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Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Terry McInturff, Dec 4, 2019.
I wing it on I-IV-V blues, but otherwise, my solos are worked out and usually adhered to.
Depends on how long the solo is. Unless it's a long one, I can usually remember what I did and recreate it.
I used to try and wing it, but I’d freak out and forget my opening or something. I need to have an idea of what I want to do and how I’m gonna do it or I get the yips.
For me, it depends on how much of a hook is in the solo...otherwise, I like to surprise myself, which can go either way!
I just try to cop the style. If it’s got a hook that stands out I try to get that, but I’m much better at swinging for the fences. I’d rather create than copy, and I don’t have the patience to slog through learning somebody else’s stuff. Even Richie Blackmore said that kind of thing was impossible for him, so swingers and wingers are in good company.
wing wing wing wing it good.
99% of my solos are improvised. There are 2 solos that I play for a Boston singer-songwriter that are very melodic, and are based on the theme of the song, that I want to keep them the same each time. Otherwise, I live for improvising, especially over good chord changes.
If I simply wing it, it is too often musical masturbation. I used to think I could do it better than I actually could, smoke a joint & wail, etc. Listening to that stuff recorded showed me that I can do a lot better for the song if I structure at least a basic framework, with some strategic hooks. Even our great "jammers" (Allmans etc) sounded really spontaneous but had their solos pretty scripted.
When creating a solo I'll jam to the recorded song, keeping the chords in mind at every step and pick the best parts to structure into a solo, which I will then repeat with minor variations live.
I prefer to do it that way on my own stuff, but having played covers and been out of the original scene for so many years now it's more expected that you will copy the solo that was recorded on the record. I don't feel like I'm as good at that, and I definitely stress more over being graded for how close I got.
In my 40+ years of playing guitar and being a working musician I don't think I have ever learned a solo note for note nor do I think I have ever wanted to play a solo too much like the solo on the original recording. And that is not just in covers of popular tunes but in music I really dig such as "Marquee Moon" by Television, Marc Ribot's solo in Tom Waits's "Jockey Full of Bourbon", possibly my most favorite guitar playing of all time, and some of Dancing In Your Head by Ornette Coleman's Prime Time. But I have learned stuff from all the cats I dig. And when playing covers of popular tunes I play some instrumental parts, played on my instrument or other instruments, note for note or close enough that it sort of sounds around about like the original recording. But imitating something somebody else did has never really been a part of why I play guitar. Though when it is one of those tunes that I have heard many times, intentionally or not, I sometimes quote parts of solos from the same tune or similar sounding tunes. I realized somewhat recently that one of the licks I play when playing "Rambling Man" by the Allman Brothers Band is a quote from "Mainstreet" by Bob Seger. That particular line also works in "Knockin On Heaven's Door".
I don't remember exactly how I approached playing solos in my more distant music playing past. But mostly I just play what I want to hear there. I have done a lot of drilling from books like The Serious Jazz Practice Book by Barry Finnerty and I have listened to a very wide variety of music to help me play the stuff I hear in my head. Sometimes I think about what I am going to play while I am playing it. Other times I like to see where my fingers take me. And sometimes it is a combination of my mind leading and my fingers leading. Occasionally I will imagine that the tune I am playing is another version of "Jockey Full Of Bourbon" and play what I imagine Marc Ribot would play if he was playing that tune instead of "Jockey Full Of Bourbon" on the Rain Dogs sessions. I will flat some fifths, add some chromaticism, and phrase and attack in a somewhat Ribotian fashion. Sometimes I add a weird dissonant note and let it ring for a little bit like Bill Frisell does sometimes.
When playing the country musics I sometimes put some jazz in there like western swing players and folks like Leon Rhodes and Willie Nelson do. When I am playing blues I often pick with my fingers because it makes me play a certain way. Every now and then I will play a one note solo with some rhythmic variation. When I want to deprettify something I will flat some fifths. When I play a note that I think sounds too pretty I might play another note that is a lowered fifth above or below it. Sometimes I play as much dissonance as I think I can get away with. Sometimes when I feel like it I will attempt to play like I don't know what I am doing but end it with something that displays that I definitely know what I am doing.
But no matter what I am playing I put some fire in it. My main soloing goal is to not play boring solos. Though that doesn't necessarily mean that I am going to play some fast "look at me" stuff. Though sometimes I try seeing if I can pull off some flurries of dissonance. Mostly though I try to channel my inner dark lords. I try to get some unexpected scary stuff in there. Eventually if I keep practicing, which I probably will, I want to be able to play stuff that makes folks scratch themselves.
I have certain elements of solos that go in the song regularly, but for the most part it's stream of consciousness.
Some of the shorter solos I stay very close to the original, if not copy, but some of the longer ones I only play the memorable phrase/signature notes and in-between I wing it.
I try to create a beginning, middle and ending in solos and along try things to build tension. I try to avoid box scale licks if I can and play to the chords. Talking cover tunes here.
It's a mix. If I'm playing a cover I tend to hit the signature parts and cop the overall vibe with improve. Original stuff is a product of winging it and refining it into a set part, but I still improvise a lot.
Me, too! I grew up in a house where Dad was a jazz guy so the ability to improvise was highly valued. BTW, this was also true of cadenzas in classical music concertos until the ability to improvise dissipated over time.
The Grateful Dead
I improvise on songs like Feeling Alright, All Along the Watchtower and many others on our set list - but many others songs require me to play it like the record, Those ones that lend themselves to improvise, I do and love doing it! it is probably about 50-50 for me, as the other guitarist plays many of the solos, mostly note for note like the record.
It’s a mix for me. Often I will have a “just in case” backup, but when I’m feeling it may go another way, or if by accident the band is playing the song at a different speed (and the worked out part won’t work as well)
But also often as you (OP) said, have a beginning, end, and maybe some things i happened on and thought “that works nice there, gotta remember that” but not a whole solo usually. I also like being in the moment.
Wing it... except for certain songs (e.g. Blue Sky, Peg, Kid Charlemagne) where I consciously learned the solo as a kid and can't do anything else. And when I try to argue with muscle memory, I lose.
unless you are copying a part, "winging it" is the very definition of taking a solo...i'm aware that not everyone can "create" something good in the moment, but if you have that ability - let 'er rip, baby