Every single guitar player likes to play solos and they do most of the time. Even if you are a rhythm guitarist in a band, the chances are that you are mostly soloing while you practice. Solos are a great way to play the guitar. They sound amazing, they are like the songs within the songs, and it just feels awesome to play them.
Of course, not everyone is so great at soloing, but that’s something that can be easily changed with some proper practice. Even the amazing solo guitarists hit the creative wall sometimes. This is not so unusual thing.
Luckily, there are some tips that can help you improve your soloing and help you create better solos.
Know the scales
This is the number one thing when it comes to soloing. This doesn’t mean just knowing those scales and being able to reproduce them. It means that you need to know how each of those notes feels and how do they work with the chord progression of the song.
Soloing mean playing the scales backward and forward, inside and out, and in many different ways. If you don’t know the scales you won’t be able to do this. It would be like trying to make the sentence without knowing the words.
So, make sure that you use your practicing time for learning and practicing the scales. As you probably know, when you learn one scale, you can move it around your fretboard which will change the key of the scale. This means that you don’t have to learn too many scales. For example, if you learn one major scale, you’ve learned them all. The pattern is the same; all you have to do is change the key.
Pentatonic scales are probably the best scales for soloing because you can use them for most of the song no matter if they are minor or major.
So, you have to know the scales and you need to know which scales you can use over which chord progression. If the song is in, let’s say C major, you need to use some sort of the C major scale for your solo.
Steal some licks
When you learn some of the solos originally played by your favorite musicians, it is inevitable that some of those licks will come out when you create your own solos. And this is completely normal. So, don’t be afraid to learn solos from your favorite songs. Learn to play whatever you like.
When you learn some solos from your favorite songs, you will start imitating those guitar players. Their licks will become the part of you and your fingers will remember them. While you play or write or practice, these licks will come out in some way and you can’t really help it. This can happen even if you are just listening to those solos.
So, learn other people’s songs and steal their licks to put them in your songs. When you play those licks in a different key, in a different tempo, with a different feel it is going to sound original unless, of course, you steal 20 notes in a row.
Don’t be afraid to steal, everybody does this, even the greatest guitar players and rock legends.
Try not to overplay your solos
You see, when you speak to someone, you make pauses so your point can sink in and sometimes you speak ultra-fast because you are very excited about something. When it comes to soloing, you should do the same. Sometimes you are going to play hundreds of notes extremely fast and sometimes you are going to be quite soulful and play slowly and emotionally.
It’s better to slow down sometimes. Try bending a note and holding it as long as it will last, or play the same lick 10 times over in a row if that feels right to you.
Don’t overplay and try to give your solo some soul. Give some space to notes, use vibratos, use bending and enjoy the feeling. Sometimes you don’t have to play too much. Sometimes less is more.
Use your knowledge
When you learn a new technique or a new lick try to use it in your solos right away. It doesn’t matter if you learned this from your buddy or from Joe Satriani. Just try to put everything you learn in your solos immediately.
By doing this you will learn the technique or the lick much easier and you will make your solos richer, thus improve your soloing. By using your knowledge right away you make sure it becomes the part of your style. You might think that you forgot some technique if you don’t use it for some time, but when you try to use it again you will realize that you’ve still got it. This is because you started utilizing it right away.
Playing with a metronome can be really difficult at the beginning but it is very beneficial. If you start using metronome earlier in your learning process you will develop a much greater sense of rhythm and timing.
Of course, you shouldn’t get too stressed about this and you should start with the slower tempos. There is no need for great speed at the beginning. Just make sure that your playing is precise and your technique good.
The point of the metronome is to practice following the tempo, not to practice playing fast. The speed comes with time. Don’t even try to play fast. The proper technique is more about the proper fingering and precise playing.
So, basically, you have to realize that knowledge of the scales and licks and a proper technique are much more important than the speed. Sometimes you have to take it slow. Be soulful and try to feel the music. After all, the music is all about the feeling. Some of the greatest guitar players never played fast in their life. Instead, they focused more on the feel and proper technique.
I’m Alex Frank who has worked sound technology industry for 10 years now. Today, I am an affiliate blogger who likes to educate my audience more about sound technology. Visit musicinstrumentscenter.com to find all information about music that you need.