Guitar Icon Makes Bold Claim About Kurt Cobain’s Playing

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Steve Vai gave Kurt Cobain’s guitar playing high praise in a new interview with Ernie Ball (transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar):

“In any field, there’s two basic fields of understanding your craft.”

“One of them is the technical side. For someone like Allan Holdsworth, his desire for having a particular technique for getting his point across was different than Kurt Cobain’s.”

“They’re both valid because they’re both individuals that have a particular message. So there’s a technical side, but then at some point, you have to go deeper than the technique. You have to get in touch with your musical instincts.”

“People say someone like Kurt Cobain wasn’t a great guitar player. Well, was he a virtuoso guitar player? You can argue not.”

“But, was he effective? Try to play like Kurt Cobain, it’s not that easy. Or [Green Day frontman] Billie Joe Armstrong.”

“Have you ever seen him play? It’s visceral – every note and every chord pops. It sounds like a giant orchestra. That’s hard to do.”

“But it was in his head and he required a particular amount of technique to follow what he was hearing in his head. For someone like myself, I wanted it all. I wanted effortless, what seemed like almost infinite technique, and I wanted the melody.”