A Chord Solo is an instrumental arrangement of a song that incorporates the chord progression, the melody, and the rhythm and wraps them up into something playable by a solo guitarist. They also make great instrumental sections to a song you are singing, much like the original recording might include a lead break. This set of lessons introduces some of the concepts and techniques to get you started on this journey. It is designed to teach you how to make your own arrangements, not just play some that you may have heard.
Part 1: Introduction
Neil talks a bit about how he first got into instrumental playing as a young guitar student. He gives some examples of songs that can be done this way, although really any song can be arranged into an instrumental.
Part 2: Components & Techniques
This chapter goes over basic components to a song, and how the player must have a very clear idea of each of them individually before they can combine them into a solo. We will be working with Lead Sheets; simply a page of music representing only the melody and chord progression. We then take a look at some basic accompaniment techniques, strumming and fingerpicking, and how they will be used for creating solo arrangements.
Part 3: Greensleeves - Strumming
The first step into Chord Solos is to take a simple melody and add in a simple strumming pattern. We do this with the old English melody Greensleeves.
Part 4: Greensleeves - Fingerpicking
The next step with Greensleeves is to work on a fingerpicking version. The song is in 3/4 time which makes the bass part of the fingerpicking not quite fit into an alternating bass pattern, but keeps it similar to the strumming version from the last chapter.
Part 5: Grandfather's Clock - Fingerpicking
Most fingerpicking arrangements are done in 4/4 time. We use the melody Grandfather's Clock to head in this direction. This does use a standard alternating bass pattern, and is how many of your own tunes will be done.
Part 6: Grandfather's Clock - Strumming
Using the same melody we look at a flatpicking version, a little more in the Bluegrass direction.
Part 7: Parting Thoughts
This chapter is just a few short reminders, maybe bullet points, to send you off and try some songs of your own. At this point many of the songs in the TARGET Program where Neil does a Chord Solo in his Play Through will make a lot more sense. How to create your own should be a little clearer and certainly approachable.