What is 25 Solos?

My name is Jeff Koke, and I am a 45-year-old graphic designer and amateur guitar player. I live in Austin, Texas. I played in a few bands in my college years and even got a little local success, but I never really took my playing to the next level. After the bands dissolved, I rarely played, and my guitars got stored in the attic, gathering dust.

Recently, I’ve wanted to get back into guitar playing, but I needed a motivating force to keep me interested and get me practicing on a regular basis. So I came up with the idea of 25 Solos.

What I plan to do is to learn to play 25 of my favorite guitar solos from the bands I loved in high school and college. Most of these solos are pretty well known, and I chose songs that had a personal meaning to me and that I could write and record videos about. That’s the other part of this journey, which is this blog to chronicle the steps along the way.

The solos I chose are ambitious, but not insane. There’s no Stevie Ray, no Eddie Van Halen, no Joe Satriani or Eric Johnson. It’s not that I don’t want to learn to play like those virtuosos, it’s just that I don’t want to set myself up for failure. Believe me, the solos I’ve picked are going to be plenty challenging. Maybe if I get through these, I’ll move on to the next level.

Although I have already chosen the 25 solos I’m learning, I want to keep each song a secret until I’ve mastered the previous one. My criteria for “mastery” is this: if I would be comfortable performing the solo on stage in front of an audience, I will feel like I’ve mastered it. Of course, I’m not going to be able to sound exactly like the original — these guitarists are some of the best who’ve ever played.

I really want this to become a community, and I welcome comments, speculation, suggestions, techniques and equipment recommendations. I don’t need requests for specific solos; I’ve already made my picks and don’t plan on changing them, but any other feedback is welcome and encouraged.

Welcome to my journey. Enjoy the ride.