Bohemian Rhapsody Solo

Since Bohemian Rhapsody is a rock-opera type tune, the album title “A Night at the Opera” seems appropriate. A bit of trivia though; the album was actually titled after the 1935 film featuring the Marx Brothers! 

Here’s Brian May’s solo. The solo acts as a segue taking you from the main song into the operatic section. The solo section was written in the key of Eb Major, which is unusual for a rock guitar solo. It’s also a very “Major” sounding chord progression: Eb, Bb, Cmin, Fmin, Bb (I, V, VI, II, V). The five chord, Bb, at first is played in first inversion, making the bass descend from Eb, to D, to C in the first three chords, very nice voice leading. If you don’t know what I mean by 1st inversion check out H & T – Week 7 (Chapter 13). Read the last page of the accompanying PDF.

I have trouble thinking in the key of Eb, so I also like to think C Minor, (the relative minor of Eb). That helps me place the notes and fingering patterns, so feel free if this helps you too. This is a well thought out solo, very melodic and almost classical but Brian still uses rock type vocabulary, with lot’s of bends and pull-offs. The classic bend, reverse bend, pull-off lick happens after the first note!

According to Wikipedia, Brian May stated he wanted to compose “a little tune that would be a counterpart to the main melody; I didn’t just want to play the melody.” He said that his better material stems from this way of working: in which he thought of the tune before playing it: “the fingers tend to be predictable unless being led by the brain.”

Tab: Bohemian Solo

Jam Tracks

Click links below to play:         

Bohemian Full                                   

Bohemian Slow   

(To download jams, PC – right click, Mac – option click.) 

Video 1: Full and slow speeds, gear info and chords.


Video 2: Note by note breakdown.

  1. dillivered says:

    LOVE THE V Paul! great tone too…!

  2. dillivered says:

    Sounds GREAT ! and once again, I think your materials are AWESOME!! Thank you

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