Hey, Reddit. I'm guitarist/musician, Joe Satriani! My new album "Shockwave Supernova" is out today. I’m here to answer your questions so ask me anything. I’ll be here starting at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT.

My friend Tom from Sony /user/tommullen is helping me out with typing the answers here in NYC today.


Edit: That was fun, thank you for all the great questions. Maybe we can do this again down the road. Hope to see everyone on the Shockwave Supernova tour.


Edit 2: I've been drawing portraits of the Sony staff, here's the collage. (http://imgur.com/55VP6m3)

Comments: 2010 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

Richi_shreds760 karma

Hey Joe, thanks for the AMA!

You'll be at Barnes and Noble tomorrow at Union Square for the event, is it cool if I bring my guitar so you can sign it? I don't want to take up much of your time, thanks again!

TheRealJoeSatriani985 karma

Yes. I would be happy to.

gsd65582 karma

Hey Joe! You are awesome man! My question is this: what was it like teaching Kirk Hammett? What was his skill level like before and after his lessons with you? Thanks!

TheRealJoeSatriani1232 karma

Ha! Skill level?!

Kirk was already a pro when he started lessons. he was in the band Exodus playing lead guitar. All I tried to do was increase his awareness of more musical options and practicing disciplines.

He was a good student. Many of his friends and contemporaries would storm out complaining thinking I was a too harsh a teacher.

Jude Gold from Guitar World, recounted a story that I didn't remember. He was taking a lesson from me and recounted a story I for his last podcast. There was an 8 year old before me, in the middle of Jude's lesson I told him that the 8 year old did better than you did in an attempt to get him to practice.

Kids were cute, walk in the toys and put them on amp. They had no fear of the guitar teacher. It was the teenagers that were a bundle of nerves. Adults were depressing.

Music teachers face a lot of psychiatry. You have to remind them, I'm just the guitar teacher.

Charlie Hunter was a student, met him when I was 8 years old. He was really something.

ColeRiel62565 karma

What do you look for in a guitar?

TheRealJoeSatriani1974 karma

HeelyTheGreat510 karma

Besides yourself, who would you rank amongst the top 3 greatest guitar players of all time, alive or dead?

TheRealJoeSatriani1009 karma

Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Segovia

reacharound565362 karma

Holy shit, it's Satch! I'll get this out of the way and say that you are the one guitarist who inspired me to start playing. The first complex song I learned to play ever was the rythm section of Always With Me, Always With You. I can't even express how your art and influence on the music community has affected me. I grew up with G3 and I watched every bit of them

Anyways, I guess I'll ask a few questions:

1) What was your influence for Always With Me, Always With You?

2) How many mirrors does Steve Vai own?

3) Have you ever been alone with Yngwie Malmsteen, if yes, what the hell is he like in person?

BONUS QUESTION: Would you recommend any up and coming guitarist that you feel are pushing the envelope?


Thanks a lot, I'm going to jam out to Satch Boogie now.

TheRealJoeSatriani692 karma

1) My wife Rubina 2) Hahaha he actually has a thing backstage, old show biz table with mirrors, fan, the whole thing. Which is why is he looks so good. He actually takes pride in his appearance. 3) Many times, he's exactly the same as he is in stage. He talks the same way. He's sorta like Donald Trump, he's always campaigning for something.

Bonus! Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes

MattBaster306 karma

Joe, I love your music -- The Extremist (especially 'Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness') can bring me out of any imaginable funk. Though I hope your career is far from over, do you have an album that you consider your "Opus"?

TheRealJoeSatriani714 karma

No. I don't know. Once I finish a record, I have to leave it and start another one right away. I don't look back I don't try to analyze. I am always afraid in analyzing the mojo will go away. Leave the analysis to the critics and fans and I'll just stick to the playing.

shibbypwn223 karma

Hey, Joe! Glad to have you here.

I met you about 10 years ago at a guitar festival in Dallas where you performed. You stuck around for a reeeeaaaally long time after the show meeting people and giving autographs. I always admired that you were willing to dedicate so much time and friendliness to your fans.

You had autographed a guitar pick for me, but my girlfriend lost it about an hour later. I was super bummed.

Any chance I can get another guitar pick? :)

themenwhostareatcode207 karma

Hey Joe, I was in your concert in München few years ago. Unfortunately, I was too drunk to listen and passed out outside, 30 minutes after concert started.

How do you think has music transformed post 'The Extremist' release?

TheRealJoeSatriani320 karma

I was passed out too. I actually remember that tour. I think I was wearing my hair in a ponytail, that's probably why I went bald on that tour.

That was the height of grunge. In a funny way it was the beginning of techno starting up. The reaction was techno. When file sharing in 98. The beginning of everything turning upside down and starting over again.

juef190 karma

Greetings Joe! Congratulations on your excellent new album, and thank you for this AMA. I'm a huge fan and restrained myself to these few questions:

  1. It blows my mind to see how well you manage to write so many different albums successfully: many artists' material doesn't differ much with the years, but you seem to magnificently reinvent yourself and your music every two years or so. How do you keep finding new avenues to explore - and explore them so well?

  2. With the years, your writing and playing styles have evolved much: you mentioned this when describing the reasons why Crushing Day didn't make it in your setlists these days. I was wondering if the opposite happened sometimes: did you ever write a song you weren't particularly fond of, but ended up loving it with the years?

  3. Out of all your songs, Steve Vai's favorite is Cryin', according to a recent Q&A he did on Facebook. Which of Steve's songs is your favorite?

  4. You recently mentioned that in your current approach to writing songs, you have a movie playing in your head. How does this approach differ when the theme to the song you're writing is imposed, such as your soundtrack to Nascar 06?

  5. How would you say the arrival of Mike, Brian and Marco in the band influenced you in the studio? Or maybe even live?

  6. My most memorable shows ever were part of one or the other G3 tours you have done. Are there any plans to bring a new G3 tour to us in the future? Oh, and by the way - Marty Friedman would be happy to be part of the tour, wink wink ;)

  7. I have noticed that when playing shows in the last few years, you have been tuning your guitars in Eb. Is there a particular reason why you're keeping E for your studio recordings?

  8. Metal always seemed rather present around you along the years, whether it's the bands you've played with or toured with, the guitarists you taught to, or even the album you produced. So I was wondering: how would you qualify your relationship with metal?

  9. You honored Surfing With The Alien's 20th anniversary with some very special events. Would you like to do something similar for any other album eventually?

  10. Some incredible songs of yours are rarely part of your setlists and considered "cursed" because there was always something unexpected happening when playing them. Can you share some stories about these?

Again, thank you very, very much! I'm looking forward to seeing you on tour again!

TheRealJoeSatriani247 karma

Thanks you for those fantastic 10 questions.

1) I focus on writing about my life experiences and so that keeps everything fresh, life keeps charging ahead.

2) Not exactly. Although in the process of making a record. Some songs present more challenges as you try to complete them. Because of the unusual approach that you take to produce it. Sometimes at the end of the extended amount of labor you have something special, you have tried to get to it's ultimate potential. I think as an example, the song "Time," from the Crystal Planet record was started in 1987 for the Surfing record. Took several albums and years to figure out how to finish it. It was worth the wait and the effort, I hope.

3) 2 part answer. "Garbage Wrapped in Skin" on a cassette demo he sent me years ago. I'll just leave it that. Some of the lyrics are suitable for the Internet. The other one would be. That's a tough one. "The Attitude Song" is it.

4) I'm surprised someone mentioned that theme song. That was the first and last video game thing I ever did. Well the given themes were actually a number. There were cues that were requested. Seven second, fifteen second version and a 30. You can imagine, same number of cues for winning, trying, losing, getting a second chance. That's enough to get my mind moving to get that internal movie to write to.

5) They brought new amounts of energy and fresh ideas into how to interpret the catalog and the new material.

6) Working on G3 for late 2016. Who else would you like to see?

7) I'm not, starting with the first Chickenfoot, all records have been in Eb, with just a few songs in standard.

8) I was really into Black Sabbath as a young kid. My early foundations of rock are shared with the birth of metal music.

9) The Extremist... what would do for it.

10) Ha! Well, on the yes side of it, yea "The Forgotten," we played it once opening for Steve Miller. Basically brought a happy arena into the worst foul mood, that we never pulled them out of.

Only 10 questions? That was great!

Young_Dabb_Waxxy142 karma

Hey Joe. I am a recent fan of yours (past 5 years or so) and I was put on to your music through an episode of the cartoon American Dad. Did anybody from the show contact you personally for permission to use your song on the show, or was it done through some sort of publishing company?

TheRealJoeSatriani179 karma

It was through a request through professional channels. The power of television, wow!

ErinTheMonster124 karma

How many guitars do you have?

TheRealJoeSatriani579 karma

Too many but not enough.

WhipTheLlama109 karma

What was is like playing with Deep Purple on tour? I always thought that one of the toughest roles must be replacing a member of a legendary band.

TheRealJoeSatriani190 karma

Yes, I had a lot of fun playing with Deep Purple but like you, realize there was no way to replace Richie Blackmore.

Ultimately, it led to my decision not to accept the invitation to join the band permanently.

shopwench88107 karma


I know that you love traveling around the world and playing in different places. Have you ever thought about coming to KATHMANDU, NEPAL?? We absolutely love you here (in fact, our news shows play your tunes during the "sports" sections haha). I know that you were in India a few years ago, and we are right next door.

Also, Mattias Eklundh and Michael Angelo Batio have played in Nepal, and they absolutely loved it!! We are a warm and welcoming bunch, and you will LOVE our mountains and scenery. What do you say?? Please come to KA KA KA KATHMANDU.

TheRealJoeSatriani114 karma

Yes. Do you Starbucks up there?

I have a Nepalese friend, Siddhartha Kaul, who was so much fun to hang with on our last tour of India, maybe we can all tour Nepal soon.

ZombieFeedback104 karma

Hey Joe! Preordered Shockwave Supernova, been loving it so far! Two questions, both related to songwriting: First, how do you deal with writer’s block? Second, how do you keep your songs fresh and unique? I think I speak for a lot of people who try to write music when I say that I end up repeating myself a lot. Thanks for the answers, can’t wait for the tour!

PS If you're willing to take a bonus question about guitar playing, what's the best way to memorize the fretboard?

TheRealJoeSatriani300 karma

I think if it's not your job it's not your job writing for TV. Best to step away from the guitar and music. Take in art, movies, go out and have some fun. When you step back to the guitar you have some experiences to write about. I think that's important.

I used to teach an exercise, Find the note everywhere. You pick a note and string by string you play it on the fretboard in all it's locations, as fast as you can. All the way up and all the way back down. It's a horrible exercise, but it must be done.

SubZerosLeftIceCube103 karma

Which guitarist would you like to have a guitar battle with most?

TheRealJoeSatriani198 karma

Tony Bennett.

fvg294 karma

Hello, Joe! Here in Brazil we noted a presence of some northeastern brazilian rhythms in the track "On Peregrine Wings". There is any consistency in this way of thinking? Thanks!

TheRealJoeSatriani128 karma

Yes. My extensive touring of the world over the last 25 years has exposed me to a lot of fantastic music from different parts of the world that I like to include in my music.

jd_w9881 karma

Woh! It's Joe freaking Satriani! First of all I want to thank you for inspiring me to start playing guitar. My question is, can you be my guitar teacher? It seems to have worked out for many of your former students and I could brag the the freaking Satch is my teacher!

TheRealJoeSatriani444 karma

Sure, but first, you must locate the Pick of Destiny and bring it to me by the next full moon. Also, you must convince Steve Vai to come with you to enchant the spirits with his unusual guitar playing so as to allow the Pick of Destiny be released to his care. For this service you must pay Steve, 666 billion bitcoins. See you Thursday.

tmatthews52472 karma

Hi Joe, huge fan. How did you handle the controversy between your track "If I Could Fly" and Coldplay's "Viva la Vida"? Is there still tension, or is it not really an issue at this point?

TheRealJoeSatriani165 karma

No comment. :)

anuragdidit68 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA


My question is

When did you first hold a guitar?

TheRealJoeSatriani118 karma

Since it was probably my sister's guitar. I could have been as young as 7 or 8 years old. It was an affordable nylon folk guitar.

YoungFictionWriter65 karma

What is one popular song (from any time period) that you wished you could have contributed a guitar solo to?

TheRealJoeSatriani121 karma

"Purple Haze"

ConservativeBias60 karma

What artist has influenced you most? Will you ever come anywhere near Memphis? Did I hear some slide in Shockwave Supernova? Why Ibanez?

TheRealJoeSatriani115 karma

Played Memphis, really enjoyed it. Mud Island.

Yes, there is some slide playing.

Ibanez makes the greatest guitars.

JWylie1559 karma

Joe! Thanks for doing this! I have a lot of your music between your solo stuff and Chickenfoot. I also have your "Satchurator" pedal, and I love it!

My question is: If you could pick any artist in the world, past or present, any genre, to collaborate with, who would it be and why?

TheRealJoeSatriani134 karma

Jimmy Page, Bjork, Mos Def, what's he been doing lately? He'd be a lot of fun.

bsimonssays54 karma

How many hours a day do you typically spend practicing?

How many hours does it typically take you to master a new song that?

TheRealJoeSatriani100 karma

If I'm preparing for a tour, maybe 5 hours a day. If I'm writing I might be playing but not practicing 8 hours a day.

irontan49 karma

You vs. Steve vai hand to hand combat. How badly do you hurt him?

TheRealJoeSatriani128 karma

Hahaha You will know him by his limping.

Yours_and_mind_balls48 karma

Hey Satch! If you were a sandwich, what kind of sandwich would you be?

TheRealJoeSatriani205 karma

This is going to be an epic sandwich.

Deep fried habanero, triple bacon cheese Kobe beef burger.

guesting42 karma

What areas of music or music theory are you trying to improve on at the moment?

TheRealJoeSatriani65 karma

That's a good question. The power of the unique harmonies.

Rocktopus_MD41 karma

Hi, Joe. A couple questions, if you don't mind: 1) Have you ever played a scalloped-fret guitar? If so, what was it like? I know Yngwie Malmsteen says he finds it gives you more control, but I’d be interested to know what your impression was.

2) On an unrelated note, are you thinking about trying a song or two with more of a rhythm guitar focus, similar to what you do with Chickenfoot? I love the lead/solo focus in most of your songs, but I was just listening to With Jupiter in Mind, and that’s probably the only song of yours where I wish the very groovy intro riff was more prominent throughout the track.

Thanks for the rock and roll!

TheRealJoeSatriani60 karma

Yes, I've owned a Malmsteen Stratocaster. Found it a little overt, it how it affects the tone. Because it takes away the connection between the string and the wood. So you lose that element to play with. Steve Vai's 7 string Universe guitars in the last 10 frets and that's interesting. Are all Steve's like that? I'm not sure, but mine is.

shibbypwn40 karma

Same question I asked John Petrucci on his AMA:

What is your favorite scale, and why is it Lydian Dominant?

TheRealJoeSatriani78 karma

Haha I never said that was my favorite scale unless I was trying to get rid of someone.

I love all scales equally, what makes a scale when it's used at the right moment.

D_T_M37 karma

Hey Joe! Greetings from India. Huge fan here. I have a couple of questions for you. 1. How is John Petrucci as a person? 2. Would you considering touring India any time soon? We'd love to watch you live.

Also, thanks for doing this ama.

TheRealJoeSatriani40 karma

I would love to return to India to do more shows, maybe I'll bring John along. He's such a cool guy to hang with and an amazing musician.

sedemon36 karma

If you had to battle the Devil's Steve Vai for your buddy's soul on the line, could you take him?

TheRealJoeSatriani62 karma

With one note.

That's exactly what we're doing at G3. Not negative about it, it's a good thing.

consuellabanana35 karma

Oh my god! I still sometimes air guitar to Surfing with the Alien & Flying in a Blue Dream when nobody's watching. Do you... play air guitar at all? If so, which song is your jam?

TheRealJoeSatriani91 karma

Never, as a rule.

ExtraLucky1331 karma

Is there a guitar that you have a deeper connection to than any other guitar you own? I promise we won't tell the others!

Thanks for all the memorable national anthems at the SF Giants/49ers games!!!

TheRealJoeSatriani43 karma

That's great, thank you.

My special connection to certain guitars seems to change week to week. Currently is my favorite my first JS2410 MCO.

lvest29 karma

How much of guitar playing do you think is natural talent/practice?

TheRealJoeSatriani77 karma

I think the physical part might be a 50/50 split between natural ability and good practice techniques. Creativity, originality and the ability to make people feel music seems to be tied to each unique personality. That gives us all a chance to grow as musicians/artists.

kevinace26 karma

Did you enjoy working with WorkShopLive? Would you consider collaborating with another online education site to help spread your music / talents?

TheRealJoeSatriani40 karma

My experience with online teaching has not been good. Never been comfortable with it. I prefer what we've accomplished with the G4 experience, having four days with 200 campers and up to 10 pros teaching all day long giving performances. Having one and one experiences with students.

82wolves26 karma

What song is your favorite to play off the new album?

TheRealJoeSatriani53 karma

I don't know yet. Haven't started yet.

Sonny__24 karma

Joe thanks for the music you have given us all these years. My questions are: 1. What was the inspiration behind the Shockwave Supernova titled song of your 15th solo album. 2. Is there anything special about your approach writing your newest album ? 3. What is your favorite emotional song/ballad if you have one.

TheRealJoeSatriani46 karma

1) Shockwave Supernova is the name I gave my fictitious alter ego. At the start of the album, he starts trying to convince me to let him continue to exist as my extroverted performer. It starts the album off and then leads you into the following tracks where he pleads his case, reminding me of all the great things he's done for me and experiences he's brought to me. So the song is an important starting point for the album. 2) More than any other record, I wrote in as many different styles that inspired me moment to moment. 3) So many... Yea it's very hard to choose. Any given time, when I'm feeling vulnerable, any song. "Across the Universe" by John Lennon, it might be something I'm playing on stage like "Cryin."

Groovah6822 karma

Hello Joe,May I ask When you were a novice guitarist what aspect of learning to play did you find most difficult?

TheRealJoeSatriani46 karma

Right and left hand coordination.

Syd66622 karma

Hey Joe just a simple question. Have tried other string instruments and which is your favorite?

TheRealJoeSatriani45 karma

I just acquired an Emerald 12 string/mandolin hybrid guitar made with carbon fiber. I'm really fascinating with it right now, it's a great instrument.

You can use your guitar chops to get the mandolin sound.


docfugazi21 karma

I'm a guitar instructor trying to get into modes and techniques with one of my more advanced students. Any tips or recommendations for fun lessons that will engage him instead of boring him with too much theory? He's about 15 and sometimes if I get too theory oriented he get a distracted. He loves Rush, but I don't just wanna teach him Rush songs. he's better than that. thanks!

TheRealJoeSatriani48 karma

I always used to promise to teach a new song each week, student's choice. As long as they would practice at least one technical oriented exercise.

Sometimes what turns students off is the teacher saying your're not good enough to play that song. Of course, they're student. Why would you penalize them for being in a natural state.

That Metallica song, let's just start at the one part that might be easier. That way, they can show their friends and you got them to play some of it.

wee_man19 karma

How many takes did you have to shoot for that Sony walkman commercial in the 20th century?

TheRealJoeSatriani29 karma

I wasn't in the commercial. They used "Summer Song" without any talking over it. I wasn't in it, just a bunch of people using products from that time. So zero takes. That was a bit of controversy. MTV wouldn't play it, they might kill someone, etc. We filmed around a demolition derby. As were going into the MTV Awards, we'd wasted money on a video, Sony called with this idea. There is no talking over, put Cyron over the video and it was great.

Sony even had ads before and after the video during the award show. Sony's influence was great. Wherever we went, they turned it into radio spots, they played it as that TV commercial.


TheFalseDetective17 karma

Hey satch, big fan! I have learned a lot from guitar by playing your songs, great stuff. My question is: what's in your favourite pizza?

TheRealJoeSatriani37 karma

Mangostine and durian.

gm417 karma

what was your first amplifier?

TheRealJoeSatriani28 karma

Wolensack reel to reel tape recorder and then the other one was a Univox 1x12 combo.

desktableq16 karma

Heads or tails?

TheRealJoeSatriani44 karma

Always tails.

filipv13 karma

Do you know Vlatko Stefanovski?

TheRealJoeSatriani46 karma

THE Vlatko Stefanovski?

AcuteAppendagitis11 karma

Hi Joe! I've had your music playing in the background of a lot of my life. It's great to see you do the AMA.

Whar sets this new album apart, and what inspires you to keep at writing and playing?

TheRealJoeSatriani24 karma

Thank you.

It's my first real concept record. It's allowed me to be more adventurous and playful with composition and the harmonic sequences that I built new melodies on top of.

asdf314159210 karma

Hi, I'm a pretty big fan. Your music has gotten both my dad and I through many long nights of insomnia. Listening to your music is more than just listening to music to me, its a whole experience.

How do you come up with the names for your songs?

TheRealJoeSatriani26 karma

The titles usually come to me first, along with the original inspiration for the music. I follow and focus on that title until I feel I've properly expressed it with music.

ill_take_the_case4 karma

What is your favorite run on Silver Surfer?

TheRealJoeSatriani13 karma

I don't know what that means.

handsoffyourjimmy2 karma

Hey Joe. What are some of the songs on your new album that I will have stuck on repeat in my media player?

TheRealJoeSatriani4 karma

How do I know? Haha. All of them hopefully.