“I’ve always looked at guitar solos as additional lyrics to the song,” says Lindsay Ell. She approaches guitar solos by balancing their voice with that of the actual vocal, and on this episode of Shred With Shifty, the country guitarist and songwriter—who really draws from a host of genres, including rock, jazz, and blues—breaks down her epic solo on “Hits Me” for host Chris Shiflett, walking him through each phrase and figure.
But before the two get into the solo breakdown, they cover some ground delving into topics like Lindsay’s early bluegrass studies (and how her teacher Randy Bachman later introduced her to jazz and blues), her experience playing with producer Dann Huff, and why there aren’t more female lead guitarists. (For that last one, she’s not sure she has the answer, but is proud to be on the vanguard!)
“Hits Me” is in Bb, which could be a challenging key to play in, and even Chris admits he gets lost on the fretboard if his songs aren’t in the far more common keys of E, A, or G. But, she didn’t want to be pigeonholed as the “girl who uses a capo,” throwing it out at a very young age, and plays the solo high up on the neck, mostly on the top strings, around the 16th fret. It’s also full of “guitarmony”—which she loves doing on just one guitar, although the solo was tracked on two for the recording to throw a bone to the mixing engineer.
In the final minutes of the ep, Lindsay reveals one of her favorite warm up exercises, which she calls “chromatic spiders,” which Shifty finds pretty wild (and they sound just as creepy as their name). Watch the full episode to get the whole story on Lindsay and the nuts and bolts of her guitar wizardry.
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Executive Producers: Brady Sadler and Jake Brennan for Double Elvis
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