I often get asked where I came up with the original “4 Note Solo” idea… 

And, truth be told, it’s the original recording of “Texas Flood,” by Stevie Ray Vaughan.

One of my all time favorite solos is the first 12 bar solo at the beginning of that song (right after the intro figure.)

However, there’s no video of SRV playing that original recording, but I found this clip from the El Mocambo show (and I used to watch this over and over on repeat for days on end.)

Watch it from the top, because it’s awesome 😉

But, keep in mind that almost the entire first 12 bars of the first solo is in box 1, but then at 1:10 in, he goes into the 4 note solo pattern (in G, so notice his hands around the 6th-8th fret) and stays there until about 1:32, about 6-8 bars.

Then again, in the middle solo at about 3:50, through the first 4 bars – that’s all “4 Note Solo” pattern.

And there’s more, but I think you get the idea. Think of this as an “active listening” day… just listen, and see if you can pick out the sound of that pattern amongst the rest.

Plus… this is pretty epic!


    36 replies to "One Of The Best 4 Note Solos Ever"

    • Ted

      Watch the SRV tribute video from about 15 years ago. Was on PBS I think. It included performances by many famous blues and rock guitar gods who all loved and praised Stevie. In the video, Clapton was interviewed and admitted that after he watched Stevie play, he said that he almost seriously considered quitting guitar. That is the ultimate compliment.

    • Bob Smith

      wow…..brought some memories! ‘Made my day’ cheers Griff

    • Ken M

      Voodoo chile sorry auto correct got me on my comment

    • Ken M

      The problem with you guys is that say you were bored is because you’re taking one song out of a whole concert listen to an album.
      He played Hendrix songs and really updated
      by enhancing the melody . A great example of that is boo foo chile. That along with many others is beyond impressive. Now if Jimi was alive then or today what do you think he’d say about SRV ????

    • Ken M

      Stevie is the main reason I started learning guitar . We grew up in oak cliff /Dallas a mile or so away and I never really discovered him til late 80’s . I have friends that knew him and went to school with him but I never met the man but I think he really changed my vision of
      Guitar playing , what a loss to music . Visited his grave site in oak cliff really close to my grandmother and other friends of mine .
      He deserves a better monument in Dallas !

    • Frank

      To Tim Moran who couldn’t find these notes on his guitar . I believe SRV tuned his guitar a 1/2 step down so even though it may be in G , on standard tuning it is F#. I could be wrong , Griff what do you think ?? I , like Tim , couldn’t find the notes in G and then remembered SRV tuning trick and then there it was .

    • David

      Rod & Frank, if that performance bored you, I really hate to think what it would take to impress you. Stevie Ray Vaughan absolutely mastered the guitar. His playing is anything but boring. Stevie Ray Vaughan won at least 5 Grammy awards for his playing.
      I can understand if you just don’t like that type of music, but to belittle Stevies playing as boring is just too much for me.

    • Larry

      The old original blues didn’t have electricity, I wonder what it would sound like without electric?

    • Tim Moran

      I don’t know, Griff…I don’t think those notes are on my guitar… Lord knows, I’ve looked for them.

    • tony

      This video is great . This is why a concert can bring out some feeling with a guitar.

    • Dave Clemans

      Rod and Frank,
      Ahh, I do love a session of us old Blues guys yammering on and on over who was truly the greatest. What Stevie nails in this video that sooooooo few players ever achieve is pure passion. Far too many players I watch shoot for “note-for-note” solos. But, whether they pull that off or not, they deliver absolutely zero passion. I saw a great quote this week, attributed to Beethoven supposedly, that I think applies here: “To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable.” Can Stevie play stunningly well up, down, and all over the neck? Oh, God, yes. Lenny, Little Wing, there are plenty of examples. But what he shows so well here is that, using just Box One and the Four-Note Solo Box, it’s possible to knock the ever-livin’ snot out of any solo of multi-mode shredding run up and down the neck with a warp speed pick attack and no passion. Note sequences that are harder to play don’t make a Blues tune better. BB, Stevie, and so many more have proven that time and again with just a couple of notes between a handful of frets. Now, is it hard to play all of the emotion Stevie steadily delivers here? If you only have one lifetime to try, good frickin’ luck!

    • Tom Moren

      Don’t make the mistake of judging Stevie on only one song. He had many fine examples over his short career. Tin Pan Alley is probably more in the style of blues playing of Clapton and others. Expressive and beautiful at the same time. After all the blues is an expression of one’s feelings and playing ability. Listen more closely.

    • Jack Flash

      love stevie ray von…

    • Vic

      Thanks that was a treat

    • Rod

      He gets some great sounds and his playing is very expressive and full of feeling and well executed, but, and I hate to say this and go against the grain, but I think it must be said, for me it gets boring very quickly. Compared with say the Cream and Eric Clapton to me it sounds very amateurish.

      His singing works and adds greatly but what he is playing lacks a tune and RIFFs to grab your attention, and it lacks variety to keep you wanting to listen. Yes I am applying a very high standard, but folks are always talking about how great he was and I just don’t see it myself.

      Does anyone else feel the same way or am I all on my own with this opinion?

      It does work for the purpose Griff is using it. Playing well is not about grabbing as many notes as you can:, and as Griff has pointed out many guitarists make extensive use of just box 1 pentatonic. It is all about timing and expressing feelings, it’s about communicating with people.

      Rod

      • Frank

        I agree with Rod. It does nothing for me. I want to someday be able to play up and down the neck as he does, but I have no desire to play that kind of stuff. I want to be able to play like the “Twangy Guitar” man Sam. Now I idolize him and try to copy all he does….But then again this is blues and you are all blues people. I love Griff and buy his courses, but I like a different type of blues I guess. 🙂

        • ACE DRAGON

          WISH MY OLD HANDS COULD STILL SHRED. STR,, GREAT ARTIST AND SO MUCH SOUL AND FEELING.
          STILL NO HENDRIX. ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG. RIP STEVIE.
          USE MY OLD STAGE NAME FROM THE 60’S.

      • Don Hall

        I can agree with you to a point. This tune, on this performance, was a blazing flurry of notes designed to blow the crowd away. It works for that, and I think you would have dug it more if you had been in the crowd that night. Us blues purists appreciate other stuff more, I think. Love the bass parts, by the way.

      • Clint Eastman

        Are you kidding me Rod? Being from Texas and listening to Stevie Ray in person at many of his concerts for all the years before his passing, Stevie evolved from not singing at all in his early years to having a perfect Blues singing voice. But most of all, Stevie played with the soul and expression that most guitarist and singers don’t have a prayer of doing. You may call playing behind your back a gimmick (Hendrix did it all the time and other guitarist marveled at it), but to play that way is so difficult, and singing at the same time as Stevie does in this video, made Stevie the beloved guitarist is was and still is. If you had ever gone to a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert in person and seen the communication with the audience that Stevie had through his playing and singing, with people feeling it down to their soul, you would not be of the opinion you have. . Ask Eric Clapton what he thought of Stevie, or Hendrix who Stevie could play his songs note of note and have the same depth of expression and feeling as Jimi. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but yours could not be more wrong. Griff knows how great Stevie was and that is why he used this video as a showcase and learning tool. There is a reason there is a statue of Stevie in downtown Austin, TX., along with one of Willie Nelson.

      • Ian Richardson

        I get the point, but it has to be said Stevie Ray was one hell of a player.
        We all get used to the typical 12 bar blues with a turnaround. All nicely structured.
        This is more the chuck all that in the bin play whatever the hell comes out improv thing.
        It is not my favourite thing either because it’s just notes coming out of a machine gun, and after a short time i find it hard to listen to. To my ears it’s not speaking to me.
        Others on the ..other hand love it. Like shred artists, not my cuppa coffee (I don’t like tea..) but many love it.
        What I hear and see is a great player just letting rip and to hell with it..because the audience will love it.
        I doubt he ever played it the same way twice, I don’t think I ever play anything the same way twice…That does get boring very quickly.
        All genres have a typical style we all hear all the time, but there’s many variations, country players don’t always play that typical country style lead guitar.
        Same with blues, there’s the usual 12 bar blues, there’s Piedmont blues..no turnaround but there’s what they call a double wham..or something like that.
        Mind you, on occasion I get in the mood and let rip…it’s fun.

      • ken Moore

        I agree, I don’t see it either, He just plays The kings and it gets booring fast.

      • Mike

        SRV would run Clapton right of the stage. I would be your polar opposite. In my opinion one main aspect of blues is you play it with power hard strike with a heavy pic with fat tone, forcefull. That being said expression will come. No player compares to Srevie Ray Vaughan.

    • Byram Rollins

      Wow… I don’t think there’s anyone today that plays the blues with that intensity and fire….. gone way too soon… thanks Griff.. great video.

    • Jay Green

      I have this concert on VHS tape. It’s one of the few reasons I refuse to mothball the VCR. I was always thankful I got to see him twice back in the eighties.

    • Marc Venet

      Thanks Griff.
      Very helpful. Obviously some incredible guitar playing through whole thing but the 4 note pattern really stands out and at least sounds like something I could try to play.

    • Frank Maynes

      Hey Griff
      Yup a perfect example of the 4 note solo. I saw Stevie in Mansfield Ma ,May 20th ,,1988 and He was warm up for Robert Plant . Plant was good and his band was good. Stevie smoked them .., He should have been the main Attraction. However years before this l sae him at the Channel in South Boston July 28th 1984 .He was doin all of his original stuff with Honey Bee . Awesome Gig small club in Southie Maybe 600 or so there sweetie lil joint ion the waterfront in Boston. A hot summer night IN A CLUB .

    • Jim

      SRV was the MAN!! Simply awesome!

    • tommy

      Good stuff right there!! Thanks

    • cowboy

      neat…thanks Griff…

    • Dale

      I see that was filmed at the El Mocombo in Toronto.
      I seen him right around that time. He was wearing the same hat.

    • Mark d.

      Incredible!! …the man at work 😎👍👍..thanks griff!!

    • Jeff

      I can do that. It’s a lot easier than it looks. WOW!

    • Fred Simonelli

      I could put that on repeat and listen to it all day. That’s gold standard epic.

    • Interstate slim

      You know I’m thankful when I can see players like Stevie and B.B get so much out of one area of the guitar or even just a couple of notes. It’s a reminder the blues don’t have to be an epic adventure up and down the neck to play what you feel. Thanks Griff and I hope you and your family have a merry Christmas.

    • gado

      Epic indeed. I missed seeing him in Sydney, Nova Scotia, if you can believe that, a move I’ll regret for the rest of my guitar loving life. Thanks.

    • Davy

      Wow!!! What a great watch!! (and listen) Thanks Griff.

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