Although best known for his outlandish leads and diverse array of facial expressions, Steve Vai is also a dab hand at inventive rhythm playing.
Over the following pages, we'll teach you an assortment of chord shapes from throughout his career…
G/A (or A11)
This jazzy little chap comes from right back at the beginning of Vai’s solo career. It’s the first chord on Call It Sleep – you can interpret it either as A11 or as a G triad over an A bass note.
Now we move into the David Lee Roth era. This chord appears at the very beginning of Yankee Rose.
It’s a bit of a finger-twister, too – make sure you use your thumb to fret the bottom note.
Another F chord, this one can be found in For The Love Of God.
Although it’s mostly a standard Fmaj7, the addition of the B (the #11) makes it suitable for the Lydian mode, one of Steve’s favourite scales.
Steve likes sus2 chords, but the fingering used in Answers is different. Instead of playing five, seven and nine on the A, D and G strings, he uses a higher voicing.
Rest your index finger across the G and D strings to mute them.