#1
Hey everybody,
Recently I've been trying to really make my solos a lot better, and I have ideas of ways to do it. I know about things such as sweep picking, tremolo picking, harmonics, bending, tapping, hammer-ons, and pull-offs, but I know there are so many other cool techniques and things that can be played in solos to make you sound like a 10x better guitar player. I got basically all the scales down and all that, but can anyone help me find a bunch of other picking or soloing techniques that take my playing to the next level. And possibly help me find good ways to transition between these faster playing parts cuz i sort of feel that i try to put too much into my solos. Any exercises that you could point me to that really work would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Last edited by Irocksyoursocks at Jul 7, 2011,
#4
Vibrato. Separates men from the boys.

Enjoy, there's 2+ years of work refining that technique alone.
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#5
Two words: Whammy Bar.

It's not for everyone, I never used to have the impulse to use it. But once you mastered everything else, I think it's time to experiment with it. I know I wish I had my Jackson Soloist here at school. So much fun to play when I go home.

Try plucking notes, then playing melodies with it.

Try the whole dive bomb thing.

Flutter it over trilled notes.

Etc.
Last edited by Riffman15 at Jul 8, 2011,
#6
Learn to listen properly. Your original post is interesting because I haven't seen you mention one thing that I would consider essential for making music, which leads me to believe your priorities are little off. Sure you mention scales, but almost as an afterthought which would suggest you don't yet fully understand them.

The only thing that matters as far as making your soloing "interesting" is the notes you're using and how you use them. All the techniques in the world won't help you if underneath it all you're not able to create an interesting melody or work with your backing effectively.
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#7
Try the whole dive bomb thing

I do have a whammy bar so I could work on that but don't I need a Floyd Rose to do the whole dive bomb thing?
Last edited by Irocksyoursocks at Jul 8, 2011,
#8
Learn to listen properly. Your original post is interesting because I haven't seen you mention one thing that I would consider essential for making music, which leads me to believe your priorities are little off. Sure you mention scales, but almost as an afterthought which would suggest you don't yet fully understand them.

The only thing that matters as far as making your soloing "interesting" is the notes you're using and how you use them. All the techniques in the world won't help you if underneath it all you're not able to create an interesting melody or work with your backing effectively.


Well what would you consider essential? And yes I understand the major scales, but what other scales do I really need? I really don't know much about music theory except scales right now, but I'm taking a class next year on it. How do notes help me make my solo more interesting? Whenever I play just random notes in a scale it never sounds really that great. I guess in my eyes playing fast solos would make me sound like a better player, I mean that's all I've really tried. What would you suggest I learn besides new techniques?
#9
Quote by Irocksyoursocks
Well what would you consider essential? And yes I understand the major scales, but what other scales do I really need?


Do you really understand the major scale or do you just know what notes it is made up of? Know where the tensions are and what notes like to pull to each other. You should also know not just what chords can be made through harmonization of the scale, but how one note relates to all the others. A huge part of using the major scale effectively (and making your solos nice and spicy) is knowing how and when to go outside the scale. This takes study and practice, but I guarantee you that a 'tasteful use of accidentals' will make you a fine player. As far as other scales, all you really need is the major and the three minor scales. Learning a little bit about why we have three minor scales and only one major will help you learn a lot about the inner workings of each scale.

Quote by Irocksyoursocks

What would you suggest I learn besides new techniques?


Aside from theoretical concepts about key centers, harmony (tension and release) and melody creation, you need to work on phrasing. It seperates 'meh' solos from the great ones. Vary your timing and make sure to take some rests in your solos; well placed rests create as much interest as a string of notes. Listen to David Gilmour's (Pink Floyd) solos and hear how he rests a good portion of the time. Good examples of this in his work include "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. II", "Young Lust" and "Comfortably Numb."

And always hear the phrase in your head before you play it. You don't have to be an expert at transposing the notes you hear to your guitar...coming close will give you a good framework for your next move.
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#10
my favorite thing in a solo is arpeggios/scales/sweeping or whatever with accentuated notes so that it sound like a proper melody with it own backing.

and agree with soviet_ska i dont think its possible to make an interesting piece of music without accidentals, but if like you say youve got bending down youve probably had a good bit of experience with them
#11
Quote by Irocksyoursocks
I do have a whammy bar so I could work on that but don't I need a Floyd Rose to do the whole dive bomb thing?


Well, not necessarily, dive bombs are easier with a floyd, but you can do the same effect with a fender tremelo system. Really, the main difference is that floyds stay in tune better and let you raise the pitch, rather than just lower it.

Look at Yngwie's playing, he does "divebombs" on a fender tremelo.

If you have a crappy fender mexi or squire strat you migtht go out of tune quite a bit easier, but if you just back off a bit and don't over abuse the whammy bar its ok. I wouldn't do bombs on a low end strat though.

On the other hand, simply sounding a note, then nudging the bar downward slightly, then letting it raise up to pitch (the kind of stuff vai does standard) is probably fine. Just hold the bar in hand when you play melodies and mess around with it. Works great, and is a lot of fun.
Last edited by Riffman15 at Jul 9, 2011,
#12
Quote by Irocksyoursocks
Well what would you consider essential? And yes I understand the major scales, but what other scales do I really need? I really don't know much about music theory except scales right now, but I'm taking a class next year on it. How do notes help me make my solo more interesting? Whenever I play just random notes in a scale it never sounds really that great. I guess in my eyes playing fast solos would make me sound like a better player, I mean that's all I've really tried. What would you suggest I learn besides new techniques?

It's not really about learning new scales, it's about fully exploring the ones you're already familiar with. The reality of it is the major and minor scales may well be all you'll ever need, but you'll never know that until understand a lot more about them.

Think of some classic solos....Shine on You Crazy Diamond and the aforementioned Comfortably Numb, Sweet Child of Mine and November Rain, Hotel California, Freebird...you'd agree that those are all at the very least interesting solos, I'd go as far as to say they're downright compelling to listen to. Yet none of those solos use "exotic" scales or particularly flashy techniques. They're just built on a solid understanding of melody and harmony, tension and release, consonance and dissonance. Sure you can embelish a solo with sweeps, divebombs, tapping and harmonics and all those things can be used to great effect...but only if you've already got something of substance to build on.
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#13
Quote by steven seagull
Sure you can embelish a solo with sweeps, divebombs, tapping and harmonics and all those things can be used to great effect...but only if you've already got something of substance to build on.

Amen - A great solo may or may not involve certain techniques.
But no techniques by themselves result in a good solo.
#14
Try watching Marty Friedman's "Melodic Control" videos. That does quite a nice job of teaching you how to solo.

Also, when it comes to soloing, it's not so much tricks that make the solo. If you're into rock n' roll, a large bulk of your soloing is going to be done in the pentatonic scale. The tapping and sweeping stuff is nice, but unless you get really, really good at those, it's hard to base an entire solo around that stuff. Stick with creating melodies that follow the chords, and if all else fails, just try use the pentatonic scale. Kirk Hammet has made a living off it
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#15
So I'm starting to understand what I need to learn, but where could I learn some of these kinds of things? Knowing where the tensions are, what notes like to pull to each other, how one note relates to all the others, knowing how and when to go outside the scale, theoretical concepts about key centers, harmony, and melody creation. Can anyone point me to any websites that talk about any of these things because I can't find anything anywhere?
#16
Work on dynamic variation. One of the lesser talked about aspects of David Gilmour's playing is the way he mixes in his softer notes with his spankin' ones. Hybrid picking is a favourite of mine, and helps with the above since I can, when necessary, pop that sucka like a bass.
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#17
Quote by Irocksyoursocks
So I'm starting to understand what I need to learn, but where could I learn some of these kinds of things? Knowing where the tensions are, what notes like to pull to each other, how one note relates to all the others, knowing how and when to go outside the scale, theoretical concepts about key centers, harmony, and melody creation. Can anyone point me to any websites that talk about any of these things because I can't find anything anywhere?

Honestly, I think a lot of it comes from personal experimentation. Sure, you can have people tell you these things about tension, but you're not going to know exactly what it sounds like, and I doubt you'll remember it all unless you try it yourself and experiment. As long as you have a good foundation in theory, you can try to experiment and see what you like. I would recommend musictheory.net. It's a great site and it gives you a good foundation that you can build on through personal experimentation.
#18
Tension was probably the least of my real worries cuz I sort of know about that already. I was more concerned about the relationships between all the notes. Can anyone help me find the right info for that? Thanks
#19
Find a teacher, I'd say that's your best bet in developing a better understanding of these concepts. It's not a matter of cut and pasting the advice in this thread. These concepts take years to develop. Getting a teacher will open up doorways of understanding that will ultimately lead to the development of your own style.
#20
Phrasing, all you really need.
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