Sweet Child O Mine Guitar Solos

sweet child o mine guitar tab solos

Sweet Child O Mine Guitar Solos

View Sweet Child O Mine Guitar Solo Tabs on YouTube

Sweet Child O Mine Solo Lesson
In this free online guitar lesson I demonstrate how I play the guitar solos in “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses featuring lead guitarist Slash. These examples are suitable for intermediate and advanced level players who have learned pentatonic, major and harmonic minor scale patterns. You can follow along using the free tools below including guitar tab, a play along guitar backing jam track, and an audio mp3 of the performance. See also my blog post, What Scales Are Used in Sweet Child O’ Mine?

You can view and download my free Sweet Child O Mine Guitar Solo Tabs PDF file here. This file is just an interpretation of some select song parts.

Backing Track
You can stream and download my free Sweet Child O Mine Solos Backing Track Standard Tuning. It includes the accompaniment for all the guitar solo sections strung back to back.

Audio-only Performance
In addition to the video demonstration, I also have an audio performance of the solos I play. This is a separate take from the video, so the performance may be slightly different.

Guitar Tuning
The original recording was played by Slash with all stringed instruments tuned down a half-step to Eb. My version is played in standard tuning, low to high E A D G B E.

Sweet Child O Mine Chords, Progressions, and Scales
The first and second guitar solos are played over the chord progression D-C-G-D. These are the three major chords from the G major scale.

G major scale
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
G Am Bm C D Em F#mb5

While the D-C-G-D progression is drawn from the G major scale, it’s actually the 5th degree, D, that is used as the tonic. In other words, D is the primary chord and where the music begins and ends. When the 5th degree of the major scale is used as the tonic, it’s called Mixolydian mode. See Fretboard Theory Chapter 8. For this reason, you use G major scale patterns over the progression for melodies and solos. And because D is the primary chord, you can also use D major pentatonic over the whole thing. I play the first two solos in the position of D major pentatonic pattern one, and add in the notes G and C, which are a 4th and b7th if you count D as 1. The D major pentatonic with an added 4th and b7th becomes D Mixolydian mode, which is also called the D dominant scale. D Mixolydian mode is simply the notes of G major but with the notes centering on D instead of G. Pentatonic and major scale patterns, including modal scales, are all covered in Fretboard Theory.

The third solo switches keys to E minor. The chord progression is now Em-C-B7-Am. Em-C-Am fit into the G major scale, but with the music centering on G’s 6th degree, E. This makes E Aeolian mode, better known as the E natural minor scale. You use a combination of E minor pentatonic and G major scale patterns. When the B7 is played, raise the 7th degree in the E minor scale from D to D#. The raised 7th makes the E harmonic minor scale. The harmonic minor scale and its use in taught in Fretboard Theory Volume II.

The fourth solo begins with a climb in the E harmonic minor scale and the use of a wah-wah pedal. Once you get to the 12th position, it’s straight E minor pentatonic from there.

Gear Setup
I used a PRS P22 with 57/08 pickups. The first three solos were played on the neck (bass) pickup and the last solo on the bridge (treble) pickup. I plugged into a PRS Custom 50 amp head and used the lead channel with the following settings (12 represents 12 O’clock). Volume: 3 Treble: 12 Middle: 12 Bass: 10 Master: 8 Presence: 12. I used a plate reverb on my Alesis MultiMix8 mixer. I used a Morley mini Wah/Volume for solo four. The amp head was plugged into a Rivera Silent Sister isolation cabinet with a Celestion Vintage 30 speaker and then miked with a couple of Shure SM57s. I use Dava Jazz Grips Delrin guitar picks.






Comments ( 17 )

  • Michael

    Excellent example of modes and soloing mixed with pentatonic. Did Slash do it by ear or did he know his pentatonics and modes and harmonic minor patterns?


  • I am an aged former stratocaster player who performed with an Irish band at major venues in England, USA, and Ireland where I am from. I was considered to be the lead guitarist because there was no other to do the job. After listening to this your instructional thesis on how to play the Guns & Roses Sweet Child of Mine, I am in total awe at your knowledge of the guitar and the awesome musical knowledge you have displayed. And it was free! I would love to have an indepth conversation with you about my pitiful shortcomings vs your vast knowledge to determine what was so lacking in my guitar playing. But I doubt if you would ever consider wasting precious time on such a request.
    Good luck with your career and endeavors.

  • Thanks, Jim. You’re welcome to send me a message. I’ll help if I can.

  • I’m not sure how much formal training, if any, Slash has had. If I had to guess, he probably learned the way most of us did, by copying other players and picking up licks and phrases off of sound recordings. He may have read a music book or two, perhaps watch some instructional videos. Most guitar magazines have lesson sections and we all pick up pieces of information from them. Above all, Slash is obviously a raw talent blessed with lots of natural abilities. I’m sure his senses guide him more than anything else.

  • Craig Helm


    I was looking for the note and tab combo for this song. Thanks for posting it and also the bact track mp3 and the solo mp3.

    Thanks again !

  • David

    Hi Desi,

    I just wanted to say this is by far the best complete explanation of any guitar work I’ve come across: solo, theory, chords or anything else. And the explanation of the reasons for the note choices, including the clearest explanation of modes I’ve seen, as well as complete tabs, backing tracks, etc. Excellent, excellent job. Thanks so much for making this available for everyone in such a complete and well explained fashion. Awesome work.

  • James

    Hey Desi
    Thank you so much for putting in the time for these amazing complete lessons. They are awesome! and appreciated. So much that I am buying your instructional books and DVD’s. You have earned it my friend. I get more out of watching and listening to you teach than I do on any other site. Thanks and please keep up the great teaching!

  • Jp

    What a fantastic lesson. I’m sitting reading this on my phone on the bus and just had that ‘AHA!’ moment on the whole concept of modes after struggling with 3 or 4 guitar books! Wish I had my guitar…wanna try stuff!


  • Flo

    This lesson is one of the best I’ve ever seen! Even though I was very upset in the beginning, because I couldn’t imagine being able to play it that fast.. But after a bit of practice and the explanation of Desi about what is actually going on I did it pretty easy! I’ve seen no other tutorial explaining this that exactly! With the free tabs you did a great job as well!
    Thank you!

  • Marie-Carmen

    Thank you very much! You are absolutely amazing. 😀

  • Juan Alvarado

    Hi Desi Serna,

    Is the Sweet Child O Mine jam track still available somewhere.

    I have just found you and want to start exploring all this.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Lucian mod

    Hi, please very much, can you tell me what strings are you using? and what gauge they are? and also i want to know the level of gain you set up in amp, thanks

  • Felix

    i wanted to ask he uses Amaj instead of Amin which is not in the scale he uses Amaj – Cmaj – Dmaj than goes back playing Dmaj after which the first solo comes. So could you please explain what mode or scale is that

  • Arkar

    Lovely lesson and can u tell me
    how can I play freely without worry about timming

  • Diederick

    Thanks for the excellent clarification. Great example song to explain modes. And remarkable that 5 years after learning this song I still have unanswered questions. Totally unnecessary if you want to either play or enjoy the song, but still :

    1. – The intro is played over the same chords as the guitar solos – D C G D. The intro melody also starts out on a D in a G-Major shape, so can be considerd myxolidian. The root notes of the melody shift from D E G D while the chords shift D C G D. So the intro melody incorporates the E, which is minor, while the chord strikes C which is major like the other chords. Is there any logic in this?
    2. – The Chorus ( O, o, sweet child..) follows the chord progression A C D. Over these chords a melody is played which is similar to the intro but it is in a different key and follows different root notes than the underlying chord progression: C# C D. How can this chorus be explained as “musically coherent” (chords vs. melody) and how can the deviating key of the Chorus be explained in the context of the entire song (which is in G Maj)?

    Thank you in advance for your wisdom.

  • Johnny Five

    Great analysis and breakdown of the solos on this song. Very insightful and very helpful!

  • Justin Hunt

    How did anyone figure out that insane ascending lick before he rips into the classic blues repeat lick. All I can here is wah and even watching someone do it I am still baffled. It’s like it would be sweet to learn that but damn,. All that for one song lol. All I can figure out with harmonic minor is to use it on a over a 7th chord. How can I use this sound more often to make it more obvious. I. Feel like im always waiting and finally I can flat the root.