Summary: Bohemian Rhapsody

In this Bohemian Rhapsody guitar lesson Ollie skilfully guides you through the solo played by Brian May. The solo is based in the key of Eb major and uses a combination of the Eb major pentatonic scale, as well as the Eb major diatonic scale. We will not only be looking at the licks, but also the techniques that make this solo perfect.

The First Lick - Eb Major Pentatonic

The first lick is a really cool major pentatonic lick, using the first scale shape. Ollie walks you through the notes clearly in the video, but let's just recapp the pentatonic shape you are using.

The Second Lick - Eb major scale

We then move to a linking, very melodic lick. This is a great little lick that can move you from the first shape all the up to the 4th in one swift movement. The lick is based very much on the 3rd shape of the diatonic scale, as shown below. We've also highlighted the notes you are using.

The Third to Fifth Lick - Shape 4 (C Shape)!

We then have a section of the solo that is all based around the 4th shape of the pentatonic & diatonic scale. Brian May really makes use of this scale shape here, by using it for some very quick little runs. We're are mainly using the diatonic (full scale), which is shown below, but it's also worth showing the pentatonic shape that is there as well.

The Sixth Lick - Returning to shape 3 (D shape)

We then return to the D shape, or shape 3 of the scale to do another melodic lick. Once again, Brian May really focuses on creating a melodic sound, rather than a more classic bluesy lick or rock lick. This is where the diatonic scale really works well... When using it for melody!

Final Lick - The crazy notes!

This part of the solo is moving away from the basic key and really targeting certain chords underneath rather than just the overall scale. This is a very constructed part of the solo, which has been very well pre-thought out by Brian May and Queen as it reflects parts that the rest of the band are playing. For us, we just simply need to learn the notes to be able to complete the solo!

    Keep Learning: The Scale Shapes

    This Brian May solo is an absolute masterpiece of technical playing, combined with a fantastic ear for melody and solo structure. The general key of the song is Eb major / C minor and Brian May tends to combine the 5 pentatonic scales with the 5 full diatonic scales (major and minor scales). If you have never combined these scales before, I would recommend taking a look at this lesson to understand this concept in greater detail:

Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

What a solo this is! Brian May has beautifully combined his melodic soloing skills with a more rock&roll style to create something very special. Ollie will take you through every single lick and the technique and scale behind it.