Guitar Lessons from Steve Vai

Steve Vai is one amazing Guitar Virtuoso and we all know that. Few days back I was watching some of his guitar clinic, instructional videos and I found that he has got that ‘Motivational Guru’ element also! So, this post is just a compilation some of the tips, advices he always gives when approaching Guitar learning or Music theory. And these advices can be applied to our routine life also!

General Tips:
• Whenever you start playing any instrument, tell yourself “I wanna play. I can play”
• Set a goal. Set small goals. Find the thing that fascinates, excites you the most
• The tone is in your fingers and head, not in your guitar or amp
• The better you get, the better you get
• Write lists and break things down, be organized
• Develop your ears. If you don’t develop it, you’ll never be able to express what’s inside you. Listen what you play, play what you listen and make sure that it sound the best
• Make an exercise of what you can’t play. Create small exercises, start slowly, and make sure that every note sounds good
• Don’t push hard. Relaxation is the best friend
• Breathe properly
• Lock in a groove. Listen, focus and fall into that groove. Groove is something happens within you which you express on the outside
• Let the rhythm get into your DNA. Practice different strums on the same rhythm
• Know that if you work on something you would just get better

Music Meditation: Focus entirely on what you’re doing. The achievement that you’re going to get on the instrument is the reflection of how well you were able to focus on it. Leave everything behind and get into music meditation, keep your mind on it. If it wanders pull it back. You got to have the desire to do it, start developing it.

Goal Achievement, Visualization:
• Have a goal and visualize yourself doing it
• Create a picture of the person you want to be. Create the character, which is Enigmatic, completely in control of the instrument, confident from head to toe, and in command of the instrument. Picture your playing to be elegant, effortless and completely unseen or unheard
• 99% of what you do is mental because physical is more of expression of what you’re thinking
• Imagine that you can. See in your mind’s eye doing it. Make the picture razor sharp and that gives you something to work for. Fine tune it and to do it, keep reminding yourself the things that excite you the most
• If you are not able to do something or find yourself stuck somewhere, go back to the picture that you’ve created of yourself, see yourself playing that piece effortlessly

• Tone is the reflection of what’s in your head
• Do finger exercised daily and focus on everything you play
• Play slow and perfect. Make it sound good slow and this is how you become a virtuoso
• See economy of motion, concentrate on the finger movement
• Strengthen your hand

Emotions and Experimentation:
• Every chord, melody, scale tells a story. And that story is song to be what’s in your head. Create a story based on chord and take a mental snapshot of it. Give the chord, scale or whatever you play, a soul. Your facial expressions should move with the notes you play coz that adds the soul to your playing
• Experimenting, having control and mastering something changes who you are
• Make your melody speak. Build your vocabulary of riffs and solos
• Know what do you want and feel good about it. That’s the encouraging thing
• Put negative things aside. Any instrument is a personal expression and it’s all good coz it’s subjective and there’s something for everybody
• Do what you feel and you can do it the best. You’re only going to be good at what’s natural to you, keep it in front of you and compete with yourself
• Work on a story
• Don’t take yourself seriously
• Have a strong desire to do anything you want
• Use your inspirations as your launching pad
• Find unique things in your playing and exaggerate them

So, which tips are you going to implement in your playing rightaway. Also, we look forward to hearing some advices from you as well!


Supreme Overlord at Guitar Gabble. Digital Marketer by day. I keep chugging on E5 chord in free time. I also crack bad jokes. Website:

3 thoughts on “Guitar Lessons from Steve Vai

  • Really interesting. Loved how he suggests to make it a story so that it gets emotions in it.

  • Zidders Roofurry

    This is awesome. Thank you for taking the time to write all that out.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.