How to Play Joan Jett’s I love Rock N’ Roll Solo
Who doesn’t love Joan Jett’s version of I love Rock N’ Roll?! As a guitar teacher, for years I have been asked to teach the main riff and fill, but this solo is a good one – melodic, not too hard, and tasty – everything you could want in a solo! In this Guitar Control I Love Rock N’ Roll guitar lesson, I will walk you through step by step on how to learn and master this solo.
Step 1: Scales and Opening Licks
For our I Love Rock N Roll guitar lesson, we will need to know two very important scales. The E Major scale and the E Major Pentatonic Scale. The notes in the E Major scale are, E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, and D#. The Major Pentatonic scale is the same, but leaving out the A, and the D#, which are the 4th and 7th scale degrees. We use two positions of the Major Pentatonic scale, pattern 2 and pattern 5 which can be seen in the video.
Now to start the solo! The very first thing we do is two open E power chords. An open E power chord is when you have your first finger placed on the 5th string, 2nd fret and you have the 6th string open, and you only strum these two strings. So we do that twice and mute all the strings right after, by simply placing your palm of your picking hand on the strings. This will completely silence your guitar. To get the best mute, do the same thing with your fretting hand, but use your fingers to mute. Then using Pattern 2, we go to the 6ths string, 2nd fret, and bend down and up, down and up again and then I drop my second finger back down to the 5th string, 2nd fret and play another open E power chord. Then we go straight to an E7 without the 5th. In this case when we say without the 5th, we are talking about the degree in the scale; 1-8. I know there are a lot of numbers getting thrown around, so just to be clear. Feel free to use the video for reference, too, especially for chord and scale shapes, it can really help to see them. So back to E7, we place our Middle finger 5th string, 7th fret, our pointer on the 4th string, 6th fret, and our ring finger on the 3rd string, 7th fret. If you have a whammy bar, use it! And if you don’t, you can mimic one by shaking your fingers back and forth and creating the same effect. If you are enjoying learning how to play this solo be sure to check out our video for how to play the solo to Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin.
Step 2: The Blues and Descending Licks
So now we are going to go over our first lick, in pattern 5 Major Pentatonic. We slide from the 9th fret to 11th fret on the 4th string. This takes us from that E7 missing the 5th, to our pattern 5 Pentatonic, ready to go straight into our first lick. We start this lick by picking the 9th fret, third string and then the 11th fret third string right after our slide. This sets us up to bend the 11th fret 3rd string a whole step. A good way to check yourself on your bends to make sure you are actually bending a whole step, is to pick 2 frets up, listen to what that sounds like and then go back to your bend and hit that note. So back to our lick! We bend the 11th fret, 3rd string and then pick the 12th fret, 2nd string while our bend is still in the air. We do this twice; bend, hit the note with our pinky twice. Then bend the 11th fret up and back down and then pull off from the 11th fret to the 9th fret, both on the 3rd string. Then I pick the 11th fret 4th string once, and then back to the 9th fret, 3rd string then hammer on to the 11th fret, 3rd string with lots of vibrato to end this phrase. Then pick the 9th fret, 4th string; down, up, down, up, hammer onto the 11th fret. Drop down to the 9th fret, 3rd string, pick it once and end with our pinky on the 12th fret, 2nd string.
Then we are going to do a descending lick, referred to us our “walk down” in this video because we walk down the scale all on one string going lower and lower in pitch. We play E, D#, C#, B, A, and G#. The frets are 9, 8, 6, 4, 2, and 1 all on the 3rd string. We do the same picking pattern as we
descend to each note, which is, pick, slide, pick, pick, pick, slide. Again, refer to the video above to hear this and help make the connection.
Now for the very last lick, we go back to the E Major pentatonic scale pattern 2. We just did our walk down, picking the 1st fret three times on the 3rd string. Now we pick the 4th fret, 4th string, to the 2nd fret, 4th string, to the 5th string, 4th fret, and end on the 2nd fret, 4th string. And that’s it!
Recap: I Love Rock N’ Roll Guitar Lesson
Thank you so much for checking out our, I Love Rock N’ Roll guitar lesson! This solo is melodic, fun, and incorporates lead guitar techniques that will help you stand out and push you to develop your own voice on the guitar! I hope you have as much fun jamming this one as I did, and make sure to stay tuned for more fun classic lessons videos from us!