Steve Vai - Tech Session by Andy James

Lesson & Performance

The "Steve Vai - Tech Session" by Andy James is a comprehensive guitar lesson series that dives deep into the intricate techniques used by one of the most innovative guitarists of our time, Steve Vai. This session, meticulously crafted by the virtuoso Andy James, aims to break down and teach Vai's complex playing style through a series of lessons and performances.

Alternate Picking

Alternate picking is a fundamental technique where the guitarist alternates between downstrokes and upstrokes. In this session, Andy James demonstrates the precision and speed required for effective alternate picking. This technique is crucial for achieving clean, fast runs and improving overall picking efficiency.


Legato playing involves smooth transitions between notes using hammer-ons and pull-offs, minimising the use of pick strokes. Andy James emphasises the importance of this technique in creating fluid, connected lines that are a hallmark of Vai's style. Legato playing enhances finger strength and dexterity, allowing for seamless melodic expression.


Vibrato adds a subtle oscillation to a sustained note, imparting emotion and character. Andy James teaches different vibrato techniques, including wrist and finger vibrato, which are essential for adding expressiveness to your playing. Mastering vibrato can significantly impact the emotional depth of your performances.

Tapped Harmonics

Tapped harmonics are produced by tapping a note on the fretboard to create a bell-like harmonic sound. Andy James covers this technique extensively, showing how it can add unique textures to your playing. Tapped harmonics are a great way to introduce ethereal, ringing tones into solos and riffs.

Double Stop Bends

Double stop bends involve bending two strings simultaneously to different pitches. Andy James demonstrates this technique's power to create rich, harmonised sounds. This technique is particularly useful for adding complexity and harmony to lead lines.

Unison Bends

Unison bends involve bending one string to match the pitch of another, creating a powerful and harmonised sound. Andy James highlights how unison bends can add intensity and drama to solos. This technique is excellent for creating strong, attention-grabbing moments in your playing.

Pinched Harmonics

Pinched harmonics produce high-pitched squeals by lightly touching the string with the thumb after picking. Andy James shows how to execute pinched harmonics to add flair and excitement to your playing. This technique is perfect for emphasising notes and adding a unique sonic texture.


Trills are rapid alternations between two adjacent notes. Andy James covers the technique and its application in creating tension and release within solos. Practicing trills can significantly improve finger agility and speed.

Performance Context

Seeing Andy James perform these techniques in a performance context is invaluable. It provides a clear example of how to integrate these techniques seamlessly into your playing, demonstrating their practical application within a musical setting. Watching a masterful performance helps solidify the concepts learned and inspires confidence in your ability to apply them.

Guitar Techniques Covered

The "Steve Vai - Tech Session" by Andy James is an exceptional resource for guitarists looking to master the advanced techniques that define Steve Vai's signature sound. By focusing on these essential techniques and observing their application in performance, learners can significantly enhance their technical proficiency and artistic expression on the guitar.

About The Tutor

Tutor Profile

Andy James

Andy James needs little introduction as one of the most popular LickLibrary tutors, respected the world over for his unbelievable technical skills and teaching material. "As a player Andy has released a string of solo albums, the last being 2012's ""Andy James"" on Transcend Music which was met with huge...

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