#1
Hey guys, lately I've become a bit frustrated with my lack of ability to write lead guitar / solos. I've been reading tons of articles + lessons on things like how to write solos, phrasing, etc, but it just feels like when ever i go to improvise a solo, im just running up and down certain parts of the scale. It doesn't sound creative at all and im in need of some help. I try mixing it up by playing random parts of the scale and it just sounds like ****. How do my guitar idols such as marty friedman write such beautiful music? Any help / tips are greatly appreciated.
#2
if your just doing pentatonics, try doing different modes and what not. Play from your heart too, feeling is everything.
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#3
you need to find a bunch of notes that sound nice together and make licks of them, then chain licks together by applying them all over around the scale and in between you run a little up and down, thats the basics of soloing, sort off.
im not a pro though others might have better advice xD
#4
'Fraid reading articles can't help you here. You just have to play more. Nothing but playing experience will help you come up with interesting melodies.
#5
Quote by The_lizard_king
if your just doing pentatonics, try doing different modes and what not. Play from your heart too, feeling is everything.


Thing is though, i start getting even more confused when i try to look into things like scales and modes. Maybe more music theory knowledge would help me? If so, where are some good places to start?
#7
Nothing to do with learning more scales and certainly not modes - the problem here is that you're not being creative enough. If you can't construct something you like from the simple pentatonic scale you're going to struggle even more if you start swamping yourself with even more raw knowledge, you need to learn to use what you already have.

You've said it yourself, you're just running up and down the scale so STOP DOING THAT! Playing the guitar does not start or end with moving your fingers, that's just the bit in the middle. Actually think about what it is you want to create in your head, if you can't quite visualise in your head then sing what you want to play, actually create something first before you try and play it on the guitar. And listen back to it to see if it sounds the way you want, and if it doesn't try and identify the specific bits that aren't working for you and see how you can change them. Bottom line is, if you can't create a solo in your head first and sing it back you will never be able to do it on the guitar...you've got far more control over your voice than you do over the guitar currently so it's a far easier instrument to work with, the sound is coming straight from you.

At the moment you're doing little more than mindlessly moving your fingers through patterns and hoping for the best, that's never going to work....you have got to start thinking and listening.
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#8
Quote by steven seagull
Nothing to do with learning more scales and certainly not modes - the problem here is that you're not being creative enough. If you can't construct something you like from the simple pentatonic scale you're going to struggle even more if you start swamping yourself with even more raw knowledge, you need to learn to use what you already have.

You've said it yourself, you're just running up and down the scale so STOP DOING THAT! Playing the guitar does not start or end with moving your fingers, that's just the bit in the middle. Actually think about what it is you want to create in your head, if you can't quite visualise in your head then sing what you want to play, actually create something first before you try and play it on the guitar. And listen back to it to see if it sounds the way you want, and if it doesn't try and identify the specific bits that aren't working for you and see how you can change them. Bottom line is, if you can't create a solo in your head first and sing it back you will never be able to do it on the guitar...you've got far more control over your voice than you do over the guitar currently so it's a far easier instrument to work with, the sound is coming straight from you.

At the moment you're doing little more than mindlessly moving your fingers through patterns and hoping for the best, that's never going to work....you have got to start thinking and listening.

Listen to this guy. And before you say it, it doesn't matter how well you can sing. All that really matters is that you're getting your brain moving faster than your fingers. Still sing it of course, but if it doesn't come out the way you hear it in your head, that's okay.
#9
Quote by steven seagull
Nothing to do with learning more scales and certainly not modes - the problem here is that you're not being creative enough. If you can't construct something you like from the simple pentatonic scale you're going to struggle even more if you start swamping yourself with even more raw knowledge, you need to learn to use what you already have.

You've said it yourself, you're just running up and down the scale so STOP DOING THAT! Playing the guitar does not start or end with moving your fingers, that's just the bit in the middle. Actually think about what it is you want to create in your head, if you can't quite visualise in your head then sing what you want to play, actually create something first before you try and play it on the guitar. And listen back to it to see if it sounds the way you want, and if it doesn't try and identify the specific bits that aren't working for you and see how you can change them. Bottom line is, if you can't create a solo in your head first and sing it back you will never be able to do it on the guitar...you've got far more control over your voice than you do over the guitar currently so it's a far easier instrument to work with, the sound is coming straight from you.

At the moment you're doing little more than mindlessly moving your fingers through patterns and hoping for the best, that's never going to work....you have got to start thinking and listening.


this
#10
Quote by steven seagull
Nothing to do with learning more scales and certainly not modes - the problem here is that you're not being creative enough. If you can't construct something you like from the simple pentatonic scale you're going to struggle even more if you start swamping yourself with even more raw knowledge, you need to learn to use what you already have.

You've said it yourself, you're just running up and down the scale so STOP DOING THAT! Playing the guitar does not start or end with moving your fingers, that's just the bit in the middle. Actually think about what it is you want to create in your head, if you can't quite visualise in your head then sing what you want to play, actually create something first before you try and play it on the guitar. And listen back to it to see if it sounds the way you want, and if it doesn't try and identify the specific bits that aren't working for you and see how you can change them. Bottom line is, if you can't create a solo in your head first and sing it back you will never be able to do it on the guitar...you've got far more control over your voice than you do over the guitar currently so it's a far easier instrument to work with, the sound is coming straight from you.

At the moment you're doing little more than mindlessly moving your fingers through patterns and hoping for the best, that's never going to work....you have got to start thinking and listening.


**** thats some deep stuff, but very helpful. You've pretty much help me sum up my improvising. I'm not quite sure how to make it sound like I mean the notes im playing, it just feels like random notes if you know what i mean. I cant seem to feel any emotion in my improvising, no matter how much I love the guitar and the music I love to jam to.
Last edited by Shredd3r at Jul 28, 2009,
#11
I improved my leads by instead going up and down the scales, I started making licks which were only based on three or four notes, that improved my soloing....

Favorite solos:

Comfortably Numb
Since I've Been Loving you
Wicked World
Mr. Crowley
Welcome To BucketheadLand
Perfect Crime
Lazy
Nightrain
The Lemon Song
#12
Try limiting yourself to just 2 or 3 notes, and just improvise wiht them for a bit - that way you can focus on your rhythm and phrasing without having to worry about what note comes next. When you're comfortable, start adding more notes into the mix.

Learn a bunch of other people's solos too, and work out what you like about them - what makes them good? And nick any licks you can adapt to use in your own playing
#13
Use Guitar Pro, you can write some cool riifs and solos using your theory knowledge without having to learn them decently to hear them.
And you can learn your own songs faster than other people's song.
Quote by AlanHB
Yeah well in special UG land chords = noob, scales = intermediate and modes = advanced. Most users are trying to finish the game on hard because then you get the trophies for noob and intermediate difficulties upon completion anyway.
#14
Also, with GP you can select fretboard view and see all the notes to know where they are.
Just write down the notes of the Major scale and match them up in different places, mix them etc. play with different rhythms and just stay in key
Quote by AlanHB
Yeah well in special UG land chords = noob, scales = intermediate and modes = advanced. Most users are trying to finish the game on hard because then you get the trophies for noob and intermediate difficulties upon completion anyway.
#15
Quote by Shredd3r
**** thats some deep stuff, but very helpful. You've pretty much help me sum up my improvising. I'm not quite sure how to make it sound like I mean the notes im playing, it just feels like random notes if you know what i mean. I cant seem to feel any emotion in my improvising, no matter how much I love the guitar and the music I love to jam to.

Don't worry about it, everybody start's off like that

You just need to slow down and set your expectations realistically - you're not going to be ripping out a blazing solo straight away but you should be able to piece together a simple melody. Don't underestimate the importance of simply listening to music either, everytime you hear something, whether it's a song you love, a tv theme, a pop song or an advertising jingle, really listen to it. Listen for the underlying harmony, maybe even listen for a guitar in there, and think to yourself "what would work over this?". Try to think of a melody that fits over it, or a harmony that fits with the existing melody. You can even just play around with what's there and see how you could modify or expand on it.

The trick is simply get yourself in the habit of thinking musically, so that when you hear a chord progression or bassline it immediately sparks you into listening for the possibilites it has to offer and how you can work with it. It takes time, but you'l be surprised at how quickly you'll start hearing things, your only problem is simply that you've never really tried to do it before - you've been looking for your answers in the wrong place, that's all.
Actually called Mark!

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#16
The thing is, is that improvising over chord progression is a bit foggy to me. If the chord progression is something like C D E, would I be soloing in C, then, D, then E? Also, let's say I'm soloing in C, does that mean that I gotta start off the solo with c? Same thing goes with D and E.

Man I feel embarassed asking all these n00b questions!! I've been playing for 4 1/2 years now, and im able to play stuff like children of bodom and death, but I cant improv leads or solos worth ****!!! At least I can make up some pretty sick rhythm on the spot
#17
Quote by Shredd3r
The thing is, is that improvising over chord progression is a bit foggy to me. If the chord progression is something like C D E, would I be soloing in C, then, D, then E?
Yes, for now you will.
Also, let's say I'm soloing in C, does that mean that I gotta start off the solo with c?
No, but remember to use notes in C scale you're with e.g. use notes from the C major scale.
Same thing goes with D and E.
read above
,,
Quote by AlanHB
Yeah well in special UG land chords = noob, scales = intermediate and modes = advanced. Most users are trying to finish the game on hard because then you get the trophies for noob and intermediate difficulties upon completion anyway.
#18
Quote by Shredd3r
The thing is, is that improvising over chord progression is a bit foggy to me. If the chord progression is something like C D E, would I be soloing in C, then, D, then E? Also, let's say I'm soloing in C, does that mean that I gotta start off the solo with c? Same thing goes with D and E.

Man I feel embarassed asking all these n00b questions!! I've been playing for 4 1/2 years now, and im able to play stuff like children of bodom and death, but I cant improv leads or solos worth ****!!! At least I can make up some pretty sick rhythm on the spot
If you've just started improvising, you probably don't want to be playing over progressions like that yet.

Try playing over a 12 bar blues or something - make sure its diatonic (in one key) for now, so you can pick a scale and stick to it.

You don't have to start on any particular note, you just use the notes of the scale in whatever order suits the melody you want to produce. You'd normally end on the root though, but you'll probably do that naturally, or your solo won't feel 'finished'
#19
Here is a quick guide on how to do some solos instantly

Take your C, D, E progression into Guitar Pro.

On the C, you take random notes from the C major scale, play them all over the place. Fast. Add some tapping and sweep picking here and there. Done.

Repeat for D and E.

Also, don't actually just use random notes, make sure they sound good. Use your knowledge on phrasing etc. to vary it up with rhythms
Quote by AlanHB
Yeah well in special UG land chords = noob, scales = intermediate and modes = advanced. Most users are trying to finish the game on hard because then you get the trophies for noob and intermediate difficulties upon completion anyway.
#20
^
that's not really very helpful
Quote by Shredd3r
The thing is, is that improvising over chord progression is a bit foggy to me. If the chord progression is something like C D E, would I be soloing in C, then, D, then E? Also, let's say I'm soloing in C, does that mean that I gotta start off the solo with c? Same thing goes with D and E.

Man I feel embarassed asking all these n00b questions!! I've been playing for 4 1/2 years now, and im able to play stuff like children of bodom and death, but I cant improv leads or solos worth ****!!! At least I can make up some pretty sick rhythm on the spot

General rule of thumb is to find out what key the song is in and pick the associated scale, you don't need to pick a scale for each chord.

However, this isn't really your issue so don't worry about it too much yet. Bear this in mind, you've been conditoned to expect certain things from music...the intervals of the major scale are practically hardwired into your brain because you've been constantly exposed to them since you were a baby. Likewise the sound of the natural minor scale and the pentatonics are familiar because of the music you choose to listen to, and at a base level it's still just the same intervals as the major scale presented differently.

That means when you try to create something in your head or sing along you're more than likely going to gravitate to the correct scale without even realising. Likewise you'll be in the correct key because again, that's what you've learned - songs in key, with chord progressions that resolve and melodies that fit. Don't worry about the details yet, don't even think about the guitar - just try to come up with stuff. Then try and figure out how to play it on the guitar and see how it fits, honestly most of the time you'll come up with things that fit perfectly within the correct scale, in the correct key without even trying.
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Jul 28, 2009,
#21
Well you have some great advice here but I've a tip as well. LISTEN to the melody on the song. Then play it without making it a solo yet. Gradually embellish it and switch around some notes and timing.
I've heard pretty average guitarists use this method and create good solos. Heck, that's me! I've also heard great and flashy guitarists who insisted on improvising something every time and it sounded really bad.
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#22
Find solos and players that you love and go get something that slows down recordings and copy the solos and practice them until you can play them back verbatim with the record. Just about 95% of good players in every genre (particularly jazz) have put in countless hours of this type of practice.