Melodic Invention/Technique (Guitar Lesson)

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Chris Liepe

Melodic Invention/Technique

Chris Liepe introduces his third Vai lesson with a deep explanation in creating Vai-like melodies. Covering techniques and some "inventing" concepts, Chris presents many different ideas for you to add to your Steve Vai toolbox.

Taught by Chris Liepe in Style of Steve Vai seriesLength: 32:32Difficulty: 4.0 of 5
Lesson 3:Creating Vai-like Melodies

In this lesson, we explore two of the many characteristics that are found in Steve Vai's melodies. First, we look at the the 5th and 9th intervals as examples of the way Vai tends to create melodies around larger intervals.

Next, we go over two positions of both Major 7 and minor 7 arpeggios and then we look at how playing these arpeggios over different basic chords creates various tonalities. Vai will often create a song out of a simple groove, or a few basic chords, but the notes he chooses when he’s soloing extend the meanings of the chords.

Check the supplemental content for the arpeggios and get comfortable with them. Written below is an explanation of what chord tonalities are created when you play a G Major 7th arpeggio over common chords. For example, when you play a G Major 7 arpeggio over an E minor chord, you combine the G Major 7 notes ( G, B, D and F#) with the Em notes (E, G and B) and you get E, G, B, D, and F# which creates the new, summed sound of an Em9 chord. Check out the other "chord equations" and then see if you can come up with some of your own after you've watched the demonstrations in the video.

Notes: GBDF#
played over Em: EGBDF#: 1b35b79: Em9 tonality
played over C Major: CEGBDF#: 13579#11: CM9#11 tonality
played over D Major: DF#AGB: 1 3 5 11 13: Dadd11add13 tonality

It is important when thinking in the way demonstrated in this lesson, that you are thinking musically. Use the theory as a starting point, but make sure and target notes that sound strong to you as you are playing. Create melodies, use repetition so that the notes you play are memorable.

Also, just as I demonstrated in the lesson, as you are practicing this concept, make sure you are recording yourself so you can listen back and think critically about your own playing.

This lesson intentionally does not demonstrate anything with the minor 7 positions. I have included the minor 7 positions so that you have something to work on and apply the concepts you have learned here. Have fun! Let me know if you have any questions!

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


wardogdownwardogdown replied

Just want to say Thank You. As a rock/Metal Guitarist I find myself often locked in the world of dark minor scale's. It was wonderful to see you display Beautiful uses of Major scale. You have definitely opened door's for me as to rethinking my note selection and the order it is done.

jiddz1992jiddz1992 replied

You can tell Vai was well taught by Satch

mdeleonmdeleon replied

can't wait for the next great lesson, no seriously i can't wait, i've only got 6 more days in my trial.

jimgarveyjimgarvey replied

One of the very best lessons on the site. This is just amazing!

bward75bward75 replied

Great lesson!!

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied

wonderful as always!

Style of Steve Vai

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Take a look at this series to learn many different tips and techniques to the Style of Steve Vai.



Steve Vai Series IntroductionLesson 1

Steve Vai Series Introduction

Chris Liepe takes moment to introduce his lesson series on Steve Vai. He demonstrates a Vai-like instrumental and explains what the following lessons will cover. For now, just sit back and enjoy Chris...

Length: 2:47 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Steve Vai Playing TechniquesLesson 2

Steve Vai Playing Techniques

Chris kicks off this lesson series with an in depth look at many different techniques Vai uses in his playing. From rhythmic moving 5ths, legato variations, interval sliding to multi-string tapping techniques,...

Length: 36:49 Difficulty: 4.0 FREE
Melodic Invention/TechniqueLesson 3

Melodic Invention/Technique

Chris Liepe introduces his third Vai lesson with a deep explanation in creating Vai-like melodies. Covering techniques and some "inventing" concepts, Chris presents many different ideas for you to add...

Length: 32:32 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Vai Licks and RiffsLesson 4

Vai Licks and Riffs

Chris presents an information packed lesson on many different Vai-inspired guitar licks and riffs.

Length: 24:59 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Rhythm TechniquesLesson 5

Rhythm Techniques

Time to get some Vai-inspired rhythm into your playing! Chris jumps into some power chords, clean rhythms, and everything in between to help demonstrate the unique sound of Vai.

Length: 12:59 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Guitar EffectsLesson 6

Guitar Effects

Chris Liepe explains how Steve Vai achieves his unique tone.

Length: 20:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Central Lick IdeaLesson 7

Central Lick Idea

Chris Liepe rounds out this Steve Vai Series with a concept called the "central lick idea." This idea can be used to explore new solo possibilities around a central thematic idea.

Length: 8:57 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Chris Liepe

About Chris Liepe View Full Biography Chris Liepe was born on September 17th, 1981 in Portland OR. His first instrument was piano which he pursued until discovering his love for the electric guitar in high school. He became fans of such groups as Soundgarden, Collective Soul and U2 inspiring him to start singing, songwriting and helping others in their musical endeavors with teaching, co-writing and album production.

Having moved to Colorado with his family, he began gigging, recording and teaching in a number of music stores as well as out of his apartment until deciding to pursue music full time. He moved to Denver, CO to complete a Bachelors in Music Technology and was then hired on by Sweetwater Productions, a division of Sweetwater Sound and one of the largest, most successful recording studios in the Midwest.

Chris spent nearly 4 years at Sweetwater as a producer, recording engineer, studio musician and writer. During this time he had the privilege of working with many artists including Augustana, Landon Pigg, Jars of Clay, and Mercy Me. He also wrote for and played on numerous independent albums and hundreds of radio/TV commercials.

Wanting to get back to his favorite State in the world (Colorado) and feeling the urge to 'go freelance', Chris moved to Greeley, CO and opened his own recording and teaching studio. He continues to write and produce music for artists and agencies and is happy to be among the proud JamPlay.com instructors.

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