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“I wish it was just one guitar with one set of strings and one tuning”: Joe Satriani shares gear-related challenge on upcoming tours

Satch is set to hit the road on separate tours with G3, Steve Vai, and alongside Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Jason Bonham covering Eddie Van Halen’s guitar parts.

Joe Satriani

Image: Daniel Knighton / Getty Images

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Joe Satriani has opened up about the challenges he’s faced in terms of getting the right gear for the different tours he has lined up this year.

The virtuoso, who’s got the G3 reunion tour, a co-headlining tour with Steve Vai, as well as the Best of All Worlds tour with Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, and Jason Bonham on his plate, was speaking on Alex Skolnick’s Moods and Modes podcast where he admitted it’s tough juggling the many different setups required for the various shows.

“The equipment thing is really challenging for me,” Satriani says [via Ultimate Guitar]. “Because I play 10s at E-flat. The G3 jam is going to be at 440 [standard tuning]. So I’ll probably have nine and a half. So nines on some 440 guitars.”

“The Hagar tour is D standard tuning. And I’m still trying to figure out what gauge to play. The other week, for those radio shows, I did a set of 11s. It was a big mistake,” the guitarist explains. “I mean, it helped with the tuning. But getting around the guitar was almost impossible. I didn’t realise it – I was halfway through the show. So I’ll probably try 10-and-a-halfs, 10s or something.”

“But having those three or four guitars, setups, and going through the day, is just driving me insane. I wish it was just one guitar with one set of strings and one tuning.”

“I never thought it would bother me so much. It doesn’t in the studio, but when you’re performing live, having that little bit of the rug pulled out from underneath you is disconcerting. Especially with vibrato and intonation. It’s really odd.”

Satch also shares that he finds the 11s “dark” compared to other string gauges he uses “unless they’re at 440”.

“The scale length is what does it in,” the musician adds. “I think, once you get past, maybe C sharp, the regular Fender scale length still just isn’t long enough. The harmonics are different. The harmonics of each string don’t support each other as well. Like 9s at 440, it’s just kind of beautiful-sounding. Almost every chord works. And you turn more sharp, you go higher, it just gets better and better.”

“If you play a song with a capo at the fifth fret, and you go, ‘Oh my god, this guitar sounds amazing. It’s just all sparkly.’ And so when you go the opposite way, it may match your mood, but it’s actually kind of dark. Not like treble control dark. There’s something about it that’s dark.”

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