Dio: 'Holy Diver' Guitar Solo Lesson with Chris Zoupa

Hey guys. Check out my step by step article and tutorial on the amazing solo from "Holy Diver" by Dio.

Ultimate Guitar
Standard tuning: E A D G B E

Difficulty: Intermediate

I've always thought that this was a silly song… But in a good way. It's just so fist raising and triumphant to the point of ridiculum. Now every time I hear this song I remember how awesome Dio was and get a bit sad… This solo isn't too hard if we dissect it into sections and are well versed on some pretty stock standard pentatonic and Aeolian shapes. As usual we'll break the solo down into sections and look at anything that could be potentially problematic. I'll also leave a link to YouTube and the tab at the bottom of the article.

Section 1 Tips

The 1st section of this solo and a bit of the 2nd takes place in the most common form of a "C" minor box pentatonic with a few additional notes. (See diagram below)

You'll notice a cheeky "Gb" (flat 5th play on 9th fret of the "A" string) which gives a bit of a bluesy sound, and an "A" (sharp 6th played on the 10th fret of the "B" string) which has a slight Dorian sound to it. The majority of this first section is played with either mini major 3rd chords or 4th chords. (See excerpt below)

Try implementing these little chord phrases into you improvised or written solos to break up the monotony of straight single note pentatonic licks.

Section 2 Tips

The majority of section 2 takes place around a pretty cool "C" Aeolian/"B" Mixolydian shape. (See diagram below)

Now that we've looked at the shape, let's take a look at the phrase itself. (See excerpt below)

After the bend there's a lot timing variance on triplets that confused the crap out of me. The first bar has quavered (or eighth note) triplets and the second has semiquaver (or sixteenth note) and demisemiquaver (or thirty-second note) triplets. If you have a program that can slow the song down you should definitely use it on this section due to the complex and flippant timing of this phrase.

Section 3, 4 & 5 Tips

The last 3 sections we're predominantly working around a diatonic "C" minor/Aeolian shape. (See diagram below)

Once you get your head around this diatonic shape the 3rd, 4th and 5th sections of this solo are pretty manageable. Let's take a look at one of the more complicated phrases using this "C" minor/Aeolian scale shape. (See excerpt below)

This phrase and the others like it aren't particularly technical, they do however have so oddly place legato triplets and some pretty unpredictable beats. As soon as you learn the scale shape inside out all you need to do is pay close attention to phrasing and placement of these little sassy trills and you guys should be able to nail this solo!

Happy shredding guys!

Download tab here.

YouTube preview picture

By Chris Zoupa

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Good lesson. I've said it 100 times but Vivian Campball is one of the most under rated guitarist out there. Phenomenal musician!
    Absolutely. This solo is ****in legendary. And Zoupa doesn't even quite play it with the right feel. He usually nails these solos flawlessly. Just a testament to how uniquely awesome Campbell's style is.
    Chris Zoupa
    This is the first time in my life I've been out done charismatically by a man called Vivian. Fml.
    I'll never understand how this guy has really great clean playing, but the worst vibrato I've ever heard.
    Chris you are an amazing guitar player and I have seen all your youtube videos. You can't expect to get every single one right. The notes are perfect it's just the feel of the solo that's not quite right.