Chuck Berry is one of the most influential rock and roll guitar players ever. His influence can be heard in just about every famous guitar player that came after him. This is a lesson teaching you a short solo in the style of Chuck Berry over a 12 bar blues in A. This lesson is made up of four Chuck Berry guitar licks that will help you get some of his classic rock and roll guitar style in your playing.
The solo begins with an idea based of the most well known Chuck Berry riff from his song “Johnny B Goode”. Chuck Berry uses tons of double stops in his playing and you will different examples of this throughout the solo. This lick is interesting because of where the accents are put while playing a bar of straight eighth notes. Every third note in this bar is accented which adds a lot of rhythmic interest to what is a simpler static idea. The lick ends with a descending scale line harmonized with fourths and thirds.
The second lick uses a similar double stop idea. This one uses different notes, but the idea behind it is the same with the groupings of three. It ends with a traditional dominant blues idea again using more double stops.
The third lick is a repeating idea that utilizes a quick slide from the b5 to the 5th. While normally this kind of idea can be played with a bend, Chuck Berry occasionally uses a short slide. With my playing, a quick slide has always sounded more old school rock and roll than a bend. Try the same idea with bends (either a whole step bend from D or a half step bend from Eb) and see what works and sounds best to you!
The fourth idea repeats a bit of the ending from the second lick. This is a simple and common bit of blues rock phrasing. In a longer solo you can often see a lick like this repeated more than once.
The fifth lick is over the E chord (V). It begins with a major third interval (using chord tones from E) descending chromatically. The second half of the lick uses a scale run down a minor blues scale.
The final lick ends the solo with a quick eighth note triplet scale line. The first bar is made up almost entirely of pull offs. Even today many rockabilly players use eighth note triplets like this in their playing.