my life. When I was a kid, he’d say, ‘No, don’t vibrate it out of tune! You’ll sound….’ Actually, I remember him saying, ‘You’ll sound like an idiot!’ When I was 13 years old! And I said, ‘Okay, I will never vibrate a note ever out of tune for the rest of my life.'”

It appears that Joe Satriani’s techniques weren’t always kind, but he did the job teaching a young and ambitious guitar player to know how they shouldn’t play out of tune. Their time together as young musicians gave birth to so many precious memories to be remembered today that fans can’t get enough of their long-lived friendship.