Write Now: Vai’s New Guitar Book Is A Great Reference
His book arrived this week, and I immediately opened the package to explore what it was all about.
Steve Vai’s new guitar book “Vaideology: Basic Music Theory for Guitar Players” packs in the information.
A while back, I wrote about how I would like to take a lesson from three musicians: bassist John Patitucci; drummer Steve Smith; and Vai.
Well getting this book is the next best thing — sort of.
I know his book will help me become a better guitar player. In fact it may make anyone who reads it a better guitar player. Bold statement, I know, but in my opinion, I think it’s a true statement. Because of how the information is presented, his book will help beginning, intermediate, and advanced players. The presentation is what makes the book so valuable.
Vai gives the reader the nuts and bolts. Some information he breaks down into chunks includes scales, intervals, clefs, key signatures, time signatures, chords, rhythm, tablature, and modes.
A beginning guitarist may start on page one because he knows very little about the instrument. An intermediate guitarist, one who knows some theory, may begin with scales because he wants to explore maybe different fingerings for the scales. The advanced player may use the book for the invaluable reference material especially when composing and naming chords.
Another aspect of the book that shines is how Vai doesn’t condescend to the reader. His approach is more laid back and approachable. He tells the reader to use the information in the book to build his own method and do it at his own pace.
“In this book, I’ve tried to give the basics as they may apply to a guitar player, but I also touch on some advanced concepts that you can explore if interested. I might recommend taking time to completely read through this document twice and just see what pieces to the puzzle immediately come together. But in the real learning and memorizations aspects of this book, I might suggest going one subject at a time until you have mastered it, then move on to the next subject — even if it takes a week or more for each subject,” he wrote.
Vai gives an academic and an experiential approach.
Academic is just that. He explains the academic or intellectual and then gives insight on the experiential or learning based on experience.
“In the learning and utilization of the academics of music, the intellectual understanding has its place. In any field, there is a period that a person goes through when they need to hone their vessel, so to speak,” he wrote. “You need to apply your focus to the learning of the modality for a while, but the most effective method of ‘owning’ what you are learning is to evolve past the learning by making it second nature, with no real need to think about it. It just becomes a ‘knowing’ that does not require thinking. And in order for that to happen, one needs to have evolved the learning into the experiential stage.”
There are a lot of guitar teachers available. If you have one, that is great. Keep taking lessons. If you don’t have a teacher, that is also great. Keep on teaching yourself.
Whether you take lessons or not, this book is one you may want to have on your shelf.