We kick off our SRV course with a fast paced, no nonsense Texas style solo! We root ourselves firmly in the key of E blues and work on developing speed, Texas licks and rhythm within your soloing.
The above SRV style solo will improve your speed and rhythm within your lead playing, but we will need to start very slow! The whole solo really epitomises Stevie Ray Vaughan's ability to just keep playing! It was Clapton who said that of all the players he's every seen, it's only been SRV that never seems to run out of ideas... and it's so true! So, watch the full solo above a few times, try to get the melody in your head, and then move onto the next video.
During the first two licks, we set the scene by putting ourselves in the key of E blues. Blues keys incorporate elements of major and minor, and the first lick is a great example of that. We kick off in the E minor pentatonic shape 2, and then work back to shape 1, also including the major 3rd from the E major chord. If you would like to know more about 'blues keys' then check out our Genre Study course on blues! When we move up to lick 2 then we move into pentatonic shape 5.
As we go further through the solo, you'll need to use the tab to nail each lick. (their positions are marked just above the tab). Use the slow down and looping functions of the tab viewer to really help you master those licks before moving on.
SRV is the master of taking one position of a scale shape and getting the absolute most out of it. For these two licks, we take the E minor pentatonic shape 1 (plus blues note), as well as the E major pentatonic shape 2. The combination of these two gives us our E blues key and allows SRV to create some impressive sounds! Here are those scale shapes:
This combined shape gives SRV all the ammunition he needs to create some incredible bluesy licks. If you would like to understand this concept in more detail, please check out the Genre Studies course on Blues!
(their positions are marked just above the tab). Use the slow down and looping functions of the tab viewer to really help you master those licks before moving on.
Lick 5 is the typical SRV lick that you will have heard on so many of his solos! It is again using the scales defined in the last lesson, but adding in this extra 'out' note - the 13th fret of the high E string. They are called 'out notes' because they are outside the normal scale and typically only used for a fraction of a second before coming back into the scale and therefore resolving the sound. Here is the out note:
Lick 6 & 7 demonstrate a classic SRV approach to going from one side of the neck to another! SRV doesn't typically move from pentatonic shape 1 to 2, then 3, 4 and 5... more often he cuts out the middle men and just jumps from 1 to 1 up or down the octave. This is exactly what we learn how to do here before moving into the five chord (B7). Note that with the B7 chord, you don't need to be too accurate on the rhythm, just be sure to play the chord!
(their positions are marked just above the tab). Use the slow down and looping function of the tab viewer to really help you master those licks before moving on.
When playing in E (or E flat, as SRV's guitar was typically tuned down half a step), we need can take advantage of the open strings underneath pentatonic shape 1. Once agin these last two licks use shape 1 and 2, just as the opening lick did, and crucially you need to hit the turnaround at the right time. In a Texas blues like this, the turnaround is usually a lick followed by a chromatic run towards the 5 chord. In this case, we have the chromatic run from the open A string to the 2nd fret, highlighting the B!
(the positions are marked just above the tab). Once you master them, you'll be able to piece the entire solo together! Use the slow down and looping functions of the tab viewer to help.
When you are ready, the backing track and full solo are here to play along to. It is worth trying to play with just the backing track, as you will not be 'hiding' behind the recorded guitar part; it's all up to you to make it sound awesome!