Rock 1 Solo B

Animated Rock 1 Solo B tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This solo is from the Jamzone.

This time we'll use an E natural minor scale to create a sweet melodic solo over the simple A5 - B5 - C5 - D5 powerchord backing progression.

Listen to the Normal Speed audio in the ActionTab a few times (loop it and familiarise yourself with it), then have a go at learning it using the ActionTab.

In the last solo exercise we mentioned that the E natural minor scale would also work well with this powerchord sequence. This is because the powerchords (A5 - B5 - C5 - D5) are very simple and many scales also share these notes, therefore we can use them!

Here are the E natural minor scale notes:

E - F# - G - A - B - C - D - E

You can practice this scale using this CAGED ActionTab. That shows the scale across all 5 main positions.

Look below at the E minor scale and then the notes in all the backing powerchords:

E - F# - G - A - B - C - D - E

A - E - A (A5 powerchord)
B - F#- B (B5 powerchord)
C - G - C (C5 powerchord)
D - A - D (D5 powerchord)

As you can see, the notes for each chord are shared with the E natural minor scale notes too. This means we can use this scale over these chords with the confidence that the all notes we use will be in tune!

This doesn't mean that every single note you play must work exactly with the underlying chord notes. In fact, many melodies work because they are doing something a bit different. Some notes contrast well together. However, some notes will clash badly. A good example is when using the wrong 3rd notes. For example, playing an E note over a C minor chord (the notes are C, Eb, G) will probably sound nasty. That is because we are trying to play a major third (E note) over a minor third (Eb) note. This is often a big harmonic no-no.

The solo begins using just one finger. This little sequence of notes is repeated over each background chord. Using only 1 finger makes this melody quite easy to play, and notice that each time we repeat the lick, we end on the E note and apply vibrato. However, the 4th time the sequence of notes is played we end on an F# instead, which works very well over the underlying D5 chord because it gives that chord a 'major' feel. We are playing D - A - D in the background chord, and by adding an F# on top, we get the basic D major chord (D, F#, A)!

This melodic lick is repeated again over the next A5 - B5 - C5 - D5 powerchord progression. However, for the D powerchord, we move the melody along by sliding between the F# and G, then holding the A. This suggests to the listener that we are about to break into something new here.

Sure enough, we solo on upwards, using only the E natural minor scale notes, going as high as the 17th fret on the high E string (that note is A). Use the whammy bar to slightly lower this note.

There are a couple of great techniques here worth knowing about. The whammy effect adds a slight blues feel to the note, and makes it a little more interesting than just holding the note in a straightforward manner. Also, the following slide down the strings is worth knowing about...

That is what we call breathing. This technique came about from guitarists who learned to solo from copying famous jazz trumpeters / saxophonists / singers. Imagine a singer singing a long high note (like this one). They'd need to take a quick breath before proceeding with the rest of the song, or they'd expire! Doing a little slide after that high note, emulates that 'quick breath' effect! It releases the tension after climatic solo parts, and humanizes the melody.

After that 'breath' slide we move to this position to continue with the solo, using some long blues bends and vibrato. You should be able to work through this part with some practice. Although it is a fairly slow pace, there is quite a bit of string control and tricky string changes, so take your time with it!

During the end we shift the solo to use notes from the B natural minor scale for a few notes. This takes the melody in a nice little direction. Remember what we said earlier about using different notes to add something to the melody!

The B natural minor scale is another scale that largely works with the underlying chords:

B - C# - D - E- F# - G - A - B

So what are we doing here? Why does it work even with that C# there? Well, the answer is that we only use the B natural minor scale notes over the underlying A5 and B5 powerchords. It will work with them, but the C# will not work with the C5 powerchord. So, as soon as the background chord moves to C, we return to the E natural minor scale notes again. This takes us away from that dangerous C# note!

Whilst using the B natural minor scale, we make special use of the C# note. C# works over the A5 powerchord, because powerchords are neither major or minor. Therefore if we play a C over the A powerchord, it will give us a minor chord feel (A minor is A, C, E). But if we use a C# over the A5 powerchord, we get a major chord feel (A major is A, C#, E).

The backing chord then changes to the B5 powerchord, so we can expect the B natural minor scale notes to work perfectly. But when the backing chord changes to C5, we need to switch back to the E natural minor scale, to avoid the dangerous C# note.

So, from there on we return to the same kind of melody that we began with. The timing and phrasing is very similar to the melody of the intro, although different notes are used. It works because the ear identifies this melodic phrasing as the same as the intro, and by returning to it, we are giving the solo closure by coming full circle!

There is a lot to learn here, and don't worry if you don't understand it all. We don't expect you to get everything straight away! As long as you start understanding the main concepts, the rest will come into place the more you play, and the more you experiment with your own scales over the top of these background chords. At any time go back to the Backing ActionTab and experiment with scales and try making up your own melodies from them. This is the best way to learn what works and what doesn't!

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