#1
So I've been teaching myself to play over the last 2 years or so and have started getting really serious with my playing but I've run into a wall. Every lesson on here now has turned into "how to shred even faster" and "if 2 hand tapping isn't fast enough use your feet". I've been writing some songs and I can get rythyms and riffs down but when it comes to writing a solo that isn't meant to melt faces I can't find help. I'm really impressed by players like Frusciante and Clapton with their more melodic feel. I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to get away from sounding like I'm just playing a scale.
#2
Well... Keep playin the scales, but slow down and add a little emotion to them. Change tempos, add bends, pull offs, vibrato, ANYTHING to give it a nice little personality.
#3
Quote by Unispex
add a little emotion to them.

Emotion isn't a guitar technique. You'll often have to play songs that invoke emotions quite different than you are actually feeling. Most bands have some happy sounding songs and some sad sounding songs, and in your setlist you're going to have a variety, yet you'll only have one mood at that time, thus you will have to sound happy when sad and vice versa at times.


TS, think of a melody in your head, and then try to play that melody. Its just like singing over a chord progression, only your guitar is replacing your voice. Ornamentations can be useful, too.
#4
You dont always have to follow the scales. Just follow whats feels right to you. Its all about putting feeling into those melodic solos. If it sounds good then it is good.
#5
You could try string skipping, polyrythms, slides, bends, stuff like that man... You might want to listen to bossa nova, jazz and funk kind of stuff, and try to improvise with those songs... Bossa helped me play some interesting stuff, since I'm not very fast, I started to try that, and I'm glad I did because it gives you a lot of playing resources...

Good Luck!!!
#6
don't just play step-wise. Play unexpected intervals, do some string-skipping and weird rhythms.
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#7
emotion is the only guitar tecnique. just play what you love. dont try so hard to get better at dropping peoples jaws by playing the most difficult thing your hands can handle. start playing things that make you smile. play what you love and try getting into genres that are polar opposites with what you listen to now. get into classical or funk or jazz. after a while learning becomes more about keeping yourself emotionally engaged and not about woodshedding for hours and abusing your forearms with a metronome. take a vacation from working when you play and just have fun.
#8
I'm a big fan of Frusciante as well, especially his solo stuff. Thumbs up on that.
I found a great way to advance my playing was to listen very, very carefully to the way a player I liked would phrase his licks. Phrasing is the difference between telling a good story or just rambling when you play a solo. Also, work on you vibrato, that's a very, very important part of your sound that is severely under emphasized. I remember reading something from BB King on his vibrato, where he mentioned that he tried to get it to sound like a human voice, and that really stuck with me.
Focus on the small aspects of your playing, and the larger stuff falls into place.
#10
Playing with emotion isn't some kind of god-given ability. When you make a solo, you need to give it a bit of a storyline - ups and downs, a distinct beginning and end, etc. When you solo, create little phrases, each of which is a melodic idea. Then you repeat them and build on them to create a theme. To make distinct ideas, you have to "take a breath" as a wind player would between phrases. In other words, play a phrase, stop, and play another phrase (which should generally repeat/build upon the last phrase). Create a melody that you can sing back to yourself (ie. don't try to cram tons of notes in there).
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#13
Record yourself. Listen back. Be critical. Listen for the parts that you would like to sound like xxxxx player.

Then go transcribe a bunch of stuff from xxxx player.

Repeat.
#14
Quote by Mr.Goobles
....when it comes to writing a solo that isn't meant to melt faces I can't find help.
Haha! That's because melodic control is exponentially harder then speed. Speed "just" takes practice and hours of drilling. So in a sense, it is easy for anyone to do and it's easy to write a lesson for.

I'll offer a more precise word then emotion...something too often overlooked. INTONATION. It wasn't until just recently that I concentrated on the sound of each note as an advanced technique rather then a rudimentary skill . Even the most subtle of manipulations when plucking a single note can seperate the men from the boys, the sweet from the harsh, the cold to the warm. What you thought was a boring melodic line can become the divine. I'm not talking simply about pick technique or arm position or any of that beginner stuff. I am talking about a heightened awareness of each note you play. Play one note: Was it consistent? Did it waver? Taper off? Was it loud? Plucky? Smooth? I swear it's more important for soloing then given credit for.

So...take the players you like. Frusciante, clapton, whoever. Get the tab and try to learn the solo. THEN, try to play the solo as nicely as one of those guys. Forget amp settings or what kind of guitar you have and sh*t. You'll be surprised at how simple, from a music-theory standpoint, their solos are. Or take something like a minor pent or minor scale and try getting the sound to "flow." It might not work for you, but it's done a boatload for my melodic playing not to mention rediscovering the wonders of "simple" scales. Hitting walls is part of being an artist. Keep at it and you'll be playing those sweet sweet solos too.

Someone mentioned transcribing which is a great idea; but it takes a good amount of musicianship--which you may not have yet(I hate transcribing lol but yeah you learn a lot).
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#15
Quote by Mr.Goobles
I'm really impressed by players like Frusciante and Clapton with their more melodic feel. I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to get away from sounding like I'm just playing a scale.


Like other people have been saying, study their solos.

For a couple of years, I was obsessed with Pink Floyd and completely worshipped Dave Gilmour's solos, but I wasn't a very good guitarist back then and I didn't really understand what theory was or how chords were constructed etc. After I learnt some of that stuff, I went back and analysed Gilmour's solo in Time (my favourite of his) and I could pick out what specific things he was doing to make the specific sounds I loved - like that long bend near the start I loved, he's just hitting the sus4 of the F#m chord (B) and bending it a full tone up to a C# as the chord changes to A, so he's now holding the maj3rd of that chord...or whatever.

If you study the solos and find out what relation some of the notes have to the underlying chords (as well as what relation they have to other notes in the solo/the scale they're using) then at least from a purely note-based perspective you'll be most of the way there. Again, like some other people have said, the actual technique and tone of people's fingers plays a big role in how the solo sounds - how heavy/light they are on the strings, how they bend when they bend, how their vibrato sounds/differs, which bits they play staccato/legato etc...and that's before you get to effects.

EDIT: You said you want to sound like you're not just 'playing a scale' - I don't know if this is a problem for you, but the one thing that most transformed my improvisation from 'sounding like a scale' to 'sounding like proper improvisation' was stopping - a lot of guitarists (and this was definitely the case with me) are scared of stopping for any period of time for fear of holding a horribly dissonant note. Once I started forcing myself to learn the fretboard a bit more and paying attention to where the chord tones of the underlying chords were, I could start playing actual phrases that had a beginning and an end, which sounds infinitely more like proper solo than one that moves up and down scales by ear until it skittishly settles on a note...until the chord changes and makes it sound awful again.

People like Clapton & Frusciante (and Gilmour) stop an awful lot in their solos - real good phrase-players.
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Last edited by Damascus at Sep 29, 2009,
#16
Quote by koslack
I'm a big fan of Frusciante as well, especially his solo stuff. Thumbs up on that.
I found a great way to advance my playing was to listen very, very carefully to the way a player I liked would phrase his licks. Phrasing is the difference between telling a good story or just rambling when you play a solo. Also, work on you vibrato, that's a very, very important part of your sound that is severely under emphasized. I remember reading something from BB King on his vibrato, where he mentioned that he tried to get it to sound like a human voice, and that really stuck with me.
Focus on the small aspects of your playing, and the larger stuff falls into place.
Quote by Robino_Ibanez
Playing with emotion isn't some kind of god-given ability. When you make a solo, you need to give it a bit of a storyline - ups and downs, a distinct beginning and end, etc. When you solo, create little phrases, each of which is a melodic idea. Then you repeat them and build on them to create a theme. To make distinct ideas, you have to "take a breath" as a wind player would between phrases. In other words, play a phrase, stop, and play another phrase (which should generally repeat/build upon the last phrase). Create a melody that you can sing back to yourself (ie. don't try to cram tons of notes in there).
Two solid answers. In my opinion, you're going to want to try to imitate the human voice as much as possible. Study melodies and phrasing. They are two of the most important parts of composing vocal music and likewise, they shouldn't be overlooked when playing guitar leads.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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#17
Quote by koslack
Phrasing is the difference between telling a good story or just rambling when you play a solo.
YES. Listen to this man.
Gear:
Inflatable Guitar
Digitech GSP 2101/Mosvalve 962/Yamaha S412V
My Imagination
#18
Learn song's that exemplify this feeling your going for. Play them perfectly, study them, change them to be your own, repeat.
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theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.