Steve Vai - Inviolate tabs

If you like Vai then you should check out the tabs for Inviolate. @JBakerman you did an incredible job, Teeth Of The Hydra must have taken hours alone!

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Thanks, @aliendough . Every song took several hours, some quite a bit more. Certain pages can end up being 2-3 min. of actual transcribing/listening, then 30+ min. to get engraving aspects like slides/slurs/bends, note & staff spacing looking good.

Steve had his studio guy send isos for every part I requested, so I think this should easily be the most accurate Vai album book so far. (I’d like to think the Vai Guitar Anthology I did in 2020 is also pretty close.)

Here are links to the individual songs for easier browsing. The printed book is up for preorder at Amazon etc. now too. I’m pretty sure that April 1 release date is wrong; it’s already printed and should ship this month. Also it’s about 175 pages, not 136.

Teeth of the Hydra
Zeus in Chains
Little Pretty
Apollo in Color
Greenish Blues
Sandman Cloud Mist


I tried to find a site with your body of work but couldn’t. You should probably make that a bit easier to find? A lot of people probably take the same view that I do, that transcriptions in general aren’t worth buying, but will make exceptions for work done by someone like yourself or Levi Clay which are known to be of high quality.

I’m sure the ISOs made things a lot easier.

How did you work out that dense open tuning in Teeth of the Hydra?

I like the way that only the main guitar is in tab format, and a lot of the rhythms are in a smaller stave in standard notation. I wish the Passion and Warfare tabs were like this - some pages you’re only getting 2 or 4 bars of music.

@lars I’ve thought about it and should probably put a basic site together. In case that doesn’t happen right away, here’s a top 20 or so. This is most of the full album/anthology projects I’ve worked on, sometimes co-transcribed. The rest are mainly Hal Leonard guitar/bass Play-Along books or misc. songs at

Dream Theater: All guitar books from Octavarium (2005) onward, bass anthology, keyboard anthologies I & II (just “Take the Time” in the second I think, but both were co-transcribed with my friend Chris who does great work)

Dethklok: All 3 albums (guitar), bass anthology

Disturbed: Indestructible (guitar)

Stone Temple Pilots: Thank You (greatest hits) guitar

Metallica: Hardwired… guitar (not the first edition; I re-transcribed or heavily edited every song for the second print run)

Vai: Guitar Anthology & Inviolate

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Unlimited Love bass

Rush: The Complete Scores (full band scores, ~39.3 songs)

Queen: The Platinum Collection (full band scores, 47 songs) The Bohemian Rhapsody score in this might be the first to get some vocal & guitar things (probably piano too) 100% right. For a Queen fan on the fence about getting the whole book, I’d recommend at least checking that out:


Oh cool, you did the Queen scores - nice work!

Any chance Hal Leonard will ever update Passion & Warfare and the Sex and Religion books? I have the Sex and Religion book and it has an errata sheet slipped into the back cover! The solo for Rescue Me or Bury Me got messed up.

I basically listened to the harp stem* until I was pretty sure of the notes, and also checked a spectrogram which can at least confirm you weren’t completely imagining notes in the lowest octave.

*For most of the track Steve added orchestral harp samples, which were in the harp stem he sent. I think they just doubled the Hydra harp but if not, what I listed (6 total with 13 tuning changes) is probably the best option to get 13 strings close to the overall sound without extra samples. Also he didn’t keep notes or recall the exact tunings, and mentioned settling on a live tuning of B harmonic minor from E to C#, which doesn’t appear in the studio version.

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Thanks–the other transcribers for the Queen scores (Chris & Joe, who also worked on the Rush book) spent more time than me on it, with Chris doing the final engraving. I transcribed bass for about 12 songs, guitar for ~8, plus Bohemian vocals & piano.

I’m not sure if new editions for P&W or S&R are likely, but the editor I usually work with wants to see P&W redone. It’s about 1/3 of the way there now with FTLOG, TAIL & IWLT in the anthology, and Ballerina 12/24 after that. They didn’t need Ballerina for a book but if you find it at Guitarinstructor or another digital merchant e.g. here it should be the new one.

I hope they’d update Alien Love Secrets too, with 4 of 7 tracks already redone for the anthology.

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That is absolutely fascinating. It must have been great to work on such a project and hearing the stems must have been amazing.

This would be really cool to see - P&W is one of the greatest instrumental albums ever IMO.

Again, I would highly recommend the Inviolate tabs to anyone, even if you just read along to them as you listen to the album. Steve’s playing has really progressed as of late.