Nov 272012

The Joy of Soloing

What makes for a great soloing face? We know one when we see one, but is there a combination of facial structure and timed facial expressions that ensures successful face solos?

The following clip of bluesman Freddie King got me thinking about the science of face soloing. We’ve touched on this topic in some detail a few times in the past, such as herehere, and here (the last link being NSFW), but there may be more to learn from Freddie King. I open this conversation to our researchers in RTH Labs, that is, you.

King’s got a face for every lick he plays. It’s as if the notes are sweating out of his face. Along with his timing and pathos he’s blessed with jowls and bushy sideburns. I think they bring a lot out in his face soloing.

Babyfaced Mike Bloomfield also gave great face. What he lacked in jowls he made up for by eagerly leaning forward at all times. The man aimed to please.


  9 Responses to “What Makes for a Great Soloing Face?”

  1. machinery

    Forget the faces. I couldn’t keep my eyes off his jacket.

  2. alexmagic

    I’ll give this some more thought, re: the specifics (I think we may need to examine the Solo Faces of a few specific guitar titans), but in general terms, the ideal is probably a balance of The Agony and The Ecstacy. You know, like Michelangelo. Or Hellraiser.

    Re: the Look of Surprise, my favorite advanced variation is the one where the soloist first looks surprised at his/her (though I imagine this is only one a guy would do) fingers in shock, then looks to the audience like “What? Can you believe this?!”, then back at his fingers, possibly shaking his head like “Oh man, this is just crazy that I’m this, ha ha!” I don’t know for sure that he’s ever done it, but I nevertheless just assume Steve Lukather probably invented that one.

  3. bostonhistorian

    Freddie King is totally the black Eric Clapton.

  4. mockcarr

    Waitaminute, that’s a guitar and not my cock! Silly me, I forgot!

  5. BigSteve

    That Freddie King clip is awesome. As Warren Zevon once sang, “I’d like to meet his tailor.” This clip also proves that sweat is always a worthy addition to a guitar face.

  6. We had some weird thread long ago about songs with some kind of hanging “punchline,” a line that wasn’t completing a previous rhyme scheme. I can’t recall the particulars or if this Zevon punchline was discussed, but I think it would have applied. That’s a nice line to have stuck in my head for the rest of the night. Thanks.

  7. General statement. To me a male soloist face should include good bone structure, especially high cheekbones, intelligent eyes and a look of confidence. One doesn’t need to be confident but it sure is important to exude it. Freddy King personifies this. Okay I can’t tell how he really feels. Only commenting on how he seems to me.

  8. A quick google search turns up quite a few interesting variations on the theme from the delightful,
    (BB King),

    to the down right creepy, (John Mayer showing us his O-face. Warning: Once viewed, you can’t un-see this image.)

  9. I was jamming with my young nephew this weekend, playing guitar while he was on keys, and my daughter took some video.

    I don’t think I had ever seen myself on video playing guitar before. (I’m a basement guy.)

    As a result, I may have abandoned any modest ambitions of ever playing out in public for the rest of my life.

    I look at myself in disbelief and think, “what the fuck is that face I’m making?”

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