#1
Hey UG, well I have this problem concerning improvisation/soloing. I can play my minor/major pentatonics, and I can improvise on them, but somehow I can never get anything I play to sound like a solo, it sounds like what you might call the verse part of an instrumental, I simply can't get "the feel" of a solo into it. Also, if I try starting with a bend, I often find myself bending way too many times, and it sounds really ugly. Could anyone please help me out with a suggestion/advice/any exercises, etc?
I know it might be a slightly vague question, but I'm sure many of you can relate to it.

Thanks!
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#2
Hmm, Try doing some harmonies and tapping.
Dont stay in one scale to do solos.
Do some slides.
Do harmonies with the main riff during chorus or something.

Learn some of Metallicas solos, Best would probably be from Ride the Lighning.
Also, check out some Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi makes his solos sound real good and they arent all that fast.
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#3
yeah it's kinda vague so here's a vague answer...

A solo could be viewed as a short song within the song.
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#4
A very simple technique to add to you arsenal is some overbends like Jimmy page, or listen to some Jimi Hendrix to really get a solo that has feeling
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#5
1. Practice trying to play what you want to hear, just by figuring it out.

2. Listen to music, identify sounds you want to make, and learn what technique the guitarist uses to make said sounds. Rather than learn the individual lick for that song, learn the lick but be able to play it in any key.

3. Pay as much attention to what the band is playing as to what you are playing. Make sure you match up decently with what the band is playing.
#6
The best thing I can reccomend is to picture the perfect solo in your head, and try to play it.

It is not the total best thing to do if you don't know music theory well, but if you do, go right ahead, it will come naturally.
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#7
Thanks a lot for the responses guys, they're all really helpful, and I think I'm slowly getting a clearer idea about how exactly to about it.
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#8
Just a question here, how do you guys go about it? Do you make up a chord progression first, record it and then solo over it, does it just come on it's own when you're really in the mood/stroke of inspiration or do you improvise on a small riff/lick you made up, or even start with a single note, and see where it takes you?
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#9
The "verse" of an instrumental is generally based on some sort of vocal melody, even though lyrics are probably not written. However, vocal lines aren't typically fast and solos are. I'm not advocating mindless speed, but speed is pervasive in guitar solos. Try incorporating some faster licks into your solos.

Watch the Friedman video in my sig, too.
#10
bust out some..
slides
bends
double stops
dyads[two note chords]
hammer ons
pull offs
and solo in all the pentatonic boxs not just the first box.
if you do not know the other boxs then google...the 5 boxs of the pentatonic scale.
and practice this until you know them really good.
and hopefully this will help.
#11
Quote by bangoodcharlote
I'm not advocating mindless speed, but speed is pervasive in guitar solos. Try incorporating some faster licks into your solos.


just because whatever you listen to has fast solos it doesn't mean it's needed in order to make good solos.

phrasing is key, speed is just a byproduct of accuracy, so don't worry too much about it.
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#12
Work on melodies. You can't have a good solo that doesnt have an interesting melody. Dont worry about techniques like tapping/sweeping etc. You wont be able to use them well if your phrasing is no good.
#13
Really? Just slow solos? Dear God, even the "imotionz" in the playing of Hendrix are mixed with speedy passages. Manic Depression is slow? Voodoo Child is slow? Stevie Ray doesn't fly around the fretboard? Santana isn't wailing towards the end of Europa? Slash is playing slow Sweet Child O' Mine, no fast parts? Stairway to Heaven doesn't get fast towards the end?

Don't be ridiculous, guys; guitar solos are FAST. "Guitar solo" carries a connotation of speed. They're not always fast, but when any other instrument is used for a solo, the musician flails around like his organ of zuckerkandl is on fire. Bach was shredding in the 18th Century. Don't make asinine comments like, "Don't worry about speed in a guitar solo."

TS, what I'm about to say is purely to annoy these people, and despite me saying that the following is false, someone will call me out on it and I will laugh and then probably post something related to flux. Please ignore it and use your judgement and good taste when playing.

SPEED=EMOTION
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Feb 28, 2009,
#15
well what kind of music do you play? how often do you actually improvise? if you answer any less than "everytime i practice" then im not surprized. honestly, i improvise every single day and have been doing so for pretty much the whole time ive been playing guitar. every day i practice some patterns and sequences to build up my speed and accuracy but i also jam along to CD's or MP3's everyday. that or i just play. the only way to become a good improviser is to improvise and do it often. eventually, it will begin to actually sound like something.

yo see, 90% of improvising isnt actually improvising. when we improvise we are actually just using things we have done in the past but putting them all together in new ways on the spot. everyone has stock licks, phrases and runs that they use. and you get them by playing over and over again. eventually though you will be able to once in a while go beyond that and play things that you never played before. but even then, those things will be based on something else you've played before. so your mind and muscles have to repeat these things over and over so that they become like second nature. eventually, you will just know what to play and you will be able to play what you hear in your head. you will become so used to the notes that you will just know what to do.

so just keep playing and it will come. also, try learning licks from your favorite guitar players and then try make them your own.
#16
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Really? Just slow solos? Dear God, even the "imotionz" in the playing of Hendrix are mixed with speedy passages. Manic Depression is slow? Voodoo Child is slow? Stevie Ray doesn't fly around the fretboard? Santana isn't wailing towards the end of Europa? Slash is playing slow Sweet Child O' Mine, no fast parts? Stairway to Heaven doesn't get fast towards the end?


Are you having trouble reading? I said "so don't worry too much about it", which means that speed should not be the main aspect of his practicing routine.

Those guys didn't start by playing fast, or did they? think before you write.

A strong melodic foundation is needed to create interesting leads that can be speedup by the player at his discretion.

Quote by bangoodcharlote
Don't be ridiculous, guys; guitar solos are FAST. "Guitar solo" carries a connotation of speed. They're not always fast


Try not to contradict yourself too much...

Quote by bangoodcharlote
Bach was shredding in the 18th Century. Don't make asinine comments like, "Don't worry about speed in a guitar solo."


ok... reread what i said before.
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#17
I find that it helps if you have the raythm recorded while making up a solo. Solos w/ out something in the back can sound really dry and boring.
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#18
TS, I'm going to have to disagree with Bangoodcharlotte on this one. Speed is not needed for a solo, it is just one of many skills.
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#19
For a fast solo:
- throw some bends out
- have a fairly fast melody that you can move up the fretboard e.g. start on the 12th fret of the high e and move up towards the 17th (remember not to play it too many times or it gets dull)
- maybe a couple of arpeggios, again, fairly fast
- go up and down a scale with as much speed as you can manage (maybe go from your high e to your D string then back up again)
- do some whammy bar harmonics to finish up

Throw those kinds of things out in whatever order you please and connect em with bends or short fast runs (no more than around 6 notes).

That's what I usually do anyway.


For something slower:
- lots of vibrato
- maybe a little legato to keep things interesting
- whole thing should be very melodic
- I tend to keep slow solos short
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