If you've ever ended up jamming with a group or playing a gig with band that does one or two "Grateful Dead" songs, chances are you've found yourself playing the song "Franklin's Tower". It's one of the more popular "Dead" tunes people like to jam on, and for good reason. One of those reasons is definitely because it consists of only three chords. However, as easy as it may seem on the surface to solo over this three chord song progression, it's a safe bet to say you'll probably run out of ideas quickly, especially if you're expected to take extended guitar solo, as Garcia often would.
Over this 3-part series, I'm going to take a look at the intro, first, and second guitar solos from the studio album version of "Franklin's Tower". Although it may not seem very hard to improvise over this quintessential Mixolydian progression, few guitarists accurately emulate Jerry's beautiful, yet elusive style when taking their turn at it. By examining these three solos (24 measures), we can begin to see how Jerry would approach playing over this classic progression.