Learn the Guitar Solo in Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
This post is a tutorial on how to play the guitar solo in Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now. I’ve rated this solo at about a 4/10 difficulty level, so don't attempt it if you're brand new to solo guitar. Actually, if you have about 10-20 guitar solos under your belt, this tutorial will be fairly easy for you. Obviously, this tutorial is made for electric guitar.
What skills are required?
What I will be showing you is a note-for-note transcription on how to play this guitar solo. Being familiar with the pentatonic scale is useful though not totally required. You must be quite familiar with bends, and you also must be ready to approach some faster pentatonic scale passages.
What are the benefits to learning this guitar solo?
Pentatonic scales! If there was one big, huge, massive scale to know to play a lot of guitar solos, it would be the pentatonic scale. This song isn't the easiest to learn if you're just getting started with this scale, but it is an excellent way to practice it.
Secondly, this solo will give you a chance to hone in on your guitar solo tone, especially as it's being used on recordings in the 80's.
Recommended: Download the song
This tutorial is based off of the recorded version of Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now. I strongly recommend downloading a MP3 copy of this song for yourself:
Getting familiar with this guitar solo
I really hope you take the time to get super familiar with this guitar solo before you start learning. The best way to do this is to sing along with the solo, to memorize it aurally. Though this might seem a little annoying, getting familiar with the solo is likely one of the smartest things you could do because it smooths out your learning. In fact, this is the one step that I would do more of if I could turn back time and study guitar again at the collegiate level!
I also recommend getting a tab of the solo either online or from me. If you're interested in exactly how I play this solo, you might want to consider downloading the tablature that I've made for it:
Breaking the solo into chunks
We're going to break the guitar solo up into five manageable chunks. I'll give some detailed tips as we're going through the chunks, and then I'll share some general tips in the troubleshooting section later on.
Here's where you can find all the particular chunks on the YouTube video, (posted below for your convenience):
- Chunk #1 — 2:28
- Chunk #2 — 3:17
- Chunk #3 — 5:04
- Chunk #4 — 6:25
- Chunk #5 — 9:48
If you have all the chunks together on their own, and at a slowish tempo, I would start combining them. You could combine the first and second chunks, or you could do the second and third parts. I think you get the idea. The point here is to create larger and larger chunks out of these basic chunks, and slowly piece the entire solo together.
Of course, once the entire solo is together, I wouldn't recommend that you play this too fast. Instead, I'd say slower, and slower yet, and even slower yet. This is an extremely neglected step! It's so beneficial because you really get to zero in on your technique and ability.
If you've taken it really slow, now it’s time to speed it up! Make sure that you can play this note-perfectly at a slow tempo first. If you can’t, there’s no way it’ll sound okay when you bring it up to speed. More so, you'll have a seriously difficult time playing it at 10-15 beats per measure faster than the actual recording, which is recommended for the purposes of mastery.
Troubleshooting this guitar solo
Next, it's time for some troubleshooting. Some of you might be having difficulty playing this solo up to speed or along to the song. To get there might take you some time if this solo feels to challenging for you right now. If that’s the case, I would humbly recommend shelving this solo for now and instead trying to learn an easier guitar solo. If you’re interested, I have other solos lined up for this channel that are 4/10’s that you could try.
Second, a part of this song that trips up a good amount of people is the pentatonic chunk, which is chunk #4. When I learned this solo, I took this part extra slowly. This is coming from a guy who has been playing guitar for more than 25 years! If I took it slow, then I think you may want to consider doing that too.
Third, if your guitar is like mine, in that it’s got a shorter scale and doesn’t have 24 frets, then you’re going to have to bend that last note in the fourth chunk. I don’t think that’s how the original solo was played, but if you make your bend fast enough, you can get away with it.
Finally, it helps to know what it means to master this solo completely. Here’s the way I test it for myself: When I can play along with the recorded version of any solo from start to finish without a single thought entering my mind, I have mastered a solo. The trick is thoughtlessness. If you can play without thought, you’ve got it, and congrats!