#82 – 21st Century Schizoid Man

Dagnabbit was this video ever frustrating!

Not the solo… it was fairly easy compared to the SRV one, but the audio and video somehow got out of sync when I recorded it and trying to find a halfway decent video editing suite that would run on my ancient desktop took way longer than it should have.

Once I got one, the actual edit only took a minute or two…

Anyways, this one might be really easy for ya, it might be really challenging. It all depends on whether or not this style of playing is in your wheelhouse or not. For me, it was right in there. The phrasing isn’t your typical blues inspired rock phrasing, nor is it “jazzy” by any stretch of the term. I don’t know what I’d call it, but it’s quite distinct.

#83 – Scuttle Buttin’ – solo & tutorial

It’s been over two years since I published an entry in my 100 Greatest Guitar Solos lesson series, and I never stopped getting questions about when I’d get back around to it. I figured the new year is as good a time as any to jump back in. I actually learned this solo quite a while back. I’ve been coming back to it occasionally, slowly working it up to speed. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ll get there.

There’s lots of cool stuff going on in this solo. Not being a blues guy myself, it was interesting getting inside the mind of a legendary bluesman like SRV. He sticks entirely to the E blues scale for most of the first chorus. The exceptions being the B7#9 (well Bb7#9, since he’s tuned down) chord he bangs out and the descending 3rds near the end (which yield a b9 and b13 over the V chord)

The second chorus features a cool tritone lick that really exemplifies the blues tonality for me. Sliding between two tritones a half step apart, SRV gets the 3rd, b7th, #9th, and 13th. It’s something I’d never think to do, but I’m glad I’ve got that little trick in my bag now (in case I ever find myself in a surprise blues jam).

What fascinates me about these first two choruses is how SRV seems to really dislike the IV chord. He just sort of bullshits his way through those two bars both times, aggressively repeating the same notes as if he’s anxious for that moment to be over. It certainly works, but it’s still curious. The third chorus has a much more inspired lick over the IV chord, hitting a quick little b9 as well as a couple chromatic notes.

Probably the coolest thing about learning this solo is that you’re sort of learning the whole song when you do! The song is less than two minutes long, and the solo incorporates the main riff of the tune. I might just have to learn this whole thing!

#84 – Lights Out – solo & tutorial

These just keep taking longer and longer to get around to! I do apologize for that, but this one was both tricky and I was distracted with final preparations for the Fox & the Red Hares album. The second half of this one isn’t that bad. I actually learned that part first. The first half (particularly the 2nd 4 bars) is what tripped me up so much. I wanted to recreate exactly what Michael Schenker played here, and I think I’ve got most of it, but there are a couple spots where I just had to give in and say “just wing it.” Lots of people don’t like that attitude, but that’s probably how Schenker approached it in the studio, so there’s no reason doing the same thing here isn’t a valid approach.

#85 – Moonage Daydream – solo & tutorial

I’ll be honest: I’m not a huge fan of this solo. Mick Ronson was a great guitarist, but he doesn’t seem particularly inspired here. I prefer his solo from the Ziggy Stardust concert movie. There’s more varied melodic content, some really cool sequences, and the big, aggressive bends that people love about this solo are still there.

I prefer to use the bar, but Mick just rocked that bend for all it was worth. However you prefer to tackle it, just go all out. That’s what counts here.

#86 – Whipping Post – solo & tutorial (part 2)

Alright, last week I did Duane’s solo, this week it’s Dickey’s. Where Duane played entirely inside an Am pentatonic scale (with a few 9ths popping in occasionally), Dickey took a few more risks with some stuff that was deliberately outside. There are 9ths, tritones, both 13ths, even a couple major 7ths hidden in here. It feels at times like Dickey was scrambling to find his place on the neck and in the bar, but he always brings it back in.

Both of these solos present their own unique challenges, but I prefer Dickey’s for how far how he ventures from the minor pentatonic.

Give it a shot!

#86 – Whipping Post – solo & tutorial (part 1)

It’s ironic that after all the trouble that Johnny Winter solo put me through I get a Duane Allman solo. But it’s not a slide solo! It’s “Whipping Post”, and this solo rocks. There are lots of really cool pentatonic ideas in here, and the occasional inclusion of the 9th really gives it a unique flavor. Dickey’s solo uses a lot of the same ideas, but today we’re focusing on Duane’s.

#87 – “Highway 61 Revisited” – solo & tutorial

No, I didn’t give up or quit making videos. I’ve just been busy and this was a hard song… the hardest yet actually! I’m not a slide player, as I say several times in the video, so this was completely outside my wheelhouse.

I imagine it’s quite simple for seasoned slide dudes, just as “Kid Charlemagne” was quite simple for me given what I normally play, but this one was really tough. I made a couple adjustments to my guitar that helped out (raising the action, putting a shim under the nut, and playing some heavier strings) but I’m still not quite satisfied with the feel of it. I’m not sure if I need to tweak the guitar some more or if I just need to play slide more often.

In any case, it was really fun. Hopefully some real slide players will catch this and throw some pointers my way.

#88 – “Kid Charlemagne” – solo & tutorial

This solo has been one of my favorites ever since I first read something in a guitar magazine about it being one of the first recorded examples of tapping.

Of course, that’s not entirely true. A) there’s only a single tapped note in the whole thing, and B) Steve Hackett had been doing much more intricate tapping licks for years by the time this record came out (hell, Emmett Chapman was already building sticks!)

In any case, that’s how I first heard of this solo, and the inaccuracy of that statement in no way lessens its awesomosity.

I was always intimidated by it, but I was surprised at how easily it came to me. I imagine that won’t be the case for everyone, as the shifting positions and general lack of traditional solo boxes can be quite foreign to most people, but it was right at home for me.

It’s a great case-study in playing to the changes as well! Carlton does a fantastic job of navigating some odd chord changes without leaning too heavily on the roots.

Anyways, here ya go:

#90 – “Let It Rain” – solo & tutorial

Been a long time coming with this one… nearly a month. My schedule keeps getting tighter and tighter, leaving less time at the studio for me to record these videos. I’m not bailing on the idea, but my schedule may be a little erratic going forward.

Anyway, I’ve never been a big fan of Clapton’s playing. He’s had tons of great songs that I really dig, but his guitarin’ just never grabbed me.

Lots of good stuff in this song though (which I wasn’t familiar with before). People often have a hard time using major pentatonics; their phrasing pulls towards the 6th (implying the relative minor) rather than the tonic. It’s understandable, as most pentatonic licks people learn are for the minor, but even when improvising people will often try to resolve phrases on the wrong note!

This song is a gold mine of major licks utilizing a shape people typically associate with minor. Definitely worth a try.