Solo of the Month #26

April 2017

This month's backing track is a medium paced, poppy sort of chord progression to start with, but then in the second half it moves through a more jazzy sequence of chords, which all resolve nicely back to the original.

I can usually work out what the base key of a track is, but this one had me stumped and, for the first time, I had to ask what the chords were. The first section is straightforward enough, it turned out (Emin7, A7, Dmaj7), but the second was completely beyond me. Still, once I knew the key, I could do the rest by ear, since I don't really have the theory to work out the "proper" notes.

I have a new toy, a Frederic Effects Unpleasant Companion (mk II), which is an absolute fuzz monster, so whatever I did was going to include that if at all possible. I had Ernie Isley's superb work on "Summer Breeze" and, in particular, "That Lady" in mind, and the simple signal chain of the Unpleasant Companion and an MXR Phase 90 gives something very close to that tone.

Sometimes it takes me a long time to work out a few lines for the solo, but this was a short piece with two clear sections and it didn't take long at all. A little practice to get it all in one go, and I was there.

I recorded it without reverb and added it in Reaper using the TAL Reverb 4 plugin, which is a nice and simple, to give a properly spacey feel. Finally, I'd fluffed the ending very slightly by not allowing the note to ring as long as I wanted, so I added a synced delay (iZotope DDLY plugin) on the last couple of seconds to extend it slightly.

Here's the final result:

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