How To Play The Guitar Solo In Sway By The Rolling Stones

The guitar solo in Sway belongs to my personal favorites, because It tells a great story and features many classic Rock and Roll lines. In this video we’ll study Mick Taylor’s guitar solo in depth. Hopefully this will help you learn how to play it, but also understand the ideas so you can implement them into your own playing. 

Mick Taylor's Great Guitar Solo in Sway

The way it’s played combined with the sound of perhaps a true live recording gives it an intense and haunting atmosphere. Somehow, I can keep coming back to this era of the Stones any day of the week

Lesson MAterial

Here below the links to the printable transcription on PDF and backingtracks to practice with. For a Coffee, which will greatly support my channel and creative efforts!

the ideas & The Theory

This solo has typical rock approach. You would implement a classic blues idea by soloing basically in a ‘minor’ C key over both the major C and Bb keys. As simple as that sounds, that doesn’t sound right 100% of the time. If you would regardless improvise over it using the minor pentatonic scale or blues, you’ll end up with wrong notes. That’s because Cm pentatonic doesn’t handle both of the major chords.

As a solist, one benefits by investigating at least the chord notes 1, 3 and 5 for both chords. That way you’ll form solid sounding triads, within a single boxed pentatonic system in one key. Then you can adapt to the chords in the progression where it needs it, work with the addition of option notes to taste, and use the atmosphere and feel of a blues-scale deliberately. 

We could question if these classic rock and roll guitarists worked with ‘advanced’ music theory or just went for it without thinking too much. Their ears and musicality certainly let them apply the concepts correctly. So, what’s your favorite Rock and Roll song featuring an epic outro solo? Leave a comment!

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