john scofield

Rig Rundown: Steve Vai [2023]

Come on down to the crossroads—or the CMA Theatre in Nashville—as we walk through the jaw-dropping rig of devilishly talented shredder Steve Vai.

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When Louis Cato received this Univox LP-style as a gift in high school, it needed some major TLC. A few years later, it got some practical upgrades and now makes regular appearances with Cato on The Late Show.

Photo by Scott Kowalchyk

The self-described “utility knife” played drums with John Scofield and Marcus Miller and spent time in the studio with Q-Tip before landing on Stephen Colbert’s show as a multi-instrumentalist member of the house band. Now, he’s taken over as the show’s guitar-wielding bandleader and is making his mark.

It’s a classic old-school-show-biz move: Bring out the band, introduce them one by one, and build up the song to its explosive beginning. It’s fun, dramatic, audiences love it, and that’s how every The Late Show with Stephen Colbert taping starts.

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Photo by Nick Suttle

A mini masterclass in effortless swing, futuristic fusion, and dirty blues.

Advanced

Intermediate

  • Develop a deeper understanding of phrasing.
  • Dig deep into the Lydian dominant scale.
  • Learn to navigate tricky harmonic passages.
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John Scofield is an absolute titan of jazz guitar. He’s had an illustrious solo career spanning over four decades and he’s shared the stage with the most important musicians of our time. In this lesson we’ll look at his brilliant single-line approach that endears him to jazz audiences around the globe.
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