#1227  by ycomp
 Wed Nov 10, 2004 9:22 pm
Hi Bill,

just read your posts in Franlin's Forum:

As you may remember from helping me out on the GDTRFB posts, I'm new to guitar. But I did begin to notice about soloing over chords as you pointed out in this article. now I've only done this a bit and in limited circumstances (with easy songs like Iko - D..., A... and returning to the D).

Most of the other songs I just kinda of play the key. Like Franklin's, Deal I'm playing A. GDTRFB E and eyes E most of time, G for chorus.

Do you think you could give me an idea how you would play over chords soloing in harder they come? Would you play G,F,C during the solo, or what?

unforutnately archive.org does not have harder the come. But gdlive has a great one from 3/18/78. problem is that the entire show is a single mp3 file (but harder they come is the first song)

IMHO ('78 and late '77 JGB Harder They Comes are the best!)

any insights much appreciated...

 #1228  by Billbbill
 Wed Nov 10, 2004 11:20 pm
Hey ycomp,
You and I had a twilight zone moment today. I'd downloaded that very JGB block from GD live oh about 6 or 7 months ago and as I was off from work today and working around the house I decided I wanted to burn something. I have a bunch of stuff on my hard drive but of course I went to burn 3/18/78. Do do do do...

It's like an hour and a half in mp3 and it wouldn't fit. I'll have to download some software to bust it up.

Anyway it's like 1:10am here in NY so I'm gonna sack. I'll get back to you later re Harder They Come. I've got a good one from Calderone also. I wonder why archive.org has no Jerry? Later.

 #1229  by Billbbill
 Thu Nov 11, 2004 10:30 am
OK, as usual my technical insight is somewhat lacking. I'm not sure what the actual song key is. Maybe someone will fill in the gaps. I play C maj Ionian/ G maj Mixolydian throughout. They're the same notes.

C maj Ionian------------C D E F G A B
G maj Mixolydian--G A B C D E F

I play E and A minor pentatonics over the Em and Am chords for a darker turn although as stated above the major scales can be played throughout.

It's a nice fit because all the notes from the minor pentatonics are cleanly included in the major scales. I'm sure someone can explain why, but it ain't me. I'm sure they're some relative minor or second cousin or something.

C maj Ionian------------------C D E F G A B
G maj Mixolydian--------G A B C D E F
E min Pentatonic------E G A B---D
A min Pentatonic----------A---C D E---G

If you'd like, you can think F maj Ionian with a sharp 3rd (B) while playin over F. Again it's the same notes as above. There is probably a different scale name for it but I don't know it.

Depending on how much "chord resonance" you'd like to imbue your solo with, pay attention to what you're playing over. I know some players don't want to feel constrained by this approach. If they can make it rip without it more power to them. For me, I just think of it as being "free" to improvise within this approach. Of course I'll go on runs, especially in a song that affords it, that transcend chord changes and I'll eventually wrap it up.

There are other accents that can be played here but this is the foundation from which to experiment.

Jerry does some nice chord work in the solo on this one. I'll try to post something on that later.

Last edited by Billbbill on Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

 #1230  by ycomp
 Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:11 am
Bill, gotta work right now so I can't really digest what you said yet but as far as archive.org goes... jerry's estate won't give permission. Because they release 1 or 2 live shows and want you to buy them.

 #2381  by wilson
 Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:45 pm
what a great forum.

try changing the key to E...

E-B(B barre at 7th fret,hammer on B-C# notes, then F#)
A-B(B barre at 7th fret,hammer on B-C# notes, then F#)
B-A-E, repeat

Bill gives sound advice, arpeggios and the
major blues scale can also be used over the major chords and the B7. This scale in E gives you E F# G G# B C# E .

 #2394  by wilson
 Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:55 am

E-B(B barre at 7th fret, single notes B, C#-B pull off, F#)
A-B(B barre at 7th fret, single notes B, C#-B pull off, F#)
E-B(B barre at 7th fret, single notes B, C#-B pull off, F#)
G#m-C#m(G# minor blues-C# minor blues scales work here)



 #2396  by steve
 Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:56 pm
are you talking about Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come? i have never heard a cover done on that but would love to since its such a good song. There is also a movie, released in 74 i think, called The Harder They Come. set in jamaica with Jimmy Cliff playing the lead

 #2403  by Billbbill
 Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:05 pm
Yup, that's the one. Haven't seen the movie. You never heard jgb play this? Jerry jammed tenaciously on this. It morphed over time. During the 80's it definitely had the obligatory regae feel. I've got a real good one from the Calderone Concert Hall, not sure of the year.

 #13639  by LazyLightnin
 Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:11 am
the movies actually pretty cool, its not made well but the storyline is classic. "Ivan" the main character is a down and out farmboy in Jamaica who leaves his home to be a gangsta in the mean streets of Kingston. Our hero is also blessed with an uncanny ability to belt out classic reggae hits, run guns and ganja. he actually ends up shootin some people and the situation gets outta control. nice flick, but hard to watch the whole thing unless you really appreciate what was going on in Jamaica in those times. you prolly can find it in a used record shop collecting dust. i have it on vhs, havent watched it in years. 8)

 #13652  by tigerstrat
 Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:57 am
Curious- at what point did Jerry's version of HTC not have a reggae feel? 75? 77? 91? they all feel very reggae to me. Very silky slow (and powerful!)in 1975, and very very very fast in 1983

The key is C, but Jerry dropped it by a half-step to B, sometime around the early or mid 80's (it sure does make the those high notes easier to hit!)

There's also a couple of different ways he would end the song: either
1. repeating the chorus a few times and ending on the breakdown
chords or
2. repeating the chorus a few times and then jamming instrumentally over continuing repetitions of the chorus chords, eventually just sort of majestically grinding to a halt.

 #13665  by Billbbill
 Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:51 pm
Some seem to have a more pronounced alternating bass which I guess to my ear takes it a bit away from the reggae feel toward a country/folky feel.

That may or may not be true but it sounds that way to my ear, with the caveat that some of my versions aren't the greatest quality.

Plus at times jerry seemed to play it pretty quick, which also takes it a bit away from the reggae feel, for me anyway.

Then again I'm not much into reggae. :-?

 #13666  by BlobWeird
 Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:04 pm
Hmm just a random input here. Jerry, to my ear, used tons of chromatics throughout the jam. Also ive been wonderin somethin. Ive noticed there are certain chromatics that seem to fit well in most major songs. Such as this one in the key of G:


and sometimes even adding the 567 on the G string as well. Or for example in Bertha during the C part of the verse he will sometimes do this:


Ok so with that said are there any other chromatics within G mixolydian that he uses often that are easily recognizable?

 #13674  by Billbbill
 Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:56 pm
I'd add the 3rd thru the 6th for G maj (7 to 10 on the E sring) and take out the 5-6-7 you had on the D string unless it's bridging to another chord. I suppose it's workable somehow but I don't see it having wide application unless bridging to an F, A, D or some other chord, specifically with the 7 on the D, (A note) being a note of the chord you're bridging to. That being said, rule #1 is have a healthy skepticism for rules and experiment. I'd also add F, F#, G


Almost every note within an octave. Lotta stuff to mess around with.

The G blues with chromos might look a little like this


There's a whole lot goin on from the 3 to the 7 on the G string. A subtle nuance between maj and minor (blues) accent on whether you emphasize the 3 (flat 3rd) or the 4 (3rd) of worthy note.

Here's a descending line sort of mixing of the 2 with the flat 3rd hammered to the third.


Ascending w/o the flat 3rd


Get a little fancy. You might hear something like this in jerry's end jam of Black Peter but in D.



There's a whole lot goin on in this topic.

 #13679  by BlobWeird
 Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:45 pm
Hey bill thanks. there is some good stuff there for me to go by. Thats another thing of Jerry's that ive been trying to work out and if you could help thatd be great. He does alot of descending stuff like this:


Like goin from G to C I guess it would be here. But he does little variations with stuff like this. Like he will switch around the slides and hammers and such.

 #13680  by Billbbill
 Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:16 pm
Exactly right. Working through the G to the C in your example. There is a ton of ways to approach this. Mixing single note lines with those double note riffs, ascending, descending, both one after the other, out of one into a overtly blues lick, etc. etc.

This is a realm often overlooked by folks who are only interested in knowing what scale a tune is in and off they go, only to wonder why they can't quite get that sound going.

I in no way mean to infer that this is some kind of magic bullet but it is essential if you're looking to broaden your lead horizons. Especially toward a decidedly jerry sound.