Solar (Miles Davis)

Solar is a jazz standard made famous by Miles Davis but actually written by jazz guitarist Chuck Wayne. In this lesson, you will learn how to play the melody of Solar and how to solo over its chord changes.

The studies in this lesson expose you to licks and scales that will expand your playing as a whole. Work them with a metronome and backing tracks, and break them down in your playing.

Not only will you become better at playing Solar, but you will also become a better jazz guitarist at the same time.

Video

 

Solar – The Melody

Here are the lead sheet and the guitar tabs of Solar’s melody.

 

Listen & Play Along

Solar Melody and Lead Sheet

 

Solar Backing Track

Here is a backing track you can use to practice improvising over Solar.

 

 

Solar – Harmonic Analysis

The chords of Solar are pretty straight-forward, mainly 251s.

The harmony has three modulations:

 

Solar harmonic analysis

 

Bars 1-2 | C Minor

he first two bars are in C minor.

The melody is in the C melodic minor scale here, and that’s also a good choice for the solos.

 

C melodic minor scale

 

Another option is C Dorian, the second of the guitar modes.

 

C Dorian mode

 

Bars 3-6 | F Major

In the next four bars, the harmony modulates to F major with a ii V I chord progression.

The scale of choice here is the F major scale.

 

F major scale

 

To create some variation, you can play the C altered scale over C7.

 

C altered scale

 

Bars 7-9 | Eb Major

The progression in bars 7 to 9 is a ii V I in Eb major.

Use the Eb major scale over this chord progression.

 

Eb major scale

 

Bars 10-11 | Db Major

The next two bars feature a short ii V I progression, this time in Db major.

Use the Db major scale here.

 

Db major scale

 

Bar 12 | C Minor

Bar 12 features a short minor ii V back to the tonic minor.

Here, the scale of choice is the C harmonic minor scale or the C altered scale.

 

C harmonic minor scale

 

Solar – Soloing Study

Here’s the jazz guitar solo that you can learn and apply to your own solos.

The solo is built with a series of classic licks, mixed with scale and arpeggio concepts that you can take out of this study and explore further in your playing.

 

Listen & Play Along

Solar jazz guitar solo page 1

Solar jazz guitar solo page 2

Solar jazz guitar solo page 3

 

Download Solar Guitar Pro FileGuitar Pro File

33 thoughts on “Solar (Miles Davis)”

  1. Neil

    How good is this? I learnt so much and feel like a better guitarist after going through this lesson. Just wonderful.

  2. Luke Vidler

    I just got an amazing guitar lesson for free, big love and many thanks!

  3. Claude

    Great solo and like your connection to the chords that are coming .

    Claude

  4. bud

    good lesson with some interesting ideas

    however the soloing over the chords sounds more like a dry jazz scale etude to me

    I am listening for: melodic motifs/fragments; targeting & enclosures and ii-V-I implications and harmonic substitutions to bring the music to life — I do not want to hear boring jazz scales — it is a trap I fall into too; the problem is how to compose melodic compositions on the spot rather than a dry scale runs -because you will just sound like everyone else.

    any ideas into melodic composition ?

    1. DDH

      Thankfully he provides the theory so you can come up with your own interesting solo’s

    2. jules

      Read notes and play licks from …. and may be (in Dutch) look at Werner Janssen from Improcircle

      jules

  5. Jole

    Hello Dirk – I look forward to working on your Solar lesson.
    I have 2 comments:
    (i) The F major scale diagram shown for bars 3-6 looks like G major to me. Is that correct?
    (ii) No luck with downloading the Guitar Pro file. I found that clicking on the link produces a file ‘solar.gp’. Surprisingly, the file type logo suggests it is an Adobe Acrobat Document but it doesn’t open. More importantly, the file will not open in Guitar Pro 6 on my laptop. Can you help please?

  6. FIDANZA

    Pour ma part je traite les mesures 1 et 2 en C majeur et les mesures 3 et 4 en C mineur
    comme les mesures qui suivent en F puis Fm et Eb puis Ebm
    Est ce valable?
    For my part I treat measures 1 and 2 in C major and measures 3 and 4 in C minor
    like the following measures in F then Fm and Eb then Ebm
    Is this valid?

  7. Viscount Price

    Hello and thanks for the Solar lesson.
    I note that when you have a 2 5 1 sequence, you improvise on the 1 chord throughout. Doesn’t this suggest a resolved phrase on the 2 and 5 chord where an unresolved might seem more appropriate? Have you not released the dominant chord tension early?

    Regards
    Viscount

  8. Salvador

    Muchas gracias. Excelente lección.

  9. Tom

    Thank You Dirk, This is an unexpected treat. Still recovering from hand surgery and in the event that my left hand continues to improve, I will embrace this lesson as well as many others. Thank You again.

    1. Dirk Laukens

      Thanks Tom! Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery of your hand, now is not a good time to not be able to play…

  10. Pedro Noleto

    Thanks, Dirk. Great lesson! Very nice playing — and congratulations for the new Gibson 175 and the Fender twin; now you are really sounding like Wes Montgomery.

    1. Dirk Laukens

      Thanks Pedro, it’s an ES-175 from 1971 I bought a couple of months ago, very happy with it! The amp is a Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb, great sound and half the weight of a tube Twin.

  11. John Donner

    Good job on this famous song. Good analysis and interesting soloing.

  12. r1100ra@gmail.com

    Thanks for the lesson, a little advanced for my skills but much appreciated anyway! Can you help with the following:

    i) What is a guitar pro file and how to use it?

    ii) Also, I never had any formal theory training so I get confused with this:
    A C dorian mode is the same like the basic C major scale BUT played from D to D, or a scale from C to C utilizing the notes of a D scale?

    Thanks!

    1. Dirk Laukens

      Guitar Pro is software to write guitar tabs (guitar-pro.com).

      C Dorian is the second mode of the Bb major scale. It has the same notes as the Bb major scale, but its tonal center is C instead of Bb. More about modes here: https://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/guitar-modes/

      1. r1100ra@gmail.com

        Thanks for your quick reply and your … patience 😉
        I can read (albeit slowly) standard notation so I have no need for tablatures, thanks, though.

        Now about modes, no matter how many times I tried I don’t seem to be able to memorize it. To me all these Greek names make absolutely no sense and simply add to the confusion, which in all fairness is something you also admit in your book. If all modes are using the notes of the same major scale, then why not call them what they are e.g. C major mode 2 (for D dorian) or G major mode 4 (for C lydian), etc. Am I correct? I am not a professional musician and certainly I do not deny the usefulness of modes, I’m just arguing whoever invented this naming convention was in search of a solution to a non-existent problem. Please forgive my verbosity I’m retired I have a lot of time in my hands. Thank you! 🙂

  13. Bas

    Really well laid out lesson, nice integration of melody theory, and practical application, and easy references to foundational materials. Thanks for this.

  14. Dan

    Thanx for sharing this study. There are all the elements for a serious study.
    Thanx again.

  15. Aeter

    Great lesson!! Thank you for sharing!!

  16. Gerrit

    Thanks, this is great. Putting these together must take a lot of effort, much appreciated. Perhaps you can add a Paypal donate button?

  17. Victor

    Thanks for your high quality lessons 🙂

    1. Dirk Laukens

      You’re welcome, Victor, thanks for the feedback!

  18. Albanblue

    So great, a complete etude of a standard, that’s what I love. Thanks!

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