I'm a huge fan of Ritchie Blackmore. But like Blackmore himself, I tend never to play a solo the same way twice, instead always taking a solo section as the one spot in a song in which I can improvise freely (but on key, of course).

However, this is difficult to do when one is unsure as to just exactly what's going on in a song, and that is the case for me with regard to the guitar solo in "Gates of Babylon."

More specifically, it's the second half of that guitar solo -- the part where instead of just playing over a straight B tonality, all these weird backing chords start showing up -- where I get lost. Suddenly I'm no longer sure what key I'm in, or what sort of scales I should be using in order improvise during this crazy passage.

Can anyone advise me how to approach improvising a solo over this part of the guitar solo? If the backing track is a bunch of diminished chords, augmented chord, and who knows what else kind of exotic chords, how the heck do you solo over them?

A plain old blues scale obviously won't work, but neither would something like just a straight phrygian dominant (which works fine for the first half of the solo, the part over a straight B riff in that mode). Do you have to jump from scale to scale, depending upon the backing chord in play at the moment?

If so, what are those chords? And what scales would work best on top of them?

Sorry if this is a bit obscure. I want to understand what's going on musically in this passage, so that I can play my own solo instead of copying note-for-note Ritchie's solo on the album (so tabs of his solo won't really help much). I need to know what the backing chords themselves are, and what scales work best in soloing over those particular kinds of chords.

How might Ritchie himself have approached playing that solo himself, in the first place (musically speaking)?
Last edited by Dioesque at Aug 14, 2010,