Do young people still listen to Joe Satriani? It’s getting harder and harder to gauge whether the 80’s shredders like Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Joe Satriani appeal to kids in a post-Tosin Abasi world where toasty Misha Mansoor memes are only a few clicks away.
Satriani is the man though, and one of the few (if only) hard rock guitarists to study with jazz piano giant and unsung music giant Lennie Tristano. In listening to his records, I don’t think Satch really pursued Tristano’s method and jazz music beyond a few lessons, but you can at least hear the spirit of free improvisation. Which is unlike many of the 80’s shredders, whose formal training became a box they could never really escape from.
Take a listen to some Tristano recordings and you can hear the difference it made on Satriani, who has that extra twinge of musicality (rather than forced complexity) that he picked up from Lennie.
Satch has been a big influence on modern guitar playing, including on people like Dave from Revocation. So yeah, he’ a great guitarist to learn from, and has a ton of fun, more light-hearted electric guitar moves for you to dig into. Guitar World wrangled this cowboy to make some video lessons on some of those moves, as well as a Betcha Can’t Play This, which you can check out below: