Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 66

COLUMN Fretprints
in Concert ('97) and Where the
Wild Things Are ('09).
Recommended performance clips include "For the
Love of God" ('05) with the
Holland metropole Orchestra, "Tender Surrender," as
well as instructional material and demos for DiMarzio
pickups, Carvin amps, and
Ibanez guitars.

SOUND
In his early years, Vai played
modified Strats including
a '77/'78 with DiMarzio
X2N bridge humbucker with
Floyd Rose locking vibrato
on Flex-Able and with Alcatrazz. He also played a
blue Performance Strat with
neck/middle DiMarzio PAFs,
X2N bridge, and Alembic
Stratoblaster preamp. His
main guitars with Roth were
an '86 Charvel (he calls Green
Meanie) and a pink Jackson
with DiMarzios. Their bodies were routed behind the
recessed bridge, allowing a
more-comfortable picking
posture and greater bar travel.
Since the mid '80s, he has
endorsed, designed, and
played Ibanez Jems with
"monkey grip" cut and 24fret fingerboards. He prefers
three-pickup circuitry combining DiMarzio neck and
bridge humbuckers (with
split coils) and single-coil
center pickup, often with
Fernandez Sustainer neck
pickup and Floyd Rose-type
vibrato. Vai played many
versions of this setup but
largely favored two white
prototypes with changing
specs - a Jem 7 prototype
called Evo and a second
prototype called Flo, with
high-output DiMarzio Evo
pickups and Sustainer. He
also occasionally plays hardtail and doubleneck Jems
and Universe seven-strings,
and recently unveiled a new
Jem with mahogany body,
rosewood top, and DiMarzio
Dark Matter 2 pickups. Other

This example, based on Vai's solo in "Tender
Surrender" is an encyclopedia of Vai-tal
information. It finds him addressing the modal
chord changes (Cmaj7-D-Em7) with several
contrasting approaches and a penchant for filling
the space in the slower-moving tune with dazzling
passagework. The first measure in Cmaj7 features
a quick ascending line that is both diatonic and
hexatonic (C-D-E-G-A-B) - a sound employed

VINTAGE GUITAR

66

March 2017

by countless jazz musicians. Note the abundant
legato articulation and added G # in the melody.
The second measure contains a high string bend
and an attractive pedal-tone pattern that is angular
and intervallic. Vai's patented descending slurs
are found in measure 3. In the final measure, Vai
exploits a virtuosic sequential passage made of
raked shapes moved chromatically on the fretboard
that both defy and stretch the E minor modality.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 3
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 4
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