Watch the Stiff Upper Lip: 9 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Guitar Cubed
Continuing the development of motivic development Guitar 3 stretches the idea into an eight bar excursion with an opening open position lick that’s played in bars 1-2 and 4-5. These two instances of the same lick are meant to be a theme that, after the first time it’s stated, is returned to not once, but twice as we’ll soon see. The licks are Mixolydian based, which means they’re of the major ilk and stationed within an open E7 vision. In and of themselves is some call and response action where the chime-y first half is answered by an abrasive diad consisting of a 1/4-step bent b7th (D) and open E that drives head-on into the open E and B strings on the upbeat of beat 4 in the second bars with vigor. Both times these licks are answered in their entirety by a completely different lick idea. The first one continues the Mixolydian textures while the second gets down with a minor pentatonic lick turned Mixo- that features some NHL-level puck-pong.
If you haven’t figured out the riddle behind what legendary solo served as lick fodder in Spy Hunter’s Guitar 3, it was Jimmy Page’s beyond-iconic “Whole Lotta Love” solo heard at the tail end of the tune. Keeping with that idea Stiff Upper Lip pays homage to another living guitar deity by catching a vibe from Van Halen in bars 9-10. Check out where after a shot gun bend from b7 to root on the 15th fret of the B string at the upbeat of beat 1, there’s a chromatic sequence of staccato phrased notes walking up the high E string that ends with a screaming half-step bend from 6 to b7 (C# to D). This lick idea hearkens back to the outro lick EVH played in “Hear About It Later” off Fair Warning.
You were warned the presence of double stop bends would be in abundance and here comes another. Bar 13 digs in with a lick that blasts through four of them and the coolest part is it keeps in line with the major/minor angle we’re working here. The first and third chunks on the downbeats of 1 and 3 are based out of E major pentatonic where the remaining second and fourth chunks are based out of the musical opposite--E minor pentatonic.
The end of Guitar 3 takes some advice from one of the greatest improvisers to ever make music--Miles Davis. His feelings were it didn’t matter what you played in your solo just as long as the beginning and ending were in tact. Well, what better way to make sure the beginning and ending are happenin’ than to come in with something catchy in the beginning only to repeat it at the end? Following the Cliff Gallup/Brian Setzer-approved double stops in bar 15 is the second time the initial motive heard in bar 1 is returned to. To add a little style and keep consistent with what was played right before, the idea is played an octave higher and topped off with an E7 fragment that’s built to last.