satriani - technically good?

Discuss playing styles and techniques, or share your own here.
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willbrowne81
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me and my friend where having a heated discusion regarding technically good guitar players. i put the point that the following where truely technically amazing. shawn lane, steve vai, rusty cooley ,john petrucci ,buckethead and satriani. now he said satriani isnt very technically and argued that zakk wylde is to a great degree.
i've read alot of articles about satch and from what and read and his songs i'velearnt i'd say his has a deep understanding of technical aspects of the guitar and theroy.

what do you guys think?

bear in mind my friend also said that he thought the thin lizzy boys where the most melodic guitars on the planet....hum yep for the love of god has no melody neither does always with me always with you.
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miker
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He singled out Satriani and didn't bring up Buckethead... :shock: That makes his comments all the more whacked.

I think you are wasting your energy trying to debate this with your friend... find something else to talk about, heh. :lol:
Penelope
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Satriani is pretty technical. I don't think your friend has a leg to stand on in this argument, but keep in mind that as far as compositional aspects, Satriani does replicate the nursury rhyme formula. He does one main melody all the time with only minor variations in it per song, then he almost always puts a bridge in the songs at the same exact point per song. The melodies are usually a simple feel good and formulaic Guitar Centeresque type commercial on the radio sort of thing that sounds a bit regular and contrived.
However as a solo guitarist,......he excells by executing blisteringly fast and melodic passages with effortless ability utilizing technique after technique and along the way inventing a few tricks of his own. His solos never compromise the songs general mood or distract in any way to the listeners state of mind that the song creates. This in it's own right is a skill not to be under-estimated for far too many virtuosos will kill a song with an overbearing and tastless solo section.
As for the second reply about Buckethead. He should not be underestimated as a player either. He does tend to go WAY off the deep end with unmelodic and too fast for the human ear to sense melody solos with various effects that mask just how demonically precise this guitar monster is, but at any rate he is a huge break out guitarist in the avant garde community , playing with the likes of John Zorn, Mike Patton, Bill Laswell, Brain, and countless others whos talents can't be denied by any observant musician. He is in the best company and they donnot hang with novests to say the least.
j3
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bear in mind my friend also said that he thought the thin lizzy boys where the most melodic guitars on the planet....hum yep for the love of god has no melody neither does always with me always with you.[/quote]

and argued that zakk wylde is to a great degree
ROFLMAO about that!!!!! ZAKK IS A HACK!!! and borderline-mentally-handicapped to boot. He can rock, he writes some pretty good songs, a few good solos here and there, he generally has pretty good tone(for what he's trying to do), but I definitely wouldn't call him a virtuoso--even by the most liberal standards I can imagine.

Your 'friend' is a..... let's just call it deaf.
He probably reads too many guitar magazines where Zakk is always preaching as the self-appointed voice for technical excellence in the guitar world.

Satriani is a god. His technique is moderately good, but his facility is excellent. Meaning his technique is not as efficient as some others and it limits his shear speed to some degree, but despite his own reflection that he feels he is 'all thumbs' he plays very articulately with great rhythm and complexity. Most often he plays very cleanly, sometimes he plays more noisy, but I think it's by choice rather than by physical limitation. He is able to execute very difficult passages and rarely makes glaring mistakes in live performance. ...and he is WAY UNDERRATED as a rhythm guitar player.
It's pretty safe to say that there is not a lick in the world that Zakk could play that Satriani can't. Satriani can alternate pick plenty fast, but WGAS. Running up and down scales and tremelo picking as fast as you can is boring. As far as synchronization goes... give 'boozed, bruised, and broken boned' a spin in your DVD player. Zakk gives a 'guitar lesson' where he's completely blowing it on his own tunes :lol:. If I had a student that was trying to learn those tunes playing just like that, I'd make him/her relearn the lesson with a metronome--something Zakk has probably never heard of :lol: .
Last edited by j3 on Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Big Bad Bill
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It all depends on what you mean by 'technical'. My assumption is that the term means "schooled, well versed in music theory, dilligently practiced during their formative years and applies these ideas to their music".

If you agree with this definition, Satch is a technical player. I'm amazed anyone even questioned the fact! :shock:

Now Steve Vai-huh he learned using the Mel Bay series of books and can bearly finger a barre chord :wink:
willbrowne81
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Oh Iam glad to see other people agree with my opion. Its not just his guitar style I dislike (Zakk) its his general manor. I find the old Idea of, lets get drunk do some swearing and play chug'a chug'a riffs. a little Childish. he doesnt take what hes writing seriously. How can you effectively play guitar drunk! I dont think you can.
AS for all this press he seems to be getting about being a guitar god. What a load of Bullshit!!!! hes a Oaf ,rasict ,inbred,nationalist slob who mearly dumbs down techically aspects of the guitar so his simple brain can handle them and 12 yr old kids can play them in ten mins. and to my mind since when has a les paul been a really good instrument. I'd take a good ibanez any day fitted with dimarzzio.
alienillusions
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To j3. To quote you: "It's pretty safe to say that there is not a lick in the world that Zakk could play that Satriani can't"

That's just ridiculous....I love Satch and all but he definitely cannot pick that fast and do all that crazy chicken pickin' shit. Satch has legato mastered but Zakk would destroy him completely if Satch tried to match his alternate picking. AP was never Satriani's forte...Conversely, Zakk would never be able to do some of those crazy legato runs Stch does because he likes to pick most of his notes and is a master of that technique...I'd love to see Satch pick through some of those Di Meola inspired runs Zakk does...He'd run away in embarassment... :lol:
zreynoldsp
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will people ever get tired of the 'my Hero is more heroic than your hero' discussions?

Who cares? I like both of them for different reasons - take anything useful to MY technique and move on. Either of them bore me after a time, but as long as someone's playing guitar 'properly'.... I've got no complaints. The level of musicianship in moden music depresses me, and in the scheme of things I think Satriani, Zakk and any other artist you care to name in the same breathe is cool.

It's all better than the Avril's pretend punk, or Coldplay's wrist slitting ballads. For what it's worth, I've met Zakk once - he can play better drunk than I'd be willing to bet most if not all of you can sober...

Not the rant it sounds like, but pepsi challenge posting is a bit dull.

I think Billie Joe Armstrong is a technically superior player to Satriani, Zakk, Hendrix, Steve Vai, Yngwie, Petrucci..... :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Big Bad Bill
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Wow! I never knew the first man to walk on the lunar surface could shred :shock: :wink:
Skyscraper
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First off, Joe Satriani is my favourite guitar player, but through that you still have to see that no one guitarist is a master of everything.

In 'technical' terms, what I've noticed about Joe is that he actually can do some nifty alternate picking, I'm not saying he's as skilled at alternate picking as someone like Yngwie, for instance, or perhaps Zakk (I'm not really sure), but it's not like asking him to alternate pick will result in him collapsing to the floor in a pool of drool next to a broken JS1200.

Where I've seen Joe not do so much technically is in terms of sweep picking. Now, I haven't really got the ear for this, but I can hear him do it I think on Crushing Day, then I can't audibly here him doing it until Mindstorm I think it is from Strange Beautiful Music. That's a fifteen year gap, plus when he plays live, he never seems to play Crushing Day, despite it making his Anthology. He's had since 1987 to get used to playing it, why isn't it more commonly heard? I think the sweep picking in it could be the reason. Not that he can't at all, because it's on record, but perhaps he's less comfortable doing it live.

For Zakk, he's of course all about alternate picking. Whether he could do legato like Satriani is debatable, because to the extents that Satriani can do legato, Zakk Wylde is untested, just like Satriani is untested at doing alternate picking to the extent that Zakk Wylde does it. It doesn't mean that one will run away crying if they try to do what the other does - it's just not their style. They play to their strengths and play music that allows them to do that.

It's in songwriting terms that I much prefer Satriani. Zakk is indeed a bit 'chug-a-chug', but then again that's metal for a lot of bands. You have to be in the mood for it. Satriani though can be a bit formulaic as well after a while, with the backing track, melody, solo, bridge, return to backing track and melody style of songwriting.

For soloing, I much prefer Satriani and this is where I think he is technically superior, in that his solos can be as fast as they need to be but also tasteful and relevant to the song. If I've improved myself as a player at all over the last year or so, it's been by understanding the importance of lead playing having to reflect the chords in some sense (sometimes by foolowing rules, sometimes by breaking them) and complement them rather than it being a case of 'here are some chords, here are some scales that go with them, off you go'.

Zakk, by contrast, seems very disorganised when he plays lead especially when he improvises. You expect a bit of disharmony certainly with metal but I still think some of his lead musings can be a bit suspect. If he can play well drunk then great but when you have to think on the spot and you're half-cut, that doesn't help you. Being drunk and still playing is not a reflection of true ability - no-one makes him drink and however much he can carry it off I think it wouldn't do him any harm to try his hand at not drinking and seeing if what he's trying to do comes out any better. It sounds incredible that someone as cack as me should be talking about how Zakk Wylde could improve his playing but in theory it makes sense.

You'll get fanboys either way. Your mate sounds like a bit fanboy disposed if he's dismissing Satriani out of hand, especially when he's singling out the Thin Lizzy boys as the greatest guitarists ever. I love their playing (Brian Roberston was ace in Motörhead as well), I love Satriani's playing, Zakk I sometimes like but it's take it or leave it most of the time for my tastes. Regardless, it's about realising that they offer different things and have different styles rather than coming down to one of them being better than the others. Sloppy playing or poor playing is different, but when you have two guys who have a great command of what they play, they way that they play it, competition goes out of the window and it's about accepting that they are both good in different ways.

That can't be said with Billie Joe Armstrong over Satriani/Wylde/Vai though! Punk fanboys always seem to throw his name in there against anyone you'd care to name from any other genre. Apparently his music 'means something' and every other genre of music doesn't. Jazz is just 'different people on stage and no-one playing the same tune', pop is 'soft', classical music is 'boring'/'irrelevant', metal is just 'noise' and shred is just 'wanking'! Why not just say that punk's your favourite music, but acknowledge that the musicianship isn't the be-all-and-end-all of it and that's what matters to you? Instead they make wild claims about guys from Green Day and The Clash being better than Vai and Satriani!

I did love the Les Paul comment though from Will Browne, that cracked me up! Of course that's each to their own as well but I've always thought of Les Pauls as overhyped, stylewankered, heavy, clunky, clumsy, unbalanced, muddy-sounding pieces of crap. Of course, having EMG pickups does help somewhatt, but then the argument of mutton dressed as lamb comes to mind, or in this case, mahogany dressed as alder. If anyone here loves them, good for you, but honestly, I just can't see the justification for all of the hype and clamour that surrounds them.
zreynoldsp
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Just to be sure, The Billie Joe comment was a joke... I was trying to illustrate the fact that discussions about the relative merit of guitar players are subjective and pointless.

I value musicianship, and think both Zakk Wylde and Joe Satriani have much to offer (as do many others). How many of these threads have you seen? I don't even like all the music that (gasp!) Steve Vai has made, but even in the tracks I don't personally enjoy, I can see musical value and usually the odd trick to look more into...

I suspect that if you could find a way to string it, you could install an EMG HB in each of your butt cheeks and get that 'signature' metal sound.... Les Pauls were decent guitars - I have one, but I wouldn't buy a new one now - At least not without play testing 100 of them. The build quality is rubbish. They are ideally suited to some types of music / sounds, but not so good IMO for full on shred - upper fret access will see you in a doctor's office with tendonitis.

We must conceed that image is a part of these things, and both a Gibson and an Ibanez have their lovers and haters. Would you play blues on a black ibanez with pink and green dimarzios? (Yeah, yeah, I know some of you would) Would you try to play Eruption on a Les Paul?

All these things matter not. I like listening to pretty much any music with a guitar featuring - The Prodigy did a few dance tracks with Fat riffs.... Anyone remember 'Their Law' with Pop will eat itself? Not technically accomplished, but you can feel that riff...

My point is - accept, respect and enjoy the diversity of it all be it artists, guitars, records, cars, women blah blah blah...
Skyscraper
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Just to clear up, I knew you were joking about the Billie Joe Armstrong comment, but believe it or not, you do hear it!

You are of course right... although I'm not sure about enjoying all of the diversity of women! I mean, each one man can only handle so much!

Take that Def Leppard song, 'Make Love Like A Man'. It was such an appropriate song that had such a perfect title. Why? Did it express the reality of how a man would make love? No. Rather, the title went well with the song, because the song lasted about four minutes. :P

My guitars might not have Floyd Roses, but I can still lower the tone!
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miker
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Penelope wrote: As for the second reply about Buckethead. He should not be underestimated as a player either. He does tend to go WAY off the deep end with unmelodic and too fast for the human ear to sense melody solos with various effects that mask just how demonically precise this guitar monster is, but at any rate he is a huge break out guitarist in the avant garde community , playing with the likes of John Zorn, Mike Patton, Bill Laswell, Brain, and countless others whos talents can't be denied by any observant musician. He is in the best company and they donnot hang with novests to say the least.
Wow. Very articulate response overall -- especially as regards Satriani.

Never heard of those guys... the little I've heard from Buckethead... leaves me not wanting more. Axl Rose having him fill in for Slash... well... that didn't work at all. I'll listen to Slash over Buckethead anyday... I also find Zakk Wylde more palatable to my ear than Mr. KFC.

Never heard of those other guys. Not into the avante garde scene, really. Just color me... unobservant. :D
kpxmikey89
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of course, its satriani after all, that guys pretty amazing
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phoenix2874
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two words: power cosmic. There aren`t many players who could get through it all cleanly. If alternate picking makes a guitarist good, or technical...never mind. that`s ridiculous. Joe is a badass, and Steve Vai himself has said he`s intimidated by Joe when they step out on stage. Joe`s music is exactly that: music. He uses some of the most original techniques and compositional insights to write MUSIC. Not a showcase for how much time he spent learning to wank.

And now Zakk....
I like his playing, but his solos (particularly on "hangover music") sound a bit too "widdly". He sounds like I did after playing for a year and just figured out how to play fast. Yet I still appreciate that he has the balls to at least play a solo when so many weenies are afraid to have any talent these days.

And the who`s better debate is just futile. how can a guitarist be labeled "bad" if they are good at what they set out to be? Yngwe is amazing as a neo-classical player, but as a blues guitarist he is horrific. maybe from a technically motivated community of guitar players like us we don`t see Kurt Cobain as "good", but you know what, he could have given a rat`s ass about blistering solos. How can we say he wasn`t good at what he set out to be?

And again I point out how judgemental we tend to be, even as the very thing we hold dear is viewed as the plague in popular music, and how much some of us piss and moan about getting the respect we think we deserve. If we are going to ask people to respect and appreciate virtuosity we must first set the example and respect what other people do. measure people against themselves, not against what you think they should be, or how they compare to another guitarist in a completely different genre.

I have actually had people from national bands recognize and praise my playing, but a few weeks ago I got an email from a guy that said "dude, you suck. SRV could waste you". Well, being from Texas I sort of expect that. I emailed him back and said that while I appreciate the fact that he doesn`t relate to my style, comparing me to SRV is a bit off center. I am not a blues player, never portrayed myself to be. I`ll bet I`m a pretty lousy airplane mechanic, too, but I don`t go around claiming that`s what I do. Live and let live, know what I mean???
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