Man of Constant Sorrow - Need help creating a solo


razzlemacher
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Joined: 09/02/11
Posts: 55
razzlemacher
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Joined: 09/02/11
Posts: 55
09/24/2017 10:36 pm

Hi Mike -

I've wrapped up the song Man of Constant Sorrow. I've loved every minute of it - its definitely one of the harder to play while you sing kinda songs. Thanks for an amazing lesson.

My issue is that I want to add a personal touch to the song by adding a solo to it and I am having trouble identifying which key this song is in. The tabs have one sharp in the signature which makes it a G Major scale. However in the lesson you mention that we can use the D minor pentatonic?

Problem is that neither G major or D minor notes seem seem to fit the notes of the song that are in the tablature you have provided. I'm sure I'm missing something but can't figure it out.

Any help in letting me know which scale, major or minor or pentatonic to use to create the solo would great.

Thanks much!


# 1
Mike Olekshy
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 09/21/10
Posts: 1,047
Mike Olekshy
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 09/21/10
Posts: 1,047
09/25/2017 3:59 pm

Congrats on working through the song! Indeed, it is a bit of a tricky one - so you should feel very good about all that hard work coming together!

As for the key --- you've discovered we made a mistake in the notation! I've alerted our transcribing dept. to correct it -- that key signature should be D major (2 sharps).

Now, as far as soloing a bit on top of this tune can also be a bit tricky, since you're thinking D major -- BUT, the song actually flows back and forth between a D major and D minor sound!! This is actually very common in blues - and is also used alot in country and rock.

Notice how the song has a major sound on the G and A chords, and most of the D chord, but there are times on the D chord when we are switching to the minor third (that bluesy bend 6th fret of the low string!) -- that gives it a minor sound.

So, I think you could use D major over the G and A chords, but experiment with using both D major and D minor pentatonic over the D chord. Depending on what is happening with the D chord at any given time, it may or may not sound good! It's a bit of trial and error, but you should be able to tell with your ear when it locks in and sounds great!

Hope this helps, let me know how it goes!

Mike


Keep rockin!
Mike Olekshy
GT Guitar Coach

# 2
Mike Olekshy
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Joined: 09/21/10
Posts: 1,047
Mike Olekshy
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Joined: 09/21/10
Posts: 1,047
09/25/2017 4:01 pm

Oh and one more thing to remember -- the key (D major) is based relative to the position of the capo!!! The actual pitch is F major --- so maybe it wasn't sounding right because you were playing notes up the neck in D major positions against what amounts to an F chord.

So remember you would have to play 3 frets up to match the key!

Mike


Keep rockin!
Mike Olekshy
GT Guitar Coach

# 3
razzlemacher
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Joined: 09/02/11
Posts: 55
razzlemacher
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Joined: 09/02/11
Posts: 55
09/25/2017 5:49 pm

Oh wow. It's more than I expected but I'm super excited about mixing the two keys (D major and minor).

Thank much! You have no idea how excited I am to finally reach a point where I get to create my first solo :)

- Razal

Btw - as an aside - someone was asking earlier how long it takes to learn a song. It took me 21 hours to nail the chords and singing along with it stretched out over 8 weeks. I have been playing for 5+ years so people's mileage will vary accordingly. This is just fyi for others that may read this post.


# 4
edithb
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Joined: 10/30/09
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edithb
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Joined: 10/30/09
Posts: 96
02/01/2023 10:14 pm

I'm impressed, razzlemacher!  Congratulations on learning Man of Constant Sorrow.  I'm just getting started on it.


I've been playing for years but never really challenging myself.  It's time to change that, so I'm working on this song, measure by measure.  So far, there's nothing that is too difficult for me, technically, which comes as a surprise/relief.   Obviously, I'll have to memorize everything because there's no way to print the entire notation, and the lesson notation on the righthand part of the split screen only shows a couple measures at a time.  But that's OK.  Memorization is a necessary skill.


Mike, thanks for offering this lesson.  I completed the "made easy" version and used more interesting strumming throughout, but even that didn't make it as satisfying as this advanced version. Playing in drop D is such a pleasure, and again it makes my brain work a little bit, which is good.  The slides, hammer ons and bends make it sound like I know what I'm doing!  What a great song and series of lessons.


Your calm, positive teaching style gives me the confidence and determination to reach beyond my current level so that playing the guitar becomes interesting again.  It was getting pretty dull, just practicing fluid chord changes.  (And yes, I'm still working on my Chris Smither song, Place in Line, trying to decide how to strum while I'm singing.)


You suggestion to throw in ghost strums is really helpful in Man of.....  It helps me keep moving up and down correctly, and it adds more nuance to the sound.  My ghost strums are very quiet but fill a void.


It's helpful and very generous that razzlemacher was candid and detailed about how long it took to learn/master Man of Constant Sorrow.  Now I have some realistic expectations, and won't fret if I only learn/memorize a few measures every week.  It's still progress, and it's still fun.


edited
# 5
Mike Olekshy
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 09/21/10
Posts: 1,047
Mike Olekshy
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 09/21/10
Posts: 1,047
02/02/2023 1:37 am
#5 Originally Posted by: edithb

I'm impressed, razzlemacher!  Congratulations on learning Man of Constant Sorrow.  I'm just getting started on it.


I've been playing for years but never really challenging myself.  It's time to change that, so I'm working on this song, measure by measure.  So far, there's nothing that is too difficult for me, technically, which comes as a surprise/relief.   Obviously, I'll have to memorize everything because there's no way to print the entire notation, and the lesson notation on the righthand part of the split screen only shows a couple measures at a time.  But that's OK.  Memorization is a necessary skill.


Mike, thanks for offering this lesson.  I completed the "made easy" version and used more interesting strumming throughout, but even that didn't make it as satisfying as this advanced version. Playing in drop D is such a pleasure, and again it makes my brain work a little bit, which is good.  The slides, hammer ons and bends make it sound like I know what I'm doing!  What a great song and series of lessons.


Your calm, positive teaching style gives me the confidence and determination to reach beyond my current level so that playing the guitar becomes interesting again.  It was getting pretty dull, just practicing fluid chord changes.  (And yes, I'm still working on my Chris Smither song, Place in Line, trying to decide how to strum while I'm singing.)


You suggestion to throw in ghost strums is really helpful in Man of.....  It helps me keep moving up and down correctly, and it adds more nuance to the sound.  My ghost strums are very quiet but fill a void.


It's helpful and very generous that razzlemacher was candid and detailed about how long it took to learn/master Man of Constant Sorrow.  Now I have some realistic expectations, and won't fret if I only learn/memorize a few measures every week.  It's still progress, and it's still fun.

Excellent!!  So glad to hear you're inspired and are enjoying the lesson!


Cheers!


Mike


Keep rockin!
Mike Olekshy
GT Guitar Coach

# 6
Rumble Walrus
Registered User
Joined: 12/30/20
Posts: 501
Rumble Walrus
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Joined: 12/30/20
Posts: 501
02/03/2023 1:48 am

Hey razzle!


Congrats! I love this song.


Regarding creating your lead, perhaps you can try this:


Option 1
Start with chord tone (root, third, fifth) whole notes. Then step up to half/quarter note chord tones. Then try sliding or bending up to those chord tones. Sing it to yourself and look for transitions between chords- leading notes, etc.


Option 2


Old bluegrass thing - as best as you're able (using scale notes) find the melody. Plink it out over the chord progression. Close your eyes and imagine how a vocalist may embellish it and see if you can't find those same tones.


Less is more.
Main thing is to have fun. Let us know how it goes.


'Rumble


# 7

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