Tender Surrender Guitar Lesson – Steve Vai

In this Tender Surrender guitar lesson video, I will show you how to play play this instrumental masterpiece off of Steve Vai's Alien Love Secrets album, note-for-note.

The tuning is standard tuning, E A D G B E.

The video will start with a full performance of the song. I don't usually do full covers in my lesson videos, but I had to make an exception with this one since I was given access to Steve's very own EVO IV for a couple of days. Thank you very much to the person who won this guitar when it was auctioned off by Steve in Nov. 2022. It was an amazing experience to play it!

After the performance, I will go through each section of the song and demonstrate all of the guitar parts note-for-note.

"Tender Surrender" beautifully demonstrates Steve Vai's versatility on the guitar. From the peaceful, introspective Wes Montgomery inspired octave melodies, to the Hendrix infused chord melody style, there is some very beautiful playing in this one.

But Steve builds the song gradually to a full throttle solo section that will leave just about any guitar player's jaw on the floor. There are some death defying guitar acrobatics throughout and it isn't a very easy song to tackle.

But hopefully, with effort, you will be able to get part or maybe even all of this great song under your fingers. It is a fantastic feeling once you do. And it is also a great lesson in song writing and using dynamics to create masterful music.

Have fun with this one. I really wish I still had that guitar! 🙂 Carl...

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Tender Surrender Guitar Lesson - Steve Vai


  1. Captain Action on January 12, 2023 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Carl, in memory of Jeff Beck’s passing, can you post a lesson on “People get Ready” that he recorded with Rod Stewart? Great guitar, tons of air play on MTV in the mid 80’s.

  2. Stephen Hahn on January 16, 2023 at 5:04 am

    Amazing Stuff…

    Another Huge Thank You….

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