So you wanna play like Jay? Well, this page makes no such promises but it may
take you a little bit closer to the goal. Here are the basics of some famous solos for
you to study but when you're playing you will have to add some feeling, correction:
A LOT OF FEELING! and practice, practice, practice.
Sheet music can never show you how to add that certain something that does the trick, how
to make the sound come out in the right way, but...... well, it gives you the basics
anyway. You've got to start somewhere, right?
The DVD is partly based on the much sought after instructional video (VHS format) Guitar
Play For The Planet released in Japan only (1995) and out of print since many years. Jay talks about a few of the
solos on his album Airplay
for the Planet and demonstrates
how to play them. He also elaborates on his favorite licks, what to consider when buying amps and talks about his
Please note the information given in this video regarding amps and Jay's signature guitar is from around 1995 and as we know a few things have happened over the years since
So the DVD is a time document from that era, but the solos are timeless and delicious and Jay's playing instructions are
brilliant and extremely educational. The DVD is released in
a very limited edition so make sure you won't miss out on this
Having practiced on the "Peg" and the "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" solos for a
couple of months, I guess you have grown hungry for another one of Jay's unique
outstanding solos, so we bring you Jay's own original handwritten wire choir chart of "It
Will Be Alright". Now, if your browser cannot interpret and display Jay's notation
distinctly enough so that you can see it, you also have another option -
a digitized version of the solo.
Handwritten guitar solo notation published courtesy of Jay, thank you! Digitized
version made by Peter Olofsson - thanks
for your help, Peppe! And here are some clarifying comments from Jay on how to play this
wire choir solo:
The phrasing is very important for this solo. I will try to describe.
Bar one. The first two notes start on the "D" string. F to Gb is
a slide or slur (no pick). The third note Db, is bent up from C in a "grace note" fashion. The release of this bend is
to C without picking. Ab to Bb is slid or slurred. The Gb is bent up to F like the Db was and released in the same
fashion but is played with the first finger (on the "B" string). The Db to Eb is slid or slurred. The Bb is bent up
from Ab and returned to Ab at the beginning of bar two.
Regarding bar two , on the "B" string, the Ab on beat two is
ripped into the Eb. The Eb is slurred to the F. The Bb is slurred to the Ab. The Eb (B
string) is slurred to the F and then slurred back to the Eb.
Regarding bar three , the C is bent up to the Db and then bent
down to the C. The Db is bent up from C and then bent down to C.
Regarding bar four , the C is a fall that was later sent to a
delay line for "in time" repeats. After hitting the Ab, pull off to G and then hammer on
the Ab. Same thing with the Db to C and back to Db. On beat four, all notes are played
with the 4th finger since way out of position.
Regarding bar five , the G is slurred into the Ab. The F is bent
up from Eb and is bent down to Eb. The C is bent up from Bb and is bent back down for the
Bb. The Bb is bent up from Ab and then bent down.
The phrasing would be the same regarding the harmony parts compared to the lead. -
And now.......(drum roll........) Jay's handwritten notation of the wire
choir of "It Will Be Alright"!!
Having trouble seeing this? You might want to try the
digitized version then.
Now if you are doing this right it will sound like the sound sample below (well, more
or less)..... Anyway, for inspiration ..... enjoy the original - the REAL thing!!
IT WILL BE ALRIGHT the three part harmony solo - the wire choir.
Since you by now (November 1996) are familiar with the "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone"
solo - (I hope you noted that I didn't say "now you know how to play") - it is time for a
new solo for your musical education.
In the recording studio with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan when they go through the making of the song
PEG and explain why Jay was their obvious final choice after turning down 7-8 other guitar players... "and
then finally Jay Graydon came in and did it with no difficulty whatsoever" as Walter puts it. (Please note: Jay is
performing on the soundtrack that Donald and Walter are playing here, but is not
appearing in this video.)
Again, guitar notation published by permission of the guitar magazine
The Practicing Musician".
Also, the quotation below is published courtesy of said magazine. Read the whole
article on Steely Dan by Wolf Marshall in the 1996 October issue. Thank you, Jon Chappell,
for letting me use this material!
The following is a reprint.
"Peg" is a classic case of summoning a specialist to get the
job done; and, in this instance, summoning more than one. Jay Graydon was brought in by
Becker and Fagen to solo over the quirky 13-bar blues - after numerous abortive attempts
by regular Steely Dan "satellite musicians" and session stalwarts. He was a veteran of
the Don Ellis band, Gino Vanelli and countless record dates, and had acquired a glowing
reputation as an ace studio guitarist and solo specialist around L.A. Graydon was
allegedly the seventh player to have a go at the section - they'd already been through
guitarists Elliott Randall, Dennis Budimir, Robben Ford, Rick Derringer, Walter Becker
himself, and saxophonist Tom Scott. According to Becker, Graydon did it without much ado.
The solo was assembled in three major sections (the sectional approach was typical of
Steely Dan's studio procedure by that point). It took four hours to actually record the
solo, but three of those hours were spent, under the close direction of Becker and Fagen,
searching for the opening phrase (see notation below). This was the tried-and-true
Graydon hallmark of slid and bent doublestops heard at 1:47 - 1:53. The singular,
chromatic open-string pull-off licks at 2:00 - 2:03 are also signature elements of his
unorthodox style which happen to fit the song beautifully. Of course, hardly anything was
done by chance in Steely Dan music, and even the exploitation of a player's favorite
cliches was subject to serious scrutiny.
Since this page has been a real slowloader on account of the huge chart images I have
moved each chart to a page of its own. After all I don't want your computers to crash
every time you feel like practicing on some quality music. So just follow this link and
you will get to the guitar solo notation of "Peg".
One of Jay's supporters who is a guitarist himself has provided us with an analysis
of the last bars of this solo. Check out the supporter
transcriptions page for more info.