During the '05-'06 academic year, I took a guitar class focusing on solo material from three genres: bluegrass in the fall, blues in winter, and swing in the spring. The format was that we would learn a song every 1-2 weeks. Each song included 1-2 sets of chords, the melody, and 2 verses' worth of solo material. The teacher had overdubbed himself playing all of these onto a CD for us to learn from, and then also transcribed the individual parts for us. It was quite a solid format for learning.
He said that he had thought about doing this for Jerry's style, but that it was too narrow to warrant the enormous amount of work. I suggested an independent study where I would transcribe existing recordings of Jerry's material.
So, I am looking for solos to transcribe for this project. The important considerations are:
- It should be as highly illustrative of Jerry's style as possible; in particular I am thinking of the words "bouncy" and/or "blazing".
- It should follow the chords of the lyrics of a song, rather than being part of a jam on just one or two chords. (This consideration is, of course, rather tragic, as it rules out Jerry-esque jams like Supplication, and even the jams between the verses of Eyes of the World. But to the student, a close-ended solo is more interesting, like going around the block instead of walking on a treadmill.)
- It should not have been published already in guitar magazines; this rules out memorable studio solos such as Touch of Gray.
My first lesson is this Wednesday, but I will most likely continue to consider suggestions until mid-August, when the summer term will be winding down.
My current thoughts are:
- I will definitely do my favorite solo, Scarlet Begonias at Manor Downs, 7/31/82.
- As I have been looking for material, I have noticed that Jerry tends to nail material the Dead didn't write, like BIODTL, GDTR, Big River, and The Harder They Come. I would like great versions of these, but I would also appreciate suggestions for Dead songs that showcase Jerry's style.
- I want to do some songs that I can fingerpick the rhythm for and that also have great spots for solos: Crazy Fingers, Mission in the Rain, Looks Like Rain, to name a few.
P.S., if you're curious, the class I took has a web site at: