Brian Setzer Style Rockabilly Solo


Brian Setzer is probably best known for his work with the Stray Cats, a rockabilly revivial band who had several hits during the late 70s/early 80s. His playing shows a solid grounding in Swing and Jazz as well as Blues, and there’s even a Country influence on some of his fingerpicked lines.

The solo begins with an attention-grabbing, repetitive double stop lick, beginning with the notes D and A together before moving to the more Rockabilly sounding B and F (bar 3). This ‘augmented fourth’ interval is also worth using in ordinary Blues or even Rock playing as it contains a non-pentatonic note that can add a new flavour to your improvisation. When the chord moves up to G (bar 6), the two-bar phrase is based entirely on G Major Arpeggios with an added F note in bar 5 (implying G7) and an E in bar 6 (implying G6). Bar 7 is perhaps the most technically demanding section of the solo, as it uses ‘Banjo Roll’ arpeggios. Bar 11 is a series of Chromatic slides down the second string, leaving you in position for the D Minor Pentatonic phrase in bar 12.

As always, below the YouTube video you’ll find the backing track to play along with, and below that, the tablature. Aren’t I nice?!

Feel free to ask questions or just share your thoughts in the comments!

Watch the video:

Play along with the backing track:

Read the tab:

Brian Setzer Style Rockabilly Solo

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