STEVE VAI Says Acoustic Guitar Is ‘A Lot Harder’ Than He Thought & It Caused Recent Hand Injury That Required Surgery

Steve Vai

During an appearance on the Guitar Villains Podcast, STEVE VAI talked about acoustic guitar, saying it played a role in his recent hand injury. Check out the video of the podcast below.

When the interviewer asked him, “You also have an acoustic guitar/vocal album going on, is that right?”, Steve replied (transcribed by UG):

Well, yeah. I started fooling around with that – during the lockdown, I started doing those live streams, and on one of them I played an acoustic guitar, and I enjoyed it.

The feedback from that was very nice, and I always wanted to do something really stripped down like that, because I don’t sing much on my records. I have an OK voice but it’s very limited. In the right setting, it gets fine.

But the thing I love about this group of songs that I have for this record is the musical DNA that’s in on it. If you liked the melodic structures of the things like ‘All About Eve,’ or ‘Dying Day,’ or some of the kinds of the more melodic changes of songs, that would be this record. And I’ve got all the songs, they are almost finished recording.

It’s a lot harder playing the acoustic guitar than I thought. There’s nothing virtuosic in it but that’s how I screwed up my hand. I was doing one thing and I had to put my thumb in this really weird position, I had to hold this chord for a long time.

I was meditating on it, and I knew it was a hard position, and I just kept playing it, and 20 minutes later I’m coming out of it… So I sprained this and all of a sudden I developed this trigger finger, which is this weird thing that happens on the inside of your finger.

They did an operation and they cut it – the guys were fooling around it, it was really bizarre. It’s all fine, it’s something very simple that they can fix, but I won’t be able to play for a while.

When the interviewer asked him: “Was it like an F# Major Added 9th?”, Vai replied:

It was more like a D-molished chord. Playing the acoustic guitar is not virtuosic but it’s a whole different thing, and getting the sound that I wanted, and I’m using a seven-string acoustic, 12-string, and I got some beautiful instrument that has been made for me.

Paul Smith has just sent me an acoustic guitar that I couldn’t believe, it’s so beautiful. And I have a couple of Ibanez that are great. So I’m still at that, and once I finish that, I’ll probably mix the Generation Axe record from the last tour.

And then I gotta get to work on making an instrumental solo record.