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Thread: The Art of the Solo

  1. #1
    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Default The Art of the Solo

    Popular music, jazz, and rock have another thing in common that classical music does not have. That is the concept of the "solo." I use quotation marks because I think it is a misnomer -- often the other instruments still play a supportive role during a solo. Sure, classical music has its concertos and cadenzas and you may think that is the ultimate form of soloing, but there is a vast qualitative difference between the intent of a concerto and a rock guitar solo, as there is usually not a whole lot of wiggle room in classical music for improvisation.

    Lately in pop music soloing has become less fashionable, but there are still some great jam bands out there. Also I think there is some interest in retro styles that promote soloing as an art form once again.

    So I'd like to hear your picks of some of the most moving, shredding, or memorable recorded solos of all time, whether they are guitar solos, drum solos, keyboard solos, flute solos, kazoo solos, or whatever, in any genre.

    I have a list of favorites I will post later. Some are a bit obscure, so I would like to track down samples first.

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    Senior Member Wicked_one's Avatar
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    One of the best drum solo, imo, is the one from Deep Purple. Ian Paice is hitting those drums like there's no tomorrow for like, 7-8 minutes continuous. The whole concert is, probably, one of the best I've ever heard.



    As for guitar solos I think there are quite a lot.. Hmm, I'll think about some and post them later

  3. #3
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    - my number one, heee

    No, seriously, I think this parody really sums up all those guitar solos in mainstream rock since 70's to present. It's all for wet girls and nerdish metalheads that think they are coneisseurs of music and these solos are peak of musical craft.

    I'm sure anyone who listened to rock or metal before getting into classical had situation in which he got back to some piece that he liked back then and had huge laugh of it and himself.

    As former Led Zeppelin fan I watched amost all recorded concerts and I must say that Jimmy Page's improvisations with violin bow are silly. Not any better than Nigel's thing.

    This one isn't bad though:


  4. #4
    JMJ
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    There are several killer solos in art music ... from Bach to Stockhausen ...

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    As former Led Zeppelin fan
    Never forget your roots. Zeppelin rule.

    Where to start with solos.

    Freebird

    Eddie Hazel - Maggot Brain

    Paul Gonsalves - Crescendo and Diminuendo in Blue at Newport

    Andy Powell and Ted Turner - Phoenix

    Tony Iommi - Everything he's done.(Snowblind and Into the Void spring to mind, Planet Caravan, SBS, Lukes Wall at the end of War Pigs etc)

    John McLaughlin - Birds of Fire and Lila's Dance

    Robert Fripp - Baby's on Fire and St Elmo's Fire

    Miles Davis - Right Off

    Duane Allman and Dickey Betts - In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

    Roger McGuinn - Eight Miles High

    Jan Akkerman - Hocus Pocus

    Frank Zappa - Willie the Pimp

    Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd - Marquee Moon

    Elliot Randall - Reelin in the Years

    Jeff Baxter - Rikki Don't Lose That Number

    Lindsey Buckingham - The Chain

    Andy Fraser - Mr Big

    Andy Latimer - Lady Fantasy

    Manuel Gottsching - E2E4

    Neil Young - Like a Hurricane

    Martin Barre - Aqualung and We Used to Know

    Jimi Hendrix - AAtWT, Machine Gun and Voodoo Chile

    Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson - YYZ and Working Man

    Mick Ronson - Moonage Daydream

    Ted Nugent - Stranglehold

    Scott Gorham - Dancing in the Moonlight

    Rev. Billy Gibbons - Gimme All Your Lovin'

    Trevor Rabin - Owner of a Lonely Heart

    Dave Davies - You Really Got Me

    Dave Gilmour - Everything from Meddle to The Wall was gold

    Kirk Hammett - Fade to Black

    Joe Walsh - Hotel California (that bit where he repeatedly picks on the down bend is )

    Dick Dale - Misirlou

    Angus Young - Whole Lotta Rosie

    Ray Manzarek - Riders on the Storm


  6. #6
    JMJ
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    Besides through composed solos in art music (the best really) ... in an improvised vein ... i tend to avoid guitarists for the most part (bottom of the musical food-chain really); listen to jazz horn players or pianists which are far more advanced & sophisticated musically on all fronts as soloists & general improvisors (lot more going on, broader & more advanced vocabulary)... melodically, color, harmony, rhythm, development etc ... Trane, Jarrett, Brecker, Parker, Rollins, Marsalis, Miles, Monk, Tatum, Gillespie, Corea, Taylor, Evans, Zawinul, Hancock, Konitz, Powell, Tyner etc
    Last edited by JMJ; Sep-06-2010 at 21:27.

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMJ View Post
    Besides through composed solos in art music (the best really) ... in an improvised vein ... i tend to avoid guitarists for the most part (bottom of the musical food-chain really)
    i'm curious to know what you think about those guys
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-B06-pRjTY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zkuo2...next=1&index=4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhrgSA4hDMU

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    An obvious one would be Jimi Hendrix. Not being of that generation (he died before I was born) I am not highly familiar with his music, but I did get a cd of some of his stuff recently (for $2 at a bargain shop). I was surprised how bluesy his stuff really is, it seems to have that kind of feel. I think that he was not afraid to let his hair down, and get out of control a bit, a thing which I really like, since I'm into the more contemporary classical music...
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "When reason and instinct are reconciled, there will be no higher appeal" - Rameau

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    - my number one, heee
    Hey man -- Nigel is a god! Those Brits really know how to shred. That other guy in the next link, whatshisname, is pretty good too.

    @Argus. I only know about half the stuff on your list! But of those I do know, I tend to agree with you.

    Iommi I think of more as a riffmeister than a solo or lead guitarist. He's done some great solos, but I can't say any stuck in my head even though he's one of my favorites.

    Roger McGuinn - Eight Miles High. I confess I never really understood this solo. It doesn't flow for me. I love the song though.

    Jan Akkerman - Hocus Pocus. Everything this man does is superb. I have a solo album of his containing a lot of Renaissance music, John Dowland and so forth, and it is quite good.

    Frank Zappa - Willie the Pimp. I might have chosen Apostrophe, except Zappa is a bit upstaged by Jack Bruce in that one. Zappa should make some people on these forums happy, having been a Varese inspired classical composer who did the rock thing partly to support his composing habit.

    Neil Young - Like a Hurricane. I appreciate Young a lot. He doesn't so much play the guitar as wield it in a barely controlled berserk rage. And he makes aging look cool.

    Martin Barre - Aqualung One of my favorite guitarists of all time, and one of the more underrated. For some reason though I think Aqualung is among his weakest efforts - maybe because it is overplayed.

    Ted Nugent - Stranglehold. I despise the fact that I am forced to live on the same planet as this Neanderthal, but I have to admit Stanglehold is a great piece.

    Ray Manzarek - Riders on the Storm. Now you're talkin'! That solo sounds like rain.


    @Andre. Yes, Hendrix was very blues and R&B oriented, especially toward the end. You're right about the getting out of control. Maybe that's the quality I see in the solos that can't be found in most classical. JMJ may prefer "more advanced & sophisticated," and more often than not I do too. But the heady experience of seeing and hearing musicians barely corralling the onslaught of their instruments is hard to beat.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMJ View Post
    Trane, Jarrett, Brecker, Parker, Rollins, Marsalis, Miles, Monk, Tatum, Gillespie, Corea, Taylor, Evans, Zawinul, Hancock, Konitz, Powell, Tyner etc
    I like a lot of those guys but could not really pick one or two solos that stood out from the pack. I named Davis on Righ Off from Jack Johnson because that really sticks in my minds as being perfect for the tune, So What too. Coltrane on My Favourite Things takes a great solo but it draws heavily on the original Rogers motif and goes into a trance-like mode. I'm not saying they can't solo or anything ridiculous (unlike your guitarist generalisation), just that I don't enjoy any of their solos in singularity as much as the ones I listed.

    Try some Derek Bailey or Sonny Sharrock if you want awesome sophisticated guitar playing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre
    An obvious one would be Jimi Hendrix. Not being of that generation (he died before I was born) I am not highly familiar with his music
    This is a classical music forum. Most people aren't of the same generation as the composers they listen to. Most of his songs are excellent, with great solos to boot. The Wind Cries Mary and Hey Joe have short solos that fit great. The Little Wing solo is so good that it feels like it could go on a lot longer than it does. Third Stone from the Sun, Castles Made of Sand, 1983 (A Merman I should turn to be) are all top class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weston
    Iommi I think of more as a riffmeister than a solo or lead guitarist. He's done some great solos, but I can't say any stuck in my head even though he's one of my favorites.
    I like fast E minor pentatonic licks with lots of bends into the fifth and unison. He is capable of more variety though, like on Planet Caravan:

    (about 2:30 in)


    Frank Zappa - Willie the Pimp. I might have chosen Apostrophe, except Zappa is a bit upstaged by Jack Bruce in that one. Zappa should make some people on these forums happy, having been a Varese inspired classical composer who did the rock thing partly to support his composing habit.
    I could have picked Black Napkins or some of his solos on Roxy and Elsewhere, but basically the whole song is a solo.

    Martin Barre - Aqualung One of my favorite guitarists of all time, and one of the more underrated. For some reason though I think Aqualung is among his weakest efforts - maybe because it is overplayed.
    I suppose that's the benefit of not listening to much classic rock radio. It sounds great everytime I hear it.

    What's strange is I listen to a fair bit of music with synths, organs and electric pianos and stuff, but I found it really hard to think of any memorable solos featuring them. Yeah, Jimmy Smith, Booker T, Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord all help shape the sound of the music, but I don't think their solos are all great. Actually, I think Wakeman on Sabra Cadabra is pretty good.

  11. #11
    Senior Member jurianbai's Avatar
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    why not try the mainstream guitarist like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. In second layer there is Vinnie Moore among many neoclassical style guitarist (but the rest is just a copy paste lick from maybe Yngwie Malmsteen). Then the progressive John Petrucci in his solo album Suspended Animation.

    Then the 'standard' American bluesy rock solo like Andy Timmons and Paul Gilbert. Then another name is like Marty Friedman, whom previously Megadeth's thrashmetal axeman turn to New Age influence solo guitarist. Search youtube for a song like Tibet or Mama, which may a bit interest the classical fan.

    There are still hundred of able to shred guitarist from metal band, but will only attract criticism rather than appreciation overhere.

    For non metal/rock, I admire guitarist like Tommy Emmanuel and Al Di Meola

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weston View Post
    Sure, classical music has its concertos and cadenzas and you may think that is the ultimate form of soloing, but there is a vast qualitative difference between the intent of a concerto and a rock guitar solo, as there is usually not a whole lot of wiggle room in classical music for improvisation.
    Actually, cadenzas were improvised at first

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    JMJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    I like a lot of those guys but could not really pick one or two solos that stood out from the pack [...] just that I don't enjoy any of their solos in singularity as much as the ones I listed.

    Try some Derek Bailey or Sonny Sharrock if you want awesome sophisticated guitar playing.
    which says more about you as a listener than all else ... and i've heard Bailey & Sharrock; can't stand either .. and they aren't on the level of the art as the improvising soloists i mentioned, same applies to all the other guitarists mentioned in this thread, sure they have some moments, and many of them have their own little voices but it's a much shallower well (musically speaking) and that for me, gets tired quickly.

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMJ View Post
    ame applies to all the other guitarists mentioned in this thread
    what a ridicolous statement.

  15. #15
    JMJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by norman bates View Post
    what a ridicolous statement.
    No it's actually not a ridiculous statement ... keep listening.

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