Solo of the Month #21

November 2016

A first this month: the solo section from a well-known classic. One of the players on the forum has been recording a very close version of Ace's "How Long". mainly (as far as I can tell) to learn the track for live performance.

I thought the challenge for everyone on this one would be to avoid reproducing the original solo, unconsciously or not. But when I went back to listen to it, I realised I didn't know the solo at all, even though I'm very familiar with the song. It's Paul Carrack's wonderful vocal I remember, and the lovely plodding bass that introduces the track. The solo seems like it belongs in a different song.

I was also surprised to find that most other participants in the challenge didn't know the song at all. That freed them to produce some interesting solos, but - for me, anyway - ones that would have entirely failed to work in the context of the overall track. My personal challenge, then, was to try and do something that could be fitted into the original song and not stick out.

Having some context was a nice change, actually. It meant that the melody of the verse could be used as a jumping off point for the solo. I dialled in a gently overdriven tone on the amp, and recorded it in two sections. I added a bit of EQ to thicken up the tone and gentle reverb to place it in the mix. The master had Melda's MLimiter on it to punch up the overall sound. And here it is:

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