HARD ROCK

Char­lie Grif­fiths taps, slides and picks through the style of one of the most un­der­rated rock gui­tarist of all time: the great Vito Bratta.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

One of the most for­got­ten hair bands of the 80s: White Lion and Vito Bratta gets the Char­lie Grif­fiths treat­ment

The White Lion tale started when vo­cal­ist Mike Tramp moved from his na­tive Den­mark to New York City and met gui­tarist Vito Bratta. They formed White Lion in 1983, were signed in 1984 and re­leased their first al­bum Fight To Sur­vive in 1985. The al­bum had some suc­cess, but things didn’t start to take off un­til Pride, in 1987. Full of solid rock songs fu­elled by Bratta’s cre­ative and tech­ni­cally bril­liant gui­tar style, the lead sin­gle Wait made the top 10 and co­in­cided with tours with AC/DC, Aero­smith and Kiss. Two years later, Big Game achieved sim­i­lar suc­cess, but 1991’s Mane At­trac­tion would be the last Tramp/Bratta re­lease. The grunge ex­plo­sion led to wan­ing in­ter­est in hard rock and White Lion called it a day in late 1991.

This was also to be the last mu­sic Vito Bratta re­leased as, soon af­ter the Mane At­trac­tion tour, he with­drew from the mu­sic busi­ness and re­mains some­thing of an enigma. Some re­ports cite that a wrist in­jury has left Vito un­able to play, but fans still hope for a ‘clas­sic line up’ re­union.

Vito cites Page, Hen­drix, Robin Trower and Van Halen as his main in­flu­ences, the lat­ter be­ing the most ob­vi­ous com­par­i­son due to Vito’s mas­tery of tap­ping. But so­los from songs like Wait, Hun­gry and Goin’ Home Tonight, prove that Mr Bratta had his own melodic sen­si­bil­ity; of­ten tap­ping an oc­tave or more higher than the fret­ted note and bend­ing and slid­ing tapped notes. Our solo ex­am­ple ex­plores some of Vito’s ap­proaches to tap­ping in the key of G ma­jor (G-A-B-C-DE-F#). No­tice that the solo is very lat­eral, us­ing the length of the sec­ond string to play the notes, rather than the usual scale shapes.

Not only is Vito a bona fide God-like rock gui­tarist, but his song­writ­ing is also top notch with some of the most catchy and in­ven­tive riffs in the genre. So let’s look at some of his most awe­some riff­ing tech­niques.

Our first riff could come straight off 1987’s Pride and it demon­strates Vito’s cre­ativ­ity

the ex­plo­sion of grunge led to wan­ing in­ter­est in hard rock and white lion de­cided to call it a day in late 1991

when play­ing a sim­ple pro­gres­sion. Rather than stick­ing to strummed chords he would spice things up with arpeg­giated pick­ing and jaw-drop­ping licks. Raunchy riff 2 is more akin to Big Game-era Lion, while ex­am­ple 3 is an old-school rocker in the vein of their 1985 de­but and is a good test of string-skip­ping. Our fi­nal riffs are in­spired by 1991’s Mane At­trac­tion, which moved away from hairmetal to­wards a more mod­ern ap­proach.

Prac­tise each ex­am­ple slowly and ac­cu­rately be­fore at­tempt­ing to play along with the back­ing tracks at full speed.

Vito Bratta: re­tired from mu­sic af­ter White Lion split

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