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Southern Jam Solo
from Jeff Scheetz’ Rock Solid
Southern rock solos always have is a strong melody – think of all the great southern rock solos that you can hum or sing (“Freebird,” anyone). Much of their melodic posture can be attributed to the major pentatonic scale. Just as many country players use this to great advantage, so do the southern rebels. Check out solos on any Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet or Duane Allman tune and you will hear it.
“Southern Jam” is actually in the key of G major, even though the tone center is C and the solo centers around what appears to be a D major pentatonic scale at the seventh fret. But if you glance over the changes, you’ll notice that the chords move from D to C, indicating that a D Mixolydian would be more appropriate by giving us the C note. The other chords – D, G and Bm – can all be taken care of with the standard D major pentatonic.
This solo starts out with a whole step bend on the third string while keeping the top two notes stationary, effectively bending up to a D chord. Something to watch for is when playing tremolo-equipped guitars the top two notes will go flat. Try pushing down on the bridge with your right hand palm while bending, to effectively counteracting the added tension of the bend. Although it requires a good ear, it can become a useful addition to your bag of tricks with a little practice. It also explains why so many country pickers who rely on these types of bends use stationary bridges!
The rake adds a nice mix of texture and attitude and sets up for the following bend on the G string at the ninth fret nicely. Measure 3 is a combination of a slide and hammer-on followed by a whole step bend and a change up to the 14th fret in the next measure. These two positions will handle most of the lead chores here. Keep an eye out for the decidedly southern-sounding pull-offs over the Bm each time it comes around, and have fun!
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