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Lyle Ronglien >> Satriani-Vai styles >>

In The Style of Joe Satriani - part 2

Intro sample.mp3 (726k)

Lyle: For this lesson we'll take another song example from the CD I did with ex-Satriani drummer, Jonathan Mover. We jammed out many songs in the style of Satriani and Vai on this album. This song/lesson has a sound and groove much like the song "Surfing With The Alien" by Joe Satriani. Based around a heavy blues/rock groove, several scales can be used to create the riffs used in this simple 3 chord progression that's in the style of Satriani. This chorus groove is based around the A mixolydian mode. The mixolydian is very much like a major scale but with a flatted 7th at the end.

Lyle: Since the chords used in the chorus are A-D-G-A, this means you're playing a 5-1-4-1 progression in A7, the 5 chord in the key of D (D is 1, G is 4 and A is the 5 or dominant chord in the key of D). This is why you can play the A mixolydian mode over the progression. The mixolydian is a dominant type of scale, just like the A7 is a dominant type of chord. To help train your ears, try playing the A mixolydian over this jam track. Notice that the notes "fit" within the sound of the bass guitar.

Looping Sound Clip 1

Lyle: This first lick is from the chorus of the song, using notes from the A mixolydian. You'll hear two guitar parts playing in harmony with each other. You'll be learning the lower part.

chorus 1 (451k)

Lyle: Try playing this over the jam track you have already. Now here's the second half of the chorus lick:

chorus2 (483k)

Lyle: Once you've learned both halves of the chorus, play them back-to-back against this jam track, which has the higher harmony part in it:

Looping Sound Clip 2

Mark: How do you get that sound on the licks?

Lyle: I use a Rocktron Voodu valve pre-amp.


Lyle - How is the harmony part set up? Shifted a third, a fifth, an octave?

Lyle: Buud, mostly 3rds, want the tab for it?

Buud: Yeah, I'm working on harmony shifts of thirds and fifths. I'd like to see what you did.

Lyle: Ok, here's the high harmony part for the chorus:

Lyle: Here's the second half of the lick:

Lyle: Now the song shifts key to B7, D7 and E7 for a quick solo section. During these 3 chords, you can play riffs from B, D and E minor pentatonic and the B, D and E mixolydian. This is a great example of the Satriani style, changing keys to match the chords. The minor pentatonic is the most widely used scale for blues/rock soloing. It's simple to play since it has only 5 tones in it compared to most other scales that have 7. The minor pentatonic scale is made from the root-b3-4-5-b7 of a major scale. Here's the patterns most used for the B, D and E minor pentatonics. They are all the same patterns, only starting on different root notes on your fretboard.

Mark: I was wondering about the effect instead. Is it a pitch shifter?

Lyle: Mark, there is a harmony guitar part in the chorus tab file, and it's also in the last jam track, I didn't use a harmonizer or pitch shifter. I recorded the harmony part on a separate track in my studio.

Lyle: Listen to this next jam track. You'll hear the bass guitar starting out in B for 2 measures, then D for one measure and E for one measure. See if you can follow these changes as you improvise the minor pentatonic patterns for each chord.

Looping Sound Clip 3

Lyle: Here's a lick example of this for you to learn.

lick 1 (415k)

Lyle: Notice how the licks follow the min pentatonics for each chord in the jam track. Try playing this lick over this jam track. I'm going to jump right to lick 2. I want to show you an example of how you can use the mixolydian mode over these changes. The lick starts off with a B mixolydian. As the chord changes to D, you'll play a D mixolydian riff that ends on a E note just as the bass ends on E.

lick 2 (478k)

Buud: Are you doing vibrato by bending the string, or with the bar?

Lyle: Buud, whammy bar on the last note in lick 3.

Lyle: Here's a lick using an arpeggio for the B and D chords. An arpeggio is playing the chord tones melodically, one at time. For the B7 chord, the arpeggio would be: root, 3, 5, b7.

lick 3 (473k)

Lyle: Try learning licks 1, 32, and 3 and be able to play them along to looping sound clip 3

Lyle: Now you've learned two different types of licks to play over this chord progression. Lick 1 used the minor pentatonic and Licks 3 & 6 used notes from the mixolydian. Let's learn a couple licks to play over the main chorus groove. Load this new jam track, which is the A-D-G-A progression again but without the chorus harmony part.

Looping Sound Clip 4

Lyle: Lick 4 is a typical minor pentatonic riff in A:

lick 4 (493k)

Lyle: Lick 5 is an ascending two-string pattern in A that finally ends with a minor pentatonic riff, still in A.

lick 5 (478k)

Lyle: Let's review what we've worked on: 1. A chorus melody built from the A mixolydian mode, 2. Licks that change key as the chords changes using minor pentatonics and mixolydian scales, 3. And licks 4 and 5 that can be played over the chorus groove.

Lyle: Here's a new jam track for you to work with. It is 12 bars long, the first 8 is in A, or the chorus groove, and the last 4 bars change keys to B, D and E. Simply put, it's the jam sections you've worked on in this lesson.

Looping Sound Clip 5

Lyle: Time to take a break. 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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