How To Play The Guitar Solo For “Pumpin'” by Joe Satriani

March 25, 2022

Joe Satriani has a new song out, “Pumpin'” and it’s wild. Here’s how to play the guitar solo:

The Solo

At 1:38 we’ve got a single finger slide in D minor pentatonic. Only pick the first note. Execute extreme vibrato at the end of the phrase.

Next at 1:43, we have a pretty standard pentatonic blues lick. Just watch the timing and distance of the bends.

We’ve got a blue note trill at 1:46 followed by a slide down to the minor third.

Things get a little crazy when we add some whammy bar action at 1:49. Two dips then a dive! At 1:53 we get a whammy bar pull up “tease” and then the real deal. Start with the bar depressed then hit the harmonic towards the upper part of fret 3 on strings 1 and 2. Pull up and let a rip!

1:57 gives us a slow bend on the 13th fret of the 2nd string. Hit the note twice more once it’s at pitch.

The 2:00 minute mark is a classic blues lick with some speed and two 1/4 step bends. With 1/4 step bends, generally wait until the last possible moment to execute the bend. Don’t go into the bend TOO soon or it won’t have the proper effect.

Let’s Get Weird

The weirdest part of this guitar solo shows up at 2:00. It’s a jazz thing, I think… Triad substitution where you go up a b5 from the root and play a major triad. In this case, we’re going up a b5 from D and playing an Ab triad in two octaves. See the video for 2 alternate ways to play this.

Our final musical idea starts at 2:05. It sounds exotic but it’s really just D Dorian with a blue note added. The intervallic choices Joe makes gives it its exotic flair. There’s an alternate way to play this idea as well. Finish with wild vibrato!

Easy But Actually Hard…

It’s a fun solo and not too complex to play. What makes it challenging is the meticulous phrasing choices. Timing, slides, bends, whammy bar- all those subtle nuances give this solo its edge. Fun to play, difficult to master!

Need help with this solo? Ready to take your playing to the next level? Take a trial guitar lesson with us and see if us working together is a good fit!

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