Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven Solo. Based almost entirely on the A minor and minor pentatonic scales (except a sneaky D# in the 6th bar) Stairway To Heaven's solo has become the goal of generations of guitarists. From the fingerpicked intro to the final outro lick, some five different guitar parts this is a piece for new players and the experienced alike. The phenomenal solo is debated by hundreds of musicians around the world. The truth is... it's not really all that hard!
Select a Telecaster with both pickups on to match the original recording or if you happen to have one lying around, a Double Neck SG. A Marshall amp with a little reverb and gain at about 8 should get a similar tone. I don't have the space to discuss every single note, but I'll break it down into 5 sections.
Audio & Tab:Chordal Intro:
For the intro, there are two chord shapes. D, which I'm sure you know and Cadd9. Fret the standard Cadd9 shape (x32030) without the middle finger as you'll need it to embellish with on the high E-string. Kepp you picking loose and let everything ring out. Play at 94 bpm and watch the dodgy time signature change the easiest thing to do is to count in 1/8th notes throughout and then drop one beat for the 7/8 bar. An acoustic, Telecaster and 12-string electric are all playing here so choose you're weapon and find some friends to take on the rest of the chords! Use these links to get a tablature and a midi file for the section above.Bar 1 to 4.5:
Nothing overly complex in this section. Just keep playing these two licks until you're confident to move on and don't start the second section until you're confident you can keep up the speed (105 bpm).Bar 5 to 8:
Points of note in this section is the stacato in bar 5 which can be killed by lifting your fingers from the fretboard slightly. When you move into the 6th bar, watch the unexpected D#. In bar 8 make sure you bend the 15th fret to 17, repick and then release.Bar 9 to 13:
In the bending section, try to pick only when fretting the 14th fret on the G-string and 13th fret on the B-string. The hammer-on, bend, release and pull-off should be a fluid motion. Again, it's best to practice these bends repeatedly. When bending the 15th fret note in bar 12, do so with the second or third finger so you can fret the high E-string without releasing the B-string.Bar 14 to 20:
In bar 14, the same trick applys, don't release the G-string until you're ready to play the bend back down to the 17th fret. The final few abrs are easy but the 20th bar may require some extra practice to get it up to speed! Use these links to get a tablature and a midi file for the section above.
A final note, from bar 13 to 14 onwards, a slide lick can be heard in the background. It occurs four times and can be heard on the midi file. Use that link to get a tablature for the section above.
And for those who curouis what will be the next Weekend Bass Riff, here is message from Joe:
Sorry but I am unable to continue with my weekly 'Weekend Bass Riffs' due to increased work and general business sorry to let you and the rest of UG down about this but I feel it'd be better for someone with a better knowledge of what UG wants and more knowledge about bass to take over the role. I believe that'd be better for the bassists of UG and they'd get more from the writings.
So, if anyone interested to continue writing for Weekend Bass Riff section and thus being a part of UG Contributing Team, get in touch with Geldof the Grey on UG Forums.