Im writing a solo at the minute for one of our band's songs and im just running out of ideas of what to do. because all i basically do in it is run up and down some scales with a few slide, bends, vibratos, tremolo picking and even a bit of finger tapping but to be honest it doesnt sound to good what shall i do?
thanks for your help
Great example of why knowing theory doesn't make you a soloist. Lots of people think that if they learn theory, they'll magically know how to apply it - it's like learning words from another language and thinking that just because you know them, you can properly form a sentence.

Keep trying until you find a piece that fits, build off the first couple bars. Just use your ear/heart along with the theory - you gotta have both or it sounds contrived and stilted.
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...got an example of the song? cuz we can propose doing random arpeggios or doing a few licks in A blues minor but if it don't fit it don't fit.

Also, thought bout doing like a slow melody type solo? (kinda like hammett did in hero of the day, metallica if you don't know the band )

also, faster doesn't mean better, sometimes the best aproach is simple and slow, might not make it a real solo but if it sounds better it's all good, plus it gives you a base to build on if you wanna improve it.
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Last edited by Slicer666 at Mar 26, 2009,
Make sweeping patterns over the chord progression
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trying mixing more scales together. or playing in modes.
as a lead guitarist for my band, i know how bad it sucks haha
for tapping try to either do more then one finger taps or tap then slide the tapped note.
or sweep pick haha its hard but it always sounds good
erm. i cnt think of any:/it just uses heavy distortion using power chords. descending on power chords on the e string root. 12th fret(E)(1 bar),10fret(D)(1bar),8fret(C)(1bar), 3fret(G)(half a bar),0fret(E)(half a bar). on a tempo of around 150bpm. and its repeated 4 times whilst i solo.
is it happy or sad ish? or what do you want it to be?

(this is where you choose scale, the progression you showed could be like 20 different scales)
Quote by Demonikk
'Practice amp' = amp you practice with? In my case, Peavey 6505+ and 4x12
I don't do things small

Except children.
Heres how i generally create solos :

- I forget that im a guitarist

- I forget about scales and patterns

- I put aside any idea of trying to be clever or flashy

- I either hum something interesting, or i make it up in my head as i listen to the song

- I keep doing that until i have some nice ideas that sound good and that id like to play

- I play them, and i play around with any ideas and variations that come to mind. If no variations come to mind, it doesnt matter

- Gradually the basic shape and arrangement of a solo begins to form

- I have fun with it, and i listen to the lyrics

- Over time, it evolves and gets more interesting. For example, I might have a four bar section that goes a certain way, and then i might repeat it but with a slight variation

In other words, i do it like a musician, not a technician, or a guitarist. The technical side is there to serve me, not the other way around. Im the composer, the artist, the creator, and i focus on creating something good. The guitar, my fingers, scales, patterns etc are all there to follow what i want. I dont compose "by numbers", i concentrate on creating catchy and expressive melodies. If i need to be clever or flashy ill do it as much as im capable of doing it, if i cant quite manage it ill do whatever i can to get the message across, and if theres no need to be flashy then theres no need.

Playing around with scales and patterns is not my priority. When people talk, they talk, they dont think about the alphabet, or nouns, verbs or adjectives. They are all tools that allow them to talk, but they just get on with it. So when i write solos i do it as a composer. Messing around randomly with technicalities in the hope of finding something good might result in a good solo, but why bother having that approach as a priority? If youre stuck for ideas then yes, play with scales and patterns and arpeggios until you think "aha, i like that" and then play with it creatively, but dont rely on exercises to compose for you. Use them sparingly to treat writers block by all means, but if youre going to write a solo, write a solo.

If you have trouble thinking this way then you need to start programming yourself to think like a composer, and get in touch with that. Think childishly, be playful, muck around with ideas just for the hell of it. Anyone can whistle or hum, and even non guitarists with a muical ear can compose great solos, so practise that, then play what youve just hummed.

I could go on and on but im sure you get the idea.
Last edited by leafarmusic at Mar 26, 2009,
just keep writing a bunch of solos. eventually they will sound better.
best quote ever: "it's not the notes that count during a solo, it's the space between the notes". but yeah, try to slow it down and add some rests (and it's never bad to repeat a lick for impact)
Quote by tearsofmyguitar
Make sweeping patterns over the chord progression

What he said.

Seriously though, if you don't know how to sweep or it doesn't fit your playing style, get a friend who can play guitar and play the song together, then when the section comes up that you need to solo just go with the flow man, screw writing solos, play from the heart and have a tape recorder handy. There are times where you write solos and there are times when you just play them and let the fingers do the thinking. If one doesn't work the other def. will, so writing didn't work for you? Try my method.
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Last edited by cptazad at Mar 28, 2009,
You could play the melody of the chorus, and then branch off.
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Personally, I'd go for jamming it out with your band. Trying different ideas until a particular part fits. In one of my old bands, we had this song that the drummer had written. He'd done a primitive solo, but I changed it to what fitted better for me to play. I started with a massive pick scrape up the Low E and then had a wah freak out. When its written out like that it sounds awful, but it was pretty awesome, if i do say so myself haha.

So, what i'm getting at is basically jam it out then try different techniques and sounds over it. Also remember, Less is More. Don't always use every technique you know. Just because you CAN doesnt mean you SHOULD.

Most importantly, in my opinion, is that the solo should sound natural. If you start off with one written down, it's likely to sound really robotic as you've pretty much learnt it. For me, the best solos are ones with a basic sound structure but with improvising in it. For example, Comfortably Numb. Listen to the live versions. Yes, you have the main solo in it, but theres lots of improv. throughout it (especially the Pulse version!).

I've kinda rambled there, sorry. Hope you can follow it.

think about music instead. think about a nice simple melody, then begin to embelish it.
EDIT: also, think about where your chord tones and tensions are falling rhythmically. Think about syncopation if you want to add rhythmic tension and think of where the best time to put melodic/harmonic tension is (generally on the V or V7 chord).
is it ok if i use one note outside of the scale im using. im only doing this because it sounds better than the note that fits the scale?
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is it ok if i use one note outside of the scale im using. im only doing this because it sounds better than the note that fits the scale?

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