Ok, here’s another solo that always appealed to me. From the classic Whitesnake 1987 album and played by the mighty John Sykes. Straight for the Heart is one of the “album tracks” – a more poppy, happy but very uptempo song, it’s largely overlooked, but I recall a radio interview with John Sykes back in the day, where he stated that this was his favourite of the solos he did on the album. To me, it sounds like a blend of Michael Schenker (with the fast pentatonic flurries) and Gary Moore, with the winding, ascending run in D minor, and then the song intro and solo outro have harmonies which hark back to Sykes’ days in Thin Lizzy.
I had some fun with the video for this, using a green screen to get the album cover background on there, and some other visual trickery for the harmony parts. It’s funny, looking back on it, I spent much more time on the video than on the actual playing… But it was a fun experiment.
I don’t play the solo precisely like John Sykes did, but as with so many solos on the 1987 album, he’s so buried in the mix, it’s really hard to tell what he is actually playing in the first place! So I paraphrased a few parts and played them the way I would have done. Sykes has a very “wet” tone on the album, lots of reverb, modulation effects, compression and a ton of gain. That’s not really my approach to lead guitar playing so I did it my way. The guitar tone has a lot of mids, which makes it very unforgiving to play – if you make a mistake, there’s no hiding it, as it sits high in the mix. Like Sykes did, I used a wah pedal for the solo part. The amp is my trusty Laney IRT Studio and I had the old Ibanez Tubescreamer once again for a clean boost.
Hope you like it!