Al­ways With Me, Al­ways With You Learn one of Joe’s most beau­ti­ful in­stru­men­tals

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Al­though Joe Sa­tri­ani is rightly renowned for his amaz­ing gui­tar chops, it’s easy to for­get that it was al­ways his abil­ity to pen a great melody that saw him be­come the pre­mier solo gui­tarist of his time. Al­though many gui­tarists, from Duane Eddy to Fred­die King, Hank Marvin and Jeff Beck, had paved the way for in­stru­men­tal gui­tar mu­sic prior to Joe’s 1985 al­bum Not Of This Earth, it was Sa­tri­ani’s ex­per­i­ments in sound and melody (his use of modes in his writ­ing is leg­endary) that saw him be­come the pioneer, ef­fec­tively mak­ing solo gui­tar mu­sic cool again.

Ru­bina – named af­ter his wife – was per­haps a hint of things to come, with its haunt­ing melody and as­ton­ish­ing solo sec­tion. Joe pos­sessed all the mod­ern rock tech­niques that we now take for granted: legato, tap­ping, al­ter­nate pick­ing, sweep pick­ing, pinched har­mon­ics, whammy bar scoops and dives and more. Th­ese were al­ways used to ben­e­fit the song, how­ever, rather than as a means to an end (a crit­i­cism eas­ily lev­elled at many of the 80s shred­ders). Ev­ery melody was eas­ily singable, even in crowd-pleasers such as Surf­ing With The Alien on his fol­low-up al­bum (1987). This is ar­guably what helped Joe bridge the gap be­tween the av­er­age gui­tar afi­cionado and the gen­eral mu­sic-buy­ing pub­lic. As if to un­der­line this point, those pur­vey­ors of supremely singable melodies, Cold­play, were forced to set­tle out of court with Sa­tri­ani af­ter Satch sued Chris Martin and co over sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Joe’s 2004 track If I Could Fly and the band’s hit, Viva La Vida. This ac­ces­si­bil­ity pro­pelled Surf­ing to be­come a plat­inum seller and launched Joe’s fledg­ling ca­reer.

Al­ways With Me, Al­ways With You was an­other trib­ute to his wife and orig­i­nally started out in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, as Joe elab­o­rates: “I thought it would be a very deep, lush, echo-y kind of a thing. But when we got to the stu­dio, it turned out that all those arpeg­gios sounded bet­ter com­pletely dry and di­rect and that all the drum per­for­mances that Jeff Campitelli had played on ac­tu­ally didn’t fit… It re­ally helped the al­bum, that when that song came on, sud­denly it was not like a rock band; it was a dif­fer­ent sort of can­vas, so it was a bit of a rev­e­la­tion, ac­tu­ally, fin­ish­ing that. It changed our thoughts about what we could do with a gui­tar in­stru­men­tal.”

Al­though this track is well known (and very nos­tal­gic for any gui­tarists that grew up in the 80s) there are so many hid­den gems – from the African style rhythm gui­tar in the play­out to the Nashville-tuned gui­tar in the mi­nor sec­tion – that you might not have no­ticed be­fore. It’s worth tak­ing the time to lis­ten to all the in­fi­nite, sub­tle and de­lib­er­ate ways that Joe ap­proaches ev­ery sin­gle note. Whether it be slides, ham­mer-ons and pull-offs, or sim­ply feath­er­ing the pick or touch­ing the strings in a lighter way, there are many op­por­tu­ni­ties to vary the sound and ap­proach. Study what Joe does and make it your own!

I’ve Al­WAYS Spent A lot of tIMe on MY recordS WIth WhAt I thInk Were unIque rhYth­MIc Ap­proAcheS... but no one ever WrIteS About Your rhYthM plAY­Ing Joe Sa­tri­ani

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