Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven - Solo

This article is part 12 of 30 in the 2022 music project series.

According to my gigantic book of Led Zeppelin's complete studio recordings, the solo from Stairway to Heaven is "such a classic that every rock guitarist should have it in their repertoire".

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It's not easy but you're a loser if it's hard.

Since it was not in my repertoire, and frankly I haven't been playing the guitar all that much lately, this seemed like a good opportunity to get back in shape. So I recorded the little interlude plus the solo section and then filmed myself pretending to play along to it. You know I was faking it because I forgot to plug my guitar into something.

Takeaways:

  • It is impossible to program drums that sound like John Bonham.
  • Continuous bending is a technical weakness of mine
  • There was very little distortion in Stairway to Heaven
  • The solo is mixed incredibly low in the studio recording.

Recording

My (distorted) rendition the solo from Stairway to Heaven

There were two acoustic guitar tracks (panned L and R), two clean rhythm tracks (L was neck pickup, R was bridge pickup), two slide guitar tracks, a bass track, a crunchy rhythm guitar track for the outro, and the solo guitar track. Drums were programmed in Hydrogen. The tempo annoyingly changes from 83 BPM to 90 BPM to 96 BPM to 102 BPM. Ardour is my DAW of choice with Jack as the audio transport.

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Screenshot of my Stairway to Heaven session in Ardour