#1
Recently I've taken up working on my solos and whatnot but it seems that everything I put out is awful. I know my basic major/minor, blues, and pentatonic scales and have a pretty decent handle on my theory but whenever I go to solo it all sounds so...awful.

Basically, how can I make my solos sound better?
#2
for me, there are two great ways to improve your technique. one, record yourself so you can hear where you go wrong and change it(it sucks at first but its so great after you do it for a bit) and two play with other people
#3
If you were to split music into say 10 equal elements. And assume that none are more or less important than the others. Notes, Articulation, Feel, Dynamics, Technique, Rhythm, Tone, Spacing, Phrasing, Listening... would probably be a fair list. "a list I borrowed from Victor Wooten"

Why is it you only mentioned the notes you are playing? If all 10 are equal, why do you spend 95% of the time focusing only on the notes... When it's only 10% of music!?

Music theory is simply "the study of music" the mistake most people make is they stop studying after they learn a few scales. Thats just the tip of the iceberg, the bulk of theory is studying the dynamics between all 10 elements. How a person uses their dynamics to affect their phrasing. How they use their rhythm to affect the feel of the music and their listener. Those are the parts of theory nobody teaches, but IMO it's the most important part!

My advise to you is work on the other 9 elements... you can play all the right notes, but if your lacking in the other 9 your playing will suffer.

BB King, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Motzart, and me all use the same 12 notes... it's the other 9 things that make them great... and me not so much!
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
Last edited by TheMooseKnuckle at May 4, 2011,
#4
The best thing to do for jazz or blues improv is to listen to other peoples solos as much as possible. it sounds really simple but trust me your solos will improve because it will give you more musical ideas.
#6
Quote by Wrst_Plyr_Evr
I think my problem is that I don't know where to put what. My favorite band is Reel Big Fish, and whenever I listen to Aaron solo, be it live or on the album, I don't know how he came up with what he played. Especially a lot of the quick runs he does.


You just need to work on being a better listener... the greatest tool any musican can have is the ability to listen. If you want to be heard, you first have to listen. If Reel Big Fish is your favorite band, why are they your favorite. What do they do that is diffrent than what anyone else does? Why do they sound the way they do?

A great place to start is to simply listen and think... what makes them sound like they do? Take those elements I listed earlier and look for those in their music.

When Aaron solo's... does he have a certin scale or Key he tends to stick too "most musicans do Clapton for example's favorite key is E and his favorite scale is Em Pentatonic and he uses variations of it alot", how does he phrase and space his solos "or those runs you mentioned", how does he articulate his notes, what are the dynamics between him and the rest of the band, what rhythm does he use "which beats does he tend to emphisize", ect... these are all sutile things but they are what makes them unique, and sound like they do.

Everything you need to know about them is right there in their music... it's up to you to decide what you're going to do with that information.

A great excercise is to play what you sing... i bet when you listen to them on the radio. You can think of a wicked awesome solo in your head. Sing it, and then try playing it what your singing... it sounds dumb but it works!

Someone once had me listen to this clip... it's called "Bass Tribute" by Victor Wooten in the song he does a tribute to all the bassists who inspired him. And when he thanks them he plays for a few bars in their style. He plays in the same key, but he tweaks everything else. It's amazing how diffrent they all sound too. And after one or two notes, you know exactly who he is imitating... because of how individual all of their voicings are "once you begin to listen for it". It's an amazing exercise and is really fun to see the diffrent styles. Especially at about 3:00 where he does a break down

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0NYQC_sCPs
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
Last edited by TheMooseKnuckle at May 4, 2011,
#7
My guess is hes probably using different scales in his runs. Ive never really listened to reel big fish but i think thats a safe bet. try learning modes and such or specifically listen to what scales hes playing from. Dorian mode is a really popular scale in solos. try different things.
#8
Quote by tael
My guess is hes probably using different scales in his runs. Ive never really listened to reel big fish but i think thats a safe bet. try learning modes and such or specifically listen to what scales hes playing from. Dorian mode is a really popular scale in solos. try different things.


Nope, more scales are the last thing he needs right now and especially not the complication that learning modes properly brings; TheMooseKnuckle has already given just about the best advice TS is going to get in this thread and it's completely opposed to yours.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#9
I was just giving my opinion, from my experiences. I started playing in my high school jazz band my freshman year. Our teacher made us play atleast one improv solo a day and i dreaded it every time because i wasnt that good.. my sophomore year i took a theory class and learned all the modes and it helped so much. I agree with zaphod that it might be a little complicated to learn right now but when you do learn them it will be worth it.
#10
Quote by tael
I was just giving my opinion, from my experiences. I started playing in my high school jazz band my freshman year. Our teacher made us play atleast one improv solo a day and i dreaded it every time because i wasnt that good.. my sophomore year i took a theory class and learned all the modes and it helped so much. I agree with zaphod that it might be a little complicated to learn right now but when you do learn them it will be worth it.


If he can't make a bluesy pentatonic solo sound fine then more scales will not help. If he was leaping into jazz or similarly theoretically complex music you might have a point (and even then I'd be more inclined to focus on chord-tone based soloing) but I doubt it to be honest.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#11
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
If he can't make a bluesy pentatonic solo sound fine then more scales will not help. If he was leaping into jazz or similarly theoretically complex music you might have a point (and even then I'd be more inclined to focus on chord-tone based soloing) but I doubt it to be honest.


You have a valid point but in my defense I did specify in my first post i was talking about jazz. Also I might have been taught wrong but we learned scale based soloing first then learned how chords fit into them.
#12
Quote by tael
You have a valid point but in my defense I did specify in my first post i was talking about jazz. Also I might have been taught wrong but we learned scale based soloing first then learned how chords fit into them.


Well that's generally the approach people take but I'm of the opinion that if you're tackling jazz then chord tone based soloing and a good ear will serve you much better than scales will.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#13
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Well that's generally the approach people take but I'm of the opinion that if you're tackling jazz then chord tone based soloing and a good ear will serve you much better than scales will.


Well said... choardal tones, and chromatics are what Jazz is all about... and just plain tasty IMO. Carol Kaye says it best in this interview. She talks about how back in the 50's note scales were used as traveling notes, and they would make fun of and refuse to play with people who played note scales. Because those great Jazz runs, can't be found in any scale "other than the Chromatic, of course".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9idtdWAAEA
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
#14
Quote by tael
You have a valid point but in my defense I did specify in my first post i was talking about jazz. Also I might have been taught wrong but we learned scale based soloing first then learned how chords fit into them.


I'm gonna steal a question from Mr Wooten again, "how many notes are you comftorable with?"

I bet you'll say 12, but I also bet your really only comftorable with 1. If I were to lay down a groove on my bass and ask you to solo over it. I bet you can't until you find the key, am I right!? Thats where I think people are wrong in how they teach music. When someone asks you to dance you dont ask what key they are in, when someone asks you to sing you dont ask what key they are in... so why ask when someone asks you to play?

Everything you need to know to play is right infront of you, except the key. You have 9 of the 10 elements I listed earlier infront of you, the only one you dont know is the root note. There are only 12 notes, and in most keys there are what 7 "right" and only 5 "wrong" notes? So even if you guess chances are you'll hit a "right" note more often then not. And even if you do hit a "wrong" note, your never more than 1/2 step away from a "right" note. But if you have to find the root note first, you can be along way away!!!

Here is an honest question. If someone is only able to play after finding the root. Is the way most people are being taught, really working!? I dont belive so...
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
Last edited by TheMooseKnuckle at May 5, 2011,