Carl con­tin­ues his mas­ter­class se­ries with a solo that fluc­tu­ates be­tween C and E flat. Mil­ton Mer­mikides tran­scribes.

Guitar Techniques - - TALK BACK -

Carl de­liv­ers an­other jaw-drop­ping first-take solo over a track he’s never be­fore heard!

im­pro­vi­sa­tion – and mu­si­cian­ship - in a wide range of styles, and enough ma­te­rial for even pro­fes­sional gui­tarists to work on for years.

I’ve tran­scribed Carl’s im­pro­vi­sa­tion over Ja­son Sid­well’s pop fu­sion back­ing called Am­bi­ent Groove (In C). De­spite the ti­tle, it ac­tu­ally fluc­tu­ates be­tween two key cen­tres Eb (Eb­maj7-Fm7-Bb-Gm7) and C (Cmaj7-C). In this ses­sion type en­vi­ron­ment Carl draws on a huge vo­cab­u­larly of melodic ma­te­rial, spon­ta­neously build­ing an en­gag­ing solo, with chops to spare, and sounds like he could con­tinue in­def­i­nitely weav­ing in­ven­tive melodies through the chords. In par­tic­u­lar he shows an abil­ity to not only work with the chord se­quence but draw out re­ally beau­ti­ful har­monic im­pli­ca­tions.

Carl em­ploys dif­fer­ent strate­gies for each chord, in or­der to to keep the solo fresh. On the Eb­maj7 he uses a com­bi­na­tion of Eb Ma­jor scale (bar 21, bars 61-62), an im­pli­ca­tion of C Mi­nor with chro­mati­cism (bar 45), and Pen­ta­tonic com­po­nents (Eb ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic (C mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic) (bars 41-42) and G mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic (bars 2 and 53). The C ma­jor 7 gets sim­i­lar treat­ment, and col­lec­tively one can see that Carl’s solo­ing strate­gies in­clude: • Ma­jor scale or ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic on root of

chord • Mi­nor scale (with chro­mati­cism)/Pen­ta­tonic

on 6th de­gree of chord • Ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic on 5th of chord (bars 51

and 57) • Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic on 3rd de­gree of chord • Oc­ca­sional use of Mixoly­dian/Blues on root

of chord (bar 31-32) • Mi­nor scale on root of chord • Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic on root of chord • Mi­nor Blues on root. And that’s in this piece alone (he uses oth­ers in the var­i­ous tracks he did for GT). Know­ing th­ese ap­proaches, and of course hav­ing fret­board knowl­edge and vo­cab­u­larly for th­ese scales, can en­hance your solo­ing op­tions vastly.

Carl uses his char­ac­ter­is­tic string-skip­ping ideas which breathe life into oth­er­wise familiar Pen­ta­toni­cism. For ex­am­ple bars 8 , 15 and 43 show how C (and G) ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic (and some con­nect­ing Ma­jor scales) can be played in ul­tra-wide melodic phrases around the fret­board.

Rather than see­ing the key ar­eas as iso­lated har­monic is­lands, Carl knows ex­actly which notes change be­tween chords, so there is a melodic flu­ency and logic to chord tran­si­tions. See for ex­am­ple the tran­si­tion from Bar 20 to 21, where a sim­i­lar mo­tif con­nects the tran­si­tion from Cmaj7 to Eb­maj7, or the Bb to B nat­u­ral in the bent phrase from bars 46 to 47.

Con­trol over the gui­tar adds an im­por­tant layer of ex­pres­sion. Sub­tle ar­tic­u­la­tions such as slightly short­ened or muted notes (which es­cape even the most de­tailed tran­scrip­tion) are re­ally im­por­tant to the vibe. Also no­tice his habit of flick­ing the pickup se­lec­tor from neck to bridge - even just for one note – to add a lit­tle bite when needed. And fi­nally, Carl uses the vi­brato bar to add a type of vi­brato and bend­ing colour that is im­pos­si­ble with just fin­gers, and is re­ally worth ex­plor­ing in your play­ing. See in par­tic­u­lar bar 38 and bars 56-61.

This solo is ex­tremely in­struc­tive, and even if some of the chops are be­yond your cur­rent tech­ni­cal level, there is still a huge amount of melodic and stylis­tic in­spi­ra­tion to be gained from Carl’s so­los and ap­proach.

even if some chops are be­yond you now, there is still a huge amount of in­spi­ra­tion to gain.

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