Magazine article Guitar Player

Shakin' All Over

Magazine article Guitar Player

Shakin' All Over

Article excerpt


While Pete Townshend is regarded as rock's premier rhythm guitarist, not everyone is aware of his formidable lead chops. In his best solos, Townshend combines delicate arpeggios, crushing power chords, and incendiary single-note lines to create thematic songs-within-songs.

Townshend solos extensively on the Who's stunning Live at Leeds [MCA]. Especially noteworthy is his solo in Johnny Kidd's psychobilly raveup, "Shakin' All Over." The song's signature riff (see the Sept. '00 Sonic Snapshot) and verses are in the key of E, but Townshend's solo blasts off with a surprise modulation up a fourth to the key of A. Our transcription begins at 2:01, after Townshend follows the intro riff with sixteen bombastic bars of open-A chord feedback swells. Here are some highlights:

* Bars 1-8: Townshend backs off the gain and settles in for eight bars of arpeggiated, open-position chords. (Be sure to let the notes in each chord ring as long as possible.) In the first three measures, he flavors the I chord (A) with characteristic sus4 and sus2 embellishments, then arpeggiates the [flat]VII chord (G) with an added F# bass note. In bars 5 and 6, he ingeniously displaces his opening two-bar motif by an eighth-note before launching moves based around root-5 voicings of the IV, [flat]VII, and I (D, G, and A).

* Bars 9-14: After quoting the transposed single-note verse riff in bar 9, Townshend follows with four bars of playfully paraphrased variations (bars 10-13). The muted staccato eighth-notes and occasional ghosted D harmonics indicate a light fretting-hand touch. The transitional A and G/A chords in bar 14 allow a moment to crank the volume for the next section.

* Bars 15-26: In bar 15, Townshend begins a heavily syncopated, two-bar I-[flat]VII-IV (A-G-D) power-chord theme--another trademark--and repeats it through bar 26. …

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