Steve Lukather

TECH SESSION

Continuing our exclusive features on this issue's cover artist, Steve Lukather, Sam Bell breaks down the unmistakable phrasing and killer technique of the man himself in this issue's Guitar Interactive Tech session.


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Steve Lukather

Lesson Notes
About The Artist

The main riff is based around A Natural Minor, focusing on the b7 and Root of Am, then climbing up the scale Root, 2nd, then Minor 3rd. The solo is transcribed from the 2nd round of the riff, and I'll refer to the bar numbers by the tab. So grab your guitar, load up the tab and video and let's dig in.

 

Bars 1 – 2

This intro phrase is in position 1 Am pentatonic, starting with a quick flurry of 16th notes and going directly into a minor 3rd bend on the D string 7th fret. Be sure to really grab that vibrato on the final note of this phrase.

Bars 3 – 5

This phrase basically mirrors the first phrase, except on the next set of strings, grabbing a bend on the 7th fret G string and adding some additional tapped notes to further the range of the bend. The bending comes from the fretting hand, and the notes are sustained by firm tapping on the same string. See the video for details of what this actually looks like. 

 

Bars 6 – 7

This phrase is a classic blues lick, focusing on some slurs between the 4th and b5 of the Blues Scale going down linearly through the Octaves. Landing on the root note on the low E string, we're also going to grab a lower version of that Minor 3rd bend from the opening lick. This adds continuity to the phrasing and more pyrotechnics for the listener!

Bars 8 – 9

This is a classic Lukather 16th note line for the time. We're ascending an Em triad over the Am chord progression, grabbing a descending 3rds sequence in position and then grabbing another classic ascending 3rds sequence on a single string to rise up to the 17th fret, which leads us into the next section of this solo.

Bars 10 – 11

Here's another variation on the bending theme from the start of this solo; however, it's happening on the High E string between positions 5 & 1 of the minor pentatonic scale.

Bars 12 – 13

This phrase features a cascade of Pentatonic Minor 3rd bends moving down the neck through positions 1, 5 and 4 of the Minor pentatonic scale. The transcription's rhythm has been oversimplified to show the 'chunks' of the line. See video for further details on this classic Lukather style phrase.

Bars 14 – 15

This phrase is similar to the classic line we hear in Toto's track 'Rosanna'; however, I love playing it in a more Minor context. This line takes place around the 10th fret, position 3 A Minor Pentatonic. It uses hammer on's, slides and chromatics to create a liquid sounding 16th note line.

Bars 16 – 17

Here's another classic Lukather phrase with plenty of slides, chromatics and all taking place around the 12th to 15 frets. The line ends with some ascending pentatonic string pairs.

Summary:

Plenty of classic lines to get into here. If you want to take your Lukather exploration further, please check out the late Michael Casswell's 'Quick Licks Steve Lukather', which I had the pleasure of transcribing Guitar TAB for at LickLibrary. Lukather is a remarkable example of a well-rounded musician, a rock-blues player with a jazz influence. We can learn a lot from him. Long live Luke!

 


Steve Lukather is a household name in the guitar/session world, and for good reason. Known for his multitude of musical abilities across many projects—including his work with the legendary Toto—Luke has appeared on hundreds of albums with a mix of fiery blues phrasing, huge bends, fast pentatonic and chromatic lines with bucket loads of tone and attitude.

The solo i've created for this issue's Tech Session is based on some ideas I've picked up from various performances of Luke's; however, I've focused the general vibe of this tech session on the solo section to Toto's "Girl Goodbye" track.


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