Folsom Prison Blues Solo, Are You Ready?


Folsom Prison Blues solo shows a unique approach

Folsom Prison Blues solo is a challenge to play in a single, acoustic guitar format. Johnny Cash wrote a great song, complete with a classic, self-contained accompaniment part. And when he played it with his band, the solo is a musical centerpiece of the song. So, as one person with an acoustic guitar, how do we reproduce that solo and be true to his original version?

In my video, I give the Folsom Prison Blues solo a new approach that overcomes the problem. Because the song has such a full accompaniment during the verse sections, when we come to the solo, we need to offer something that continues that big, full sound.

Folsom Prison Blues solo true to the original

My solution is to interpret the electric guitar/full band version in a way that honors the original Folsom Prison Blues solo. I switched up some of the single notes and used that as a lead-in to a nifty chord solo. And at then end I throw in our beloved E13 and E9 chords to add more excitement and  a bit of ear candy for the listener.

First, I  combine a rhythmic approach to different inversions of the D major chord. Then I  slide up to the A major on the 14th fret that reproduces the feel of the original solo. The chord voicings I select allow plenty of open strings to be played. The sound rings full and true throughout the entire solo and continues the bass line theme as well.

Then when I add in the 13th and 9th substitutions at the end, it produces the icing on the cake for the listeners. Sure, I've added and subtracted a few notes from the version Johnny Cash and his band played at Folsom Prison. But I've stayed true to Johnny's intent because my new solo is interesting and catchy,  so you can play it twice, just like the original recording of the Folsom Prison Blues solo.


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