Watch the Strategy 10: Employ "Flash" online guitar lesson by Jon Herington from Ear IQ: Soloing Strategies
I love to improvise. It can be one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world, but it can also be one of the most terrifying. On this last tune, another Steely Dan classic, "Bodhisattva", when I first learned it years ago, I struggled with the chord changes and how to approach playing on it. I searched for stuff that sounded good to me, and over the years I began to feel pretty comfortable improvising on it. Then one year at the beginning of a new tour, we played it and I found myself struggling all over again - it was like some weird recurring nightmare. I didn't know what was going on, but I was really doubting myself and thinking I must be getting old fast or something - I couldn't play half of what I had been able to play the year before on that tune. And this little horror of mine went on for a while, until I guess I must have been venting my frustration publicly after a show one night backstage, and Keith Carlock, our world class drummer, said something like, "Oh, I changed the tempo of that tune this year - it's a lot faster than we used to play it." And you can imagine both my relief and my continued frustration.
Anyway, since it was more challenging at that faster tempo, I needed a new strategy desperately, and I decided to script that solo, for the most part, anyway. Since it's a sort of big, fast, crowd-pleaser of a song, I tried to come up with some flash - some show-biz. Sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered, and it can be a lot of fun to go there. Here's what I came up with.