Guitar ballad royalty

The hard-roông xã virtuoso walks you through the essentials of power ballad soloing, where melody is always king


To me, nothing is less tasteful than simply playing a bunch of fast licks lớn show off your chops on a ballad. I believe that a guitar solo in a ballad should provide a svào melodic hook of its own & balance well against the feeling of the song overall. 

With this in mind, I’d like to cite the short solo I crafted for When I Think of You, featured on the new Whitesnake album, Flesh và Blood, as a good example of how to lớn approach soloing over a rock “power ballad.”

When I Think of You is in the key of C major, and a great way to lớn start a solo on a tuy vậy lượt thích this is lớn emphakích thước the triadic chord tones of the tonic, or trang chính key.

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The notes of a C major triad are C, E và G, và I begin the solo by playing a simple liông xã that’s built from two notes: the root, C, và the 5th, G (see Fig. 1).

(Image credit: Future)

When I kết thúc the phrase, I move bachồng down the triad by starting on the 4th F, before repeating the triadic tones, as illustrated in Fig. 2. Notice that I’m adding a nice slow, wide finger vibrakhổng lồ lớn every held note here, khổng lồ evoke a “singing” vocal-lượt thích unique.

(Image credit: Future)

This phrase comes right out of the C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B), as well as C major pentatonic (C, D, E, G, A; see Fig. 4).

(Image credit: Future)

I repeat the initial phrase then wrap up the line by melodically setting up the change khổng lồ the IV (four) chord, F, as shown in Fig. 5.

(Image credit: Future)

Now that I’m on F, I like khổng lồ incorporate a quiông chồng downstroke sweep across the triad into the single-note phrase. Fig. 6 illustrates how I start with the sweep and then finish the phrase baông chồng in C major pentatonic, ending on D, which is the 5th of the next chord in the progression, G (G, B, D).

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Over the next two bars, I regọi the initial theme, but now I vary it slightly by playing 16th notes at the end of the first bar of the phrase, followed by an expressive sầu “overbend” of one & one half steps, from G up to lớn Bb, as shown in Fig. 7.

(Image credit: Future)

After that, at the end of the solo, I move high up on the neck to lớn create the feeling of a crescenvì chưng.

Fig. 8 presents the entire solo. In bar 7, after playing the keynote, C, over the F chord, which is that chord’s 5th (F, A, C), I move up to lớn a C note an octave sầu higher then drop down one fret và bkết thúc up khổng lồ that same note from B, a half step lower, after which I play a descending G major arpeggio over G. I follow this with a whole-step bkết thúc from the high C note up to lớn D.

(Image credit: Future)

As you can see, I took a balanced, melodic & thought-out approach khổng lồ this solo, with the idea of serving the tuy vậy first and foremost, which I think should always be the first priority when soloing.

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