Jeff Scheetz’ RockSolid
Southern Jam Solo
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!