Creating Emotional Solos

How to create solos from your heart to connect with the Listenners' Deep soul, like other famous musicians do.

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Introduction

Ever watched a lead guitarist blazing through a guitar solo, and wonder exactly how they do that? Beginner guitarists ask this sort of question all the time - they wonder how they figure out which notes sound right before they play them. In this article I'll show you how to create that same kind of solo that inspired you to play guitar.

Emotional Solos?

Well, emotional solos doesn't mean you're listening to a Nirvana solo, or an AC DC solo, etc..., it means you're really feeling it, from your guts down to your soul.

Some examples:

  • Guns N' Roses - November Rain
  • Pink Floyd - Time
  • Aerosmith - Livin' On The Edge
  • Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
  • Metallica - Unforgiven
  • Ozzy Osbourne - Mama, I'm Coming Home
  • Velvet Revolver - You Got No Right/ Loving The Alien

    Anyway, hope you got the picture. There are lots of other songs which have that kind of solo which takes you to a place deep into your soul and you can't exactly explain if it's higher... In this Article you'll find differences, and how to make that special kind of solo. Just wait and see.

    Before Creating The Solo

    You know, before creating the solo... you need to have a purpose, you need to have a special feeling about somebody or something whether it's Fear, Anger, Love, Sadness, Happiness, etc... they're all important, but you need to pick one important subject which you really care about. So how's this suppose to be important in creating a solo, there are no lyrics, you say? Well...

    The solo in a song is basically a missing emotional verse which takes place the guitar instead of vocals. So, the solo must react with the same mood the structure, lyrics and mood are in the song. You can't start a happy-feeling-solo while you're playing a sad-desperate kind of song... be creative, but match the mood.

    In the beginning, before creating the solo, you need to listen to the song over and over again until you get a clear picture of the song, then it's time to hum the solo.

    Structuring The Solo

    Humming the solo before anything is most important. Nothing can match the most incredible feeling than yourself humming from your mouth, so get your tape recorder or any recording device and start humming that missing solo piece, try to figure out which is best to put, and mix parts with others, until you construct the best melody with your humming.

    Now, the melody must be nice, but not so long, the best to put it is this way, "Short, simple and sweet" so don't try to complicate the solo so that no one will be able to play it, or you want to play a long solo because Pink Floyd do so. Let me tell you one thing, Pink Floyd have been experimenting with solos for decades so don't try to be them, it's better to do 2 Short Sweet Solos than a Long Boring one.

    When creating the melody of your solo while humming try to be with the song, like there's a missing verse, but you're feeling it instead. Along the way, you should make a melody that makes sense, for example: If you're talking to a friend about horses and while you're talking you change the subject about Birds. I mean, you've got to keep the subject there, I know solos aren't spoken but you need to imagine you're talking in that moment, it's like there's another verse played with the Guitar instead of sung.

    Creating Your Solo

    Before getting any far you should always remember to stick to the basics, basics are the most important; putting what you have learned together will make it easier for you to make this solo.

    Blues Scales, pentatonics, modes, arpeggios, scales... are all important to the solo, use whatever you're comfortable with most. Using some passing notes along the way are good too, whatever you're comfortable with is good to use, and in the end it will result as "the best you can give" until you get better. The best way to make a solo with no doubts is to give everything you know, learned and the most you can give, this will show your capability too.

    Now, that you got everything in place, you should start to convert your hummed melody into your guitar playing, this involver ear training too, if you're not into ear training and have no experience with ear training you will find it harder to convert it. There are articles regarding this subject on this site.

    Step-By-Step

    01. Hum your melody, hum a phrase and try to make them match, try phrase by phrase until you've succeeded to the whole melody, and either remember the solo by heart or try to write it down; I suggest that you learn it by heart, because if you're really feeling the solo you should know it by heart and feel it to play it, you could also write it down until you've learned it all and then learn it afterwards.

    02. Recording every mistake, etc... will be useful in the future, because some things come just by mistake, so remember to record your mistakes, because you might find the best lick you've made by mistake, and forget it, so if you'll record it you can again try to do it.

    03. When you converted the melody into your guitar playing, begin to notice some phrases, for example if there's a bit where there's a note which needs to be held a bit longer, go for it, try it, and ask people for their advice, ask whether it's best that way or the other way.

    04. Bending, hammer-ons/ Pull-ofs, vibrato are some little tools which are useful and are almost always useable, try not to over do it, no one wants to hear the whole solo with vibratos only or hammer-ons, be creative and use some a bit where needed.

    05. After closing the solo you should record it and hear everyday for a week or so, until you're really satisfied, accept it and feel the same feeling you felt at the time you played it, closing and ending the solo takes time, so don't rush on the things.

    Closing Your Solo

    Your solo should have an ending to your verse ex. If you're making a melody, it should have an ending, it's like you're talking about something and saying bye for the end of the solo, and you must respect the guitar and feel it as if you're talking to someone with it. Feel the feeling, and play the feeling.

    When the solo is ready and you're satisfied and proud, say you're closing it, and that's how it is, don't try to change it in the future, because you won't have the same feeling next year as you had last week or when you did your solo. Others will respect the feeling you felt because you'll make them feel that same way you felt, without you or them even noticing, it's like something inside, remember, you're talking to someone else's soul.

    Conclusion

    Hope you liked this article, maybe next time I'll write something else regarding solos or something... Peace, cheers, Thanks,

    Lee.

  • 87 comments sorted by best / new / date

      richwatkinson
      Music can't contain emotion
      of course it can..just listen to Evanescence's My Immortal, or Gymnopedie No.1 by Erik Satie. even better.. Fucking Hostile by Pantera.. are you telling me theres no anger conveyed in that song?
      [Creative Name]
      Good article but I always improvise my solos. I hate memorizing solos, when I do I just feel like it isn't comming from inside of me and it is just a fabricated solo, not one with emotion.
      BrianApocalypse
      "if you're playing a sort of sad song with a happy solo it sounds completely retarded. the listener is feeling the song, and then all of the sudden, they're like "...wtf just happened? is this the same song?" Listen to Poison Heart - Ramones.
      info2new
      livefortoday wrote: Gabuydachk wrote: Music can't contain emotion. I didn't really care for the article, either. exactly. me neither. music "hitting you in the soul" is just because you find it beautiful and that has all to do with repetition and variation (except for the lyrics). and a pentatonic scale solo NEVER "hit me in the soul".[/quote] Well it's that you think that way, me and the people I know, say it like that, so leave other's opinions alone, pls, it's like your saying that i'm a buddha and you think something in my religion is fake, pls, i beleive it that way like 90% of earth think it that way, and you're one of the 10% sick bastarDs, goodluck pal.... sry for the mistake above
      info2new
      livefortoday wrote: [quote]Gabuydachk wrote: Music can't contain emotion. I didn't really care for the article, either.
      exactly. me neither. music "hitting you in the soul" is just because you find it beautiful and that has all to do with repetition and variation (except for the lyrics). and a pentatonic scale solo NEVER "hit me in the soul".[/quote] Well it's that you think that way, me and the people I know, say it like that, so leave other's opinions alone, pls, it's like your saying that i'm a buddha and you think something in my religion is fake, pls, i beleive it that way like 90% of earth think it that way, and you're one of the 10% sick bastarDs, goodluck pal....
      Darth Chridious
      I have read up on many lessons about soloing and how to find your own touch with your guitar but yours is the best out of them all! good job
      livefortoday
      Gabuydachk wrote: Music can't contain emotion. I didn't really care for the article, either.
      exactly. me neither. music "hitting you in the soul" is just because you find it beautiful and that has all to do with repetition and variation (except for the lyrics). and a pentatonic scale solo NEVER "hit me in the soul".
      JakoSnako
      in my opinion, the only thing music is is emotion, but its not the kind of emotion you can categorize and index it with, its just an unspoken thing that you know instantly that you feel
      lsw444
      [quote]pigglesworth wrote: The songs listed as example of emotional solos take THE AUTHOR to "A place deep within his sole", Sole? Of his foot? Like from the heart of his bottom? Pretty cool if that was an intentional smelling mistake. The other 'soul' you hear in soloing is "a place deep within his ars'ole"
      UnsignedRecords
      well that's a pretty stupid statement in general, 'music has no emotion'. music = expression = feelings = emotion dumbasses.
      flesh fries
      this was a really good article...helped me write solos a little better and to everyone saying that music doesnt contain emotion, you are wrong, when i write music, i base it on an event in my life, and how it affects me, seems pretty emotional to me
      guitar_doom
      Look,everyone that says solos or music can't have emotion is completley wrong. If music can,t have emotion then explain emo. Tis article was kick-ass and it helped me alot!!!
      The_Raven
      DONT LISTEN TO THE METALHEADS CRITICISING YOU! This is a great article, the Solo has a bit of your Soul in it awakening others emotions. Very good, I did a Solo after readin' this article and it was actually beut. Great job! Send me more solo lessons!
      Cobalt Blue
      I haven't heard (perhaps just not recently) all the songs you mentioned. but it sounds to me like like your aying only a slower solo can be emotional.
      farmergiley
      firstly. WTF?! to the people that say music doesnt contain emotion. when playing an improv solo u truly put emotion into it. u throw it all into it cos of the connection between the sound and urself. it is this emotion that has been thrown in which then moves to the listener giving them the same emotion that u put into it. people who dont put emotion into music r just soulless. and lastly id like to say that the saxophone is much better to throw emotion into than guitar.
      info2new
      lsw444 wrote: [quote]pigglesworth wrote: The songs listed as example of emotional solos take THE AUTHOR to "A place deep within his sole", Sole? Of his foot? Like from the heart of his bottom? Pretty cool if that was an intentional smelling mistake. The other 'soul' you hear in soloing is "a place deep within his ars'ole"
      I meant Soul, can i have a spelling mistake? What do you mean? do you agree that some music comes from within your soul? and I didn't mean i'm a buddha, neither buddhist, but it was just a figure of speach
      RRRone
      info2new wrote: it's like your saying that i'm a buddha and you think something in my religion is fake, pls, i beleive it that way like 90% of earth think it that way, and you're one of the 10% sick bastarDs, goodluck pal....
      u mean u are a 'buddhist' and not 'buddha'. i was wondering all this time why the heck were u callin yourself buddha. and that music=emotion thing seems completely true to me.
      rafinski
      i was reading these responses and i stopped halfway because what you guys are talking about is all bs. he said "emotional solos" not brainwashing the person into thinking what he wants. a good example of some emotional solos would be going back to old composers like bach, mozart and the like. i dont know about you, but i sort of regard their music as solos. each song gives me a different emotion, sometimes i feel like being alone, sometimes i feel like conducting or even air-pianoing. solos with no emotion are just there, and they dont make you feel anything at all, which is obviously not good. ANOTHER good example would be this article we're reading now. every person interpreted it differently, and we have different emotions about it. heh, i thought i was the only guy who hummed solos and recorded them... im not alone! i also find that the solos in my head are ALWAYS the perfect ones, everytime, the right emotion and everything... but sometimes there isnt enough time to capture it, and i never ever feel it again... to those people who think it doesnt work, it does, and it feels silly, but it usually happens to me while daydreaming and i catch people staring at me funny, so dont worry, your not alone
      Gundersmoot
      This guy doesn't know what the **** he's talking about. All it takes to make an emotional solo is a key, Minor or Major equals sad or happy. This guy is guitarded.
      DroptheBomb
      st.jimmy4091680 : ok good article but on this whats w/ sayin Ac/Dc has no emotion??
      im never sen really any kind of emotion in any acdc song, and ive lsiitn to them since 6th grade [junior now] emotion isnt a 10001 songs about sex drugs and rok'n'rool whihc is more less what they almsot always convey in their songs. even thought that ^ had nuthing to do with soloing. im not gonna begin to argue about anything to do with the guitar skills of angus young,just a waste of time cuz ive done it a 1000 times. -jinny-
      Arkyopterix
      I'm only capable of making emotional solos whilst improvising. Any written work just doesn't seem to convey correctly, so I'm forced to make a choice between technique or emotion. Stairway to Heaven may be famous, but not nearly as powerful as the No Quarter solo.
      goulde shaw
      By the way, AC/DC and Nirvana have emotional songs and solos. Keep in mind emotions don't only include being sad. It can include anger, fear, etc.
      goulde shaw
      Well you can't really tell how to create a solo or even a song. It's just something you either feel , and really you can't be taught that. You can be taught techniques to use, but actually writing the song, takes emotion. Still a good read...I guess.
      oddbod92
      I thought that this was a big help, and it makes a lot of sense really. If you thinks its bad, dont read it!! simple!
      AdamDK
      Fantastic Article. I just read this after I played an emotional solo lol. Everything you wrote is right. I ahve a tip; If you want to make it even more emotional, use a WahWah pedal at the right inetrval of the solo. If often do that when I go onto the high pitched E 18th fret bend, and it sounds cool, like a sort of crying sound, it just rings like "Waaaaah". Again, brilliant article.
      BrianApocalypse
      "You can't start a happy-feeling-solo while you're playing a sad-desperate kind of song" WRONG! good article though 8/10.
      Amroth
      Good Article! Speaking of emotional solos, i miss Estranged on that list... You got no right and Loving the alien though are what i call masterpieces. Just the ending of Contraband with Loving the alien is perfect.
      bass1991guitar
      Anyway if music gives you no pleasure what th f*** are you playing the guitar for?????
      Gabuydachk wrote: Music can't contain emotion. I didn't really care for the article, either.
      RippinRiffs
      Great f_cking artical. and everyone who says that music cant contain emotion is f_cking retarded. Thats all that music is, is emotion if you dont feel it, it sounds like sh_t.
      SP_NIRVANA
      Gabuydachk wrote: Music can't contain emotion. I didn't really care for the article, either.
      All I can say is...You are a f*cking retard. Music IS emotion. I hate dumbf*cks like you.
      scarfacesuit
      if you're playing a sort of sad song with a happy solo it sounds completely retarded. the listener is feeling the song, and then all of the sudden, they're like "...wtf just happened? is this the same song?" i liked this article as well. i never personally had thought of simply humming the solo before making it. i usually just mess around with sounds until i get it. i might try that though.
      peterocker
      10x another good article and i mean it, im not sayin this because i know u but true, i never made solos so this would be a help for the begining.
      BBMrule
      This article will work for some people and not for others but it's his point of view don't have a go at the bloke. I personally like the humming idea. Maybe some of the other things aren't right like not changing the solo at all but once again that is my personal opinion. Nice ideas.
      McClean05
      Great article Lee! i know what u mean by emotional solos! you ever hear RHCP's outro solo to Scar Tissue? amazing!!
      Resiliance
      richwatkinson wrote: Music can't contain emotion of course it can..just listen to Evanescence's My Immortal, or Gymnopedie No.1 by Erik Satie. even better.. Fucking Hostile by Pantera.. are you telling me theres no anger conveyed in that song?
      You say conveyed. Which means the listener interprets it as such. Which means the music TRIGGERS an emotion in the listener. It doesn't CONTAIN it. Which makes this whole topic VOID. Clear?
      info2new
      pigglesworth : The songs listed as example of emotional solos take THE AUTHOR to "A place deep within his sole", not everybody else. Whether or not a solo is "emotional" or not is entirely subjective and unique to every listener or player. As the person above me kind of said, emotions come from the brain/"heart" not an article on the internet.
      hey, ye, you've got a point but i'm just trying to give my points and show them how to make them, for example they can't make an emotional solo a big fUcken hard fast solo!! so i'm just giving basic ideas then it's up to them, i'm not saying anything special, just common sense ;
      Zoso68
      Gabuydachk wrote: Music can't contain emotion. I didn't really care for the article, either.
      speechless...