This is a fun track that features a super fast tempo. I often used it in lessons because it illustrates the frequently overlooked concept of allowing the up tempo rhythm section do much of the work with respect to providing the track’s energy. In lesson workouts, novice guitarists often try to speed up their established blues and licks vocabulary to a frenetic pace, only to watch it fall apart when they cannot keep up. What works at a medium tempo is often not applicable at this faster speed; it’s just too damned hard to hang with the tempo! Instead, consider a different approach: the lead guitarist lays down more of an ethereal, melodic movement, working with the tempo instead of against it. Notice at time 1:09-1:26 the track opens up and gives the lead guitar plenty of space, but instead of going “full shred,” I go the other way and employ a “less is more” approach.
ZZ Top uses this relatively sparse approach to soloing as well in such tracks as “LaGrange” and “My Head’s in Mississippi.” By contrast, there are some “let ‘er rip” passages sprinkled throughout this solo which recall the intensity Joe Satriani’s “Satch Boogie.” Later, “less is more” is again used in the outro, in addition to a change of scale. I make use of what I have named the “suspended” pentatonic scale. It is neither major nor minor but has a very uplifting sound. I often refer to this scale as the “Eric Johnson” pentatonic scale, for it frequently appears in Eric’s music. Diversifying approaches in the different sections is one of the best ways to keep a three minute instrumental guitar solo track interesting; and in guitar lessons, I explore such strategies in detail. It’s a long way from Atlanta to Texas but by expanding your thinking on how you use what is essentially the same bag of blues licks and tricks, you can accomplish a great deal with respect to nailing this type of track.