6 Guitar Solos That Will Melt Your Face Off - Fear Zero
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A few weeks ago I gave everyone a sneak peak of an upcoming guitar solo called Octane. Since then many people have asked me about where some of my influences for it came from; here’s a look at some face melting guitar solos that inspired me.

Eruption – Van Halen

This solo was the turning point that made me and a million other guitarists want to get good. It has everything; tone, feel, speed, and melody and will live on as one of the greatest solo rock guitar pieces ever composed.

Frenzy – Paul Gilbert

This solo is so rare, I doubt anyone has heard of it. It was my introduction to what is called ‘sweep picking,’ a technique used to generate a lot of speed through playing broken chords or arpeggios. You can hear the influence of this solo in Octane during the middle section.

Listen to Frenzy by Paul Gilbert/Racer X

Mean Street Intro – Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen seemed to always have a cool little guitar ditty on every new CD. This one steals the bass player’s funk slap technique and combines it with some wicked tapped harmonics creating a crazy sounding lick. The first part of Octane was definitely composed with this in mind.

Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower

The authority and feel that Hendrix has over the guitar is mind blowing on this from the melodic phrasing of the intro solo to the psychedelic middle section, this was groundbreaking stuff and still sounds great today.

Eric Johnson – Cliffs Of Dover

I used to play this in the nightclubs back when I was in cover bands for kicks. That was the early 90s when guitar solos were all the rage. Aside from the pain of having to practice it every day for 5 hours just to be able to play it each night, I still think the song is a fantastic piece of work by an amazingly talented and original guitarist in Eric Johnson. Check it out!

Joe Satriani – Satch Boogie

This song has a great vibe and energy and the middle section has some very cool chord arpeggios. Joe Satriani’s left hand is amazing and definitely influenced my legato style of playing which can be heard on the last section of Octane.

Octane solo


Octane – Fear Zero from Ken Mason on Vimeo.

This solo was written as a request from my management team so I came up with it one evening and had to practice it a lot before I got it sounding the way it sounds now.

It was recorded on my mongrel reverse Strat style body with a Warmoth neck directly into my Mesa Boogie Trem-o-verb combo that was powering a Marshall 1960 4X12 cabinet and I used an MXR phase 90 into the amp from my guitar.

The solo has several different techniques I like to use on occasion. The intro is a slap style tapping piece, kinda similar to a riff I did in a song called “Drown Myself” from the first self-titled Fear Zero CD.

The second section is basically a combination of sweeping arpeggios followed by scalar runs in the key of Em. The final section is a hand buster and was all done with the index and pinky finger on my fret hand. I was trying to outline some simple triad chord changes over the pedal tone “D.”

Download the Demo: octane

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