Killer Solos instruction video: Transcribing Killer Solos Using Logic Pro X

•August 3, 2013 • 3 Comments

Bongiorno Everybody,

I’m pleased to post my first instructional video. Here I demonstrate some features of Logic Pro X that I’ve been using to make the Killer Solos postings. If you adopt these techniques, I think you’ll find that you’ll be able to transcribe stuff much more quickly than you’re used to and do more complicated parts as well.
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Gary Allan – Get Off On The Pain – guitar solos with sheet music

•July 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This time we visit the guitar solo of the country song song Get Off On The Pain by Gary Allan.

I find this song just achingly beautiful, yet it still manages to rock, and has very tasty guitar interplay. 

It’s not super technically difficult but any lack of smoothness in the notes or the pitch bends will be painfully evident.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama – piano solo, with sheet music

•July 24, 2013 • 10 Comments

There’s a killer piano solo near the end of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama.  It was played by the terrific Billy Powell.

Click through for the solo, the sheet music as a PDF, and the solo slowed 25% to make it easier to practice and learn.
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Logic project for Frankenstein

•July 8, 2013 • 1 Comment

Logic project for Frankenstein

For users of Logic Studio here is a zip file of a cover of Frankenstein.  Download it to your Mac and double-click on it to unzip. Double-click on the song in the unzipped folder or choose Open from Logic’s menus and navigate to the Logic project therein. There are numerous synth tracks plus drum and guitar tracks from a couple of friends of mine who are seriously competent musicians.

If you drop the original AAC or MP3 from They Only Come Out At Night and align it with the start of the audio tracks, it should match note for note.

I still haven’t worked out all the keyboard arpeggios about 2/3rds of the way through the song (leave comments and/or send tracks if you work them out, please), and the big descending synth sweep still leaves something to be desired, but the keyboard riffs are correct, I believe, and the voicings, all done with Logic’s virtual synths, are quite close for the most part.

Ted Nugent – Stranglehold – guitar solo

•May 28, 2010 • 12 Comments

After essentially terminating the killer solos project, I took on one of the guitar solos in Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold just for fun. I think it came out really well. I also enjoyed it because Ted loves synthesizers so much.

So I’ve decided to resurrect the project. I did 32 solos in 33 weeks. I am now committing to do 52 solos total, but not in 52 weeks. I expect to complete one about every two to four weeks until I reach the total.

This one I was particularly satisfying, and it didn’t take long either. My transcription and playing chops have come up a lot. Also I am listening a lot more closely to the parts, another of the skills I have grown from doing the project.

OK so here it is, Ted in the center, me panned somewhat to the right, one of the killer solos from Stranglehold…

Utopia – Hiroshima – synth solo

•May 12, 2010 • 4 Comments

This week I revisit Utopia’s Ra album, from which I previously recorded the killer solo of Sunburst Finish. Though the record was not a huge commercial success, it remains one of my favorite if not my most favorite Utopia album.

Hiroshima has a monster keyboard solo, with back-and-forth interplay between keyboardist Roger Powell and guitarist Todd Rundgren. It’s devilishly fast and includes a number of synthesizer techniques not so easily attained on modern keyboards. (I think he is turning a knob on a voltage controlled oscilator (VCO) at multiple points and he’s definitely using a low frequency oscillator at a much higher frequency than normal (around 35 Hz) and with a square wave instead of the usual sine wave.) However, I have, in my opinion, faithfully reproduced both the notes and the sounds.

This is a solo I never thought I would be able to play… and now I can. With this solo I consider the killer solos project to be complete — although I have not done a complete year of solos, I have achieved everything else that I set out to achieve. There are no solos in the queue that I am eager to take on — I have played all the ones I had in mind when I started with the project and quite a few more… more than 30, in fact. The project is now impacting important collaborations, which is where I’m headed next, and so it is time to move on.

I may visit and blog from time to time, and I may even resume the project at some point, but I have no firm plans to do so at this time. (I will continue to read and respond to comments.) So here is the final killer solo… please enjoy synth virtuoso Roger Powell mostly on the left, and me mostly on the right, doubling the killer synthesizer solo from Utopia’s Hiroshima…

(Buy the original at iTunes, Amazon.)

Ramsey Lewis – Look-A-Here

•May 4, 2010 • 5 Comments

Back in the days before all the radio stations were bought up by a media oligopoloy and standardized to a handful of formats (and then blind-sided by the iPod), you could hear all sorts of cool stuff that could never get airtime today. Case in point, WSDM FM in Chicago, “The Station With The Girls”, put several tunes off of Ramsey Lewis Newly Recorded All-Time, Non-Stop Golden Hits into rotation when I was a kid, triggering my acquiring and wearing out the album and a big jump in my love of funky keyboards.
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