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A High-Note Solo

A High-Note Solo

Now that weve got down a typical rhythm part, lets work on a highnote solo. Well be using an sound that came into rockabilly mostly from the playing of Chuck Berry. Buddy Holly used it a lot. So did the Beatles, and rock and country guitarists continue to find new variations on it up to today.

First we need to review some of the basic theory that every guitarist must use to navigate the fingerboardthe chromatic scale. Notes are named by the musical alphabet that goes from A to G, and then starts over again. In between every letter, except B to C and E to F, lies another note that you can call by either of two namessharp (meaning higher than) or flat (meaning lower than). Thus, the note that lies between A and B can be called either A-sharp or B-flat. Each note, including the sharps and flats, corresponds to one fret on the guitar.

For example, consider the A (fifth) string. The note of the open string is A, the note on the first fret is B-flat (or A-sharp), the second fret is B, the third fret is C, the fourth fret is D-flat, and so on. On the first or sixth strings, both E strings, the first fret would be F, the second fret Fsharp, and so on. Each box below represents one fret.

Lets apply this knowledge to chord shapes. Play a D chord. There it is, with its lowest notes on the second fret. Now move it up to the third fret. You just made it an E-flat (or D-sharp) chord. Move it up another fret and youll be playing E. Play it on the fifth fret and it will become an F chord, and so on.

The same trick applies to every other chord shape. Theres just one thing you have to be careful about. To keep extraneous notes out of the chord, be sure to sound only the strings that belong to the movable chord shape that you are fretting. Dont sound the open strings, because they are not being moved up along with the fingered strings. They wont necessarily give you the appropriate notes for the chord. (However, sometimes the open strings sound appropriate or even weirdly interesting along with a moved-up chord, anyway. You can experiment to find out.)

In this solo, well be using these basic chord shapes moved up the fingerboard:

Here goes our lead guitar solo. Well be sounding only the highest three strings of the A7 chord, but if youve already learned this chord shape covering four strings, you may find it easier to keep fingering all four. With a flatpick, use energetic downstrokes. If youre playing finger style, brush down with your thumb, brush down with the nail of your index finger (and perhaps one or more other fingers as well), or brush up with your index finger across all three strings.

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