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Lyle Ronglien >> Satriani-Vai styles >>

In The Style of Steve Vai - part 2

Lyle: You're going to learn a bunch of scales to use against a simple jam track in E. Here's the looping jam track we'll use for the first bunch of riffs.

Lyle: The scale we'll work around first is the E Mixolydian.

Lyle: Now here's a 6 string version.

Lyle: The Mixolydian scale is just like a Major scale, only with a flatted 7th. That note gives it a bluesy tone. Here's your first riff:

Lyle: Vai cranks on his whammy, but I tried to stay away from whammy riffs in this lesson just in case you all didn't have one. It's easy to play, but the trick is getting your picking hand back quick enough to hit the bar. Notice how I end the riff on the flatted 7th. I like to do that to make the "flavor" of the scale stand out. Let's look at the next lick:

Lyle: This riff will be a test on your speed picking.  :-)

Michael: How do you pick it?

Lyle: I use alternate picking, down, up, down, up....every note.

Michael: How do you hold the pick?

Lyle: That riff started and ended with the major 3rd of the scale. I try to hold the pick close with not much tip showing.

Lyle: Here's the next riff.

Lyle: Riff 3 has the open E string droning. Again, I try and make the flatted 7th stick out. On the 3rd fret, I hold the note a bit before ending the riff.

Lyle: Here's the next riff. Mixo is my shortened word for Mixolydian. This riff is the E mixolydian arpeggio, again landing on the flatted 7th at the end of the riff:

Lyle: Arpeggios are good to learn. Any chord has an arpeggio to go with it. Major, minor, minb5, Maj7#11...any of them. An arpeggio is made of the chord tones played one at a time. It takes time, but if you focus on a certain group of chords or arpeggios or scales, then you'll get them down better than trying to cram too much info by learning everything all at once.

Lyle: Ok, now let's move on to another scale. Here comes the E Phrygian maj3rd. This is just a mode of the harmonic minor scale, starting on the 5th degree. So this E phrygian maj3rd scale is really a A harmonic minor scale.

Lyle: And here's a 6 string version.

Lyle: Now I've made a new looping jam track for this.

Lyle: Ok, riff one...

Lyle: Riff 1 is simply a minor pentatonic in E, then moved up a half step to go "outside" the key.

Lyle: Now riff 2....

Lyle: Here's another...

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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