Jump to content

Help understanding this Slash Solo


ollyno1uk

Recommended Posts

  • Members

Hi

 

I posted the following in another forum but don't seem to be getting the answers I was hoping. I am trying to get my head around what is being done here:

 

Hopefully some will be familiar of the song Out To Get Me by Guns 'n Roses?

 

I think Slash is an amazing playing and his melodic solos really do inspire me. I wanted to break this one down and see what makes it tick and then use the ideas that I like the sound of in my own music.

 

Basically the song starts in a key signature with two flats - I make this the key of Bb. Being the tonality of the song, however, is based around the G5 chord, I'm assume that it is in fact in the key of Gminor - the relative minor of Bb.

 

To break down the chords, the first section of the solo seems to fluctuate between 2 bars of a C5 based section then 2 bars of a G5 based section. If this was me soloing I would use G minor pentatonic - but its the other notes Slash uses that really makes it sound colorful to me.

 

Here is the tab:

 

 

 

Now the bars aren't written out very well here but hopefully you can grasp where my issue is coming from - it is where we hit the e note on 17th fret of the B string - this is not in the G pentatonic - it is a note in the C chord and it is in the G dorian Mode - its a change of something that i like and would like to know how or why this could have been chosen?

 

Also there is a very major type pentatonic bend from 15th fret of the b string up to 17th fret then hitting 15th on the E. Now is this still Dorian as the notes work but it just doesn't seem to have that Dorian sound.

 

Hopefully this is enough info for some people to understand. I believe the solo then goes on to modulate to A minor in a similar fashion the Gminor

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

 

Basically I have come to the conclusion that the C5 could well be representing the C7 - this means Dorian would be a mode that would fit and all the notes do fit however it just seems to me that each time the C5 is hit something new is added to the feel.

 

The bit that baffles me is, over the C5 chord, he bends from 15th fret to 17th on the B string - then hitting 15th fret on the E string. This is a little lick I have seen many times but it only seems to work over the C5 chord and not the G5.

 

I do not understand this as really if it was dorian this should fit over both chords?

 

Some other people have suggested its actually mixolydian but I just don't see or feel it - perhaps I am not getting something.

 

Any help in understadning what is going on would be most appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

We've got a couple of well-schooled guitar based songwriters in here, so maybe one of those guys can help you suss this out.

 

I dropped the needle into the middle of the song (so to speak, I'm listening on a subscription service) artfully avoiding as much of Rose's screeching as possible... but, you know, I'm not the guy for this. I play by ear and have to work backwards to theory to describe anything I play -- or even figure out why I played it. And my grasp on theory past basics is limited. It did sound like a fairly noticeable modulation during the solo.

 

I will say one thing that troubles me, with the understanding that I am, indeed, basically unschooled: the tendency for some rock guitarists (and it sounds like you are much more sophisticated than most bozos) to get stuck in what I guess you could call "pentatonic thinking," trying to shoehorn everything into pentatonics. As powerful as the pentatonic scale can sound, it's also powerfully limiting, even -- or maybe especially -- when applied to something as seemingly straightforward as blues. The beauty of blues is that it's not as simplistic as a lot of folks think. The modulations implicit in the structure 'force' a guitarist one of two ways: gross simplification into a pentatonic scale that can be used throughout the changes, or a more nuanced approach where the scale elements actually change with the changes. Sadly, I don't have the formal education to put that into words any better, but I think you probably get what I mean.

 

Anyhow, good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

thanks for taking the time to reply.

 

I understadn what you mean about the pentatonic - I was stuck in a rut with it for years.

 

The main thing here I am nterested in is the differerent sound that is produced over the change to the C5 chord - and why this does not work over the G.

 

Perhaps it is almost a key or mode change per chord -

 

Anyhow thanks again

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Hee. Whoa, whoa. Couple thoughts:

 

1. I can guarantee you Slash is not viewing his solos this way. He is riffing until he hears something and then developing that. He's definitely not analyzing anything.

 

2. When you're looking at melodic function there's a lot more to it than just looking at the notes of the underlying chord.

 

If you have a specific section I can listen to quickly and a specific, crystal clear question about it I would be happy to try and shine some specific light on this riff. Cheers. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

thanks for your post:

 

I appreciate that Slash is not analysing anything but I think the basic knowledge of when then chord change is happening and which chord it is changing to has an important factor in his note choices -

 

I will try and cut a small section of the song in question and ask the question about the part I mean.

 

Thanks a lot

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I wouldn't assume that he's not analyzing anything. If all you've ever heard of him is what he did with G&R, you wouldn't appreciate how good he is. He's a VERY talented guitarist who can play all kinds of styles and has done stuff that you'd never think. He's contributed to various movie sound tracks (Jackie Brown, The Hunk, Italian Job, Ray, etc...), worked on a LOT of other people's albums in many different genres, and even done things like a flamenco type easy jazz type tune there with some guy.

 

So he's definitely a very versatile player who is as comfortable in jazz or show type music as he is in G&R type rock, which would lead me to believe that he probably isn't just a completely intuitive, untrained type of player who doesn't understand the theory behind what he does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • Members

I haven't dug into this one but I've spent the last couple of nights playing a different Slash solo and my overall impression (fwiw) is that his playing is mostly pentatonic based but he will throw in diatonic/melodic accents, mostly in a dorian mode. He also seems to fret/slide for a lot of these accents rather than bending up/down to them. He'll start off in the pentatonic box but after a measure or so will begin moving up the fretboard to a sustained tonic and then back down with a flurry of triplets and hammer/pulls. Much of the style is based on fluid note connections - consistent narrow vibrato, a lot of sustain/compression in the amp, slide instead of pick, avoid double stops/partial chords and avoid intervals of an octave or more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

-----------------------------|-----------------------------|------------------

--17b18--17b18--17b18--17b18-|-17b18--17b18-17-15-17-------|------------------

--17b19--17b19--17b19--17b19-|-17b19--17b19-17-15-17-------|------------------

-----------------------------|-----------------------17-15-|------------------

-----------------------------|-----------------------------|------------------

-----------------------------|-----------------------------|------------------

 

 

If you tell me what the "b" means for example in "17b18", then I analyze you the Scales, Key and Chords of this solo.

 

I guess the numbers are frets, and the rhythm is missing in the tabulature, but that's not so important for a melodic chord-scale and harmonic analysis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

The bit that baffles me is, over the C5 chord, he bends from 15th fret to 17th on the B string - then hitting 15th fret on the E string. This is a little lick I have seen many times but it only seems to work over the C5 chord and not the G5.


I do not understand this as really if it was dorian this should fit over both chords?

It works over the C5 and not the G5 because it is filling out the implied chord tones of the C chord. The C5 chord is tonally ambiguous (i.e. could be major or minor), but by bending up to the E note Slash is basically turning it into a major chord. The reason this bend doesn't sound very good over the G chord is because E is not a chord tone in the G chord, so lingering on it creates tension rather than releasing it. Alternatively, Slash could have bent up to an Eb, which would make it a C minor chord and turn the overall tonality into natural minor rather than Dorian - however, this wouldn't have sounded as "rock."

 

And of course, the high G that he hits on the E string during this bend is the fifth of the C chord, so it sounds equally "at home" over the C5 or G5 chord.

 

So while you are correct that this is "all Dorian," at least from the perspective of the notes involved in the solo, it's not correct to then assume that any notes from the Dorian scale will sound good at any given time. While any Dorian note could be used in passing without a problem, notes that are being lingered on are typically chord tones. The take home lesson is to always mind the chord tones when improvising. The clever part of what Slash does is minding a chord tone which is implied but not actually played explicitly.

 

Does this make sense, and is it the info that you're looking for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Does this make sense, and is it the info that you're looking for?

 

 

Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer - I think I understand fully what you mean and can see why it works.

 

This poses two new questions that maybe you can answer:

 

Do you think that Slash is consciously aware of what chords he is playing over to bring out these chord tones or do you think it comes from a natural ability to make something that sounds good, that just happens to be using these techniques?

 

If I wanted to use these tension and release methods to bring more life to my solos - what would you say I should be concentrating on? I assume from this, understanding how the chord tones relate to the underlying chord is very important which equally means you should be aware of every note you are playing rather that relying on patterns as I currently do.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to help out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Do you think that Slash is consciously aware of what chords he is playing over to bring out these chord tones or do you think it comes from a natural ability to make something that sounds good, that just happens to be using these techniques?

 

 

I don't know if this is just a pose, but he claims to lack a conscious understanding.

 

Even when I really pay attention to what I'm doing, there is no real rhyme or reason to why and how I do it. It's just what I go for and what I try to accomplish from what I'm hearing in my head or whatever. I don't have a systematic approach or a methodical, conceptual idea as to how it should be done, so it's sort of ambiguous.

 

http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/news/article/0,,4788358,00.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

-----------------------------|-----------------------------|------------------

--17b18--17b18--17b18--17b18-|-17b18--17b18-17-15-17-------|------------------

--17b19--17b19--17b19--17b19-|-17b19--17b19-17-15-17-------|------------------

-----------------------------|-----------------------17-15-|------------------

-----------------------------|-----------------------------|------------------

-----------------------------|-----------------------------|------------------

 

 

Just tried to analyse this solo but...

 

how can he bend the 5th string by a half-note, and at the same time the 4th string by a whole note?

 

 

----------

--17b18-- = E-F

--17b19-- = C-D

----------

----------

----------

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

 

 

Two fingers?

 

In truth, I think these are probably smooth hammer-ons instead of bends (copped from Keith Richards), but it is quite possible to bend two strings to different pitches (it helps if, as in this example, the string which is getting the larger bend is on the outside of the bend direction).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

If I wanted to use these tension and release methods to bring more life to my solos - what would you say I should be concentrating on? I assume from this, understanding how the chord tones relate to the underlying chord is very important which equally means you should be aware of every note you are playing rather that relying on patterns as I currently do.

Absolutely.

 

Now, I initially started writing out a sort of lesson plan for cultivating this sort of approach to improvising. However, as the paragraph grew and grew I realized that I was really just advocating an integrative view of music theory. You are already getting at one of the main points I was making: try viewing your scales not as boxes and dots, but rather as a group of individual notes which each have a unique identity. Figure out how they relate to the harmony. And then practice! One way I love to practice this is by transcribing vocal melodies and then seeing how they fit over the harmony. With very few exceptions you will find that the vocal melodies tend to "dance around" the chord tones, straying away just long enough to create tension but always returning in time to give that satisfying release. This is a quality that I strive for in my improvising and I think it is a process that, at the very least, will teach you a lot. :wave:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...