i can come up with loads of riffs while im just doing my daily technique practice and most of them are pretty good but when i have got a good song down and i come to make a solo i try to improvise (kinda of hard when i dont have a rhythm guitarist or any recording equipment) and i just end up playing really really fast and its sounds awful. i never know which scale and where to play it on the neck. i listen to songs and the solos are perfect, they could only belong to that song. i want to make these kind of solo, i have the technique i just dont have the, theory?

any help would be fantastic


better shred than dead
My god, you're in the EXACT same situation as me. I'd be glad to hear any answers people would be able to give.
The main thing you need to know is the key and the mode of the song, then play the notes of that key and mode.

Example: If the rythm part is in C minor (C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb) you'll play this notes in order to sound "good". After knowing this only you creativity is the limit.
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Call me Edge
you should buy recording equipment to record your riffs and then listen them when trying to get solos for your songs.
An easy scale for me to improvise is that sounds good slow is the harmonic minor. But for a more versatile scale you should learn the major and its modes. The minor mode is used very often in soloing. Also another scale is the Pentatonic minor its the minor scale only without some notes.
Learning pentatonics is quite useful...there are certain set phrases that sound good, like for example in the key of E minor, the 3 notes D, E and G if you played them loads would sound really good. It's best to just keep playing and try and figure out what notes sound good in which key.
And improvising might be good for live performances, but if you're recording a song, you want to sit down for a while and work out the solo properly.
find out the key of the song and base the solo on that.
also,try starting the solo with a slow,melodic phrase or lick,and then speeding up from there. a bend before the fast runs works nicely too.
another thing that i like to do very often is making a lick and repeting it throughout the solo,using a few variations,so it doesn´t get too repetitive.
for example : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AvUeoH81ZI
this song has 3 solos, all of them based on the same lick.

listen to solos you like, learn the techniques used and incorporate them in your playing. it has worked fine for me
Playing solos with nothing but scales on your mind will likely lead to a dull solo. Whenever I have to compose a solo I will think of the melody i want before playing anything. Then what I do is compose a long 2 or 3 minute solo and pick out the best bits, then force them together with a beginning, middle and end. It can take a long time but really, solos are one of the only things that you, as a guitarist, have complete creative control over, and I think that the guitarist owes it to the band and to himself to rip that shit up proper.
ffs, what's with all the mode bollocks?

TS, learn the notes on your fretboard, learn about intervals and learn how the major scale works - then listen to lots and lots of music to see how other people have applied that knowledge.

You need three things to be able to create a nice solo

- experience and understanding of music to give you an idea of how things work and fit together

- you need to know how that information relates to your guitar

- technical ability to enable you to actually make use of the other two things.

Wouldn't hurt to watch these either...all 4 episodes.

Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Dec 6, 2009,
My two cents:

A solo needs to be a melody. You can't just play a scale. A scale isn't a melody. It's a set of notes that "work" together. Analyze phrasing and "licks" in existing solos and melodies, and try to apply that to your own solos.

Anyone can play up and down the minor pentatonic, but it takes a bit more to create a melody.

Quote by steven seagull
I think you may have been the person who led me to those videos. I believe I saw you post a link to one and thought "these videos are really good," and I ended up watching the whole series and now I reference them all the time.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Dec 6, 2009,
To start? Learn some Hendrix licks, some Clapton, some Stevie if your technique is at that point yet. If you're playing metal, Kirk Hammet is a good place to start. Learn your pentatonics across the fretboard, learn the names of the notes. Once you've got your pentatonics down, learn what notes to add to make that a minor scale, and how to make a minor scale a major scale. Don't just learn licks from random lessons, actually learn solo's. Practice you're phrasing, and play over the radio. Play with a band, or with backing tracks, if possible. Most importantly, play with people that are better than you. You learn so much just by watching them, jamming with them. Its a continual process, I've been playing four years now, playing lead for three, and I'm just getting to the point where I think I'm alright.. But don't be discouraged, you gotta start somewhere. Realize that the guitarists you love didn't jump right into it, it took them 10 years to be able to improvise that solo that you can play after two years. Go back to the roots of it all, I spent an insane amount of time learning Slash solo's before realizing that to sound somewhat like him, I had to go back and find how he got there, I had to take in his own influences. You can't just learn the notes. And remember, theres nothing wrong with imitation for a little while, but ultimately its about finding your own voice.