Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The worst technically competent and impeccably recorded guitar solo I know

This picture cracks me up.

But this is not an anti-Nickelback post, or even an anti-Chad Kroeger post. Bless 'em. They make a good living doing that thing they do.

This is also not an anti-Alex Band post. I swear, I thought of this post before his recent calamities. In fact, I always thought this song was sung by Rob Thomas.


Anyway. This post is about the guitar solo at 2:42 of this song.

The chorus has three chords: B flat, F, E flat (I, V, IV). Santana comes in blasting and bombastically frothing...on a G. Not just a sort of delicate, G to F appoggiatura over the B flat going to F, but no. This is a full-on super-gain overdrive G minor pentatonic statement that is completely foolish next to the lyrical content. Why don't you and I get together...AND DRIVE REALLY FAST AND LIFT WEIGHTS AND DRINK RED BULL AND SHIT! I mean, "take on the world" is...tough-ish. But not "play lousy minor pentatonic licks when it makes no sense" tough.

Here's my guess as to what happened here. Santana was certainly the last to show up for this session. Chad Kroeger wrote the tune, he probably recorded the vocals before Santana took a big dump on the whole track. The problem stems from the intro, which is used as an interlude later: that is in G minor. Carlos thought screw it, I'm going to leave little G minor turds all over this song (which he does), and then he keeps playing G minor licks all through the solo, even though the song/vamp is clearly in B flat major.

I could transcribe this If I felt like it. But I don't. If you don't hear how foolish this solo is than a transcription is not going to help. He almost rights himself at 2:54, but quickly reverts to his "G-centric" ways.

What an awful guitar solo. Sometimes "right" notes are just wrong. And besides the solo, his little interjections during the verse are quite problematic since the chord progression is I, V, flat VII, IV. The G minor thing does NOT work with that A flat chord.

He makes things worse at 3:40 with the "Stairway To Heaven" quotes. My gosh. Maybe that wasn't his idea.

Side note: Lee Sklar is the man and plays on this track. Good for him getting paid.

And I know I said no Nickelback bashing, but...this video makes my "top 10 things on YouTube" list.


  1. I wish I knew enough abut music to agree with you.

    All's I know is that it must suck to be a super mega famous guitar guy and only have one solo .... and play it on every song. :)

    1. Exactly. You make the same point I'm making with far fewer words!