Soloing Like the Greats


So you've been learning songs and playing some solid rhythm guitar and basic soloing riffs for some time now, and you're trying to muster up the courage to step out of this comfort zone and start bending some strings.  There are plenty of solos out there to help get you to that next level, but let's start with one of my favorites.  If you have ever been a fan of Pink Floyd, you might have recognized David Gilmour's uncanny ability to produce guitar solos with long-ringing powerful notes that seem to sing their own song over the accompanying chords.  For those looking for a good starting point on soloing like one of the greats, I might start looking at the intro to "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-IV)", the first song on the legendary album Wish You Were Here.  Glimour plays his intro solo from 2:10 - 3:35 in this song, and if you have some ability to bend strings, grab your electric guitar and get started breaking this one down.

Chord progression is:  Gm - Dm - Cm - Gm - Dm - Cm - Dm - Gm.

The key of this solo can be said to be G-minor (or the relative minor key of Bb major).  Check out the tabs from  The solo is comprised mostly of the minor pentatonic scale (1, b3, 4, 5, b7), while also adding the 2nd interval as well to expand the solo, adding a bit more color.  The standard minor pentatonic position can be considered as such with the root on the 6th (low E) string, and can be transferred to any spot on the guitar neck depending on the key.

** Be sure to consider the "2" interval as well for this solo (not shown above) **

So, if we transfer this position up to the 15th fret of the guitar neck, this will allow us to play the majority of the solo without moving our hand position much at all.  Practicing this solo will provide some great ear training for bending notes to their final tones.  Watch out for the bend at 2:34 where Gilmour takes his root (1) all the way up to the b3 which is a 3-semitone bend (it's OK to take breaks for sore fingers).  

For those more advanced players, see if you can decipher how Gilmour outlines each chord with his soloing here.  I personally love the final Gm landing note at 3:27, with a high b3 right when the chord hits, then involving the 5 and the b7 before resolving to the root to end the solo.  This one is really involved in minor blues influence as well with the I-V-IV progression as some of you might catch.  Enjoy!

- written by Travis Palladino, founder & director of Music Flow LLC

Let us know what you enjoy most about Gilmour's style and if you've applied any of it to your playing.



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My name is Tatiana Cobos and I have been playing guitar for about 7 years. Ever since I can remember it always fascinated me the way the guitar looked, how it sounded, and the way you move your hands when you play the instrument. Along these 7 years I have had a few teachers. Some didn’t challenge me the way I wanted to be challenged and others had a different vision for me than that I had for myself. A couple of years ago we came across Music Flow. At the end of the first lesson I felt more connected to the guitar and to music. My instructor challenges me and shows me new concepts that I couldn’t even image exist. Every Wednesday I cannot wait to go home from school and see my instructor and what he has in store for me. Music for me has become a place I can explore and have my own little bubble of creativity. I have found my love for the guitar and music, and I have no plan in stopping my lessons any time soon! I love Music Flow and what I have learned!

Tatiana Cobos, Music Flow Student