Hi guys
I've played guitar for a year now, and i have this problem.
I've seen a lot of people (both on youtube and IRL) playing some awesome ( both cover and their own) solos after this period of learning how to play guitar.
I've noticed that i can't really get my head around all the scales (to improvise), or even the speed or anything that there is to do with the solos. I think of my self as an OK beginner, my riffage is pretty ok i suppose. I make my own riffs and i can play quite a lot of songs (master of puppets and some other thrash / groove / heavy like metal stuff) but i can't play solos to ANY of the songs i have learned so far. I was even trying to learn a pure solo song (Farewell Ballad by Zakk Wylde) and it still doesnt come out as it should. Some solos i've been learning for months some for few days/weeks...but they all sound the same imo...
as i said my RYTHM skills have noticably improved but my lead skills, i cant see much improvement. does that mean i should better stay as rythm guitarist? or is there any way of improving my lead eventho im probably not made for it (at least it seems like it)?
i should also mention that im self taught.
thank you for any tips and tricks, MUCH APPRICIATED
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Hey Bud,
I am a beginner too and so I dont have any great words of wisdom to improve your playing but I do think your being a little too critical of yourself.

Dont worry about it so much, have fun and I guarantee all your skills will continue to improve.
Try looking for easy slower solos to play, and work on them until they are nice and solid. And go ahead and try some of the harder ones, just take them by piece by piece. If you get bored of them just take a break from them for a while.
They may have practiced more.

Or more likely, they practiced differently. I never met anybody that could play Zakk Wylde solos after just a year, that could actually keep time in a band setting. Most of these guys can only play what's written, and often play way too fast. I was this guy my first couple of years playing, and I had a hell of a time playing with other people because of it.

Figure out where you want to be first. If your goal is to play along to CDs, then start practicing solos like mad. If your goal is to play with other people, then learn some scales, and start jamming out over some backing tracks. It'll be terrible at first (like running up and down scales in time, obv.), but you'll pick it up after a couple of days. Next thing you know you'll be coming up with neat hooks and themes in your solos. Once you're there, just start writing them down.

My best recorded 'solos' where both over backing tracks that I'd practiced the crap out of. Sure I may not play them the same way every time, but it's more-or-less the same. Plus I just don't have the skill (or the guts) to go all apeshit on the fretboard live. But the 'delete track' button is just so close, y'know?
The toughest part for me is that as my skills improve much of what I played before ends up sounding like shit. We are our biggest critics, (except for that one guy who just completely bashes your playing). But I guess its good that your old licks just don't cut it anymore. What I am trying to say is that the guitar will become for you whatever you want it to be. If you want to play lead then you just have to practice lead to death. Btw, backing tracks improved my playing more than anything else.
People learn at different speeds. You shouldn't judge your playing based on what you see other people do. As for soloing, it depends on what you are doing. If you are learning a solo to a song, slow it down. Break it up into parts and concentrate on the parts that are most difficult for you. Then once you get it at a certain speed gradually speed it up. It can be very tedious, but it's worth it. Alternatively, if you are going to write your own solo, do what jean_genie said: jam over a backing track. Music theory can be a great help, no matter what you're doing, but it's not a requirement. And I suggest you use a metronome. It's very helpful for staying in time while slowing something down.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
I think it's easier to learn lead mechanics and improvisation roughly in the historical order things were played. Techniques build on one another, and by doing things in order you follow that progression.

So maybe first, learn some BB King and Muddy Waters leads. Then Chuck Berry. Then learn some Clapton leads. Then some early John McLaughlin. Mick Taylor. Jimmy Page. Angus Young. Blackmore. Van Halen. Dave Mustaine. And so on...

They may not all be in your style, but you'll encounter the techniques in a more natural way and learn a lot of music in the process.
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Last edited by Even Bigger D at Dec 14, 2009,