The Guitar Solos of Charlie Christian
• One of the greatest solos ever recorded in the history of jazz: TOPSY (usually known as Swing to Bop)
• The two studio recordings of Charlie Christians famous Guitar Concerto: SOLO FLIGHT
• A brilliant solo on HONEYSUCKLE ROSE in a studio recording with the full orchestra
• Spartan comping that upstages The Lionels vibes, and a dynamite solo on DINAH
• Charlie Christians only two-chorus solo on STAR DUST from the Harlem Breakfast Club in Minneapolis
• IDA, SWEET AS APPLE CIDER a 32-bar guitar solo masterpiece on a tune with great changes
• Both versions of I FOUND A NEW BABY a different guitar solo on each of these studio gems...with some similarities
• BLUES IN B a most extraordinary, ingenious blues improvisation five-chorus solo in the key of B
• The two best-known versions of ROSE ROOM (10/2/39 & 10/9/39) a magnificent one-chorus solo on each of these classic performances
• An incredible jam on ROSE ROOM an intro and two solos (four full choruses) of absolute creativity and genius
• The two remaining versions of ROSE ROOM (10/28/39 & 6/6/41) not the two well-known takes but classics in their own right
• Two exceptional versions of HONEYSUCKLE ROSE (12/24/39 & 11/19/40) this time with the sextet in concert and on an aircheck
• The remarkable HONEYSUCKLE ROSE recorded at Mintons (aka Up on Teddys Hill) with a fantastic bridge solo on the out chorus
• GRAND SLAM a boogie originally issued as Boy Meets Goy one of Charles best blues solos with the sextet key of F
• A slow blues (in the key of Eb) from Carnegie Hall PAGING THE DEVIL Charles perfect 2-chorus solo with the Kansas City Six
• Both takes of another exquisite slow blues in Eb PROFOUNDLY BLUE intros & 3-chorus solos with the Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet
• Another excellent slow blues with the Kansas City Six 2-chorus solo (this one in the key of F) GOOD MORNING BLUES
• AD-LIB BLUES a blues in the key of C 2-chorus solo also some riffs; & a false start in the key of Bb
• The two versions of POOR BUTTERFLY stunning 8-bar solos on a studio date and on a recently-released aircheck
• Another recently-released aircheck STOMPIN AT THE SAVOY (June 1941) unfortunately, only two-thirds of CCs solo was recorded
• Swingin solo from a Lionel Hampton session HAVENT NAMED IT YET last 8 bars: great entrance; diminished runs
• A perfect, melodic 8-bar solo jewel ON THE ALAMO swingin slow tempogreat for beginning guitarists to start with (in the key of Eb)
• Studio recording of THESE FOOLISH THINGS a 4-bar chord intro and an 8-bar bridge solo on which CC plays around with the melody
• An 8-bar intro and three free-wheeling choruses on TEA FOR TWO from a jam session at the Harlem Breakfast Club
• A wild jam with lots and lots of CC STOMPIN AT THE SAVOY (5/8/41) the rarest of all the Newman recordings from Mintons Playhouse
• Six choruses of some of CCs very best STOMPIN AT THE SAVOY (5/12/41) another jam from Mintons Playhouse
• From a jam at Monroes: 2½-chorus CC solo STOMPIN AT THE SAVOY (May 1941) aka Lips Flips / On with Charlie Christian
• A never-released blues from the America in Swingtime broadcast of February 1941 THE BLUES one of CCs best blues solos
• Unreleased studio breakdown of UNTITLED TUNE a superb 12-bar blues solo by CC
• A fast blues with the sextet BREAKFAST FEUD Charles 2-chorus solo on one of his most popular tunes + tag
• Another never-released aircheck STOMPIN AT THE SAVOY (2/19/41) only one chorus but with an amazing CC performance
• Charlie Christians first studio recording with the Goodman sextet FLYING HOME (10/2/39) the master take
• The alternate take and a breakdown of THESE FOOLISH THINGS 4-bar chord intros and, on the alternate take, an 8-bar bridge solo by CC
• The rare recording of HONEYSUCKLE ROSE radio broadcast from the Catalina Casino on Santa Catalina Island, California
• Master and alternate takes of I SURRENDER, DEAR sixteen-bar solos on each with some similarities between the two
• Three transcription pages of each of the master & alternate takes of THE SHEIK OF ARABY intro verses, solos, fours on the out choruses
• Two solo transcriptions of THE SHEIK OF ARABY radio broadcasts from The Cocoanut Grove nightclub in L.A.
• An exquisite 8-bar solo break IM CONFESSIN slow tempo in the key of Ab with an astonishing CC solo opening
• A never-released fragment from the America in Swingtime broadcast of 1941 ROSE ROOM only five bars of CCs solo
• Another never-released item from the America in Swingtime broadcast of 1941 FLYING HOME complete with a 32-bar CC solo
• Charles very first recorded solo: FLYING HOME broadcast live from The Hollywood Bowl
• Charles second recording of FLYING HOME broadcast on WEAF in Manhattan
• The elusive alternate take of GRAND SLAM from the 10 April 1940 studio date
(Click on the tune title)
If youve tried other transcriptions and tabs (see the notated solos bibliography),
you may find a few surprises here.
When repeating the same note in
his solos, especially at the end of a phrase, Charles very often played those
notes on different strings. I have exaggerated that! –
when indeterminable, I have depicted the alternate-strings method.
Keep in mind that Charlie Christian used down-strokes almost exclusively.
If you follow the fingering in the tabs, youll notice that CC used the index and
middle fingers during his solos (rarely the ring finger, except on chords).
By the way, Ive often heard and read that Charles played his solos across the strings (as opposed to vertically on the fretboard). I recently read somewhere, for example, that Django Reinhardt moved up and down the fingerboard, Charlie Christian moved across the fingerboard or words to that effect. Contrary to that common dogma, Ive found that Charles played vertically much more than is indicated by other transcribers, commentators, and musicologists.
Chord Notations and Fingering Symbols:
The chord names placed above the standard notation are the basic harmony of the tune.
The chord names above the tablature represent the chord changes in Charlie
The symbols used to indicate the left-hand fingering employed on the fingerboard are explained in the following table:
Note on viewing and printing:
As you may have noticed in the box below, this Web site is set up for 1024x768 viewing. Unless your monitor is set up for that resolution, none of the pages on this site will appear exactly as they were designed.
The music transcriptions in this section are particularly problematic. Even with a 1024x768 display area they just don't quite fit entirely on the screen. The music scores were not originally intended for the Internet and cannot be easily reduced in size without loosing a lot of the qualitythey would appear blurry and would be very difficult to read. Unfortunately that means they can not be printed out without bothersome manipulating.
Of course you can just simultaneously press the Ctrl and Minus keys a few times to view the whole page.