Joe Satriani is on of my favorite guitar players and in my view a typical example of someone that knows not how to play the right notes in the right timing but make every single one of them sound just perfect.
Often, with students, I see how they may master the technique yet still some of the especially longer notes seem well let’s say ‘lifeless’. This in my view has all to do with finishing off a note and make it count, make it come to life. Great guitar players, like Satriani, Vai but also Santana, Nuno Betterncourt, they understand the importance of not just playing the right notes but making them fantastic. It is the difference between DOING THE RIGHT THING OR DOING THINGS RIGHT. And that is why some of these notes really touch.
As far as Joe Satriani goes, it was him and Jenifer Batten that got me interested in so called double tapping techniques. At the time it felt like Edie van Halen being taken to the next level.
This exercise is all about a double right hand tap combined with left hand hammer-ons, no pick needed. However try to do this exercise finding a place to keep your pick at hand. Personally I usually end up with my pick in my mouth.
The patterns played here are all outlining specific chords (with extensions not mentioned in the tab an for you to find out).
To give you an idea of the nature of the exercise here are the first two bars.
The complete exercise is available here: Etude Satrianesque >>>
If you are not used to this type of playing I strongly suggest you take it slow, and start building strength in your left hand. Additionally try to keep an even pace and make sure you make all notes sound good. Move to a higher tempo only when your coordination between rught and left hand is up to it.
For an example of how these types of patterns may be used in a song, click on the photograph below and listen to John Castellain an me playing the song Cosmic Explosion, which was the result of our collaboration and based on a harmonic structure using the shapes of this exercise.