How do you write your solos?


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Guitar Guy21
06-15-2005, 10:00 PM
Hi everyone. I want to know how you write your solos. Do you just take a scale and just play notes from it or do you get ideas in your head.


06-15-2005, 10:04 PM
i dont often use scales to write solos (sure i do sometimes) but not alot i just find the root not and improv intill i think it sounds good.

06-15-2005, 10:05 PM
usually i take a scale, or a key, and then just play around with it and see if i get some ideas that i like.

06-15-2005, 10:05 PM

i either take a scale in key with the song n jack around with it

or i find the note progression on a different area of the guitar (preferably higher) and dick around with that a bit

for shredding........just do it lol

06-15-2005, 10:06 PM
everytime anyone ask me this my response is the same-pentatonics, pentatonics......and maybe some....o wait i forgot to mention pentatonics.

Guitar Guy21
06-15-2005, 10:07 PM
thx for the replies

06-15-2005, 10:07 PM
I personally never play the same solo twice in a song. Its all just improv. for me. If I wanted to write one that I would use all the time (boring!) I would take a scale, say, A minor pentatonic or something (yeah, I know, its over used) and just play around with the notes until I found something I liked.

06-15-2005, 10:08 PM
im not sure if this is what you are asking but i usually listen to the rythym track that i have recorded and improv some solos over that. i figure out which one sounds the best, keep practicing till it sounds good then record it. hope that kinda helped. i always use scales with slight variation

06-15-2005, 10:08 PM
I just go with key's and stuff like lots of other ppl said but my bassist says that singing it first is a good idea

06-15-2005, 10:11 PM
go with scales out of different keys, both major and minor scales, throw some arpeggios in there, and the pentatonic always sounds cool. i improv and mess around with those, throw them together and i have a solo. woo hoo

06-15-2005, 10:13 PM
on the fly

06-15-2005, 10:19 PM
on the fly, everytime. Usually, I find a chord I really like, then build a riff around it, then build a song which revolves around the riff and the mood. "Lenny" defines my entire style.

06-15-2005, 10:44 PM
I like to use harmonic minor scales a lot for solos.. I also like to use unison bends and octaves in my solos.. maybe some double-stop old 50s rock style stuff thrown in there as well.. whatever comes to mind

Homer Gibson
06-16-2005, 02:31 AM
i play the notes in my head, sord of come up with a beat, then convert it to guitar, and improvise. this is the same thing i do with riffs too

06-16-2005, 03:28 AM
I improvise a solo in my head, which may or may not be technically possible for me to play, and then I try to remember it and write it down, and learn it.

06-16-2005, 05:47 AM
i always just do it improv, ye get better at it that way. i suppose ye can just play the pentatonic..over and over and over and over...but that SOUNDS SH*t! ye have to play over the chord changes, play the scale of each chord when its playin, its pretty easy, ye just have to learn your scales all over the neck. jazz is the bast way to learn to solo,cos most of it is soloin an ye learn all about chord changes an stuff.

Captain Colon
06-16-2005, 08:40 AM
I don't write solos :)

06-16-2005, 08:58 AM
i either improvise 100%, or i have a few phrases i really like and work with....

I use scales, but i also have a vague idea when to pop out of key and sound good (though i screw that up occasionally as almost everyone does) and i tend to try and use a few techniques, i dont like to do a solo with lots of sweeping mixed with more conventional playing, i cant quite get the techniques to blend yet. Oh, but i will, with the almighty lord of guitar skills - practice!

06-16-2005, 09:05 PM
what i use is scales and pentantonics and blues, but when i just wanna create something fast, loose, but with a rythm, i go with good ol' chromatic, but i mostly use scales or minor pentatonics, every now and then major, anymore help , you know where i am

06-16-2005, 09:26 PM
when writing a solo that i am going to use for a recording, i try to hear it first in my head and then try to play it on my guitar. i like to work out some sense of direction before i start, and then i go through it slowly on the guitar and write down sections i like. usually i end up with a beginning and an end that are pretty much set up note for note. and i also figure out when i want to move positions and change modes and such stuff. then i improvise filler sections that follow the guidelines i have set for myself. rarely do i ever write out an entire solo note for note, but i like to have at least some idea of where i am going.

now, if you want to know how i do solos in most of my songs, i just pick a couple scale positions and wing it. but i know where my root is and what interval i am moving most of the time, so i feel like i have some sense of direction anyway. and winging it is fun, especially when you are by yourself and can solo for as long as you want before going back into the song. :)

06-17-2005, 02:28 AM
improvise till it sounds good......

sixteen times
06-17-2005, 10:21 AM
Originally posted by Guitar Guy21
How do you write your solos?

I dont, I improvise- it's much easier, and in some respects, better.


06-17-2005, 11:04 AM
I improvise when i feel like it. But when it comes to a recording, i usually think hard. That's because improvising for too long can make your playing stale. I use any scale, but mostly restricted to the most basic major modes, melodic, harmonic minor.

06-17-2005, 09:49 PM
i use alot of stuff...

mainly i think about my target notes... and i choose a melodic passage to get from one tone, to the next to hit a chord well... when i chose my note, i usually either pick the root of the chord, or its 3rd... occasionally i use a 7th, as i think it sounds bad-ass...

basically to solo, you need to have dicked around with your scales enough to know how to make something sound melodic...

a couple other things i do are harmonics, generally i make them harmonize some chord tone.... and FR abuse... WOOO FR abuse... love it.

06-17-2005, 10:03 PM
i agree with jof1029, i listen to what i wish the solo could be, fool around with the major pentatonic scale and try to figure out whats in my head

i also try to go around the guitar, an octive higher, or lower for the solo, and usually +3 -3 frets up to help harmonize the solo to the rythem

06-17-2005, 10:05 PM
and yeah thats true, I just improvise, its too much time trying to 'write' one

06-18-2005, 08:30 AM
Just improvise till i get something good as someone said above, but seeing as I'm the only guitarist in my band I have to work around that somehow. I.e. using double stops, soloing at the start of the song etc. Just so it doesnt sound as thin as going from full on chords to lead would sound. If that makes sense.

06-18-2005, 08:33 AM
C'mon's a SOLO. You do it by yourself and don't ask other people for help. j/k

Sadistic sponge
06-18-2005, 10:00 AM
If i'm writing a solo that needs to play somthing, first i come up with a hook, which usually ends up being the beginning-the rest of the solo can just be filler stuff if you want.
Youve got to remember two things though-The rhytm controls you, not the other way around. And two-STAY IN KEY. A few chromatic notes are ok at times, but all the time is a huge huge huge mistake until you have the experience to know how to use chromatics effectively

06-18-2005, 02:34 PM
It seems that almost all of my solos are based on a theme then a repitition of the theme with variations. I don't plan on doing that every time, but it just sounds good to me. It's also nice for hte listener to have a theme or something to grab on to.

06-18-2005, 03:01 PM
You have to feel it man. You have to be with the other musicians and you have to feel it in your bones, the mood, the melodies, the all has to be put into consideration, then you use your head to think, you figure out the key so you don't sound off pitch then let the fingers rip...thats how i do it anyways.

06-18-2005, 05:39 PM
Pentatonics kinda get really old.....for me. How do u guys use pentatonics?

06-19-2005, 01:11 PM
I usually just fuck around until I come up with something that I like. It's not really a drawn out process.

06-20-2005, 06:25 AM
Originally posted by disuse_PUNK
Pentatonics kinda get really old.....for me. How do u guys use pentatonics? Pentatonic substitution :). I rarely use pentatonics in the key they're meant to be in.

Writing freezedried solos can be stale and uninteresting (one of the reasons I think Steve Vai is a bit of a dick). Planning the [i]structure of a solo is ok, but note for might as well right a middle-eight and be done with it.

06-20-2005, 06:29 AM
How does that make him a dick? Just out of curiousity....

You do realize, at some point, the 'structure' and intended feel of a solo can get so complex that improvising something for it is kind of on the psychotic side?

Vai's not just shredding out scales when he plays either.

06-20-2005, 06:41 AM
^^Hmmm..., yes, I get your point, it's just that I really don't like it when people write out a solo note for note, and then play it, pretending they've improvd it on the spot.

There's nothing wrong with planning a few licks and runs to get you from A to B, but having the bulk of a solo planned so that you can play it without thinking - it turns me off. There's just something about passionate improvisation, something firey, something stinking. It can't be beaten.

There's no such thing as a structure being too complex. If the soloist knows the song well enough, any structure can be improvd over, complexity adds to the thrill. Anyway, I like psychotic solos...

As for my comments about Vai, that's just jealousy.

Captain Colon
06-20-2005, 07:31 AM
^ Sounds like you'd like tony macalpine's keyboard solo from vai's show at the astoria :p: 100% improvised, but it really doesn't sound like it at all

06-20-2005, 12:10 PM
record the backing and improvise over it many times and record all of them, and learn that recording (it's easy because you roughly know it)

^ punkarse, yeah it gives me a buzz to change the solo to part improvisation in front of an audience.

power freak
06-20-2005, 02:20 PM
It depends on the song really. Most of the time I just improvise, but if the song needs some sort of structure I might write it and remember it.

To actually write it I've started to get more into "trad jazz" tendencies and disect every chord and think what notes will and won't sound good over it. I normally also throw in some "Coltrane-isms" just because he's the master. :p:

06-20-2005, 04:04 PM
Originally posted by Captain Colon
^ Sounds like you'd like tony macalpine's keyboard solo from vai's show at the astoria :p: 100% improvised, but it really doesn't sound like it at all Really? :down: :eek: :down:

Quite a great musical moment!

-SD :dance:

guitar guy 6006
06-20-2005, 09:26 PM
solos usually turn out best for me at least when i make them up as i go, and you just have to know how the song goes what key its in etc. but just try to solo over songs and stuff like whe nthe songs playing idk just practice improv it will improve ur solos in the long run

06-20-2005, 11:57 PM
i leave the solos up to my saxophonist...he's good.

Guitar Guy21
06-21-2005, 11:10 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone

Bubonic Chronic
06-22-2005, 09:50 AM
You have to develop themes.

I like to think in terms of solo sections, and try to make each section as strong as possible.

Say I'm going to set up a solo like this:

Pentatonic blues - minor 7th arpeggio - jazzy octaves

I'll "write" the solo in terms of knowing when each of those motifs is going to happen, but then I just improv the individual sections within that motif structure.

I try to get a really strong, sick blues thing going, a really slick, slidey approach to the arpeggio and then a really smooth octave jazz thing.

In other words, don't think it notes. Think in terms of expression. How could that blues part be stronger? Those are the questions I ask myself.

06-27-2005, 11:50 AM
I think up the solo in my head, let it bake for a couple of days, pick up the guitar and have a go. You really shouldn't force it, just play what sounds good and works.

06-27-2005, 04:30 PM
i start with little licks or frazes,..then i put them in the order i want them, then i put in bens and other stuff, then i try to move somewhere els on the neck, and then play a bunch of fast stufffrom one end of the neck to the other, maby do some tapping, and do some more frazes or licks

it depends on also where you can just play what you hear in your head,..i cant do that yet other wise id have writen thousands of kick ass solos, i think we all would have

06-27-2005, 05:25 PM
I usually have the scale or key predetermined before I solo. I then doodle around on the fretboard trying to get ideas. However when I perform, I don't always use the exact same solo that I practiced with, except some parts of the solo which kinda gives it an 'identity' so I know where to go at.

ak Gitaroo Man
06-28-2005, 02:56 AM
i record a backing track on a small tape recorder then play it to myself over and over while humming ideas for a solo. then i play what i thought up humming on the guitar.

06-28-2005, 09:32 PM
Improvisation is where it's at in my opinion.

06-28-2005, 10:51 PM
As I'm a crappy guitarist, I usually just play the chorus or the main riff over in a very solo-ish way. Sometimes, when I'm feeling special, I actually think of something, and it's usually blues-ish.

06-28-2005, 11:02 PM
well i use the penatonic major scale, for me and other guitarist i know best kind of scale to make solos

06-29-2005, 10:50 PM
Just make stuff up and have i little fun, but always use a different pattern.

mmm... ice
06-30-2005, 10:18 AM
I personally think it has to go smoothly from song to solo so if you're playing an E I wouldn't go down to the very bottom of the guitar and start the solo you have to work you're way down.