November 9

Touch of Grey – Jerry Garcia’s Solo – Video Lesson

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Jerry Garcia's guitar solo on Touch of Grey is a masterclass in soloing out of chord shapes.

"In the Dark" was released 30 years ago, in the summer of 1987. Commercially, it did very well, spawning a whole new generation of Deadheads. The Grateful Dead finally broke into pop culture, and one reason for that was due to the success of the single, "Touch of Grey". Although not a new song (The Dead first performed "Touch of Grey" on September 15, 1982), "Touch of Grey" had become somewhat of an anthem for The Dead, and was the first song they performed after Garcia's near death experience.

In this video lesson, we're going to use Jerry's solo from "Touch of Grey" as a study in soloing out of chord shapes. Garcia uses basic open chord shapes (the CAGED system) to create a melodic and timeless solo. 

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Using chord shapes as a basis for improvising is a great way to really "nail" the underlining harmony. Before we take a look at some specific examples, let's take a look at the shapes Jerry uses in his solo.

Chord Shapes

In example 1, I've laid out the six shapes used as the basis for Jerry's entire solo.

Ex. 1

Make sure you download a copy of my transcription and see if you can visualize each chord shape as you play through the solo. With the above chord shapes and the video lesson, you should be able to get this classic solo under your fingers with some dedicated practice. Trust me, it's well worth the effort.

Download the transcription

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