Jared James Nichols teaches Mississippi Queen by Mountain
| July 8, 2024 |

The Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time: Learn Mississippi Queen by Mountain

Follow along as Jared James Nichols teaches how to play this iconic Leslie West solo note-for-note

In this Gibson App video, Gibson Ambassador Jared James Nichols guides you through the expressive second solo heard in the song “Mississippi Queen,” originally played by Leslie West of Mountain. Discover and master vibrato, micro bends (also known as a blues curl or quarter-tone bend), phrasing, and much more. An in-depth lesson for the entire song is available for Gibson App subscribers.

What is the Gibson App?

The Gibson App is your go-to platform for mastering some of the most iconic guitar solos and songs of all time. The App offers a comprehensive learning curriculum for both acoustic and electric guitar, and it’s packed with hundreds of popular songs dissected step-by-step by top guitarists and instructors. 

Plus, it’s equipped with essential tools like a tuner, metronome, and a digital amplifier for acoustic and electric guitars, making it a one-stop solution for your practice and performance needs. It even features a range of effects, giving you a chance to experiment with your tone right in the App.

Video: Jared James Nichols is playing a Les Paul Junior in Vintage Tobacco Burst, taking full advantage of the sensitive P-90 Dogear pickup, just like Leslie West did in the heyday of Mountain’s success

What are the most popular songs by the blues-rock band Mountain?

Mountain is best known for its hit song “Mississippi Queen,” released in 1970 on their debut album, Climbing! The song features Leslie West’s gritty vocals and powerful guitar riffing and became an anthem of the rock genre. 

Another notable Mountain song is “Nantucket Sleighride,” which showcases West’s lyrical guitar style and the band’s dynamic range. “Theme from an Imaginary Western” is often cited and features a melancholy, vocal-esque guitar solo.

What are some of the characteristics of Leslie West’s guitar playing style?

Unlike many of his contemporaries who favored fast, technical playing, West often used fewer notes to make a bigger impact. His solos were concise and to the point, emphasizing melody and feel over speed. He also utilized power chords and simple and memorable riffs that became signature elements of Mountain’s music. 

West’s vibrato was expressive, contributing to the emotional depth of his playing and adding a vocal-like quality to his melodies. He used bends to add tension and release in his solos, often incorporating micro bends for subtle pitch variations. It’s a safe bet that his vibrato was most often a medium-width affair, and his thick Les Paul™ Junior tone allowed it to shine through. He delivered the kind of riffs that set up melodic excursions that were brief but impactful.

What is the Gibson P-90 pickup?

The Gibson P-90 is the standard in single-coil pickups. Long after Gibson unveiled the humbucker, guitarists continue to choose the unique tones only offered by a genuine Gibson P-90—now available from the Gibson Pickup Shop in full-range under-wound and noise-canceling flavors with Dogear and Soapbar covers.

Explore the world of the Gibson App today and start your free trial on iOS and Android devices.