solo arrangement

Armed with a strong melody and an understanding of simple harmony, you can effortlessly move from ethereal to swinging arrangements.


Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Beginner
Lesson Overview:
• Break down a song to its bare elements—and build it back up.
• Learn how to transpose simple melodies into other keys.
• Understand how to imply harmony with single-note lines.


Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

These days, more guitarists are relying on loop pedals to play “solo.” They record a chord progression and then play a melody on top of it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, as I count myself amongst the “loopers.” But if you really want to demonstrate your prowess as a stand-alone, one-man band I suggest you unplug the loop pedal and try some new methods of simultaneously performing the harmony and melody. In this lesson, I’ll provide you with three very different ways to approach solo guitar arrangements that fit a variety of tastes and skill levels.

At first glance the song I’ve picked to arrange, “When the Saints Go Marching In,” might seem like a corny choice, but this time-honored standard has much to offer in the way of a long-form melody with a basic I–IV–V harmony. These features allow for both simple and complex arrangements. And if this tune is good enough for Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, and Bruce Springsteen, it’s good enough for us.

Read More Show less

Bogner's beastliest amp is made miniature—and still slays.

Excellent sounds in a portable and very affordably priced package.

A footswitchable clean channel and onboard reverb would make it perfect.

$329

Bogner Ecstasy Mini
bogneramplification.com

4.5
5
4.5
4.5

The original Bogner Ecstasy, released in 1992, is iconic in heavy rock circles. Though it was popularized and preferred by rock and metal artists (Steve Vai and Brad Whitford were among famous users), its ability to move from heavy Brit distortion to Fender-like near-clean tones made it appealing beyond hard-edged circles. Even notorious tone scientist Eric Johnson was enamored with its capabilities.

Read More Show less
Rig Rundown: IDLES

See how chaotic co-pilots Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan bring five pedalboards to mutilate, mangle, and mask their guitars into bass, synth, hip-hop beats, raging elephant sounds, and whatever “genk” is.

Do you hear that thunder? That’s the sound of strength in numbers. Specifically, it's the sound of four 100-watt stacks. (Actually, one is a 200-watt bass tube head.) IDLES’ guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan finally have the firepower to match their fury. (Original members singer/lyricist Joe Talbot, drummer Jon Beavis, and bassist Adam Devonshire fill out the band. Kiernan took over for guitarist Andy Stewart after 2015 EP Meat was released.)

Read More Show less
x