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Lyle Ronglien >> Satriani-Vai styles >>

In The Style of Joe Satriani - part 1

Lyle: Hi and welcome to the first lesson in this series. I'd like to show you a heavy rock/blues groove in the key of E and very much in the style of Satriani. this is from a song I wrote called "Cheese Soup". I recorded and released this song two different times, once on my solo CD, once just recently on the Joe Blair Project CD called "Watch Out For The Curve". This lesson is from the latest release. This CD features Joe Blair on bass, and Jonathan Mover on drums. Jonathan has played with Joe Satriani on many tours and CDs along with many other great artists like Frank Gambale, Steve Vai, Alice Cooper, GTR, Aretha Franklin.the list goes on.

Jonathan Mover

Ron: Sounds good. What effects are you using?

Lyle: I used a Brian Moore custom guitar,

Brian Moore Custom Guitars i9f

Lyle: plugged into a Dunlop Rotovibe and CryBaby wha pedal,


Lyle: then into a Rocktron Voodu Valve preamp, then direct into the console.


Lyle: Let's get started. This is the intro lick of the song. It's played off a B chord. Your first finger holds down the root (B) at the 7th fret. Sound like a Satriani/SRV type of lick.

Lyle: This Satriani style of song is based around the E minor pentatonic and minor blues scale. Let's take a look at the main groove of the song, the verse. Here's a jam track for the first part of the verse:

Lyle: The main "lick" of the verse is built around the E minor blues scale. The E minor blues scale is just like the E minor pentatonic scale, with an added b5th (root - b3 - 4 - b5 - 5 - b7). Here's what the E minor blues scale looks like in the position where you'll be playing the first lick.

Lyle: Here's the actual verse lick 1. Notice a few extra notes that are added to the blues scale which gives the lick more color:

Lyle: The whammy bar is used here. Listen to the media in the tab file, you'll hear the notes being bent with the bar or watch the video clip.

Lyle: In the song, this verse lick is played twice, then it moves to up to A, a 4th above E. Here's the jam track for the A section:

Ron: So you switch to the A minor blues scale at this point?

Lyle: Ron, good question. You could continue improvising in the E minor blues scale over this new section, but I moved to A minor pentatonic. Here's the A minor pentatonic pattern I used for licks in this section:

Lyle: The next tab file is the actual lick from this section of the song. It has 3 different elements to it: 1. Blues lick using the A minor pentatonic, 2. Whammy bar, 14th fret harmonic pull-up, 3. Two-handed tapping lick. Here's the full tab file for the A section:

Lyle: The first measure of this lick is built from the A minor pentatonic pattern, In the 2nd measure, a whammy bar/harmonic trick is used. Pull off the open G string real hard, push the bar down, then lightly touch the 3rd string at the 14th fret to create a harmonic. Bring the whammy bar up slowly a little at a time. Here's a video clip of this technique:

lv8rdoc: I can't get that harmonic on the 14th fret to happen, it works at the 12th fret, is it the strings or what?

Lyle: lv8rdoc, watch the video clip, it might help. This is a hard technique.

Lyle: The fast tapping lick at the end was hard to tab out. Here's a close up video clip and tab file showing you basically how it's played. Play it fast! The root note for this lick is in two places within the pattern. 1st string - 17th fret, and 3rd string - 14th fret.

Jan: What sort of effects do I need to get that sound in the video?

Lyle: Jan, I used several. A Dunlop Rotovibe and Cry Baby, then lots of overdrive and some delay. I also used a Variac effect in my Rocktron Voodu Valve pre-amp to saturate the overdrive with a setting of -4 as to starve the voltage. The tempo of the song is 97 bpm, so I set my delay times at 309.3ms for an eighth note delay, and 618.6ms for a quarter note delay.

Lyle: Now the verse returns to the key of E and starts off by playing the main lick again. Then you'll play fast licks at the 12th fret using the E minor pentatonic. Here's the pattern for the E minor pentatonic at the 12th fret. Just like the A minor pent, only transposed up the neck.

Lyle: Use this jam track for this part of the verse in E:

Lyle: Here's the tabbed lick for verse part 3:

Lyle: Remember, if these licks are too fast, use the software to slow down the media, it will help you hear the lick better. Do you see the flurry of licks at the end of bar 3 and all of bar 4? Those are right from the E minor pentatonic. Now the song moves into the chorus section. Here's the new jam track.

Lyle: This section starts on a F# minor chord for one bar, then goes to A for one bar, then back to E for two bars. Then F# and A again, then up to B which is the "5 chord" to end the progression. This lick starts off using power chords for the F# and A. As it goes back to E, an open E minor pentatonic lick is used. Notice the bass guitar is playing the same lick at the end of the tab. Here's the first half of the lick.

Lyle: Here's the 2nd half of the chorus lick. This time it will resolve on the B chord and you'll play the lick you learned for the intro of the song.

Lyle: Now the song starts the progression all over again. Next is a jam track that combines all the jam sections you've worked on so far.

Lyle: The verse is 16 bars total: 8 bars of E, 4 bars of A, 4 bars of E, then the chorus is: F# - A - E - E - F# - A - B - B, total for the chorus is 8 bars.

Lyle: To work on your improvisational skills, try playing E and A mixolydian modes over the verse. For the sections in the verse that are jamming on the E chord, use the E mixolydian. It's just like a E major scale but with a flatted 7th.

Lyle: Here's a sample of me playing the E mixolydian mode over the verse jam. You can practice playing the scale from low to high, then try to play notes at random within the scale.

Lyle: When the verse goes to the A chord, try using the A mixolydian mode:

Lyle: Here's a sample of me playing the A mixolydian over the "A" section of the verse. If you're new to improvising, learn the scale or mode pattern, flow through it, then try playing notes at random within the scale.

Lyle: During the chorus, the F# - A - E - E - F# - A - B - B, try using the mixolydian modes for each chord.

Lyle: Here's an F# mixolydian pattern to learn and play over the F# chord.

Lyle: Here's a sample to listen to. You'll hear me changing the mixolydian mode as each chord in the chorus changes:

Lyle: Here's a sample from the CD of this same section. I'm playing mixolydian scales, very fast, and changing with each chord:

Lyle: Another thing you can try is the minor pentatonic over each chord. Play your favorite blues licks with the key of the chord. If the chord is F#, play the F# minor pent....If the chord is A, play a link using the A minor pentatonic etc.

Lyle: That's all for this lesson. If you would like further study on this topic or any other topic, email me at for info on how you can get your own customized guitar lessons like this using Riff Interactive technology. Your private lessons can be downloaded to your pc for anytime, anywhere study. Thanks and see you at the next lesson. - Lyle

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