Nov 272012

Of course it doesn’t hurt that Freddie King and Mike Bloomfield could actually back up their faces with their instruments. Can one excel on face soloing without necessarily doing anything that impressive on his or her instrument? I’m sure there are examples out there of musicians who give good face despite lacking in dexterity.

What are the key expressions a face soloist must master? The first ones that come to mind for me include the Carlos Santana Ecstasy Face and the Look of Surprise, as perfected by Steve Howe. Howe’s Look of Surprise, as might be expected, is often followed by a Look of Delight.

What are the unique face soloing expressions that you most relate with a particular musician?

Who are the best face soloists in rock today?

We typically think of guitar players when we think of face soloing, but I’m sure other instrumentalists use their face to amplify their musical solos.

I look forward to your research and discussion.


  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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