Steve Vai recalls the time an A&R rep told him to ditch the pinched harmonics because they sounded “like a dying whale”

In his own words – and, indeed, in the minds of almost every guitar fan who has ever heard him play – pinched harmonics are an integral part of Steve Vai’s sound. In a technical arsenal that somehow manages to make room for just about every fingerboard acrobatics under the sun, the humble harmonic scream often takes center stage.

Indeed, no one armed with such knowledge would ever think of asking Vai to remove said six-string embellishment from his tonal repertoire – that would be like asking Eddie Van Halen to stop the two-handed tapping.

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