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Funky Child Solo
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from Jeff McErlain’s Blues Rock: Evolution
This solo could best be described as a take off of Hendrix combined with Miles Davis – that is, Miles Davis in the eighties, not the forties or fifties. Of course, it can be argued that Hendrix himself was doing a bit of a take off from Muddy Waters’ Chess era – if you listen to “Voodoo Child,” you can hear that same open, bluesy feel that existed on Waters’ “Rollin’ Stone.” Granted, it’s not a 12-bar blues, but Muddy Waters wasn’t doing that either. The evolution component of this month’s lesson comes from the solo’s funk feel, influenced by players like Mike Stern and John Scofield, who were rooted in the blues, but experimented with new sounds, like dissonant intervals and Dorian scales.
This song itself is a take off on the chord changes of “Voodoo Child”; the first section is in E minor, and we’ll cover most of that ground with blues licks. For the turnaround (G and A), we’ll use the E Dorian scale to give the solo a more contemporary feel, although it’s important that we never lose the song’s blues basis – the use of “open” sounding diads and chords is key to the sound of this solo, like those found in measure 10, which are actually shapes you might find in songs like “Little Wing” and “Castles Made of Sand.”
Measure 11 hangs out in the low registers (much like the rhythm parts for last month’s lesson) – make sure to give these single notes plenty of funk – before the final turnaround and a closing blues run centered around the 12th fret, leaving us with our final lesson of the month: if all else fails, end with a hot blues lick.
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