Desert Rose Solos 1&2 @ 95%

It’s far sloppier than the video shows, but I am. So. Fucking. Close.

Aside from the last few bars, I have each individual lick up to full speed, but this is as fast as I can do the entire 2 solos in one run. There’s always that one line that you usually nail that falls apart when the tape is rolling, and in this there are tons. It’s part of an 11minute compilation of EJ solos that I work on when my hands are up for it.

I would have rather waited until I had it up to speed before recording it, but I’m posting it because it’s kind of a landmark for me. I’ve been at 90% for the full run for quite awhile and what kept me from going faster is that anything above that 90% wasn’t relaxed at all and that’s where the pain would start to creep back in and I could never seem to progress. It was like that with a lot of things I would play. Once I’d cross that threshold, my fretting hand would start to hurt. For my picking hand, that tempo is faster and it’s not that it would hurt like the other, but it would be all tension and I couldn’t get a relaxed tempo passed 190 or so.

Then I was recommended a pair of NewGrips Wrist Support from a guitarist streamer (Steve Forward, great dude) and these damn things changed my life! I don’t know what they are or what the hell they do, but my wrists haven’t bothered me since I got them on Wednesday and I’ve finally been able to move forward! I went from 90% to 95% in less than a week, and I think I might be a week and change from full speed. I wanted to capture this because it’s the first day I’ve been able to do it!

Also, it ends the way that it does because it’s part of that compilation I’m doing and the start of the Venus Isle solo starts where that harm on the F usually is.


Excellent playing and amazing tone!

Congrats! :slight_smile:

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I’m so happy for you @DC11GTR

I know you’ve been at this for a while. It’s awesome how much about your own picking technique you learned along the way. Without analyzing pickstrokes it looks like you’ve managed to crack USX? Or did you combine with some of your pre-existing DSX???

Good luck on that last 5%. Just think though, even playing EJ stuff at 95% speed still makes you better than 99% of most guitarists :slight_smile:


Thanks Joe! That “pinky only” first 3 notes of the main solo was for you! After you mentioned it aways back, I tried it and I don’t know about the tone, but it makes that whole line easier. EJ has huge hands and I don’t. He has his reason, I have mine lol I don’t know if I’d say that I “CTC” of USX, but all of the fast lines are. I think a good portion of the rest is USX as well. I don’t think any of it is DSX, but there is some DX in there.

The thing about this landmark is that I’ve been stuck at 90% since late last year. I can do almost all of the lines at full speed when I loop it in Soundslice, but putting it all together has been the problem. I’ve only been able to play for about 20-30 minutes at a time, then have to rest my hands for another 20-30 when I’m in “practice mode” and not just DR specifically, but the Cascade exercises in general. I’ve been trying to build some kind of stamina and it seemed like I hit my max late last year. I put a pause on my membership and reckoned with myself that 90% of 182 is fine. I can play for longer when I play casually, so that’s what I’ve been doing. The Cascade exercises in general are just flat out fun to play and sound great, so I do them often without taking speed into account. Then I was told about and got the NewGrips and I noticed after the first day that my hands weren’t bothering me. Day by day I decided to “push it” just a little bit and again, they were fine. So, I bumped DR to 95% and went for it. I did 3 takes to get what I posted and continued on it after it “went live” and my hands still feel fine! I’m freaking ecstatic lol

DR has sort of been my measuring device. It has plenty of slower parts while still remaining challenging and the fast parts are certainly fast, but not blinding. It also seems to have every one of EJ’s “things” (aside from a few that seemed to be invented specifically for All About You) and the length has been what I used to gauge my stamina.

I did recently find a version of DR that has no vocals or lead guitar, so when I get it up to 100% comfortably, I’m going to do another video with the Pro Tools and whatnot to know just how accurate it is. I’m noticing more and more mistakes with the run I posted, but my hands feel great and that’s really all I care about, hahaha.


this sounds really smooth and clean to me, well done!


Don’t focus on what you perceive as ‘mistakes’.

Remember- EJ recorded that record (the whole thing) at least twice before he was content enough with it. Note I didn’t say happy. It won him a Grammy, but also cost him his marriage.

Besides - he never plays the same thing twice. Similar, but never identical. The intro to Cliffs live barely resembles the record.

I try to play stuff as close as possible - but try to remind myself I’m trying to live up to a single moment in time. The one take they liked, out of how many? ….and he wrote the dang thing!!!



I knew it! lol! Seriously though, well done man! I get super excited whenever I see people come here with a problem, find out what they need to do differently, put in the work and enjoy the success. I won’t steal your thunder by tagging them but you ought to tag Troy and Tommo because I know they’d love to see your progress.

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Of course. I was FINALLY able to see him in February at the G3 show and he actually played Desert Rose. I didn’t expect that at all. The solos were the only part of the show I recorded (not even Vai’s Hydra) and I’ve seen footage of the next night and it’s completely different. I love that so much.

That said, there are parts in there that are “whoops” and others that are “F*CK!!” and I’m fine with the former but want to pull it off it with none of the latter. But just once. The 2 spots that irk me to no end in my video are at :19 and at :54, which is the most difficult lick in the entirety of the 2 solos for me. The ending is a wreck, but that’s just because I haven’t exactly committed that part to memory yet lol

The bit at 2:06 and up to that crazy run is something I find quite interesting. For the first 2 ascending lines, I dig in pretty hard but in the 3rd, I lighten up a lot. When I would practice that crazy run, I would often pause in that 3rd line to prepare myself for it. I wonder why it is how it is now…

But yeah, I only want to nail it perfectly one time, then I’ll never play it again, haha.

If they see it, they see it. I want it up to full speed and clean with full production and angles for them lol Now that I seemed to have figured out my pain situation, I feel a lot better about things. It’s weird, but when I felt that soreness that comes from playing a bit too much and not the pain that made me have to retire, I was kinda thrilled.

Another thing I noticed was that the angle I’d USX at even just 2 weeks ago was pretty steep when it came to the faster of the lines in this. It was quite Gypsy’ish. But I kept losing the muting ability. When I strapped these NewGrips on, eventually I was able to lighten up on that angle. Pretty cool!!

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Excellent playing. Nice tone - well done

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