Watch Steve Vai shred with one hand through his new song, Knappsack

The virtuoso penned the tune while recovering from shoulder and trigger finger surgery.

Image: Steve Vai via YouTube

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Steve Vai, on the mend from surgeries on his shoulder and trigger finger, has released a new instrumental which he wrote and performed with just one hand.

The 60-year-old guitar virtuoso released Knappsack on Saturday (13 March) along with a performance video from his studio – watch it above.

The song gets its name from the special sling Vai’s doctor had made for his post-surgery recovery. Wearing the Knappsack put Vai’s picking hand out of action for four weeks, but it inspired him to pen a tune centred around his signature legato technique.

“This piece of music was written in a stream-of-consciousness type approach,” Vai explained in the video’s description. “The idea hit me and I knew I could do it.”

One of the things Vai did to accommodate his one-handed technique was to place a “small but dense piece of cloth under the strings at the nut” to dampen the strings and cut out unwanted string vibration.

He went on to explain, “I built the melody and chord structures and jotted them down, then I did perhaps four to five takes. When this was finished, I had the guitar part and a click. I then set out to decorate the track with all of the other instruments, and I really enjoyed doing this.”

In the accompanying video description, Vai also offered up some words of wisdom regarding the art of songwriting, suggesting that, “Jumping into something with blind faith will always result in the peak of inspiration when the faith is strong enough.”

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