Steve Vai - Style and Influence

Style and Influence

Steve Vai has been called a guitar virtuoso. His 1990 album Passion and Warfare is often cited by critics and fans alike as among his best works. Particularly the instrumental "For the Love of God" has received a lot of attention from the music press, and is noteworthy in that the entire six-minute piece was reportedly recorded in just one take. Vai's playing style has been characterized as quirky and angular, due to his technical ability with the guitar instrument and deep knowledge of music theory. He regularly uses odd rhythmic groupings and his melodies often employ the Lydian mode.

Perhaps his most readily-identifiable stylistic feature is his creative use of the floating vibrato, using it to add melodic lines that sound odd to the ear. His playing can be described as lyrical, as if sung by a human voice. During the recording of "Eat 'em and Smile" with David Lee Roth, he employed several guitar techniques that "mimicked" the human voice, as heard in the opening bars of the opening track "Yankee Rose." He is noted for being physically expressive as he plays his guitar. He often uses exotic guitars: he plays both double and triple neck guitars (including a custom-made heart-shaped triple-neck model built by luthier Joe Rolston). Vai is regarded as the first to use the 7-string guitar in a rock context. Along with Ibanez, he designed a signature 7-string guitar, the Ibanez Universe in 1989.

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    I would observe to you that what is called style in writing or speaking is formed very early in life while the imagination is warm, and impressions are permanent.
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