Tasty Guitar Solos

Playing a musical instrument well requires a lot of practice. Motivating yourself is difficult with no goal. When you have other people to play with, and a good vibe between the musicians, and an occasional audience to share the music with, then you might find yourself with good reasons to find that drive. Getting good means spending a lot of time working on ideas and choosing a common repertoire – never easy.

Musical ventures often come to naught. Time constraints, having to rely on other sources of income and commitments gradually take your free time away. There’s no recipe for success or good musical collaboration but one might be to have the social whirl of a life afforded to students, then take a pinch of loneliness, being out of your home country, and having nothing but a CD player and a guitar to keep you company. Two friends from university both found themselves in a similar quantum state at various times during 1995-1996. Of all the times when anything was recorded of their jams, the session when they put down a cover of the track Enola Gay (I don’t remember which other tracks we recorded at the same time) captured some of the keen guitar playing that one of them* was doling out quite regularly on his Squier Strat.

Unfortunately the audio fidelity isn’t great, and the (my) singing that day was pretty awful and mostly flat so I’ve spared you the whole song. I’m interested in the guitar playing anyway, as the amount of jamming that we’d been doing – as evidenced in the photo where we’d even busked at a market a couple of times – meant there was a good musical entente and the lead guitarist was on top form.

The basic track was a custom programmed drum track, a little “bed” of old synth strings in the background and a simple bass line. On top of that, two guitars – both the Squier player – are layered and panned slightly to one side and the other. On the left, simple but solid arpeggios (on the second time around, watch out for a little escape from arpeggios) and slightly to the right, a cleanish solo picking up a variation on the melody line :

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Later, after the breakdown in the song about two minutes in, there’s an extended outro as the guitar solo started with the lyrics of the last verse but faded to be in the background. The singing on this part is pretty bad though, so I’ve cut this extract to the playout solo where the vocals stop and the guitar comes in, overdriven this time and using a difficult technique to get right : rapid tapping of the frets to get the notes to sound, rather than plucking with a plectrum. It’s perhaps a ever so slightly out of time for the first bar, but when the groove locks in (and the technique transitions to more classic string bending and slides) you have quite a nice lick to take you to the end of the track. The last two bars sit down nicely – remember the solo was the last thing put down, and finishing in sync at the end of the established rhythm track is sometimes a bit of a stress. The guitar is in the groove though and you can hear it’s a perfect landing on the first beat of the last bar with an honourable sustain and no noticeable fade required.

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Hope you enjoy listening.

* Paul, as mentioned in the Farmer’s Song and Jamming with the Rosco

4 Responses to “Tasty Guitar Solos”

  1. Anji Says:

    Yes, I did enjoy listening.

  2. fruey Says:

    Hi Anji

    Thanks for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the music!

    -Fruey

  3. Stefani Says:

    Being an OMD fan I would have to say the bits you posted sounded pretty good. :-)

  4. fruey Says:

    Hello Stefani

    Good job I didn’t leave the singing parts on :). Thanks for the comment, the guitarist will be pleased to read it.

    -Fruey

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