Chris Eldridge

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Mean Mother Blues

Solo Breakdown, Part 1

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

Mean Mother Blues > Solo Breakdown, Part 1

Hello All!

This week we’re going to take a look at the 1st half of a solo I played on Mean Mother Blues from when Julian Lage and I appeared on Music City Roots in 2013. It can be seen here:

The important take away from this lesson, I think, is that when you are improvising you needn’t be playing things completely spontaneously off the cuff and that you’ve never thought of before. Instead, you can employ a handful of gestures that you know work in various parts of a solo. For instance, I almost always start out my solo on this tune with some variation of a Doc Watson lick. The exact lick might be a different from performance to performance, but I like the gesture of a classic flatpicking lick to start things off. I also often get into playing ascending chromatic notes around the E major chord. The exact notes or their duration might change from performance to performance, but the gesture is a good one and I know that it will work. No less than Miles Davis used to approach his improvising this way. Try to figure out some gestures that you like for songs in which you are the improviser!





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Solo


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 0:27 Introduction to Lesson

Loop 3:48 Slow Practice Loop of Solo

Loop 4:40 Breakdown of First Part of Solo




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Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Jun 08, 2019

This video started out to be my take or run through of the first half of the solo from this lesson but then I couldn't help myself so I dipped my toe in the second half as well before it's time but here it is. Thank you!

This site's video uploader is beginning to suck the life out of me.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Aug 08, 2019

Hey Kip, 


Way to learn this thing! The first part sounds great! It starts jumping forward and losing the beat/bar structure on some of the syncopated bits (1:37, 1:45 for example). Make sure that you can SING it along with me before you start playing it. Then once you’ve got that down and you know exactly how those rhythms go, THEN try it again on the guitar. I’ve made a rhythm guitar video here that you can practice to. It’ll be easier to tell if you get off if you’re playing along with the chords. Otherwise sounding great!


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