Greatest guitar solos of all time

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  • THE RECORDING

    , Wolf Marshall: guitarsMichael Della Gala: bassMike Sandberg: drums, percussionJohn Nau: keyboardsGary Ferguson: additional drums

    The titles in this book include:

    "Hound Dog"-Elvis Presley (with Scotty Moore)

    "No Particular Place to Go"-Chuck Berry

    "The Sunshine of Your Love"-Cream

    "l.ley Joe"-Jimi Hendrix

    "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"-The B'eatles (with Eric Clapton)

    "The End"-The Beatles

    "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You"-Led Zeppelin

    "You.Shook Me"-Led Zeppelin

    "Evil Ways"-Santana

    "l;s1 fllsp"-Black Sabbath

    "All Right NoW'-Free

    "Bohemian Rhapsody"-Queen

    'Walk this Way"-Aerosmith

    "Sultans of Swing"-Dire Straits

    "You Really Got Me"-Van Halen

    "Crazy Train"-Ozzy Osbourne (with Randy Rhoads)

    "Crossfire"-Stevie Ray Vaughan

    "Sweet Child O'Mine"-Guns N'Roses

    d

  • HOUND DOGWords and Music by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

    Figurel -GuitarSolo

    Scotty Moore is universally acknowledged as the world's first rock'n'roll guitarist-a strong statement, perhaps...but consider this: His lead playingon Elvis Presley records in the 1950s set in motion, and brought to masspublic attention, the art of rock guitar. Moore was the first rock guitarinnovator. His style was truly eclectic and pioneering. Working without apreconceived blueprint, he freely combined elements from disparateinfluences such as country (Merle Travis and Chet Atkins), blues (B.B. Kingand T-Bone Walker), and jazz (Barney Kesselland Johnny Smith)to form thebasis ol his influential guitar approach. Before Scotty, rock 'n' roll guitar wasan obscure and regional medium at best. With Scotty, rock'n' roll guitar wascodilied and at the center of a revolution in popular music. Scotty blazed thetrail for much of what followed, and inspired subsequent generations ofrockers including the Beatles, the Stones, Jimmy Page, and counlless others.His solos from the Sun Sessions and the early RCA years are deemed bymost historians and legions of players to be the first of their kind-marking thebeginnings of a vital new artform which still shows no signs of abating some45 years later.

    Scotty Moore's guitar solo on "Hound Dog," a raucous #1 hit single for, the King in August, 1956, is one of his all-time best. The brief but memorableouting has many classic Moore signatures including swing-based, horn-likelines, rockabilly-llavored double-stop bends, and gritty blues-oriented stringbending. lt's played over one chorus of a 12-bar blues in C.

    Scales used: C minor pentatonic (C-Eb-F-G-Ab); C majorpentatonic (C-D-E-G-A); C Btues Scate (C-Eb-f-fil-O-Ab).

    Significant added tones: Dfi (measure 5);A (measures 6-1i);B (measure 7).

    Solo signatures: Mixture of single-note and dyad textures;double-stop bends; blues; country and swing phrasing within a rock'n'roll context.

    Performance notes: The single-note portions exploit a wider range ofthe guitar than had been previously found in most early rock 'n' rollsingle-note solos. These occur in the third, fifth, and eighth positions.Though Scotty Moore generally played with a thumbpick and threefingers, this sleek single-note solo sounds like he might be using onlythe thumbpick or a flatpick.

    Sound: Gibson L-5 archtop hollowbody electric guitar with P-90pickups and Gretsch heavy-gauge strings; small, slightly overdrivencombo tube amps: Fender "TV-front" tweed Bassman or custom-made Echo-Sonic amp built by Ray Butts.

  • 0o

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    Slow Demos:Gtr.'l meas. 1-3; 4-5;

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    Copyright @ 1956 by Elvis Presley Music, lnc. and Lion Publishing Co., lnc.Copyright Renewed, Assigned to Gladys Music (Administered by Williamson Music) and MCA Music Publishing, A Division of Universal Studios, lnc.

    lnternational Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved

  • NO PARTICULARPLACE TO GOWords and Music by Chuck Berry

    Figure 1 - Outro Guitar Solo

    Chuck Berry is a true American icon and one of the most importantfounding fathers of rock guitar. Anyone picking up the instrument post-1955has been affected by him, directly or indirectly, and that includes the Beatles,the Stones, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Angus Young, Eddie VanHalen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or the latest kid on the block. Chuck's owninfluences include blues guitarists Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, and ElmoreJames; R&B players Carl Hogan and Lonnie Johnson; jazz guitarists CharlieChristian and Django Reinhardt; and more esoteric musicians likesaxophonist lllinois Jacquet. He once stated that he did not recognize anystyle of his own, though most historians regard his guitar style to be one of thesingle most significant factors in the development of rock music.

    "No Particular Place to Go" is a case in point. This song was one ofChuck's biggest hits (#10 in 1964) and remains an immodal piece of the rockguitar legacy-containing a must-know guitar solo in the outro. The outro solotakes place over two choruses of a 12-bar blues in G, and exploits thetrademark rhythm-lead approach which exemplifies the Chuck Berry solo

    , style.

    Scales used: G Mixolydian mode (G-A-B-C-D-E-F); G Blues Scale(c-Bb-c-Db-o-q.

    Significant added tones: Eb-used as a passing tone in the bluescadence of the last two measures.

    Solo signatures: Shuffle-based blues feel; slurred triads and bentdouble stops; scales and modes freely combined, harmonized inparallel double stops, and played rhythmically.

    Performance notes: The solo is almost entirely chordal, alternatingbetween triad and dyad textures. Chuck plays many of these chordalsounds as thematic riffs. He introduces an idea and then develops itby repetition in the following measures-as in measures 4-5, 6-9,13-15, or 1B-19. During more aggressive dyad riffs, Berry strums thefigures and mutes out extraneous unwanted notes with the frethand.The solo is situated in the "barre-chord" boxes (minor pentatonicpattern 1) in G at the filteenth and third positions.

    Sound: Gibson ES-355 or ES-345 with two humbucking pickups andvibrola tailpiece; slightly overdriven Fender combo tube amps andFender Dual Showman piggyback amps.

  • Fig. 1

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    Copyright @ 1964, 1965 (Renewed), 1973 by Arc Music Corporarion (BMl)lnternational Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved

    Used by Permission

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    10

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    11

  • SUNSHINE OF YOURLOVEWords and Music by Jack Bruce, Pete Brown, and Eric Clapton

    Figurel-GuitarSolo

    Eric Clapton was rock's first guitar virtuoso. With Cream, rock's firstpower trio, Clapton sel the tone and attitude for electric guitar soloing in thesixties and beyond. His fusion of Chicago and Texas blues with British hardrock marked a new direction in modern music and remains the standard bywhich most rock solos are judged. Eric's groundbreaking efforts with Creamlaid the foundation for the incipient genres of hard rock and metal, as in theJimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and other bands toonumerous to name. His influence was enormous and pervasive. Hendrixrefused to emigrate to England until he was promised he would meet Clapton,and even futuristic jazz guilarist Allan Holdsworth cites Eric as a seminalinfluence, as do contemporary virtuosi Eddie Van Halen and Eric Johnson.

    "Sunshine of Your Love" was unarguably Cream's biggest hit-#S in1968. Recorded in 1967, the song contains Clapton's most well-known solo ofthe era-which is saying a lot. Played over an expanded, twenty-four-measure "altered blues progression" in D, the signature rock solo featuresmany of his most unmistakable traits. Clapton's main influences as an electricguitar soloist included the Kings (B.8., Albert, and Freddie), Otis Rush, andBuddy Guy. Many of these influences are heard, often in mutated form, duringthe course of the "Sunshine of Your Love" solo.

    Scales used: D minor pentatonic (D-F-G-A-C); D major pentatonic(D-E-Ff-A-B).

    Significant added tones: B (measure Z); Gil (measures 6 and B).

    Solo signatures: Major and minor scale combining; wide stringbending and vibrato; use of amp sustain and overdrive distortion tocreate a vocal sound.

    Pedormance notes: This classic solo is a virtual textbook of Claptonguitar moves. The blues-based wide string bends and vibrato (as inthe major third bends of measure 10) require considerable handstrength and are best performed with reinforced lingering (more thanone finger pushing the string)-a very visible Clapton technique. Thepre-bends and held bends in measures 4 and 5, as well as the double-stop bends in measures 6 and 8, similarly benefit from reinforcedfingering. The solo is situated in blues-box positions in D at theseventh, tenth, and twelfth frets (patterns 5, 1 , and 2).

    Sound: Gibson SG/Les Paul Standard with two humbucking pickups;overdriven 1O0-watt Marshall stacks with 4x12 cabinets.

    12

  • Guitar Solo E:011

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    Copyright O 1968, 1973 by Dratleaf Ltd.Copyright Renewed

    All Rights Administered by Unichappell Music lnc.lnternational Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved

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    13

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    15

  • HEY JOEWords and Music by Billy Roberts

    Figurel-GuitarSolo

    Jimi Hendrix is rock's ultimate guitar hero. He effectively moved rockguitar from the electrified blues genre of the sixties into uncharted regions olthe 21st century-and we still haven't caught up with him! An intenselycreative and multi-faceted player, Jimi was brought up on blues and R&B-favorites included Howlin'Wolf, Muddy Waters, B.B. and Albert King, ElmoreJames, and Buddy Guy as well as Curtis Mayfield and James Brown. Hecombined and transformed a wide array of influences as both a musician andcomposer to produce a powerful legacy of sounds and techniques notequalled or surpassed to the present day.

    "Hey Joe" was Jimi's first hit and interestingly was not his originalcomposition. ln facl, the Billy Roberts tune received multiple covers in themid-sixties (even one by Cher) before Hendrix touched it. However, once Jimimade it his debut single in 1967, he owned it. From then on, his was thedefinitive version. The song became a vehicle for Jimi's patented lead-rhythmcomping approach and the perfect setting for one of his famous guitar solos.

    ln contrast to most of the extended, psychedelic rave-upimprovisations of his career, this signature eight-measure Hendrix solo isbrief, economical, and highly accessible. lt occurs over two cycles of thetune's C-G-D-A-E verse changes, and culminates in a walking ensembleline with the bass for a funky R&B finish.

    Scales used: E minor pentatonic (E-G-A-B-D).

    Significant added tones: Cf and Ffi (measure 8).

    Solo signatures: Blues melody, feel, and phrasing despite non-bluesmusical environment; string bending and vibrato; double stops(measure 6); intervaljumps of a sixth and a fourth in the minorpentatonic scale (measure 6).

    Performance notes: Jimi's solo is primarily situated in the twelfthposition E blues box. Reinforced fingering is used for the string bendsand henceforth-due in great part to Hendrix's influence-became a norm in rock guitar solos. The double stops in measure 6indicate the presence of Jimi's chord-melody conception in largelysingle-note solos.

    Sound: Fender Stratocaster; slightly overdriven 1OO-watt Marshallstacks.

    16

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    18

  • WHILE MY GUITARGENTLY WEEPSWords and Music by George Harrison

    Figurel -GuitarSolo

    This classic cut from the Beatles' White Album of 1968 isdislinguished by one of the most notable guest spots in rock history. Atcomposer George Harrison's insistence, British blues-rock virtuoso Ericclapton sat in with the world's biggest and most important band, a first, on thelandmark track "while My Guitar Gently weeps." Eric had done a number ofsessions prior to the date (Aretha Franklin, otis spann, champion JackDupree, Jackie Lomax, Martha Velez), but this proved to be a career highpoint. The momentous solo was recorded during a Beafle session onSeptember 6, 1968, at Abbey Road Studios in London.

    Eric clapton's eight-measure contribution suits the tune perfecily-inboth a melodic and thematic sense. over the song's mixed-mode chordchanges in A minor, Eric produces one of his most emotional and well-craftedsignature solos of alltime. The climax phrase in the last measure contains anascending run in a faster sixteenth rhythm which would become a recurringconcept in many future rock solos.

    Scales used: A minor pentatonic (A-C-D-E-G).

    Significant added tones: B and Cf, lpict

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  • THE ENDWords and Music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

    Figure 1 - Chorus and Guitar Solos

    Abbey Road (1969) marked the last musical moments of the Beatles'illustrious career. The album's final moments, appropriately titled "The End,"featured an auspicious solo in which all three guitar-wielding players tradedback-to-back signature licks. By this point, the role and concept of the"Beatles lead guitarist" was completely blurred. Paul McCartney, GeorgeHarrison, and John Lennon equally and routinely handled solos on the band'svarious tracks as the situation arose.

    ln "The End," Paul, George, and John (in that running order) play offeach other in a spirited guitar trio, and present us...