Improvised Guitar Solo Over Power Chords: G5 to B5

Estimated read time (minus contemplative pauses): 2 min.

Here’s a new video of some guitar soloing. I (*mostly) improvised over alternating measures of G5 and B5 (125 bpm) in a loop, and then edited together my favorite segments. Drums, bass, and less-repetitive rhythm guitars were added after.

[*The first minute is material I first entered into Guitar Pro, then learned on guitar. In the old days, I’d do this on paper, usually at school or work, then learn it at home. Not sure if I like the immediate feedback of Guitar Pro more, or if I prefer sitting in silence. Maybe both are good for different things.]

(Scroll down if you’re curious to see the list of modest gear used here.)

I made no digital alterations (e.g., pitch correction) to the guitar solo, and in fact left in some sloppy playing and mistakes. And I didn’t edit together anything I can’t do live.

(I’m still trying to understand this strange social media music zone, which sits between live performance and a record while being decidedly neither; it’s an interesting variation on an old conundrum, and a good topic for another day.)

Anyway, this video is towards a bigger project of building a vocabulary that’ll work in a variety of improvisational settings (and as such is related to an improv-preparation method I call “live wiring,” a term borrowed from neuroscientist David Eagleman—more about that another day as well). I’ll also likely revisit certain themes developed here as improvisatory frameworks for live performance with a band.

So, it isn’t a song so much as it’s a collection of (somewhat spontaneous) ideas glued together by those two simple chords.

The inspiration for using G5 and B5 was Mitski’s brilliant song “Fireworks” (thus my title!), which I’ve been messing around with as a solo guitar improvisation. Those chords appear in the song, but usually at double the length and not looped. I don’t quote any part of the “Fireworks” melody here, but the 1-2-3  1-2-3  1-2 feel of the rhythm guitar is preserved. Check it out:

More stuff like this coming soon. To be notified, subscribe at YouTube or join my mailing here. You can also find me at Instagram and TikTok.

EQUIPMENT USED

Video shot on iPhone 11.
Guitar chain: StingRay SR30 guitar (~$300) into a DSM & Humboldt Simplifier (~$300) into a MOTU M2 (~$180) into Samplitude with some (mostly free) plugins to beef up the guitar sound.

Free Plugins:
Valhalla Super Massive on two aux sends for the lead guitar, one for delay, one for chorus.

Also on the lead guitar, I blend in the ML Sound Lab’s Amped Roots amp, which has a nice free amp in its demo version, but I bought the full version to use the 5151 (~$50) here.

Lost in 70s Tone Deluxe V2 amp on the left-side rhythm guitar.

One day I hope to upgrade all the gear (and my playing, which I haven’t worked on in this way since the 1980s). One day…


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