The acoustic guitar still holds a fascination for music lovers even after all these decades of our ears being bombarded by electric guitar music. Electric guitarists love playing with the sounds they obtain from different tone settings, effects, using the different pickups and feedback. The acoustic guitar only has the tone given to it by the wood it’s created from and the skill and inspiration of the guitar player. So let us have a look at a few acoustic guitar solos and the guitars and guitarists who made them.
If you do not know the name Erik Mongrain, you will find some examples of his guitar playing on video sites on the internet. I came across a really good solo named Air Tap. He was given an acoustic guitar when he was fourteen, and learnt to play it by ear. While he learnt and experimented with the guitar, he discovered the technique of sitting the guitar in his lap and tapping, the strings and body to create music. If you go looking for him on the web, you’ll find pdf files of his music and tutorials on his techniques.
Paco de Lucia introduced the world to a new brand of flamenco in the 1970’s and paved the way for a new generation of flamenco guitarists who were inspired by his passion for oriental scales and jazz influences. Entre Dos Aguas was an improvisation begun during a recording session since the LP Paco and his accompanying musicians were working on was short on material. The resulting rumba was a worldwide hit and established Paco as a force to be reckoned with well outside the boundaries of Spanish folk music. Paco sponsors his own line of flamenco guitars.
Back in the 1990’s MTV decided to coax guitar hero Eric Clapton into playing a few songs without the adornments provided by an electric guitar and amp. The resulting album won Grammy awards, gave Clapton’s career a shot in the arm and reinvented the song Layla as an acoustic showpiece. The solo on Layla is far removed from the original theme conceived by Duane Allman that made the song a rock anthem.
In the late 1960’s, Mason Williams surprised himself by writing and performing an acoustic guitar solo that became a hit and remained popular for the decades since. The tune was known as Classical Gas, and is striking for its simplicity and popular appeal. Classical Gas was born in an era when instrumentals such as The Lonely Surfer, A Walk In the Black Forest and Love Is Blue were standout hits for musicians who were otherwise unknown. However only Classical Gas retains the ability to make people sit up and listen.
So if you play the acoustic guitar a little and want to learn how to play solos, you could use the world wide web to learn more about soloing techniques for acoustic guitar. One easy approach to start is the clawhammer technique used in folk songs, or you can learn to improvise your own licks utilizing the minor pentatonic or “blues” scale. If you are stuck for an idea on how to start improvising or creating your own tunes, start with a nursery rhyme or some other popular melody, and begin adding notes to it and changing things around to create something original.