n this month's colum n I
will be analysing a rock
solo that I have devised
as an exam ple of how an
effective b a ss solo could be
created in this genre. I have
brought together different stylistic
elem ents associated with rock
and none of them sound out of
place in context of the w hole solo.
For exam ple, there are parts that
would w ork well in a straight rock
setting; others that wouldn't sound
inappropriate in a m etal solo and
even parts that would w ork in a
progressive rock context. Often
the boundaries betw een these
gen res can becom e blurred.
The entire solo would w ork
well as an intro to a so n g, as a
breakdown section or sim ply as a
b a ss and drum s workout. A s the
solo has m any dynam ic changes,
I would have a drum m er play
w ith m e if I w ere playing it live or
recording it, so that they could help
build the intensity.
I s u g g e st that you start out
learning the solo slow ly, say
at 70bpm , and gradually build
up the tem po. Th is m ay seem
slo w to start out with, but som e
parts, especially bar 30, are fairly
tricky to play accurately at higher
tem pos. S e e if you can eventually
ge t up to 120bpm.
The solo is in the key of A minor
and starts out with a baroque-style
Example 1
section, rem iniscent of Johann Sebastian Bach, which is built on a harm onic minor scale. Classical m otifs are
not uncom m on in rock solo s, especially those based in the m etal genre. Th is section se ts the solo up nicely a s it
creates so m e calm before the rest of the solo kicks in. I have m ade this section quite short due to lim itations of
space, but it could be extended to prolong the effect.
From bar nine through to bar 17 the solo changes gear and rocks out a little more. A sym pathetic drum m er
w ould pick up on this dynam ic shift, for exam ple by shifting from playing light cym bals in the opening section and
launching into a full rock beat for this new section. O ne drum m er w ho I've w orked with, Darrin M ooney from
Primal Scream , affectionately calls this type of pow er playing 'lum ping it'.
The phrase in bars nine to 10 em ploys the m inor blues scale but o m its the perfect 5th, so that the darker-
sounding dim inished 5th clearly stands out. This disson ance is highlighted at the end of the phrase w here the
open A string creates the foundation for the upper tritone interval on the D and G strings to ring out.
The tension continues to build in the 11th and 12th bars w ith an an sw er to the previous phrase. In this ca se
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