Steve Vai: 10 Guitarists That Blew My Mind

"I saw this kid playing and that was it... this was the beginning of my love affair with this instrument..."

Ultimate Guitar
Steve Vai: 10 Guitarists That Blew My Mind

Steve Vai sat down withMusic Radar to jot down a set of 10 guitar players that blew his mind.

You can check out the man's picks below, consult the source for the whole thing.

1. Some random nine year-old kid

"I saw this kid playing and that was it... this was the beginning of my love affair with this instrument. He was nine years old and I was six! [Laughs] Honestly, it blew my mind and I thought, 'Okay, I want to get into this!'"

2. Jimmy Page

"He was the finest guitar architect on the planet and still is... no matter what he's playing, even during his rusty stages, it sounds beautiful to me."

3. Joe Satriani

"I started taking lessons from Joe and didn't really know many other guitar players. He blew my mind; I could not believe how good he was. I think I must have been 12 and he must have been about 15... but he could play the solo to 'Heartbreaker'!"

4. Carlos Santana

"When I heard 'Europa,' my world stopped - it was one of the first songs I’d heard where the voice of the guitar was the lead through the whole song, yet it felt so angelic. It was like it floating on billion-dollar tears..."
YouTube preview picture

5. Brian May

"I've tried many times to blend guitars, my whole is about blending guitars musically, but nobody comes close to him. His touch, note choice, musicality, tone... all of it."

6. Al Di Meola

"If you listen to him with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia on 'Friday Night in San Francisco'... those guys were absolute freaks, man. Don't we all wish we could pick like that, right?!"
YouTube preview picture

7. Allan Holdsworth

"He was unique in ways that I don't think have been discovered yet."

8. Eddie Van Halen

"If there were two musicians that had the biggest impact on electric guitar, it would be him and Hendrix. They were the kind of game-changers that come along very rarely, approaching the instrument differently but also accessible, inspired and effective."

9. Yngwie Malmsteen

"What I love about Yngwie is his fierce confidence and developing of a style. You can hear the classical composers, as well as guys like Uli Jon Roth and Ritchie Blackmore, taking it to a whole different level. I'm not necessarily a fan of that style of renaissance baroque classical music, but you cannot deny the breathtaking brilliance he introduced to the guitar when he hit the scene."

10. Tosin Abasi

"When I think of guys that are creating things of great value right now, I think of Tosin Abasi from Animals as Leaders."

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    No mention of Frank Zappa?
    i think he was thinking of guitar players that specifically blew his mind where FZ probably was more of a mentor and a great influence but maybe not a mind blowing player.  not my opinion though, I love FZ, he blows my mind by his compositions and some pretty rad improvisational solos
    Considering he got the Zappa audition by transcribing The Black Page and sending it to Frank, I'm also surprised at no mention of FZ  
    You guys seem to be trying to tell Steve Vai who should and shouldn't blow his mind.
    Steve Vai, you sir are "The Guitar GOD" and no one has... nor will they ever come close to even touching the golden guitar strings of your legendary status.
    No Devin Townsend? Surely UG can't go a single article without mentioning him
    Cool to see Yngwie on there. He gets so much hate these days, people seem to forget what a game changer he was back in those days.
    He's not joking about the Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, and Paco de Lucia stuff. Nice to see that on here, that has always blew my mind. 
    A few there i hadnt heard of, although when i googled "random 9 year old boy" i didnt find anything about a guitar player
    Now that I sit back and listen to Europa after hearing what Steve said about Carlos, I definitely can see some inspiration for his own work in there.
    Only Steve Vai fails to blow my mind. Never heard anything from him that I would want to hear again.
    wow a bunch of hasbeen
    I'm not sure if you play the instrument, but if you're a guitar player, all guitar players are relevant to you.  No such thing as a 'has-been' in this world.
    Coming from a "never-been"... Even then, a guitarist will obviously be inspired by people from their own era, why even make this comment?
    Although actually I myself am inspired by guitarists from a plethora of eras: Angus Young, Joe Bonamassa, SRV, Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, Mark Knopfler to name a few!
    The point I was making is that this is Steve Vai talking about guitarists that inspired him, he's not going to be naming many guitarists from now, so trying to claim that he's inspired by "has beens" is totally pointless. Did that really go over everyone's heads or something?
    Guthrie Govan , John Petrucci, Eric Johnson ?
    These are a list of his "influences", not a contest But i am surprised je didn't mention Randy Rhoads, i don't know if you've seen 30 years after the Blizzard but he clearly stated that he was blown away whzn he first listened to blizzard of ozz. But I like his point of view of architecht guitarists developping new things or have smth particular, what the list is about actually.