Joe Sa­tri­ani has an ex­cit­ing new al­bum out and had half an hour to spare for Gt. we couldn’t miss the chance to quiz him about songs, tech­niques, sounds and more!

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

GT: There are 15 tracks on this al­bum, more than on pre­vi­ous al­bums – it seems you’ve been more pro­duc­tive this time, why’s that? JS: I had so much to say, so much to ex­press. Ten songs wouldn’t have been enough to tell the story prop­erly. GT: Shock­wave Su­per­nova is very ex­clam­a­tory and bold sound­ing. What inspired the name? JS: It’s a per­son’s name, or, with a stretch of the imag­i­na­tion, my al­ter ego’s name. The al­bum is a con­cept al­bum that tracks and ex­poses the ex­ploits and in­ner de­mons of this al­ter ego, the one I’ve cre­ated to be a more ex­tro­verted ver­sion of my­self. Sounds crazy I know, but the ‘con­cept’ was re­ally a de­vice for me to write ac­cord­ingly and choose the right pieces for the record. The ti­tle track had to re­flect all that drama and scope. GT: Lost In Mem­ory; the shift to the (eu­phoric) cho­rus is very ef­fec­tive from Eb­maj7-F-Gm7 to Bbm7-Fm7Ab­maj7-Eb­maj7. You seem to favour foun­da­tional key shifts (or mod­u­la­tions) for dra­matic ef­fect (in this case, a Gm-Bbm shift) in your com­po­si­tions. Do you think this al­lows you to main­tain a‘rock’based sound while be­ing har­mon­i­cally in­ter­est­ing with­out go­ing ‘fu­sion’? JS: Yes! I’m so happy that you’ve no­ticed. I haven’t had a jour­nal­ist make an ob­ser­va­tion like that in decades! It is a very ef­fec­tive way to stay within the stylis­tic scope of the record and yet achieve more ad­ven­tur­ous har­mony. GT: Crazy Joe has a funky dub in­tro feel with a clipped dou­ble-stop melody be­fore the pull-off sec­tion and then the big bluesy rock pay­off cho­rus. How was this piece con­ceived? JS: I orig­i­nally started writ­ing this for Chad Smith and Chick­en­foot. I think I called it “Crazy Drum­mer”! As it de­vel­oped I re­alised Sammy would have a hard time writ­ing a story and lyrics around it, so, I fin­ished it as an in­stru­men­tal. It has an un­usual ar­range­ment but such a great pos­i­tive vibe. Vin­nie’s in­tro is in­sanely won­der­ful. GT: You’ve a lik­ing to groovy ‘wide swing’ pieces. There seems to be nod to­wards a ZZ Top and Aero­smith vibe on a cou­ple of num­bers; have these bluesy rock-pop bands inspired how you make in­stru­men­tal pieces ap­peal to au­di­ences? JS: I love rock with a heavy dose of swing. The great­est rock bands had drum­mers who learned how to play in the 50s and they knew how to swing a hun­dred dif­fer­ent ways. I grew up on that stuff, and so it comes nat­u­rally. Once again, Vin­nie brings a level of swing to the track that is truly mag­i­cal. GT: San Fran­cisco Blues has a di­rect rock and roll triplet feel with bluesy ma­jor licks, clean guitar rhythm chips with a tasty har­monised cho­rus sec­tion. As you’ve not re­ally had a piece like this be­fore, what inspired you to do it for this al­bum? JS: I was at home in San Fran­cisco, re­cov­er­ing from a nasty flu, play­ing guitar all day long in my son’s old mu­sic room – which is painted blue. So, that’s the set-up, and the song flowed from there. I was ac­tu­ally in­flu­enced by my good friend Steve Miller as I wrote the song. Steve has a way of bring­ing in­cred­i­ble amounts of melody and har­mony to blues, and yet he keeps it au­then­tic. I ad­mire him for that, as well as his many other ac­com­plish­ments! GT: On A Phase I’m Go­ing Through there’s some nice use of a phaser ef­fect! In the mid­dle sec­tion, you’ve three sec­tions; the fast blitz of notes (tap­ping with a pick or with your fin­gers?), the Bach Toc­cata vibed bit (fin­ger­picked and/or pull-offs?) and the fast de­scend­ing pull-offs to open strings (tapped?). JS: Love the Mutron Bi-Phase! All three parts are right hand thumb and first fin­ger pick­ing, no tap­ping. Ju­di­cious use of dou­ble-stops and 6ths har­monies on the third and first strings, etc… So much fun to play and yet the song has a melan­choly vibe, as it should! GT: On Scar­bor­ough Stomp there’s a baroque-es­que harpsichord sec­tion. Is this guitar and keys dou­bling up? JS: I wish! No, Mike Ke­neally im­pro­vised that af­ter lis­ten­ing to my very sketchy church or­gan ver­sion. He added trills and made the part feel to­tally nat­u­ral, as only he can. GT: But­ter­fly And Ze­bra; what inspired the ti­tle? There are a lot of vol­ume swells used on the guitar melody – do you do these from the guitar or a pedal like an Ernie Ball vol­ume? Was the Fer­nan­des Sus­tainer pickup in­volved? JS: That’s just my JS2400 with the Sus­tainiac pickup en­gaged. The Sus­tainiac is such a cool and well-de­signed pickup sys­tem. The song is about a pro­found at­trac­tion be­tween to very un­likely, and ul­ti­mately doomed lovers. A but­ter­fly and a ze­bra share a glance, fall in love in that one in­stance, but know they can never make it work be­cause of who and what they are. GT: Did you use the JS2400 for most of the al­bum? JS: My 2410 and 2450 got the most use. There’s some JS2400 and my JSA acous­tic on the record too. Now and then I’ll use a pro­to­type JS like the three-sin­gle-coil guitar, or an oldie like my Chrome Boy. And then there’s al­ways some­thing vintage lurk­ing around as part of the ensem­ble like a Tele, Strat or Les Paul. I used a few JS gui­tars with Evertune bridges for some rhythm guitar work too. I have found the 24 frets on the JS2400 af­fords you so much more playa­bil­ity, and I like the neck pickup tone too; it’s unique!

I found the 24 frets on the JS2400 af­fords you more playa­bil­ity, and I like the neck pickup tone too; it’s unique!

Joe Sa­tri­ani: “I love rock with a heavy dose of swing”

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