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Joel Hoekstra teaches you the dizzying guitar solo of Whitesnake's Get Up

For those of you that have been following my columns, you know that one of my favorite techniques for soloing is two-finger tapping, for which I use two pick-hand fingers to hammer-on and pull-off notes instead of the more conventional one-finger approach. 

A good, instructive example of this technique in action can be found in the solo I play in the song Get Up, from the latest Whitesnake album, Flesh and Blood, which I’d like to break down for you today.

(Image credit: Joel Hoekstra)

The solo is played over an F#5 powerchord and much of it based on the F# minor pentatonic scale (F#, A, B, C#, E) played in 14th position (see Figure 1). 

Also, the feel here is a fast rock shuffle groove, for which each pair of eighth notes is swung, or played like the first and third notes of an eighth-note triplet.

(Image credit: Joel Hoekstra)

Figure 2 illustrates the first four bars. I begin with an oblique bend, which refers to two or more strings played together while only one is bent. While holding a high E note (B string, 17th fret), I bend the B note below it (G string, 16th fret) up a whole step to C# and add vibrato.

The subsequent phrase is built from a series of descending 6ths, played on non-adjacent strings and based on the F# Dorian mode (F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E). I use hybrid picking to perform this lick, picking the lower note in each 6th with a downstroke and plucking the higher note with my bare middle finger.

(Image credit: Joel Hoekstra)

This is followed by Figure 3, in which I basically return to F# minor pentatonic, although I add a twist here by incorporating the major third, A#, sounded with a hammer-on, throughout the phrase.

(Image credit: Future)

At the culmination of this phrase, I bring in two-finger tapping, as shown in Figure 4. Following a long slide, or glissando, up to F# on the 1st string’s 14th fret, I use my pick hand’s 1st finger to tap a high B note on beat 1 of the first complete bar, followed by a 3rd-finger tap on C#, two frets higher. 

I then release the taps to sound A, at the 17th fret, which I fret conventionally with my fret hand’s 3rd finger, followed by a repeat tap on B, which is then released to F#, fretted conventionally with my fret hand’s 1st finger. 

I then move this idea sequentially down across the adjacent strings while staying diatonic to F# minor pentatonic.

(Image credit: Future)

The phrase ends with Figure 5, which is built from repeated multiple taps.

(Image credit: Future)

Figure 6 throws a monkey wrench into the works with unexpected chromatic, reverse-arpeggiated power chords, again performed with hybrid picking.

(Image credit: Future)

The lowest note of each shape is sounded with the pick while the higher notes are fingerpicked with the middle and ring fingers. The solo then wraps up with some Chuck Berry/Stevie Ray Vaughan-style sliding barres across the top three strings, as shown in Figure 7.