Original Guitar Arrangement: ACDC “Unplugged” Medley & Electric Ladyland

I’d like to share my “AC/DC unplugged” medley with you which is a collage of some of the best known AC/DC riffs and solos that I had fun putting together.

I’ve always enjoyed hearing a song with a great lead guitar solo that lifts the roof.

Eddie Van Halen’s Solo “Beat it”

Names like Clapton, Hendrix, Page and Beck really established the genre and vocabulary for the electric guitar but I remember when “Beat It” by Michael Jackson came out and the way Eddie Van Halen’s solo turned heads and had people talking.

“Beat It” was a big event for guitar players, it was a huge worldwide hit and Van Halen’s guitar solo really stole the show.

It was in so many ways the culmination of all the great guitarist that came before and was maybe the Highpoint of the lead guitar solo in a pop song coming from the tradition of solos like: “Johnny be good”, “Stairway to Heaven“, Pink Floyd’s “Money”, “Sultans Of Swing” & “Hotel California”.

All this was built on the back of the blues guitarist from the 50s names like “B.B.King, Albert Collins, Freddy King and Buddy Guy all of whom were studied closely by the young British guitarists and then of course they came up with something all of their own and unique which was to become the most popular music for several decades.

It could be said the guitar player that most summed up, in a nutshell, the guitar playing style of the classic rock era it seems to me is Angus Young of AC/DC.

His short but impactful solos based on the Pentatonic scale are the perfect examples of how the guitar was used for effect in songs.

Rock songs would be built around a catchy and driving riff (think of the Rolling Stones “Satisfaction”) that would be repeated to the end of the song.

In classical music a repeated phrase is called an ostinato which in Italian means stubborn.

I guess like our word obstinate…think of Ravel’s Bolero.

Original Arrangement “Electric Ladyland”

So the solo was, apart from being an excuse to show off the guitarist’s virtuosity, a variation on the theme of the song to add interest to the recording and when the solo would finish, we come back to the songs familiar main riff kind of like a homecoming

I got to interview Benjamin Verdery who is the guitar professor at Harvard University.

He’s so energetic, affable and he’s enthusiasm is infectious so to sit with him for an hour and ask questions was a revelation.

I can see why he’d be a great teacher.

Jimi Hendrix

I remember asking him about his arrangement of “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, which you really must hear, it’s astonishing.

Benjamin told me that he’d go to Classical Guitar conventions for guitar educators and he’d be embarrassed because South American guitarists had huge traditions of guitar composers and music that provided a tradition of their national guitar music and as an American he felt he had nothing to compare.

It’s undeniable that South America is a hot bed for the guitar, but Benjamin then had the thought “yes South Americans have a great guitar tradition, but America has Hendrix”.

That was the spark that let him to arrange “Purple Haze” for concert guitar.

With that in mind I went about making an arrangement of “Electric Ladyland” by Hendrix.

My tribute to AC/DC is a tour through some of their best known riffs and solos sewn together that I might get a feel for what made Angus Young one of the worlds most respected electric guitar players, despite the zany stage act with the school uniform he is a great player.

I’d also like to share with you my arrangement of “Electric Ladyland”.

Let me know what you think of them?

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