Crafting Solos

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by fenderbender4, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    I was wondering what tips you guys had on creating well put together solos both unimprovised and improvised. I know the pentatonic shapes and keep getting stuck in those.
     
  2. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    Try singing something. Your voice probably doesn't know the boxes like your fingers do. Sing what you want to hear, then play it on your guitar.
     
  3. cameron

    cameron Member

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    Try to play like a horn player or a singer. They have to breathe at some point. Breathe.
     
  4. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    I am familiar with modes (vaguely) I know that they are related to the Ionian scale, but differ by the root note and therefore the feel of them and what chords you play underneath them. I know there are also countless other scales (like the Chinese, Arabian, stuff that doesn't have an official name but just called that). When I play (improv) I find there are a set of notes (don't know which ones) that sound really good and others that I could more or less not care too much about.

    Thanks for all of the advice so far.
     
  5. recordmusic

    recordmusic Member

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    Learning to Play the vocal melody on guitar has done much for my soloing ability. I think often, we (at least I) try to play too many notes and fill to much space.
     
  6. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    While studying more is a great idea, that should not prevent you from starting to solo now, right now!

    So much of this process is mental, my advice will be crude but here goes...

    Stop thinking so much, play from your balls and guts and and go for it!
    Make the best with what you have right now, put all those negative thoughts out of your head and wail!
    The sooner you start practicing this the better and better you will be, once you start learning more it will only be compounded. However, do not wait to start to develope this ability, take Angus Young as an example, you think he has a lot more then a few pentatonics?

    I have a few worked out solos that I play wit the band, but they all came together in rehearsal through improv. For me, some tunes call for a worked out solo, some do not, it all depends.
     
  7. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Listen to people who when they play actually sound like they are saying something. A guy who really impresses me and who gets blasted is Neil Schon of Journey. This guy knows how to create a hook and build on it. His phrasing usually follows two to four beats or bars, I never hear him meander into areas where it would take the tune down. There are lots of guys like him but for a rock guy he does it quite well.

    Listen to the time the players possess not the notes, after all we are all playing the same 12 notes or less depending on the tune.
     
  8. sinner

    sinner Member

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    If you are able to record yourself play, that will also help. In fact I think it's very important so if you don't have a recorder, get one. Even a cheap cassette deck will do. Record yourself just playing around with the ideas you have. Listen back and critique yourself. You'll know when you amaze yourself and when you blew it. Make corrections where needed.

    Try just to play, messing around with the scales and shapes you know and also try out the new ones you are just learning. Try to get in those new, less familiar ones, to get them into your playing. Then rewind the tape and have a listen. You'll be able to hear what you need to do to improve your phrasing, intonation just by listening to the tape. You'll also surprise yourself now and again with the joys of some great playing, done from the heart without trying. This is good--you need both to reward yourself and pat yourself on the back once in a while so you don't get too depressed with the hard work. Have fun!
     
  9. recordmusic

    recordmusic Member

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    Another thing I do. Take a chord progression such as

    D, A, Bm, G You could have someone play it, or record it for a couple minutes or play to a song. "With or without You" by U2 just repeats this progression.

    Then take four notes. Such as E, F#, G, A (9, 11, 12, 14 on G string)

    Take each note, one at a time, and play them through the whole progression. You will see a lot of tension and release just by holding the same note and letting the chords move around you.

    For instance, just hammering on F# for the first three chords (D, A, Bm) and then moving up a half step to G (over G) sounds great and it's easy. Just throw some emotion into it.

    Next, Find all of the different ways to "put them together".

    Once you have that really down, start to move outside of those four notes.

    Now, you have your own "bag of tricks" for that progression. Even if the progression is in a different key, just move your four notes to match.

    People seem to like my soloing (at least that's what they tell me). But believe me, If I was around a bunch of shredder types, I couldn't do anything that they do.

    Simple and singable

    Good Luck
     
  10. yZe

    yZe Senior Member

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    First and foremost you should be able to play the vocal melody of the entire tune in every possible spot on the fretboard and in as many octave ranges as possible

    THEN

    Use what you have and can do and understand then apply the structure which Wes Montgomery used:


    Start out w/some single note melodic soling based on the vocal melody and establish a motive

    Segue one of those lines and start playing some octave slides and build some rhythmic ideas while still riding the melody w/the octaves

    Then build some rhythmic tension w some 2 to 3 note chordal ideas on the thin strings and build it to the end of your solo w/those chords

    This structure works regardless if you play jazz, death Metal, or blues
     
  11. beePee

    beePee Member

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    The technical and mechanical advice that’s been given is very good and will definitely help out...however I think improvising is beyond the page(theory fretboard knowledge) and is closer to the advice about singing melodies. Craft is the groundwork and the matainence… not the thing itself.

    If you have decent singing pitch but don't sound like a "real" singer that's one of the clues...it’s not terribly difficult to sing the right notes..Making them “sing” is what’s difficult. Most singers don't understand the technical music theory behind what they are doing...and probably to a certain extent(if at all) the mechanical either.Good musicians “get” the notes.

    I call it playing the inside of the notes….it's more important how you play the notes. Good sounding singers have a way of making the notes connect to our emotions. On the guitar(or any instrument) it's the billion ways to interpret mechanical aspects but not mechanics for mechanics sake.

    slides,HO, PO,bends,vibrato,attack,etc... combined with rhythm and note choices. Knowing mechanical and technical aspect are only the hammer and nails to build the house….it's a fine line...and very difficult to do well.

    The jazz guys would say it's swinging.....The nuances are the most difficult and overlooked aspect to music. because you can't think about it at all when you are doing it. you just do it by intuition...some have very good intuition and work at it.......sadly most do neither.:dude

    bp
     
  12. Damon

    Damon Member

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  13. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    This is the most interesting thread. Some great ideas here. No matter what you know or don't know, the ability to comment (solo) coherently is one mysterious process. I know some of my own themes and touchpoints (positional, structural thinking, moving shapes around being one), but it really does not explain some of the stuff that pops out when the spirit moves.

    Whatever else you do, these things may help. They help me:
    • Listen voraciously, especially to horn, organ, voice, and to rthym sections.
    • Concentrate on the groove. Forget soloing if that's what it takes to get more comfortable supporting the melody and groove. If you're deep inside the groove, solos pretty much take care of themselves.
    • Play with others as much as possible, and tape the live stuff.
     

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