Joe Satriani


I have never seen anybody do such unnatural things with a guitar. I mean he was fiddling with it in ways that seemed bound to produce an awful cacophony, but somehow in his hands, the guitar produced a gorgeous sweet complex sound, that complemented the rest of the band perfectly. Wow.

I have to say, though, that if we were playing Star Qualities, he would definitely be “50% Vin Diesel, 50% Gerard O’Donnell” For those of you in the know, that is a pretty weird combination.

My brother and I once watched a busker play the guitar in Covent Garden. He had been a graduate of the Royal College of Arts, and said that he had been a classical guitarist but the technique for the guitar was too restrictive. He started to play the electric guitar in a way that allowed him to use both hands to make notes. The guitar was turned upside down so that the head of the guitar sat in his lap, and the pickups rested against his shoulder. The main body of the guitar was removed, so he was left with the strings and the pickups and not a lot else. He played the guitar by tapping the fretboard with his fingertips. I remember that he was able to play delicate Bach Fugues with ease. I remember this guy, because I remember that he had taken the guitar beyond its limitations to achieve the sound that he wanted to make. Joe Satriani does the same, but without having to abandon standard guitar technique, when he needed it. Wow.