I've been playing guitar for quite a while now and doing my grade 8.
I feel that I'm hitting the "Brick Wall" with my soloing and I'm just not improving!
For soloing I would mostly use my modes and pentatonics, I was simply wondering what scales/ arpeggios everyone is using to get some killer solos or is it simply I need to use more effect pedals?

If anyone has some good scales or ways of improving my soloing I'd greatly appreciate if you posted your tips! Thanks
I don't know, maybe take a break from soloing. Sometimes I do that when I stop improving, I start playing other stuff that I typically don't look into very much. Best advice I can give is don't discourage yourself, you got to break down the wall not wait until someone removes it.
The same scales as everyone else mainly - major and minor and their pentatonic counterparts.

Knowing scales doesn't really help you create a great solo though, all that does is give you a set of notes to work with, like a pallette of colours. Knowing which of those notes to play at any given time is what matters. Pay attention to your backing chords and listen to how different notes interact with that backing, depending on what you ca\n do you can reinforce the underlying harmony, destabilise it slightly or even create something downright discordant. Playing around with discord and harmony, tension and release, light and shade - those are the things you need to create interesting solos.

Pedals don't make solos more interesting, they just make you sound different.
Actually called Mark!

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...it's a seagull

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Hmm, well, you weren't very specific with what your issue is, rather, you just say you need help in creating "killer solos."

However, perhaps your problem is that what you play doesn't sound good, i.e., is not "musical," and doesn't really make the spine tingle.

As Seagull suggested trying to add tension will help in this respect.

In addition, I would suggest adding more arpeggios, or broken arpeggios into your leads, with notes from the scale added around these.

You could also, try creating your own scales. Marty Friedman was a fan of this. Take a normal natrual minor scale, for example, and add some additional notes that sound cool over the passage. Conversely, remove notes that don't work over the passage. In other words, you need to be more choosy about your note choice.

We all reach a point where we lose sight of the ultimate mission of guitar playing - that is, to create beautiful music - and become overly preoccupied with scale boxes and technical exercises. Perhaps you just need to go back and regain some of that beginner's innocence and focus on learning songs and creating good melodies.
Last edited by Riffman15 at Jun 2, 2011,
Quote by Riffman15
We all reach a point where we lose sight of the ultimate mission of guitar playing - that is, to create beautiful music - and become overly preoccupied with scale boxes and technical exercises. Perhaps you just need to go back and regain some of that beginner's innocence and focus on learning songs and creating good melodies.

^ This. Honestly, if I weren't busy writing philosophy (boring and not modern, I assure you, without even a touch of semiotics) and surviving school and a touch of depression, I would write a contributory article about why this shouldn't merely be "beginner's innocence", though too often it ends up being so. Always enjoy the music as it comes to you. Players, I feel, too often shift into a somewhat future tense when playing, making whatever they play not have as much impact to them when they hear it. That's not to say you shouldn't have an idea as to what contour and ideas you want in your solo, but you also have to realize that unless you are playing a carbon copy of a solo, your audience doesn't have the benefit of knowing what you'll play, but that itself is part of the magic. Listen to what you play in the present, let your fingers know what to do and let your ears and mind hear the notes as they come. You'll feel so much more come from your playing that way.

One other thing that I would suggest would be to work on your note-specific phrasing or "note-sculpting". The playing of a single note exactly as you want to play it could mean more to a solo than even what the rest of the notes you choose are. Notwithstanding tonality and harmony and all, you want to sound the notes so that they sound exactly how you want them to. Do not even worry about the rest of the notes you play, because honestly they are probably the same notes and intervals that many other players would use, at various levels of ability, for their solo in your place. Get one note to sound perfect for the effect you are trying to convey.

To directly answer your question: I use major/minor, pentatonic, harmonic, double harmonic, melodic, chromatic, Eastern scales, and various emphases on those (modes as they would be) when wanted/needed. However, I don't use all of them all of the time. I use them when I want to get the sound that I feel I want to convey. Note choice is very important when improvising a solo, even when going fast. The sooner you are able to select the notes that make your ideas ring true, the sooner you'll get through your wall. Believe me, you'll literally be through the wall, because it simply disappears as long as you keep what Riffman, seagull, and I have been suggesting at least somewhere in mind, but with a grain of salt. (Always remember the grain of salt. It brings out flavor!)
You might could use some double modals.
Last edited by AETHERA at Jun 2, 2011,
The modes and pentatonics are really all you need for playing good solos. For a rock guitarist, even a level of competence with the major, minor and minor pentatonic scale should be enough to deliver a wide variety of convincing solos. Perhaps you should try applying what you know over some new chord progressions, playing over new harmonic backdrops is a good way to bring out some creativity in your playing. You might surprise yourself with what you come up with.

As for the actual scales, there's a wide variety of techniques that you can apply to spice up your phrasing. Try throwing some in some string skipping, chromatic passing tones and perhaps, even some polytonal/polymodal ideas. You said that you wanted to know what others do to make their solos sound good, as for that, it seems like studying some solos by your favorite players would be a good idea. Look up some sheets/tabs and look at what kind of melodic and technical ideas they're using, look at how they play over the various chords and rhythms. Don't limit that study to just guitarists, either. Look at the solos of players of other instruments, as well. Studying phrasing on different instruments and observing how the different note layouts and interval set ups are utilized can be quite interesting.

Last but not least, never think that effect pedals or any piece of gear will make your playing better. You don't want to be a guitarist who relies on gear to sound good.
Last edited by Faded Grey at Jun 2, 2011,