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Joe Satriani reveals his guitar practice regimen these days

Joe Satriani Deep Purple

Classic Rock

Joe Satriani reveals his guitar practice regimen these days

Joe Satriani talked with Ted Drozdowski about the way he practice guitar nowadays.


Read what he said:

“I don’t [have a practice regimen], but there are three phases in the life of Joe and his guitar. I play every day, unless I’m forced not to – like if I’m on a 23-hour flight plan to do a gig, or maybe I’ve done too much playing and I need to take three days off or something like that.

Joe Satriani

“But in general, I’m playing every day for at least an hour, and if I’m writing, sometimes I’m playing 8 to 9 hours a day. And it’s very specific. I might play one song over and over again, to try to figure it out.

“If it’s a particular song that’s got something difficult about it, I might play it on one guitar through one rig, 45 minutes on, 2 hours off, 45 minutes on, 2 hours off… just to become completely familiar with the technique, which maybe at the composing level is so fresh that it’s awkward.

Joe Satriani with a suit

“I create a routine where I get rid of all that awkwardness so I can feel comfortable enough to be expressive with it. Then I think the last phase would be, if I know I’m gonna be going on tour, I’ll play what I think our set is gonna be once or twice a day for the next six weeks. Every day, all I do is address which guitars I’m bringing, which pedals, which amps, and how I’m gonna play the songs from top to bottom. It seems excessive.”

Not at all! I think it sounds wonderful. You can let the whole thing seep into your body.

Joe Satriani and Steve Vai

“Yeah. And I want to explore as many different ways of playing something that I can. That seems to really help me, because I must say, with the advent of G3 back in ’96, I learned again firsthand that some players don’t have the same issues that I have about playing.

“Playing next to Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, or John Petrucci is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also frightening. They have talents in areas that I don’t, and I marvel at that.

Kirk Hammett and Joe Satriani

“So that’s where I learned to do this extensive preparation. Not because I’m gonna hit the stage and do exactly what I practiced – it’s quite the opposite. I’m preparing myself for variation. Even if it’s a song I know like crazy, like ‘Surfing With the Alien,’ half the time I’ll play it without a wah-wah pedal, just so I’m not concentrating on the envelope of the wah-wah.

“And I’m thinking, ‘I’ve played this for 30 years, but maybe I could play this phrase over there, instead of over there.’ And I will continually do that. I’ll play the melody on a different set of strings.

Joe Satriani flying

“I’ll play a different solo. I’ll see if I can still make the song work with variations of fingering, picking style. I’ll use a different thickness pick, maybe a guitar without a whammy bar – just change it up to see if I can gain new insights into what the song has to offer.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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