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The Satch Scream

posted Oct 16, 2009, 5:14 PM by Dennis Gess   [ updated Nov 13, 2009, 2:34 PM ]
Yes, another Joe Satriani-related article. Don't whine.

Yeah, that guy.

No matter how often I listen to Satch's stuff, I am continually amazed by his trademark, the Satch Scream. It's generally a love/hate relationship: either the sound of it infuriates you, or you keep rewinding 'Surfing With the Alien' just to hear that part again. I'm part of the latter club, I think it's one of the coolest sonic bombardments I've ever heard.

But wait, do you even know what the Satch Scream is? I had better explain.

The Satch Scream is simply a pinch harmonic on the open G string.

Pinch harmonic? What?

I've never really understood what a harmonic is. All I know is that it sounds cool and I know how to do it. The easiest example of a harmonic is this: very lightly mute the E string (the heavy one) and while you are running up and down the string, pick it. You should hear something very similar to... I don't even know what to compare it to, but that's a harmonic. Now, head over to the G string, and hit a harmonic on any fret and as soon as you do, tear up on the whammy bar. This equation = Satch Scream.

It is difficult to understand, so I've found the perfect video explanation on it:

The Satch Scream

Dimebag Darrell (R.I.P. bro) also used to do something similar, but those were nicknamed 'pig squeals', and Dimebag had a slightly different method of doing it. You can see his detailed explanation about it here:

Dimebag Darrell Squealing Lesson